Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My Triplets Were Inseparable, Whatever the Risks

This NYT article caught my attention over the weekend. I thought it offered an interesting perspective into the issues and risks surrounding multiple births from the perspective of the mother.

I went cold. “It’s triplets, isn’t it?”

“I’m so sorry,” the doctor said. “It is.”

My mouth fell open. My husband had to steady
himself against the wall. There was no jumping for joy at the tiny heartbeats. I continued to stare in disbelief at the monitor. How could I possibly carry three babies to term in my 120-pound body? And what would happen if I couldn’t?

“Sometimes one or two of the fetuses can fade away after a few
weeks,” the doctor said. “But in your case, all three heartbeats are very strong. I think we need to talk about a reduction.”

“A reduction?”

“You need to consider reducing to one or two fetuses. In triplet pregnancies the babies often are born very premature with a lot of complications. You may be saving the lives of the other two by eliminating one.”

While I am a feminist who believes in abortion rights, this was not the choice I had in mind. To spend years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to conceive a baby only to end with discussions of an abortion seemed to me an especially cruel twist of fate. But what would we do if the triplets were born with serious handicaps? It seemed an impossible choice.

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