Obviously we had two major options: reduce to two, or try for all four. We decided to talk to a high risk OB about both choices. We had googled it of course, and read some birth statistics on quadruplets, but we wanted to hear it from a doctor. I knew I wanted to have them at St. Peter’s. It’s the best and closest place in the area for multiples. So I called them to make an appointment, and they said I could either continue seeing my OB and have them consult (I didn’t like this option because of course my regular OB just closed his practice), or if we could prove we are high risk, we could be seen as a direct patient of the hospital. My response was, “well, I’m carrying four babies. Does that qualify me?” The lady on the phone laughed and said, “oh wow, I’m sure that does!” She took some information and I had my ultrasound report from the infertility doctor sent over to prove I had quadruplets. I got a call the very next morning with an appointment already scheduled!
We went for our appointment, and it seemed most of the ladies in the Maternal Fetal Medicine department were excited to meet us!! Apparently quadruplets aren’t that common around there. Triplets, they said, are pretty commonplace for them, but quads are more rare! We learned that in the last 12 years or so they’ve seen two sets of quadruplets. Our doctor said what usually happens is couples who start out with four usually lose one. At that point I hoped that would happen to us too!
We had our ultrasound and sure enough, still four healthy babies measuring ahead and all with strong heartbeats. We then went in to meet the doctor who would be our main doctor throughout the pregnancy. He was very nice, but didn’t really have a lot of information to give us about both of our options. Given that it’s a Catholic affiliated hospital, I guess we should have known he wouldn’t want to talk much about reducing. He acknowledged it as an option and referred us to a couple of doctors who specialize in reduction. So pretty much, we left there in the same state as we went in: unable to make a decision.
I talked to my best friend about our dilemma and her opinion was basically, no way you can have four babies! She voiced my deepest concerns: having one or more babies with disabilities, and having four babies would literally put me under house arrest for years. She referred me to some research done by a pioneer doctor in reduction, and I did my own searching on the topic. I learned that reducing does give the remaining babies a better chance at survival, and interestingly, that we could possibly pick which babies are reduced based on any health issues, and even gender. That part intrigued me. To be able to reduce a baby with issues, or one that wasn’t growing as fast would be a good thing. To reduce based on gender was tempting because we wanted more boys! Deep down it felt a little wrong to be able to do that, but if the option was there, I think I would take it. Still, I didn’t know what we were going to do.
We thought it would be best to get a second opinion from another doctor in the area, not religiously affiliated. After scouring the internet once more, I found a doctor in the area who was highly recommended. A week or two later we met with him. In a nutshell, he told us to reduce. He said it would give the two remaining babies better odds for survival without issues. At the same time, he also told us that based on the fact that all the babies were the same size, measuring on or ahead of schedule and had similar strong heartbeats, that they did not have any chromosomal abnormalities. They were all typical little babies growing at this point.
Walking out of there, I thought about how I went in there. I was so sure that meeting with this doctor would convince my husband that reduction was the best path. Brian and I talked on the way home, going back and forth about what we should do. More and more doubt was growing in my head about whether reduction really was the best option for us. For the first time, it really made me sad and teary-eyed to think of reducing two of these perfectly healthy babies. How do you choose? How could you terminate a baby that has nothing wrong with it?
We arrived home and went next door to the in-law’s. We talked it out with them. They basically said they would not give us an opinion either way in the matter, but they did help us to think it out. We wanted to make sure we were thinking of everything related to this decision. I also called my parents and spoke to them about our decision because they always help me to get a grip on a tough choice and give me good things to think about.
Ultimately, after talking to my parents, and talking it through with Brian’s parents, a decision became clear. As we were winding down the discussion, I realized that it sounded like we had already made our decision. We could not bear to reduce any of these babies. We thought about going to meet with a doctor in the city who specializes in reduction, but when it came down to it, we could not go through with it. For better or worse, we were going to have these four babies!
Instantly I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. My mother-in-law even said she could see the change in me. My frame of mind shifted from depression and agonizing, to acceptance and peace. Our family and close friend were all in support of our decision. No one wanted to say it, but they all wanted us to keep the babies. Not that their opinions would have affected our choice, but it sure did make it easier to have their full support. Then I knew there was no turning back. We didn’t want to deal with the decision making anymore. We just wanted to now move forward to the next phase of this journey: preparation!!!!!