IT had been almost the ideal pregnancy, without complications.
Laura Batt was looking forward to holding her twin babies in her arms, but was devastated when one of them died during a premature birth.
Now the 22-year-old, from Witney, and her partner Ryan Lewis, 24, have set up a non-profit organisation to raise awareness of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, the condition which took baby Grace’s life.
They took part in a 113-mile cycle challenge on Sunday to raise money for children’s charity Action Medical Research, which seeks to find out more about the disease.
Miss Batt, of Mirfield Road, said: “When the reality hit I was just torn in two.
“It was a complete shock going from what was pretty much a perfect pregnancy for twins to having everything that we had hoped and dreamed of ripped away from us.”
Grace was stillborn after 34 weeks in April 2012, while her sister Isabella, now two, had to be resuscitated and was kept in intensive care for more than three weeks.
Miss Batt, who is taking an access to higher education healthcare course at Abingdon and Witney College, had suffered only minor issues during her pregnancy.
She was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital with high blood pressure on April 10, but doctors were initially concerned only about her own health.
They identified both twins’ heartbeats at first, but realised Grace had died when one had disappeared two days later. Miss Batt had to have an emergency Caesarean section.
Doctors later told her Grace had died from acute twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a disease of the placenta that affects identical twin pregnancies.
It usually occurs only between 12 and 26 weeks of pregnancy and Miss Batt does not know why it affected her.
She said: “When we were first told we were expecting twins after our nine-week scan we were told there was a 12 per cent chance of getting this condition.
“But we were ecstatic about having twins and optimistic, so this seemed like a small chance. What happened was a complete disbelief.”
Last year the couple, who also have a one-year-old son, Blake, set up Our Saving Grace to raise awareness about the syndrome and help parents in the aftermath after they found there was no help for them.
They have so far raised more than £5,000 from events including a golf day, and donated a ‘cuddle cot’ to the John Radcliffe Hospital.
A cuddle cot is a cot which keeps stillbirth babies at an optimum temperature, so their parents can spend time with them before the funeral.
Mr Lewis, a general manager for a building material company, said: “It was heartbreaking not to see her open her eyes.
“We never got enough time with Grace to grieve and let go, spending a maximum of about 20 minutes.
“It’s one thing when you lose your baby, but time is always against you and it’s something a parent regrets, that they don’t get to spend more time with their baby.”
Mr Lewis and Miss Batt, who are hoping to receive charity status soon, rode the cycle challenge from Bristol to London with six friends and family members.
They have raised nearly £2,000 for Action Medical Research, for its research into the condition.
- For more information, visit oursavinggrace.co.uk
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
10:01am Sunday 21st December 2014
FIREFIGHTERS were able to stop a roof fire spreading and destroying the rest of the house last night.
6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014
December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?
9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014
LOOM bands are taking over the house of Skye Hall’s family as they prepare to spend their first Christmas without the brave youngster who died in August.
8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014
OXFORDSHIRE County Council leader Ian Hudspeth has backed councillors Rodney Rose and Kevin Bulmer who asked a voter to reveal his wages when he challenged them over a 19 per cent hike in their allowance.
5:24pm Saturday 20th December 2014
Two teenagers from Witney were arrested last night after a man suffered a broken arm.
2:23pm Saturday 20th December 2014
OXFAM has said it accepts criticism from charity regulators over an alleged “party political” tweet about a “perfect storm” of poverty.