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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Journey Part #2

The nurse left our ultrasound in a hurry, to get our doctor who happened to be in the office that day. Dr. Bonaventura is responsible for a fertility clinic in Indianapolis and often travels between the two. This was our first peek of grace in this situation; we wouldn’t have to wait for an explanation. God knew what he was doing. Isn’t it funny to look back and see how God’s hand is in everything?

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.
Baby A Baby B

Head and body shots (9 weeks gestation)

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.

Baby E and all five in one shot (9 weeks gestation)


Anonymous said...

Wow, it's crazy to relive this...I can't remember what life was like without the five little blessings. I love you guys!


Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm loving the new background!


Mel Donnell said...

wow, I rem this time two years ago. to even think about one two or three of those babies being just makes me want to come over there and hug and kiss each one of and rob too because of your trust in God and giving them all the right to live. I love you guys soooooo much. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He was there then and now and every day after. Yet another tallent you have Emily, you are a wonderful writer. Look out Karen Kingsbury!!!!!!! I can't wait to get on here and relive this wonderful journey with you.

Stephanie said...

We need to find you a Publisher. You and Rob's story needs to be in Chritian Bookstores. WHAT A TESTIMONY!!! PRAISE GOD!!!

Stephanie said...

We need to find a Publisher. You and Rob's story needs to be in Chritian Bookstores. WHAT A TESTIMONY!!! PRAISE GOD!!!

Stephanie said...

We need to find a Publisher. You and Rob's story needs to be in Christian Bookstores. WHAT A TESTIMONY!!!! PRAISE GOD!!!

Stephanie said...

Sorry my message is on here 3 times. OOPS!

The FarmHouse Triplets said...


Reading this is like reliving my story and most likely many of us HOMer's feel the same way.

It's so hard to be faced with facts that can cost you your life or the lives of the little ones that we instaneously grew to love the moment they begin.

I too couldn't reduce even after being told that I would NOT pull this off ... but I did and look at what I have today.

Just like you, me and all the rest of us faced with a choice to reduce ... we made the right choice for us ... and even given the fact that some us have lost our little ones, or some have disabilities, the right choice was to put it all in God's hands and have our babies.

I think that is one reason there is such a comraderie with HOM Mom's.


Anonymous said...

I know this is an older post and I am about to leave a very random comment.
But, for some reason I found your blog and so I really felt like I should leave a comment.

First of all, you probably don't even remember me...but I was the nursing student present in the room that day when you first went to see Dr. Spence. I remember standing there in the corner observing (as I was doing part of my OB clinicals at the maternal-fetal medicine clinic) and hearing Dr. Spence telling you that selective reduction was something you should consider.

I remember the staff even talking about you and your husband after you left, how you were so young and naive to be pregnant with so many embryos and expect them all to survive. In my heart I disagreed with what they were saying because I also believe our God, the God of this universe and creator of life, can handle anything..He is the one who ultimately decides when to give life and when to take it away.

Anyway, I never knew what the outcome of your pregnancy was until later when there was an article in the newspaper published about your little miracles. I was so thankful that you had chosen to put the outcome of your pregnancy in the hands of God and "prove" to Dr. Spence and her staff that modern medicine isn't always right! Sometimes you just have to have faith!

So I just wanted to let you know how much your story has touched me. I am now 7 weeks pregnant with my first child and can't wait until the day we will get to meet him/her!
Congratulations on your little miracles--they are all so beautiful!

Evansville, IN