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New mum opens up about having to let one of her twins die in the womb

Heartbreaking

It's almost unthinkable, but new mum Kym Graham has opened up about having to make the decision to let one of her identical twins die in the womb.

When the former Page 3 model, 24, from Newcastle, found out she was pregnant, her and her boyfriend Dean Cadogan were over the moon. But that all changed at her 12 week scan, when the couple were told that one of their babies had an extra nuchal fold - i.e. an extra skin at the back of the neck, and is usually a sign of abnormality.

Due to the nuchal fold, Kym had to have an amniocentesis test at 16 weeks, which is where a needle takes a sample of the fluid in the womb to check for abnormalities.

Speaking to The Sun, Kym said: "We had two weeks of worry after that while they tested the fluid for every chromosomal abnormality they could and ruled them all out."

The couple had to wait for another two weeks for the results, but they came back normal.

But at Kym's 21 week scan, she was given the devastating news that one of her babies, whom she had named Willow and Sophia, was not moving. Kym was referred for a specialist scan at the fetal medicine unit at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary the next day.

She said: "Every minute of not knowing if she was OK was agony. It was Sophia. I could see her head and body were fine but her legs and arms were tucked right into her chest.

"It has been a terrible time. There were whole days during the pregnancy when I did nothing but sit and cry. I felt like the happiest woman in the world when I found out I was pregnant with twins. To hear that one of them could not make it was a crushing blow I hope no mother ever has to go through again."

Sophia had an "unusually severe case" of arthrogryposis, which is a condition that stopped her muscles and tendons developing - and meant there was no chance she could survive.

Kym described how Sophia's muscles were "completely malformed" and that she "wouldn't be able to breathe at birth — every single bit of her body was affected."

To make things worse, Willow was now in danger as she and Sophia were sharing the same blood supply.

She said: "I had to make the choice, though I had no choice. If I decided not to try to save Willow, I was risking Sophia affecting Willow and them both dying, or giving birth to a very sick baby who wouldn't survive."

Less than a week after being told about what was happening inside her, Kym and Dean travelled down to University College Hospital London to have an operationn to cut Sophia's cord and try to save Willow.

Of the procedure, Kym said: "I just turned my face away from the ultrasound screen while they destroyed the umbilical cord. Sophia's heart stopped almost immediately but they needed to do another scan to check she was gone and that Willow was still all right.

"Then I had to lie there for an hour wondering if Willow was alive before they could do another scan to check her heartbeat before they let me go."

In November, Kym had a cervical sweep, which is a procedure to kick-start labour.

What should have been one of the happiest days of Kym and Dean's lives was overshadowed by the grief of Sophia's death. Willow was born at a healthy 6lb 12oz, and Sophia's body, which weighed less than a packet of butter, came out 12 minutes later.

Sophia was baptised by the hospital chaplain and put into a small white coffin in preparation for her funeral.

Kym said: "I didn't look at her when she was born — they said she wasn't in a fit state to look at. I didn't go to the baptism or see her at all apart from one scan, when she was perfect, and I said a final goodbye to her.

"I didn't have to register both their births but I wanted to so I got Sophia's birth certificate and then her death certificate two minutes later."

Sophia's funeral took place ten days after her birth, on December 1. She was cremated, and Kym says she now has her ashes in an urn: "I'm going to keep her at home with us."

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