Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sextuplets in the News

Sunday, a Minnesota woman delivered sextuplets at 22 weeks gestation. The babies are all in critical condition.
http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_162145756.html

Monday, an Arizona woman delivered sextuplets at 30 weeks, 4 days gestation. Her babies, astoundingly, ranged from 2 lbs 1 oz to 3 lbs.
http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=6640667
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19175054/ (this link inclues a picture of one of the babies)

I'm having a remarkably visceral reaction to this right now and I can't quite put it into words right now.

Edit: I have two things to add:

1. I would not say that the 22 week babies are doing well. They are listed in critical condition, but I'd frankly be surprised if they all survive, or even most of them. Most doctors agree that viability really happens closer to 24 weeks gestation, and even then, it's pretty rocky. In that context, sure they're doing well in that they're still alive at all, but they have a LONG road ahead of them.

2. I'm not freaked out about this in the context of my triplets. I don't think this has any bearing on MY future. I just... I still can't even talk about it, really. I'm really frustrated about the whole situation, in BOTH cases, and I don't yet have words enough to be eloquent about it. No, I'm not worried that I'm going to have 22 week triplets. I'm not worried that my triplets will be 2 pounders (though I'm a bit worried that they'll be three pounders, but that's a whole different story). I'm just frustrated with both couples, with both stories, with both circumstances, with their doctors, with everything.

19 comments:

Leah said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. What else can I say? That's a lot of babies. It seems that everyone -- both Moms and all 12 babies -- are doing well. Hope you are feeling good these days too.

tipsymarie said...

Well, you are having HALF that number of babies, if that helps to comfort you. And you and your babies are doing very well. Hang in there.

illahee said...

i think this is the first time i'm commenting on your blog (i tried to before but blogger was being a bug), and maybe not the best place to jump in, but...

i find the articles a bit 'fluffy', for lack of a better word, but i'm a bit surprised at my own reaction. a bit judgmental, mainly about the parents, so i think i need some time to analyze that! i do have a friend who delivered (one) at 24 weeks and it was really touch and go for a long time, i can't imagine that the 22 week babies are all going to survive.

i am in awe that women decide to have so many babies at once. even triplets is amazing. if i were in your position, i know i'd do the same. even if it happened naturally, i would have three. but six? i can't see myself doing it.

(and i'm going to stop now before i say something before i've really had time to think about it! :)

Carol said...

wow. my reaction is probably much the same as yours.

Regarding the first one - I didn't know 22 week babies survived at all. I thought that 24 was the earliest possible for survival.

Anonymous said...

I have a few reactions and think I am best to keep them to myself.

Karina said...

well, baby Amilia survived at 21 weeks 6 days (and went home w/her parents recently, in Miami) but by and large babies do not do do well before 24 weeks, survival rate is very low. "Perky", you are an incredibly strong woman to push through your pregnancy in spite of all the pain you have faced thus far, congratulations to you and may your babies reach 32+ weeks!

Marie-Baguette said...

in fact those women make me angry.

Erin said...

I agree with the "fluffiness" comment. Such high-order multiple pregnancies make me really frustrated at both the doctors who monitor the conception process and the parents, who flat-out refuse to selectively reduce because "God gives life and they're not supposed to take it away." To me, that's really hypocritical. If you're going to believe that God gives life, but presumably gave us the ability and free will to see doctors and go on fertility drugs to help, then why do we suddenly lose that free will when it comes to the fetuses? Or, if you're going to put faith in God to give life, then why go on fertility drugs in the first place?

I am more frustrated about the doctors, though. This is purely irresponsible on their parts.

kirby said...

As I am taking Clomid this cycle, this is something I've been paying close attention to. I just don't know what or how we would approach something like this.

When I read these stories, I can't help but feel that ART failed these families. Life as they knew it is shattered forever. At the risk of melodrama, it didn't have to be this way.

Anonymous said...

When I hear statements like those couples, I ask myself if god gave them the trigger injection with half a dozen ripe follicles.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Erin and the frustration, particularly when it comes to the parents' hypocrisy. I had exactly the same feelings when Canada's first sextuplets were born in January.

triLcat said...

I don't know what I'd do in that situation, but I do think that the doctors have a responsibility to do their best to avoid allowing a woman to get pregnant with high-order multiples.

I hope that the kids who survive aren't severely disabled - sometimes I'm not sure what's worse - death or extreme disability.

Triplets, fortunately are a whole different ball game. Hopefully, you'll make it to 34 weeks and your babies will be healthy and happy and cuddly and cute.

decemberbaby said...

I'm with anonymous. If you were willing to help God out by pursuing ART, then you need to also be willing to help God out in terms of keeping you and your babies as safe and healthy as possible - and I think with sextuplets, that means being willing to do reduction. Not to belabor the point, but God gave those people the intelligence and medical advice to make a safe choice. Instead they chose inaction. The God I believe in isn't really down with that.

suzanne said...

wow! what a great topic for discussion! i have been captivated reading everyone's comments...what GREAT comments. sad to say, before i tried clomid (for ONE month) and got pregnant with quads, i was very opinionated about selective reduction and viewed it as abortion...but you know, after going thru everything we have gone through, i feel that i would honestly be more likely to selectively reduce if i had 6! and i will never judge anyone ever again who decides to selectively reduce. i mean, i am a nurse and a christian, but from a medical standpoint...there is just too much risk for everyone involved. if these couples are going to try to bring God into this situation AFTER the fact, then they can't say that they weren't "playing god" by using ART in the first place.

from the doctor's standpoint, they can't MAKE people reduce..and these doctors in arizona are just trying to make these people's pregnancies go as healthy as possible (i don't think they were the ones treating their infertility)...but i WOULD like to know what infertility clinic doctors are responsible for the ridiculously high number of fetuses. talk about irresponsibility! (ok, sorry for the rambling) great post and i totally understand every way one could look at this situation! great comments!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog ever since I found out I was pregnant with triplets. It was our first IUI cycle, they said I had one dominant follicle...then the u/s showed twins...one week later it was triplets. We decided to reduce, and our lives have been filled with anxiety and grief, but also hope that this is the right thing to do for us. Last week, at 11 1/2 weeks, an u/s showed quads. We are angry beyond belief. The woman having sextuplets that they were following on the Today show (let's glamorize it, shall we?), it was her first IUI. Suzanne (I read your blog now too!), your pregnancy was with Clomid. Insurance companies need to pay more attention to what is happening. Fertility clinics need to do a better job of monitoring situations. And people should be told very clearly about the possibilities (granted, my chances of getting preg. AT ALL for this IUI were less than 10%) before they begin treatments. TV and the media need to stop showing these pregnancies as "fun", and pay attention to the real problems. I honor the people who decide to go through with triplets or even more. For us, I have never felt so much sadness in all my life. My reduction is tomorrow. Tonight we say good bye to two of our babies and I will pray that they find another womb that will welcome them and be ready for them. I thank all of you for allowing me to lurk and read your blogs. You provide more comfort than you can ever know.

Marie-Baguette said...

I would like to leave a message to Anonymous who is getting a reduction. The best advice I received while I was in your situation was "Focus on your baby" (we reduced from quads to singleton). So, focus on your twins. You are doing the best for them and for yourself. Thinking of you. Marie

triLcat said...

*hugs* to anonymous 6:25 PM.

I'm so sorry! I'm sure this is a very painful and hard decision. I hope that your twins will be healthy and happy and beautiful and born nice and big.

Rachel Inbar said...

Karen, I've been reading your blog for quite a while & I've seen your comments on my blog and others and I really admire you for both doing what you believe in and for not being judgemental...

I think the one good thing from the sextuplet stories is the knowledge that there are women who beat the odds.

Jody said...

The media coverage never gets any easier to figure out. The issue of extreme prematurity is especially tough, because no one likes to quote hard facts. Get to 28 weeks and your odds of survival hit 90%, and 90% of those babies will have only transient delays. Before that, it's increasingly bad. I agree with you that most of those 22-weekers are going to struggle, in the most extreme sense of the word.

If you're going to carry quads or above, you go to John Elliot in Arizona if you can. He's the medical god of extreme HOM birth and provides the gold standard of care. His stats show that 30 weeks is average for the quads in his care.