It was at Christmas time 1985 that I first suspected I was pregnant. Until then I never even wanted children. I don't know how knew I was pregnant, but I just did. I had what was I suppose a normal pregnancy, though to be honest a lot of that time is blocked out now.

I started bleeding at around 16 weeks and I went to see my GP who carried out an internal examination. I found out later this was very wrong. That night I was rushed to hospital and admitted for bed rest. The next day I had a scan and somehow knew before then I was expecting twins. I was so proud. The bleeding slowed down so I went home to rest. The bleeding carried on but the doctors were monitoring my babies closely.

Life carried on like this until unexpectedly I began being violently sick. I thought it would be OK and went to bed. I woke up in the early hours of the morning with severe stomach pains. Panic gripped me. I was only 22 weeks pregnant. Again I was rushed to hospital.

The next morning I was told that I was very ill. The waters of one twin had broken and she was probably dead or disabled. That didn't matter to me, she was my baby girl and I loved her.

I was taken for a scan where both twins were moving their arms; I remember that so vividly because I was told one was already dead. There they were both moving inside me.

I was taken back to the ward and told the twins would have to be delivered to save my life or I would have a brain haemorrhage. I wouldn't sign my babies' death warrant so my Mum was called in to sign on my behalf.

I went through labour and delivered my twin girls that night. They were carried away before I could see them, wrapped in green theatre sheets.

I don't remember anything until late the next day when a midwife came to see me and talked about my babies and asked if I wanted to see them before they were sent for an autopsy.

I didn't want to at first but after talking to the midwife, who was so patient and understanding I agreed to see them. They were bought in to my room and were wrapped in pretty little dresses made of paper with flowers on it. They were laid side by side in a Moses basket. They were so beautiful. The only sign of any distress was a few tiny blisters on one twin's head. They had tiny ears and finger nails and signs of fluffy downy hair growing on their heads. I couldn't believe they were mine and so perfect. I was given a photo of them, which I treasure.

I was sent home to stay with my parents, who looked after me so well; they had lost their granddaughters too.

The pain I felt was so unbearable; every time I saw a pram or baby I thought my heart would break. My Mum's friend had a baby shortly after me and came to visit. She walked in and said the best thing for you to do now is hold her. She just put her baby in my arms and I thought I would die.

I became very depressed and tried to take my own life; I was put on tranquillisers.
A wonderful Community Psychiatric Nurse called Aisha helped me so much to come to terms with what had happened, and I began to piece my life back together again.

Eventually I became pregnant again and gave birth to a girl, Rebecca who is 14 now. She has two brothers Philip,12 and Charlie, 9. I am proud of all of my children and think of my twins every single day; they are part of our family and we talk about them.

I am still searching for my girls' grave. The hospital destroyed records after 10 years. I didn't even realise I could try and trace their grave until I found Sands. The last I knew of the twins were they were being sent to another hospital. A very kind doctor there looked for information for me but he found nothing. I don't even know why I lost them, or what was wrong with me and why I was so ill.

Julie
Julie's twin girls were born in April 1986