After desperately trying for a baby with no success, they had discovered they were expecting identical twin sons.

Elated, they began thinking of boys’ names, wondering how they would possibly manage to come up with two they liked.

However, the couple’s delight was short-lived – as they were soon led into a small room with a box of tissues in view.

Once inside, they were given the devastating news that their sons were suffering from a rare and life-threatening disease.

Two weeks later, at 20 weeks pregnant , their biggest fear came true when they were told one of their babies had died in Emma’s womb.

Emma poses at 35 weeks pregnant, only a day before she went into labour with Oliver and his tragic twin, Elijah
Emma poses at 35 weeks pregnant, only a day before she went into labour with Oliver and his tragic twin, Elijah (Photo: Emma Dutton)
The mum had been delighted to discover she was pregnant with twins at a seven-week private scan
The mum had been delighted to discover she was pregnant with twins at a seven-week private scan(Photo: Emma Dutton)

Staring at the screen, at the spot where there were “no little wriggles”, “no little bubbles” and “no heartbeat”, the parents-to-be were devastated.

Grieving for the child she had lost, Emma struggled to be excited about the rest of her pregnancy, fearing she would lose the other twin too.

In order to give her surviving twin the best possible chance to live, she had to carry her tragic baby in her womb for more than 15 weeks until June 16 last year. Finally, at 35 weeks and four days pregnant, her and Mark’s surviving son, Oliver, was born via c-section, weighing 4lb, 11oz.

He arrived alongside his deceased twin, Elijah, who weighed just three ounces.

Today, Oliver is a happy 10-month-old, who is adored by his parents.

Emma, from Walsall, West Midlands, says she is pleased he had the chance to be born with his twin, despite the heartbreaking circumstances.

Oliver, pictured on the neonatal ward, was born on June 16 last year, weighing 4lb, 11oz. His twin weighed just 88g
Oliver, pictured on the neonatal ward, was born on June 16 last year, weighing 4lb, 11oz. His twin weighed just 88g (Photo: Emma Dutton)

“We tried for ages to have a baby, so when we were told it was twins it was amazing,” the mum, who is engaged to Mark, told Mirror Online.

“To have that news and then be told one of them had died was just absolutely devastating. After that, I was convinced I’d lose the other one too.

“I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the pregnancy. I stopped talking to my belly and I didn’t want to bond with my baby in case he left us too.

Tragically the condition progressed so quickly Emma was unable to have a reduce the number of blood vessels shared by the twins, giving them both a chance of survival.

She added: “I think when a baby passes away people forget that they are still there and you are still carrying them.

“He [Elijah] stayed with me until he was born. It was incredibly sad, but I’m also pleased they had the chance to be born together.”

Emma, whose first Mother’s Day last month was bittersweet, discovered she was pregnant with twins at a seven-week private scan.

Emma cradles her newborn while trying to come to terms with the loss of his twin
Emma cradles her newborn while trying to come to terms with the loss of his twin (Photo: Emma Dutton)

Eleven weeks later, she and Mark went for another scan at Walsall Manor Hospital and were stunned to be told they were expecting identical boys.

But after the 18-week scan was over, Emma remembers being taken into a “little room” and knowing instantly there was bad news to come.

“There was a table and chairs and a little box of tissues and I just knew we were going to hear something awful,” she said.

“I knew it didn’t look right.”

The sonographer told the mum-to-be, now 30, she was showing signs of twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

The condition, which affects identical twins who share a placenta, can be potentially fatal to both foetuses.

It sees one of the twins (the “recipient”) receive a higher flow of blood from their shared placenta than the other (the “donor”).

(Photo: Emma Dutton)

“The sonographer said I was showing signs of TTTS and explained a little bit about what it was,” added Emma.

“From there we were referred to Birmingham Women’s Hospital and we saw Professor Mark Kilby, who is an expert in TTTS.”

Emma said she was told she had Stage 1 TTTS, meaning it was too early for her to undergo laser ablation – a complicated form of surgery where the twins are operated on in the womb.

Surgeons enter the womb with a camera and a laser and seal off some of the blood vessels connecting the two babies.

This means they receive a more even distribution of blood from the placenta.

Emma said: “It was strange because on all the scans Elijah was always the one who was moving around lots and Oliver was pretty quiet.

“But now it seemed like Oliver was moving more and Elijah was very still.”

Emma and Mark held a collection at Oliver’s christening in March to raise money for the UK charity, Tamba
Emma and Mark held a collection at Oliver’s christening in March to raise money for the UK charity, Tamba (Photo: Emma Dutton)

A week later, the TTTS had progressed to Stage 3.

This meant Emma was able to undergo the laser ablation at the hospital.

A scan afterwards revealed that her babies were doing well.

But sadly, a week later, back at Walsall Manor Hospital, another scan found that Elijah no longer had a heartbeat.

At the time, Emma was 20 weeks and one day pregnant.

“I was absolutely devastated,” Emma said of the news, which was delivered to her and Mark, 34, at the scan on February 29 last year.

“I was staring at the monitor and I didn’t think I could see a heartbeat.

“Then the sonographer said there was a problem and went to get the consultant. I just thought, ‘Why has this happened to me?’.”

Emma said the image of her little boy not moving – lying still on the screen, with no heartbeat – will “never leave her memory”.