I remember being somewhat frustrated because Dr. B was extremely nonchalant about our situation. I couldn’t believe my ears when he said that it was “about time” for another set of HOM (higher order multiples). It had been about 6 years since anything like this had happened. My frustration quickly faded when Dr. B told us that he didn’t expect all of these babies – my babies- to survive. He shared that until the 10th week any or all of the sacs could and probably would dissolve. Nature would run its course. Religiously, I walked into the doctor’s office every week wracked with nerves about Nature’s choice. As scared as I was, I wanted all of my babies to survive no matter the odds against us.
The very next week we saw only 4 little blips on the screen. The fifth wasn’t very visible the first ultrasound so we thought it had dissolved, or maybe we had imagined it in our initial state of shock.
Week 3 of our journey took us to see Dr. Spence. She was the high risk pregnancy doctor at Deaconess Women’s Hospital. Thankfully, Dr. B had prepared me for my first visit. We knew that she would be very forthcoming about the statistics and risk associated with this kind of pregnancy. It was her job to inform us of all the circumstances we might meet along the way. Dr. Spence also presented us with the option of selectively reducing our “little blips” to a more manageable number.
Baby C Baby D
Head and body shots (9 weeks gestation)
Selective reduction means directly injecting the heart of the fetus with a lethal dose of Potassium Chloride. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for all of the babies to die when this is done. My faith tells me that abortion is undeniably wrong, and I believe that wholeheartedly. However, this wasn’t a black and white decision. We were informed that one or two of the yolk sacs were larger than normal and that could represent problems later in the pregnancy. We had to make the best decision that would give the greatest number of them a chance at life. We didn’t want to hurt the others by keeping one that would eventually harm them all, and we knew there were extremely high risks for my own health. I knew from the very beginning that if my babies were going to survive, I had to be there with Rob to help raise them.
For some this might have been an easy decision, but it wasn’t for us. In the end, I didn’t feel that we had enough facts about what was going to happen to justify reducing any of them. We knew anything could happen, and none of them had any apparent problems. We took all five and put them in God’s hands. Ours were far too small for such a task. A mother only has two hands and as much as I wanted to keep hold of all my babies, I simply couldn’t control the situation. God had begun the miracle, and we knew He would be there.
During our first visit with Dr. Spence, she announced that we appeared to have twins in one sac and four other sacs as well. That brought our total up to six. Six babies. Could we handle any more? We left that visit very scared and unsure of what to do. Dr. Spence communicated abruptly and without providing any glimmer of hope, and that was something we desperately needed. I believe in being honest, and sometimes honesty is the most compassionate gift we can give someone. But I also believe in humility and respecting the choice of another. I was upset by the time I left and felt as though I were quickly running out of time and options. In my head, I knew it was her job to tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly. In my heart of hearts, I knew it couldn’t be all “ugly.” During the next few weeks I had a minor surgery which involved sewing two stitches into my cervix to keep it closed throughout the pregnancy.