Tag Archives: Guilt

Vanishing twin syndrome (VTS)

I found this article on twinsuk.co.uk.  It gives a great overview of what I believe could well be a very pervasive issue:

In recent years. enhanced use of ultrasound early in pregnancy has increased the frequency of diagnosis of twin pregnancy. and unfortunately. has produced a heightened awareness of the phenomenon of Vanishing Twin Syndrome (VTS).

Here are the answers to some questions that about this condition.

What is Vanishing Twin Syndrome?

Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs when one of a set of twin fetuses apparently disappears from the womb during pregnancy. usually resulting in a normal singleton pregnancy.

What really happens?

One of the fetuses in a twin pregnancy spontaneously aborts. usually during the first trimester; the fetal tissue is absorbed by the other twin. the placenta. or the mother. thus giving the appearance that the twin “vanished.”

How is it diagnosed?

Here’s a typical scenario: A mother undergoes a routine ultrasound early in her pregnancy. for example at six or seven weeks gestation. Two fetuses are detected. The mother is told she is having twins. When the mother returns to the doctor six weeks later. only one heartbeat can be heard with a Doppler scan (This is a scan designed to measure blood flow; it can be done to see if your placenta is working normally.) Another ultrasound is performed. Only one fetus is identified.

In other cases. a pregnant mother experiences symptoms that would seem to mimic miscarriage; however the single baby in her womb remains unaffected.

How often does it happen?

Scientists have confirmed that the number of twin conceptions greatly outnumbers the number of actual twin births. Some estimates offer that 1 in 8 people started life as a twin. while in reality only 1 in 70 actually are a twin. In “Having Twins.” author Elizabeth Noble claims that 80% of twin pregnancies result in the loss of one or both babies. Other studies predict that Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs in 21 – 30% of all multiple pregnancies in the United States and a recent study in the UK estimated that 1 in 20 of us were once a pair of twins . It is estimated that Vanishing Twin Syndrome will play a role in 50% of assisted ovulation pregnancies. It is estimated that of the 133 million people born in the world in the year 2000. at least 7 million should have had a twin.

Why is it happening more frequently?

Although it would seem that incidences of Vanishing Twin Syndrome are increasing with alarming frequency. it is simply that the detection of the phenomenon has increased. Advancements in ultrasound technology allow modern doctors (and parents) the exciting opportunity to peek into the womb. As more doctors routinely use ultrasound in the first trimester. more multiple pregnancies are identified. And a certain percentage of those will be affected by Vanishing Twin Syndrome. In the past. many women experienced VTS without ever knowing it.

What causes it?

Just as there is no clear attributable cause for most miscarriages. there aren’t always reasons or explanations for the loss of a fetus in a multiple pregnancy. In some cases. the fetus is unviable due to chromosomal or placental abnormalities. Some studies suggest that because these abnormalities are more common in older women. Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs more often in mothers of advanced age. Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs with equal frequency in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. although the complications of sharing a placenta between monochorionic monozygotic twins may contribute to the condition.

What are the symptoms?

There might not be any symptoms. However. some mothers experience some mild cramping. bleeding or pelvic discomfort. similar to miscarriage. Decreasing hormone levels may also indicate that one fetus has been reabsorbed.

What is the treatment?

Generally. neither the mother nor the remaining fetus will require any kind of medical treatment. When VTS occurs in the first trimester. the mother usually goes on to experience a normal pregnancy and delivers a healthy singleton. However. in situations where a fetus dies in the second or third trimester. the mother may experience pre-term labour. infection or haemoragging. In those cases. doctors will prescribe treatment appropriate for those conditions.

What are the ramifications for the mother?

Physically. none. But emotionally. the mother may be feeling an awkward combination of grief over the loss of one baby and relief for the viability of the surviving baby. It is important for the parents to grieve in a way that feels appropriate. acknowledging the loss of a child as well as the loss of their identity as parents of multiples.

What are the ramifications for the surviving twin?

In most cases of first trimester Vanishing Twin Syndrome. there is no physical impact on the surviving twin. A healthy womb experience followed by a normal delivery should be expected. A late pregnancy occurrence of VTS does have some implications for the surviving fetus. just as for the mother. Occasionally. remnants of the re-absorbed fetus are found in the survivor. in the form of a tertoma tumor containing bone. hair. teeth or tissue fragments. Researchers have found that after 20 weeks. the surviving fetus has an increased risk of cerebral palsy. And asynchronous death may also be a risk if the twins are monozygous and sharing a vascular connection.

There is a great deal of speculation about the psychological and emotional impact of Vanishing Twin Syndrome. Some survivors report feelings of longing. guilt. or grief or problems with relationships or sexuality.

What happens when the twin doesn’t really vanish?

Sometimes. remnants of the unviable fetus are found in the mother. placenta or surviving twin. This is most likely to occur during the second or third trimester. Although usually the fetus will be partially re-sorbed and retained. the death of one twin at around 15 – 20 weeks may result in a fetus papyraceous. a tiny paper-like. flattened fetal remnant. A tertoma tumor containing bone. hair. teeth or tissue fragments is also an indication of a Vanishing Twin.

I’m procrastinating my life away

Do you always put things off until the last minute or try to avoid doing them at all?  Do you have lots of things to do but no motivation to get on and do them?  Are you feeling guilty about it or punishing yourself for your laziness?

We put things off because we feel like it.  Strong motivation can help us to do the things that we don’t really want to do – to push through barriers and get what we want.  This may be successful, we may have used this strategy for years, but it does sound like hard work!  Wouldn’t it be better if you could achieve great things without it feeling like a great effort?  Or are the only things that are worth having those that you have worked hard for (this is a common limiting belief!)?  Is it OK for you to feel happy and satisfied right now?

We will work together to understand exactly how you are not being productive.  Rather than pushing through or breaking down your barriers you will learn from and transform them and gain access to what is on the other side.  As you realise how you were blocking yourself then the energy that was blocking you becomes available to you to use productively.  Getting on with doing becomes natural and fulfilling.


Eat less pies, exercise!

Do you look in the mirror and hate what you see?  Do you eat foods that you know are not right for you and then feel guilty afterwards?  Does the thought of the gym fill you with dread? Fed up with yo-yo dieting?

Everyone knows that having the body you desire is all about eating well and taking appropriate exercise. Sometimes certain foods can seem so tempting that they are difficult to resist.  Previous bad experiences of exercise can form negative associations which make it difficult to enjoy it.  The goals we set ourselves can be focussed on what we don’t want – causing us to loose motivation as we achieve success.  The deeper problem may be that we do not feel comfortable with or worthy of the attention that will come when we look more attractive.

The first step toward changing your body is changing your mind: identifying patterns, learning from the past and transforming any barriers to success.  By gaining a deep understanding what is really important to you you will be able to focus your energy more fully on what you want to achieve.  You will set realistic and motivating goals and enjoy the process of feeling and looking fitter.

The following video is a deadly serious academic lecture on weight loss that I gave while I was trying to work out how to record and edit video:


Help! I’m stuck on an emotional roller-coaster!

Do seemingly small things stir up strong feelings of anger, sadness, fear, guilt or depression? You try to push the feelings away but they keep on coming back stronger and stronger?

Uncomfortable emotions build up over time because they were not fully resolved in the moment they arose.  Situations in the now can bring back emotions that have been growing since childhood.  Rather than helping us to react to situations they begin to be a burden … our overreactions can become difficult for those we live and work with.  The constant presence of these emotions demanding our attention distorts our experience of life and we can begin to perceive the world as a negative place to be.

Releasing emotions from your memories using regression techniques such as Time Line Therapy or directly from your body lets you return to a normal calm, relaxed state of being that many people describe as like ‘coming home’.  The energy that was trapped inside becomes available to you again and you become balanced. You will still experience emotions but they are appropriate to the situation and you can work with them rather than against them.  You will have more choices over your actions and may find that situations that used to cause you problems simply do not develop any more.