Monday, July 9, 2012

Selective Reduction?

I know I haven't posted on here in forever and I'm sure some people will wonder why I am making this the topic of my first post in almost a year.  I can also imagine the controversy that this will cause for some people, and I suppose that I might be opening a huge can of worms by talking about this.  But it's my blog, my opinion and something I feel very strongly about so I can talk about it if I want.  So here goes.....

I have been following a blog about a woman trying to conceive and then getting pregnant with quads.  She lost one of her babies resulting in triplets.  She went through IVF, implanting two eggs, one of which split three times resulting in identical triplets and a singleton.  She lost one of the triplets.  She is now planning on selective reduction.  She hasn't made it clear if she will abort, oh sorry, selectively reduce the twins or the singleton.  She says she will be fine with twins, but when two babies share the same placenta, you can't only reduce one....both will have to be reduced to leave them with one baby or they will reduce the singleton leaving them with twins. I'm not writing this to judge this other woman or attack her.  I know of several people that have made the same decision as her so this is my know means directed at one person.  It's just something I feel very passionate about and want to share my opinion.  I don't know her personally, I've only read about her story. I've followed her journey through trying to conceive and then finally conceiving. I'm not going to like her, or any other person that makes this decision any less because they make the choice to selectively reduce. I am simply writing this in hopes that someone out there that is facing the same decision will read this and think twice about reducing.  Maybe someone will read this and think that it will be ok and that they can do it! 

I have shared before that our pregnancy started as quints and we lost sweet #5 around 8 weeks.  As soon as we found out how many babies we were having, our doctor immediately brought up selective reduction.  I told him no.  No way. No!  Don't even bring it up again, it's not an option.  To me, selective reduction is only a nice way to say abortion.  Abortion, selective reduction....whatever, same thing.  It's all about killing a baby.  Taking a life that God created.  It's wrong.  I believe life begins at conception.  Abortion is wrong.  Not going to happen!  He never brought it up again.  When we met with our high risk doctor for the first time he also brought it up.  He said he knew we weren't considering it,  but he still had to talk about it.  So he told us all the risks and I still told him it wasn't an option.  I left his office knowing that, God willing, I was going to carry four babies.  I know there are times when reduction is the only option. If a baby has a condition that it is 100% known he won't live outside the womb and reducing him would give the other babies a better chance at survival, then that is different. What I am talking about here is situations like ours.  Where all the babies appear to be healthy and developing fine.

Now, let me honest.  Totally, brutally honest.  This next part is hard for me to write.  It's not something I'm proud of.  I hate this part of myself, these thoughts that went through my head. I walked out of the doctor's office with my head held high.  I knew what my decision was, that we would continue with the quad pregnancy and hope and pray for the best.  Once we got in the car though, I had a breakdown.  Complete and total breakdown.  I started really freaking out.  Four babies???  Holy shit, I can't do that.  Four?  We can't afford that!  We don't have a big enough house, big enough car, enough money!  I will need to work just to support these babies, but I don't want to work and how could I work?! I would be working to pay daycare!  I want to have ONE baby, be a stay at home mommy.  Spoil him or her rotten. Focus all my attention on ONE baby....not four!  I told Lee maybe we should consider reducing.  He looked at me like I had completely lost my mind (I think I had).  I had always said I was very strongly absolutely opposed to abortion and there I was completely freaking out and basically saying that I thought we should reduce our pregnancy!  After Lee was able to calm me down and I regained my composure, I realized what I was saying.  It was a weak moment that I am not proud of.  I was saying that I didn't want all of my babies that we had created!  Ha!  I was having ridiculous, crazy thoughts and I actually laughed at myself.  Yes, I was still scared out of my mind but I knew it would be ok. I think I briefly panicked and had to say all the thoughts in my head and hear them out loud to reaffirm what I already knew. I knew that we could do it.  I knew it would be hard, but I knew that it was the blessing I had been given and I accepted that.  God gave me these babies so I was responsible for them.  I would never give one of my babies up. I was going to do everything I could to protect them, carry them as long as I could and give them the best chance for a good life. 

I knew all the risks.  I knew that higher order multiples have a huge risk of being born with serious disabilities.  I knew we would deliver early and most likely spend some time in the NICU.  I babysat triplets for several years starting when I was in high school.  I knew how much work multiples would be.  I knew we were going to be short on money, completely broke actually, for the next several years, well, the rest of our lives really.  I knew everything was going to be hard, really, really hard.  I also knew that it was going to be ok. 

My babies were born at 23 weeks and 5 days.  They technically shouldn't have survived.  They should have had major complications.  Don't get me wrong, they had their share of difficulties those first few months.  For the first couple months we didn't know if they were going to make it.  The 137 days they spent in the NICU were the hardest thing I have ever done.  It changed me forever.  But it changed me forever in a good way.  I have a much greater appreciation for the little things in life.  I have a stronger faith in God.  I believe in myself more.  The days after they came  home were hard too.  Cooper came home on oxygen and all but Brett were on monitors.  I constantly had people in my house.  I needed the help so that was a good thing, but it was hard.  Our marriage has been pushed almost to the breaking point, but we stuck it out and now we are better than ever.  I rarely slept when they were babies.  I was tired all the time.  I was physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted.  But I was so full of love for my babies, that it was worth it.  Snuggling my sweet babies was amazing.  I never had empty arms because there was always someone that wanted to be held.  It was awesome.  Kaden  has cerebral palsy and wears braces on both legs.  He has sensory issues that have made a lot of things difficult for him.  Cooper still has some breathing issues. They have mild problems that we deal with everyday.  It should have been more serious issues.  If my children were severely disabled I wouldn't love them any less.  I can't imagine not loving an incredible gift straight from God. After trying for so long to get pregnant, I would love my children no matter what.  Sometimes the days with my kids are sooooo long and soooo difficult.  Sometimes I hide in the bathroom and cry because I can't do it anymore.  Sometimes when Lee gets home from work, I leave.  I go to the park.  I enjoy the silence. 

But then I go home to my kids.  All four of them.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  I love the way my life has turned out.  Who would of thought that having four kids would meet every expectation of my life I have ever had.  My kids are amazing.  They are beautiful.  Wonderful.  Incredible little people that fill my heart with so much love that I feel like I could burst.  What an amazing feeling.  I quite possibly could be the luckiest mom in the world. 

If we would have opted for reduction, we would have aborted Brett and Kaden.  Oh, how that thought hurts my heart.  I can't imagine not having my buddy Brett.  My momma's boy.  The boy that doesn't like to be away from me.  I can't imagine not hearing his giggle, watching him sleep, hugging him every morning.  What would life be like without Kaden? Daddy's little mini me. To not hear his "I love you, mommy" every day.  To not get hundreds of kisses from him everyday.  To not hear his knock, knock jokes, see him entertain everyone and work hard to make sure that everyone around him is happy! 

Sorry I have rambled for so long and congratulations if you actually made it to the end of this.  Please, if you are considering abortion or selective reduction, think about it again.  Think long and hard and make sure it's something you really want to do.  Something you really want to live with for the rest of your life.  Feel free to comment, but please keep in mind that this is only my opinion.  It's something I feel strongly about and wanted to share my thoughts. 

Cooper, Brett, Parker and Kaden


Amber said...

What a beautiful post! I love it. I also love that you said it's not easy and you have days that you run away, but it is so worth it!

Rose Squad said...

Love your post. Says so much of what's in my heart and I never say. Thank You for saying in ALL.

Cali Quad Squad said...

I absolutely love love love your post.... Selective reduction was never ever and option for us either. It was 4 babies and no buts about it. And yes Somedays are hard, Somedays I do want to hide, or run for the hills from these little people who make me crazy... But I get 5 I love you's a day (quads plus a singleton). I get more hugs than I can count... And I laugh more than I ever dreamt possible, every single day I find a reward... Big or small one of those FOUR babies or my big boy gives it to me.... They are a gift of everything. The are my world... And it takes all of them to complete me. Excellent post!!!! Thank you!!!!

Kari said...

Perfectly stated! I couldn't imagine choosing to abort one or more of my babies.

Heather Hall said...

I thought the doctors were crazy when they tried to talk to me about it! I was like seriously, I worked so hard for these babies, why would you want to take them from me? God works magic every day.

Deborah said...

You were much nicer in your post about selective reduction than I was. We were talked to about it and I delivered at 25 weeks. I have 2 with multiple disabilities and my life is STILL incredibly blessed!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of natural twins, a lot of "outsiders" (non ivf people) look at IVF participants and wonder what they think of their frozen/washed the the sink embryos??? They don't count as children? Just curious.

Beth said...

I realize that it has been weeks since you posted this. I read it back then on my phone and thought I would comment later when I was at my computer. Well, obviously, things happened and I got distracted. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this post, though.

I will never forget that first week after learning we were having quads (and we only started with 4. I can't imagine how hard the dr would have pushed if there were 5!) He just pushed and pushed for us to reduce. He asked if I knew anyone with quads. When I said 'no', he said, 'that's not because they aren't conceived, it's because they don't survive until birth.' Ouch.
While I knew that I did not want to reduce, he managed to get into my head. I asked my husband if we were being fools. I thought about stories I'd heard about families who would not give their children medical treatment due to their religious beliefs. I asked, 'am I that idiot letting my children die because I think I'm doing the right thing?'
Luckily, my husband didn't have crazy pregnancy hormones running through his body and was the voice of reason. We agreed that if we lost one (or more) of our babies, it would be terrible. We would mourn and grieve, but knowing that it was God's plan, we would bee able to carry on. To know that we had ended our child's life? I don't know how we could ever move on from that.
Of course, we were incredibly blessed and have four healthy kids (well, 5, but you know...) I cannot imagine even one of these kids not being here. I've said that that is why I had quads. God knew he had 5 kids to give me and that if he gave them one at a time, I would not be smart enough to do it 5 times ;-)

Anonymous said...

We're a selective reduction family. (I am a blogger, but am not "out" about it, for reasons you could surmise.) I appreciate your viewpoint, but just wanted to share a couple of lines about our choice. We reduced from triplets to twins for a number of reasons, a big one being financial. Selfish? Perhaps. But we are giving our girls the life we wanted to give them. Do we think about the baby we lost? Yes. Every day. Do I regret it? No. We weren't in a position to care for triplets for a multitude of reasons, and I would have done the same if I was pregnant with a singleton at a time in my life when I couldn't properly support or raise a baby. Can I imagine life without the girls we have? No.

Its a struggle for sure.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what 'anonymous' said. My husband and i just found out that we are pregnant with quintuplets and are reducing to 2. The amount of negativity out there towards people who are making very, very hard choices is amazing. In a perfect world every woman's body would be able to handle 4 or 5 fetuses but unfortunately that is not always the case. Perhaps your comment about aborting, opps, reducing, is about insensitive as they come. I respect that this is your blog but I think it's shameful that people say such hurtful things.