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Celine Dion Welcomes Twin Boys, but Originally Carried Triplets

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After several unsuccessful IVF cycles — and a public miscarriage — singer Celine Dion and her husband finally welcomed twin boys as the newest additions to their family. However, the path to parenthood was not without its struggles, as Celine revealed she was originally pregnant with triplets, but lost one of the babies in the womb.

Celine, 42, first disclosed this during an emotional interview on a Quebec news station just before the birth of her boys on October 23, and her rep later confirmed the news to E! Online after the babies were released from the hospital. After her pregnancy was confirmed, Celine was told she was expecting triplets. However, only several days later, an ultrasound showed that one of the babies’ hearts had stopped beating.

Despite the pain of losing one of her babies in the womb, Celine tried to remain positive.

“He chose to let go to give space to his brothers to grow,” Celine said.

A Common Occurrence with Multiples

While losing a pregnancy — regardless of its stage — can be emotionally difficult, it is not an uncommon occurrence, especially when multiples are involved. According to a guide produced by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine for patients dealing with pregnancies of multiples, spontaneous loss of fetuses occurs in about 20 percent of twin pregnancies. When looking at pregnancies with triplets or higher multiples, the rate for fetal demise jumps to 40 percent.

Often referred to as “vanishing twin syndrome,” this fetal death can occur even after an ultrasound has detected multiple heart movements. A follow-up ultrasound then shows the disappearance of the twin, as the fetal tissue is often reabsorbed into the mother, placenta or other multiple(s).

So how common is fetal death in assisted reproductive technology procedures like IVF? The American Society for Reproductive Medicine asserts that fetal death of one of more of the fetuses can occur in 25 percent of the pregnancies that result from ART.

Early Ultrasounds Document More Cases

Documented cases of “vanishing twin syndrome,” or fetal demise, have grown recently, as early ultrasounds have become more common, especially for women who are undergoing fertility treatments. However, it is common for fetal death to occur before the mother even knows she is carrying multiples. In fact, the majority of fetal deaths take place in the first trimester.

The cause of “vanishing twin” is frequently unknown, but it is thought to result from abnormalities of the fetus or problems with cord implantation. Many women do not have any symptoms during the fetal loss, but others may experience spotting, pelvic pain, and uterine cramps.

As painful as it is to lose a multiple pregnancy, it can be heartening to know that fetal death, especially in the first trimester, is unlikely to cause harm to the remaining fetus or to the mother. Like Celine and her twins, mothers can still deliver healthy babies after the loss of a multiple in the womb.