I did research on selective reduction. But I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it.
When we heard the news about the octuplets that were born Monday, we were pretty stunned. We couldn't believe that someone would elect to have eight children at once and were even more floored that there was a doctor that allowed it. Dr. Gilberg-Lenz, who has delivered twins and triplets and assisted in two deliveries of quadruplets, tells us, "There are all these risks for the mother -- hypertension, hemorrhage, maternal mortality. It's very high risk. And there are so many risks for the babies -- all those complications that go along with multiples, including infant mortality. It's crazy. And for what? I feel implanting so many embryos is mercenary. It's just bad medicine."
But for some women, having a child is all that matters and they are willing to take the risk of having to carry multiples if it means a chance at conceiving. We spoke with Morgan, who is so grateful for her three healthy and beautiful children, but admits that IVF can be very risky. Morgan and her husband had been trying to conceive for years -- they tried artificial insemination, herbs and her husband even had elective surgery. Finally, the couple opted to try IVF. Morgan was injected with four embryos under the notion that there was a very low percentage that all four would attach themselves to her uterus. Unfortunately, none took. Morgan decided that she would try IVF again, but this time, she asked them to inject only three embryos. All three took.
Morgan says, "All three were in separate sacs, three separate embryos and all three developed and attached themselves to my uterus. There was a 'wait and see' period because we had see if they would remain. During that time, I did a lot of research on selective reduction, meaning that you can basically abort one of the embryos. But I couldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. If I had four, I might have -- that's just too high risk, you could lose the pregnancy. Here you've tried for so long to get pregnant and now with one more embryo you could possibly lose it all."
The three embryos implanted themselves and began to develop normally. At 5 months, Morgan was put on bed rest. She was confined to the couch morning, noon, and night, and was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. "For someone like me, who wants to get up and do things, it was very hard," she explains. Morgan, who saw a perinatologist and OB/GYN every week, says that having to lay there and think about the pregnancy was very hard, too. "It's very stressful," she says. "You worry about the baby's health and the delivery. My case is not normal. I never had a planned C-section, I actually went in to labor and had to have an emergency cesarean."
At 32 weeks and 6 days, Morgan gave birth to two girls and one boy, weighing 3 lbs and 12 oz. and 3 lbs and 11 oz. There was a team of 25 to 30 people in the surgery room and each baby had a team of 3 or 4 attending to them. Her son was born with lung complications and had to remain in the NICU for four weeks, while her daughters stayed for three weeks. In the beginning, Morgan pumped eight times a day and would continue to pump five times a day for the next six months. Ironically, it was the NICU that really got the babies on a feeding schedule.
Once the babies came home, Morgan said she was lucky to have her husband and a night nurse, but that didn't stop her from having to get up in the middle of the night to pump. "You really need like one person for each baby... especially at night time."
Let's just hope the mother of octuplets has eight people on standby!
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