I got pregnant with triplets last fall and I was heavily heavily pushed to reduce to twins. The nurse at the infertility clinic, two peris, and my old OB all seemed to say reduce is better.
Statistically - the odds are better.
Emotionally - it wasn't worth it. It was NOT worth it.
Maybe. I really don't know. You can read my blog entry on it here
- that was written during December's breakdown... I seem to have a serious breakdown every month or so because of it. It's like I'm pregnant now so I don't have menstrual cycles, but every 4 weeks or so I go off the deep end. (Last one was at 28 weeks so I'm due soon!) If you look in October 2007 archives
there is some more stuff... It's just an impossible situation to explain, if you haven't been there. What you would or wouldn't do may seem so clear to you... I never thought I would do it but between my son and this pregnancy I had 3 miscarriages and I just couldn't convince myself then that *I* would be one of the ones to make it through a triplet pregnancy with all 3. I tried... I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to reduce... I was scared out of my mind not to reduce. I wanted to run away and not have to decide but I kept thinking of the Rush song that goes "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" and i thought I don't want to decide by not deciding...
Right now I am 31+ weeks with twin girls and everything is great - I am in a lot of discomfort from carrying two babies but they are both measuring on target, I have no signs of labor, nothing like that. They're fine - except baby A has turned breech and now I am worried over a c-section, the avoidance of which was one (stupid) reason for reducing. (I have never even had a tooth filled - my son was natural childbirth - I was so wigged out over being cut open and having the babies removed while I was awake... It doesn't bother me so much now but I needed time to get used to it and you don't have the luxury of time when you are in this position)
It is EXTREMELY f'ed up to spend your entire pregnancy wishing things would go wrong so you'd feel justified in your decision but that is how I feel. I wish my water would break. I wish my cervix would shorten. For a while I even wished these babies would die because I felt like I deserved to lose them all - another side of the same coin is during one of my breakdowns I thought I will give the girls up for adoption when they are born and give my son up for adoption, too, because I don't deserve to be a mother. My son is FOUR! He worships me! You can't just give away a four year old kid but that's how crazy I was. I don't feel that way now but I do feel scared to death something yet WILL go wrong, during labor, birth, whatever - because even with twins there are a lot of scarey stories out there. I bounce between fearing a c-section and demanding one because that is the fastest, safest way to get them out. (And, maybe I feel the c-section is punishment I deserve, who knows)
All I feel like is a murderer and I think my HMO pushed for reductions to keep their costs down and their stats good. (Fertility was covered through my HMO - infertility clinics don't like having higher order multiples on record and HMOs don't want to pay for 3 preemies in NICU) The whole experience has totally destroyed my faith in the medical profession. I trusted my doctors - I trusted if this was being presented as "best," even though it seemed horrible, there must be a damn good reason, you know? And I found a LOT of horror stories to back up my fears in going through with the pregnancy. And the doctors are really, really slick in pushing other little small things on you - the risk of the marriage breaking up is a big one. Think of your older child is another. Vague references to developmental problems that won't show up until later. I read/post to some selective reduction boards and I just want to cry, women coming on trying to decide and being giving the same crappy bogus vague lines I was given. It's just, why can't they say "These things will be hard, here are some resources for help..." instead of "these things will be hard, reduce."
To be totally honest though I am still very conflicted. I mean, it's a moot point, because I can't have my baby back - but since my reduction, quite a few women on different boards I read who got pregnant with trips around the same time as me have lost the entire pregnancy. Part of me feels I would rather have that - lose all 3 and be blameless - than have THIS - certain guilt that my actions (or inactions) resulted in the death of a child. But I don't know. How would it REALLY feel to lose them all? I don't know. I hope to hell I never find out. I read unhappy endings and I just feel like throwing up, I feel like I am right back in that indecision stage.
I also know that 3 would have been really hard to care for. Right now my son (4) is in such a tantrumy 4-year-old phase that I think of 3 newborns on top of that and ... I know I would have cracked up. But OTOH the guilt I have over losing that 3rd... I'm not exactly sane from that.
I am trying to focus on how much more of myself I will be able to give... breastfeeding, holding, comforting... but was it right to do this? Is it better to give more of myself to 2 and nothing of myself to 1 than to give less of myself than I'd like to 3? Why was breastfeeding so important to me that I was unwilling to risk needing any formula at all? I don't know. I will never know. I will never know how things would have gone and that's a lot harder to deal with than I thought it would be.
Even having been through all this... even feeling now 100% it's not worth it to reduce triplets... quads are another story. The risks are greater with quads. More total pregnancy loss with quads than trips. Maybe I would reduce with quads - but maybe I'd reduce to trips, not twins.
There are doctors who don't push reduction of trips - it kills me I didn't get just one more opinion. It kills me that by the luck of the draw I got doctors who do push reduction for trips - some women are never even told to consider it. But after 4 opinions... I guess I gave up. I think more docs are in favor of reduction of quads and I think it is more justified.
I can't say to reduce or not reduce ... but I can say tell your sis to act as if there are 4 NOW... start looking for information NOW... start looking into different doctors and opinions NOW. And be sure to look for emotional/psychological support NOW - I was not told to, and never thought I needed to because I thought I was making a "medical" decision. Turns out you don't have an abortion without counselling beforehand - this should be no different. This IS abortion. The ends may justify the means, it may be more complicated than an unwanted pregnancy - but you are giving up a child and there are emotional repurcussions to be dealt with.
My time frame was kind of short. We had two sacs, no heartbeats at 6 weeks... then 3 sacs with heartbeats at 7. It was 10 before my first peri consult and they booked my reduction for 12 weeks - it was really like I had 2 weeks of crunch time. That's another tip - don't let the peri book your reduction at the consult. Mine did - which I knew even at the time was a mistake. I didn't want it. They said I could cancel though and I preferred to be the good, docile patient rather than refuse to book - I figured I'd call and cancel. Only I never could. I'd pick up the phone and panic and couldn't dial.
I hope she doesn't have to decide - I hope she stays with twins. But 6 weeks is early - like I said I only had 2 sacs then. Anything can happen by 8 weeks. It's too bad they are making her wait 2 more weeks to see - that's 1 week less of knowing for sure.
Good luck to her.
eta - i hate to go against the grain but I think the barbara luke book is bunk. I have read of many women who followed the advice and lost all 3 or 4 babies. I myself have been so depressed since the reduction that my eating habits are absolute crap - yet my babies are doing great. It's a crapshoot... it comes down to luck... which is one thing that makes it so hard. You can have this, this, and that going for you... and still be met with disaster. If someone could have looked into a crystal ball and told me everything would be great in the end - I'd never have reduced. But after three miscarriages and with all the bleeding I had early in this pregnancy - none since the reduction - I just couldn't believe I would be one of the lucky ones, no matter what I did.
eta again - this is a good site IMO... http://www.multiplebirthsfamilies.co...s/ber_q11.html
- had I read that before the reduction it would have made it more clear. And based on that I would say quads are dicey. Somehow I missed that in all my digging between weeks 7 and 10 - it's not that I did NO digging then, I just was too scared to be focused and thinking clear... instead I read things like this linked to my HMO's website which I am so skeptical of now... there is a lot of misinformation out there and it's so hard to know what to believe, what to do. ack - can't find the article - but I know it claimed the 25% total loss rate with trips and claimed half of all triplet families experience death or disability... which scared the pants off of me... somehow it escaped me that by having the reduction I was signing up for a 100% chance of death... the doctors gloss over THAT and I wasn't thinking clearly. But again, quads are different...