Multiples Arithmetic

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This is how I entertain myself.

I had an ob/gyn appt today and here’s how the conversation went with the nurse who was gathering my information:

Her: How many pregnancies have you had?
Me: 5.
Her: Any pregnancy losses?
Me: 3.
Her: How many live births?
Me: 4.
Her: Okay… wait, 5 pregnancies total and 3 losses?
Me: Yes.
Her: And how many live births?
Me: 4.
Her: Did any of those children pass away after birth?
Me: Nope.
Her: Something’s not adding up. How did you have 2 pregnancies that resulted in 4 live births?
Me: Two sets of twins.
Her: You could’ve just said that in the first place.
Me: I could have but where would the fun have been in that?

Something's not adding up. How did you have 2 pregnancies that resulted in 4 live births? #twinparenting Click To Tweet

I haven’t been blogging lately, but you can get another laugh by checking out “What good is being married to a computer geek if i can’t take advantage of him?” or cry with me at “The desperation of infertility“.

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This Mothers’ Day, Acknowledge Infertility

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Categories Infertility, Mothers' Day, Perspective37 Comments

For American Mothers’ Day 2006, I received the most wonderful gift: two 3-day-old daughters, doing better than anyone imagined they could, having been born at 33 weeks gestation.

Sadia with her newborns in the NICU. You'd never guess 9 years later that they had a rough start at 33 weeks gestation.

A week from today, on Mothers’ Day 2015, those tiny babies turn 9 years old. Halfway to college.

J and M in their dance attire. You'd never guess they were 7 weeks premature.

Motherhood has been more than I could have ever imagined. More joyous. More fulfilling. Surprisingly, easier than I expected.

There are many others out there, men and women alike, who have planned to have children, only to encounter the monster that is infertility. They would love to be celebrating Mothers’ Day with a child, but have faced obstacle after obstacle in making that child a reality.

Last year, we ran a series called (In)Fertility Tales. I encourage you to read these stories to understand the variety of challenges would-be parents face and how you can help. Hear from the blogger who explains why she remains anonymous when addressing the topic and the news anchor who had her whole community watching as she carried triplets, only to lose two of them.

I echo Angela‘s challenge to you from her post Honoring Moms Who Aren’t: Remembering the Bereaved or Infertile. This Mothers’ Day, don’t just honour those mothers whose children are with us. Remember too those who lost their children or are still waiting for them.

My tiny step to this end was to ask the church pastor’s wife to see whether “mothers at heart” could be given roses this coming Sunday, not just those who the outside world perceives as mothers. Let the roses be a balm and not a thorn, adding to the pain of infertile would-be mothers and loss moms.

Celebrate all mothers on Mothers' Day - even those who children have not yet arrived or have already left them.

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1, 2, Buckle my Car Seats for Me Please!

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Categories Behavior, Infertility, Parenting2 Comments

Hello to the HDYDI community! I’m Amy, and I am happy to be here as a new author/contributor. I have been managing my two sets of multiples for almost 7 years now, but I admit that being in the mix with all of you is so intimidating! Thanks for all of this great support!

Ryan and I have been married for almost 12 years, and it took almost 6 of those years to get our kiddos here. We did 3 rounds of IVF before we got our first set. After 3 years, we made the (mostly financial) decision to try Clomid for one more. I was in complete denial that I was pregnant because I just couldn’t believe that would ever work for us. Then when I saw the ultrasound and saw those 2 sacs again… well you can imagine my total shock!

Amy, Ryan and their TWO sets of twins.

My oldest b/g twins are 6 and in first grade. Compared to my now 2-year-old girls, they were a breeze!

I wrangled each of the girls into their carseat buckles this morning. It took two laps around the car, an elbow to each gut and lots of tears and screaming. No amount of “Now where do we sit when we get in the car?” and “No, that’s your sister’s seat” accomplished anything. They usually make a beeline to the back and drain the car battery by flipping on all the lights. Sigh. I left for the gym, late, defeated and feeling like I should know how to discipline them better! After all, I’ve already done this!

An hour and some endorphins later, I walked them out to the car and felt confident. I’ve got this. They are holding my hand. I have my keys on my trusty bracelet chain which is my biggest lifesaver! And I can be patient. Lo and behold, I got one to climb up and in with no problems! Small miracle, but I’ll take it. How do I do it? By knowing that I can!

I’m excited to share more multiples adventures with you. And believe me, if I can do it, then so can you!

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Twinfant Tuesday: “You’re done, right?”

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Categories Infertility, Other people, Parenting, Twinfant Tuesday7 Comments

There are so many topics on which I could write a Twinfant Tuesday post.  But, a topic that goes round and round in my head is the topic of “How to decide whether or not to have another baby (after twins).”

Considering another baby when you have twins. There's no one good time, and no one good reason.

Of course, this decision is completely individualized per family and not one you can give advice on. I’ve debated whether or not to post about this on HDYDI, since some friends and family periodically read this. But, screw it. This is honestly what’s on my mind.  And I’m curious how others answered this question for themselves.

It’s fascinating to me to talk to friends about how they decided when their family was “complete.” For some, it seems the number of kids was predetermined around the time of marriage: “Well, Joe comes from a family of three kids and I’m an only child, so we’ve always known we’d have two kids.” And that’s that. For others, it seems a very calculated decision: “With my income, divided by the cost of two college educations, multiplied by inflation to the second power, subtract my 401K…” For another group, it seems to be more an emotional decision: “What if we only have two and they don’t get along when they’re older? Three increases the chances that two will get along at any given time, and at least one will take care of me when I’m old.”

Of course, many people have made the cliché comment: “You had a boy/girl set of twins. Instant family! You’re done, right?” It’s been amusing to see how many people feel comfortable commenting on our family size. I can’t seem to remember what our expectations around family size were before infertility and having twins. The expectations apparently flew out the window when we had a hard time conceiving on our own and had twins.

I try to stay as mindful as possible with my almost 10-month twins during the waking hours and set all of this aside. I snap a gazillion photos. I giggle along with them, as they tackle each other and belly laugh. I close my eyes and take a deep breath when they snuggle with me to steal a sniff of their baby smell. But, when these little loves go to sleep, this question often crosses my mind. I make mental pros/cons lists. I say a little prayer of gratitude that infertility treatments left us in a place of being able to consider having more, while also wondering if we’d be “done,” like so many seem to want us to be, if we’d conceived twins on our own. Even though friends with singletons think we’re nuts to think about more, especially when our twins are ten months old, I do feel a clock ticking to make this decision.

If you had twins first, what was your experience like of deciding whether or not to have more children?  What factors came into play?

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Infertility Tales 2014: In Closing

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Our goal for this week’s Infertility Tales was to bring attention to those around us who are contending with infertility. It is a topic that many infertile couples are unprepared to discuss openly, often with good reason.

We hope that you will take a moment to read the stories that these women have told here. (And one man. Thank you, Chris!) They have bared their hearts to us, and we are grateful.

Some of these infertility journeys lasted only months, others the better part of a decade. We’ve read of couples progressing through less invasive fertility methods, like IUI, through to IVF, even with ICSI. These acronyms giving you a headache? Then check out our overview of infertility terminology.

We’ve read some truly exquisite descriptions of the emotions that accompany infertility, and humbling displays of grace. And there’s been humour too!

Those of us whose babies came to us easily have a lot to be grateful for. If we don’t know what it’s like to go through Mothers’ Day aching for the loss of a child, we have a lot to be grateful for. If we’ve never been faced with an unthinkable choice on the realization of our dreams, we have a lot to be grateful for.

Every story here has been one of eventual parenthood, whether it’s from those currently expecting through the gifts of surrogacy or embryo donation, planned or surprise adoption, or even IVF quadruplets. Please remember that there are many mothers- and fathers-at-heart who aren’t there yet, who may never be parents in the legal sense. Be good friends to them too.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Liz’s Story, Continued: Finally Expecting After Embryo Adoption — 10 Things I Didn’t Expect

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Liz reflects on being pregnant, thanks to embryo adoption, after extended infertility. This post was originally published on her blog, Wishing on a Snowflake.

I spent some time reading through my blog from my very first blog post back in 2012. I found myself thinking about all of the incredible things that pregnancy has brought me, much of which has surpassed my dreams.

It was emotional going through some of the very dark posts, but doing so makes these wonderful moments today that much sweeter. It got me reflecting about some of the things I expected to happen and feel when I was pregnant, and how the reality turned out to be different in some cases. This isn’t a bad thing, just an observation about how I had no idea how the pregnant-me would feel in a lot of ways.

Pregnancy with embryo adoption has its own set of surprises.

Some of these are lighthearted, some are not. But NONE on this list are complaints – just reflections about how the reality of pregnancy isn’t what I had pictured it would be while dealing with infertility.

  1. I expected to live every day in fear. I really can’t believe this, but I’m not fearful. Sure, I have moments where I worry about Sammy surviving or that we might get some heartbreaking news. But it’s not gnawing away at me during every moment of every day like I pictured it would. I think that part of this is because I’m intentionally shoving any scary thoughts to the side and purposefully focusing on what we have today. I don’t live in the “what IFs”, I live in the “what AREs.” I’m only drifting my thoughts to the future if it’s in a positive way. I am grateful to God because my mental state is such a polar opposite compared to when I was trying to become pregnant.
  2. I expected I’d have lots of pregnancy-related complications by now. Before getting pregnant I had elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. I am gluten intolerant and have MTHFR mutation. Heck, I even have a fairly rare infertility diagnosis and suffered two devastating miscarriages. I figured I’d always draw the unlucky card, even if I was lucky enough to get pregnant. Even believing that, I didn’t care and was willing to do whatever it took to bring a baby home. But to my surprise, I’ve had been blessed to have a very easy pregnancy. I know it’s not easy for everyone, and I acknowledge how hard it must be to have complications. I also know I’m not out of the woods yet. But I’m beyond grateful I’ve made it this far with nothing serious.
  3. I expected pregnancy to be full of cravings. I was sure I’d be chowing down rocky road ice cream, German chocolate cake, and would be sending Kevin to the store at 2 am for some calorie-ridden craving. I did not expect to have such a tumultuous relationship with food. Sure, I figured first trimester to be rough followed by insatiable, weird cravings in second and third trimesters. But overall, I just hate food even to this day. I really don’t have any cravings to speak of. Well, maybe chocolate milk but that’s about it. Everything else pretty much sounds like sawdust to me. I love to eat normally, so this surprises me.
  4. I expected to gain a bunch of weight from the above mentioned expected cravings. But in fact, I’ve actually lost a pound. I have a good explanation to this one, aside from the fact I hate food. I had some extra padding to begin with! Women with my BMI tend to gain less during than other women who are thinner. For what it’s worth, My OB isn’t worried whatsoever because I am making a point to get nutritious (usually liquid) calories down whenever I can. I’m surprised to learn that this is pretty common!
  5. I expected baby kicks to feel like butterflies fluttering or popcorn popping. They don’t feel that way to me at all. I have had GI issues most of my life and have had my share of intestinal spasms. And hands down, to me baby kicks feel like intestinal spasms. They are so similar that they are nearly indiscernible from them, but I know that’s not what they are. It doesn’t change the fact that I find them just incredible!
  6. I never expected to have a recognizable baby bump. I expected to just look fat, not pregnant. As mentioned above, I’m not a tiny chick with a tiny body. I’m 5’11” and have some padding. I expected I’d go through pregnancy with everyone wondering if I just ate too many cupcakes or burritos. That didn’t bother me too much, but I secretly coveted the ladies who had obvious baby bumps. I figured that would never be my reality. But I’m shocked and elated how much this belly has rounded out and is obviously full of baby. I’ve even had a couple of strangers approach me in public and ask me when my due date was! I’m proud of my body for finally being kind to me in an unexpected way.
  7. I expected my parents to be involved. Before infertility, I always pictured my mom and dad being involved and excited about my pregnancy. Then weeks after being diagnosed with DOR in 2011, my mom died of cancer. I didn’t expect that and it sent a ripple through my world. After years of treatments and now I’m finally expecting I hoped at least my dad would be involved. Sadly, this one isn’t true. For reasons far too long to list here, my dad is distanced. This is a sad realization for me and not what I expected.
  8. I expected to still have difficulty with others who had children the “easy way.” No doubt infertility has forever changed me. But I have genuinely embraced all things baby, regardless of how they came to be. I thought a future-me would perhaps be capable of that someday, but I had no idea how quickly. This makes me proud of myself because it scared me thinking I’d hold onto some difficult feelings for so long. I’m so glad to finally feel somewhat normal again. I never EVER thought I’d feel 99% normal during pregnancy.
  9. I expected to be an advocate for embryo adoption. But I had no idea how passionate I’d become. Becoming pregnant has lit a fire in me that is impossible to put out. I shout about EA from the rooftops whenever I can. I am working on ways to get the word out on it whenever possible. I give the elevator speech at any opportunity. I want to help others who want to know more. This is to a degree I never imagined and I feel fulfilled to a degree I never would have imagined either.

And the one that will certainly make me cry. Yup, here come the tears, I feel them…

  1. I expected to love my baby, but I had absolutely no idea how much. I love her so much more than I ever thought was possible. I imagine every day what it will be like to hold her in my arms, to enjoy those gleeful moments on Christmas morning, and to have the soapy mohawks in the tub. I knew I would be in love, but my brain couldn’t comprehend it would be this much. And I’m sure I still have no idea to the degree I can ultimately love this little girl until I meet her and watch her grow.

This post was submitted by Liz.  Follow her inspiring story of pregnancy after infertility, embryo adoption, and loss at Wishing on a Snowflake.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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What Lasts: Carter’s Song

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For years, Angela Bickford struggled through infertility and loss.  Angela is now the mother of triplets, born prematurely, one of whom, Carter, passed away after 49 days.  This song, originally published on her blog angelabickford.com, pays beautiful tribute to the lasting impact of Carter’s short life.

Written and recorded by Jetty Rae
Slideshow photos provided by Angela Bickford

Never thought that it would come to this
I wake up in the middle of the night
And your face I long to kiss
Then I remember looking at you
On the other side of the glass
That night the Doctors said
You probably wouldn’t last

[Chorus]
What lasts is the love left beating
In this Mother’s heart
The dreams all scattered down in tiny little parts
I will love you, I will love you
Sweet Child you are mine
You’re heaven sent and I’m hell-bent
On telling the world you are my little sunshine

Waking up each day without you
Is a hurt I’ll never shake
Leaving your body there was a choice
We never got to make
Carry on, carry on sweet child we all carry on
I see you in your brother’s eyes and I tell your sister
You were strong

[Chorus]
What lasts is the love left beating
In your Father’s heart
The dreams all scattered down in tiny little parts
I will love you, I will love you
Sweet Child you are mine
You’re heaven sent and I’m hell-bent
On telling the world you are my little sunshine

[Bridge]
So many days have come and gone
We’re still standing, we’re still strong
You have stayed where you belong
But in our hearts you will go on

Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business, her job at Hand to Hold, a non-profit dedicated to preemie/NICU awareness and support, and her personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Relaxation Does Not Cause Pregnancy

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Categories Holidays, Infertility, Infertility Theme Week, Other people, Parenting2 Comments

I’ve heard my share of silly comments about being a mother of twins. You know what no one has ever said to me? “You must have been really relaxed to conceive two at once!”

So why do people feel the need to tell infertile women, “Just relax and it’ll happen!”?

Relaxation does not cause pregnancy. If it did, we’d have fertility spas and massage parlours, not clinics.

Just don't tell an infertile woman that the secret to getting pregnant is relaxing!Still, there seems to be this undeniable urge to respond to an infertile woman’s concerns about her inability to conceive with, “Relax and it will happen.”

I think it stems from our cultural discomfort with the idea of infertility. If the infertile woman stops talking to us about her infertility, we, her listeners, are the ones who get to relax. As long as we don’t hear about it, we don’t have to feel her anguish. After all, if she’s not talking about it, we don’t have to know about it. Infertility is silent as long as the infertile are silent.

“Relax and it will happen” silences those who try to speak out.

My challenge to you is to refuse to relax. Refuse to be silent. Own your infertility. Own your fertility. Fight for the motherhood you want. Mothers don’t relax when it comes to protecting their children. And mothers-at-heart don’t relax when it comes to making those children a reality.

Forget “Relax and it will happen”. Fight to make it happen.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Candace and Chris, Continued: Our Misconception on Surrogacy

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Candace and Chris shared with us some insight into the his- and her- emotions of infertility earlier this week.  Here, their story continues…

If someone would have told us last year, or ever, for that matter, in our 7 long years of struggling to conceive that we would be using surrogacy as family building option, without a bat of an eye we would have said, “No way. No how.” Funny how life always seems to have those sudden rogue winds. It is that one unexpected burst that can have you sailing off course. Or maybe just maybe on the right course…

Before turning to IVF, 7 years ago we first tried the old fashioned way. You know, candlelight, good wine, soft jazz in the background. After dodging the questions by friends and family, we decided that the natural way was apparently not going to be our way. Due to some impatience and naïveté we adjusted the truth on how long we had been trying to conceive with the OB-GYN so we could rush into IUI treatments.  Naughty we know, but when you want something, the truth becomes kinda fuzzy.

So, here we go: IUI 1-Failed, IUI 2-Failed, IUI 3 with Clomid-Failed, Failed, Failed.

For those keeping track, at this point, we were at 6 failed IUIs and had been trying to conceive (truthfully) for 2 years. So, we did what any normal couple becoming increasingly desperate to start a family would do. We discussed kidney donation for fundraising purposes and rushed headlong into IVF.

We thought we did all the research we needed to do. Look at a few websites, grab a pamphlet, talk to someone that has done it before. We thought we were damn near experts. The doctors would tell us everything else we needed to know, right?  We even went as far as to go to 2 fertility clinics to get a second opinion. Man, we thought we were smart.

Commence IVF, or as we like to call it, hitting the iceberg.  All of our research was only the tip of what was truly laid in our path. That’s okay though, we had time to mull this over because the next daunting task was lots of painful testing to see what the hell was keeping us from producing our little bundle of joy. So, to streamline the story: screamingly painful tests, rushed training on how to administer injections (huge needles too!), sprinkle in 4 intermittent surgeries. Even with a significant number of great embryos, this approach failed … not once or twice … no, 6 times!

Candace and Chris of Our Misconception. They're expecting by gestational surrogate.

Remember that rogue wind I mentioned? The first burst was about a year ago when an MTV casting producer stumbled across our blog, Our Misconception. After hearing our story they asked us share our story on their show True LifeI’m Desperate to Have a Baby”. Not the most flattering of titles but not entirely inaccurate either.

Commence opening up every detail of our life as a childless, infertile couple. It was hard. Infertility is emotionally raw, painful and really touches on taboo topics that many don’t like to openly talk about. We took a leap of faith and exposed our needle-riddled journey with the world. We wanted others to know they were not alone in what they were experiencing. When we first started out we sat in silence not knowing if this is normal or why our bodies were broken. I mean, the ability to procreate is the most basic, primal and natural given ability right? We felt alone. Sharing our journey on camera gave us the opportunity to spread awareness, something we wish we had at the beginning of our path to parenthood.

The camera crew captured our last round of IVF, the news following it, and our pursuit to start adoption. Not all of this made it on the show, but they were there,cameras in tow, throughout our fight.

That is when the expected wind blew our way and threw us off the direction we had ‘thought’ was our destined one. Someone who we know had discovered through the electronic grapevine that is Facebook that we were adopting. Fate have it that she also had previously been a gestational carrier for another couple a few years prior. WOW, an option we thought was so far out of our reach. Really, before that point no one was willing to have cankles or additional stretch marks for the next 9 months for us. Not to mention how will we afford it? No nest egg, that was gone 4 IVF cycles ago, and we were under the misconception that only moguls and movie stars do surrogacy.

Surrogacy isn't out of reach!

It is amazing what reinstated hope and a little, OK, a lot of determination can do to help motivate you. We are well on our way after lots of fundraising, and now have a very pregnant gestational carrier. Surrogacy has given us a newfound hope, and we are eager to see what the future brings as we welcome our miracle into this world.

Follow Candace and Chris’ blog Our Misconception.

Watch MTV True Life: I’m Desperate to Have a Baby.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Selective Reduction: Two Women, Two Views

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In the world of infertility, while everyone is focused on shots and ultrasounds and the two-week-wait, there are some decisions that no one likes to talk about. What if I end up with multiples? What if the fetus/baby is sick? What if…

Selective reduction. Two women pregnant with 3 babies chose differently, and neither would have it any other way.A multitude of things cross the minds of women once they see the positive pregnancy test, but this one – this one is probably the most controversial of all. Selective reduction isn’t something society likes to talk about, but it’s a real thing. It’s a real conversation that happens in pretty much every high-risk OB’s office or with the mother carrying multiple babies.

So, in all fairness, and since multiples are a ‘risk-factor’ when undergoing fertility treatments, the HDYDI team decided that if it came up this week, we’d cover it. We’d share with you in a nonjudgmental way. We’d share so that others going down this path know that it IS something you’ll be asked about. That it IS something you need to think about – no matter what your decision ends up being. And that no one – NO ONE – can make that choice but you, and whatever your choice ends up being, that as fellow women, infertiles, moms, etc. – you will find someone that supports you.


In the Grey: Shelby’s Perspective

Shelby pf A Mother to OneShelby is a public health consultant, author, and founder of A Mother to One, a website dedicated to support and information for women choosing selective reduction. She is the mother of a five-year-old, a military wife, and spends her free time traveling the world.

In the summer of 2008, I decided to terminate 2 of 3 fetuses in my womb. No, I didn’t walk into Starbucks and decide to walk into an abortion clinic following. It doesn’t work like that.

Here’s the how: During the spring of 2008, we opted to give IUI a try while my husband was deployed. Voilà, a positive pregnancy test! We were overjoyed beyond belief.

And then, two weeks later, this overwhelming joy was followed by one of the most terrifying moments of my life: a hysteria-inducing ultrasound that revealed three fetuses and caused my 6’4” RE’s face to turn a shade of white I’ve never seen. There’s nothing pretty about vomiting during a vaginal ultrasound, and the sheer terror that plagued me that day is not something easily forgotten.

I knew within moments of hearing, “There are three. We need to talk,” what I would do; my mind had been made up nearly two years prior in a what-if discussion with my husband. The risks were just too much for me to fathom: 40% rate of loss, average gestational age of 32 weeks and a 36% impairment rate.

I was one of the fortunate ones who knew what selective reduction (SR) was even was prior to beginning my fertility treatments. I called it “fertility’s ugly stepbrother;” it existed to clean up the messes fertility drugs caused. My end goal in fertility treatments was always one healthy child, and although the decision to move forward with SR didn’t come easily to me, I reduced from triplets to a singleton at 12 weeks gestation.

I’ve always been open and honest about discussing my SR in public. However, in discussing this choice, I have begun to notice I don’t fit in. The choice advocates aren’t sure how to respond; the pro-life advocates call it abortion; and women who have terminated for medical reasons fume that I would associate my choice with theirs, as I have a child and they do not.

The multiples community looks down on me as cowardly or selfish. From time to time I receive emails confirming this is true.

We, the selective reduction community, don’t fit in anywhere. I’ve had friends who worked at abortion clinics call the procedure “half an abortion” or a “partial abortion”. I’ve had family members suggest I could have adopted the other two fetuses to friends. There’s the always deeply loved “baby killer” moniker that won’t seem to cease, no matter how many times I explain fetal development and the statistics on triplet pregnancies.

Hence, the weird-grey-area of reproductive choice is where I’m comfortable, nearly six years post-procedure. I don’t feel the need to fit into a certain place or space in the world. The grey gives me comfort, knowing I’m inadvertently bridging the gap between the pro-choice and pro-life worlds. Selective reduction doesn’t fit anyone’s expectation on what choice means. When you fall into the grey, it causes this wormhole of stereotypes to occur: where does she belong, where does she fit, this choice makes me uncomfortable… My response: I am where I was meant to be.

Let me push the envelope on what you believe choice means, let me be the one who informs you that choice is not simply a means to an end. Choice can mean a means to a beginning. Choice led me to a very healthy, vivacious, beautiful child.

Confounded? You aren’t alone. These days women’s reproductive health issues are fodder for water cooler discussions at the office. Words like vagina, afterbirth and choice give way to fanaticism in ways that confound me.

I never thought discussing my pregnancy or my vagina would lead to a place wherein I find myself today: the creator of a community, the only life preserver women feel they have when faced with such a complex situation, and the only person willing to use their name and put a face to what selective reduction really is. But, here’s where I sit: a happy mom, who provides support and doesn’t apologize for our decision to terminate two fetuses.

My life is one that will never get uncomplicated. I am a strong-willed woman, born by a strong-willed woman, and I have my own strong-willed daughter. I come from a long line of women who choose to push envelopes. These days, I’m not trying to push them; I want to burn their very existence. I may make you uncomfortable, as the very idea of opting to terminate two of three fetuses in a pregnancy can be disquieting. The grey is that last puzzle piece that can’t be forced to fit into the slot you want it to. We are the puzzle piece left over, and we’re comfortable with that.

You might be reading this asking yourself a lot of questions. Why did she terminate two of three and not one of three? Does she feel bad? Does she question her choice? The answers to those questions are complex and not exactly easy to answer. I made a choice, just as you make choices: how many embryos to put in, whether or not to continue multiples, choosing a donor for sperm/eggs. They’re all choices.

I am a mother, just as you are or will be. And I want the best for my child and for my family at any cost. My question back to you is this: are we really so different, then? We’re just parents or future parents, making the best decisions for our families. Perhaps there’s no line delineating us after all.


 The Aftermath of NOT Reducing: Angela’s Perspective

Angela Bickford headshotAngela Bickford is the mother of triplets, one of whom passed away after 49 days. After three years of infertility, and her subsequent loss, Angela has made it her mission to help other moms going through similar struggles. She works for the non-profit, Hand to Hold, which supports the preemie/NICU/loss parent, and writes about surviving after loss on her personal blog.

When it came time to have ‘that’ conversation with our doctor, I knew what was coming. I’m a type-A, worry-about-it-all, see-the-missing-tile type person who’s already experienced three years of trying and several miscarriages. Part of me felt it would be the ‘smart’ choice, and part of me just wanted the miracle of three, healthy babies.

Deep down, I wasn’t really that conflicted. I knew that I could never reduce – not because of my faith or whether or not it was acceptable – but because I’ve always wanted to be a mom and with it taking so long to get to this point, I wasn’t letting any of them go.

So my husband and I said a quick ‘no’ and moved on. We didn’t need to hear the risks, we wanted all three.

At 14 weeks, a cerclage was placed to help ensure they’d stay cooking longer. At 21.5 weeks along, I was placed on home bed rest with the beginnings of incompetent cervix and told that Baby A was at the most risk. This is when my self-doubt started to creep in.

The second-guessing. The what-ifs. And, of course, it was too late to revisit that conversation… (side note: it wouldn’t have changed anything, but it’s important to note that even after making my decision, my mind still wondered.)

At 23.5 weeks, I landed in the hospital and continued my bed rest there. Eventually, Baby A’s water broke (11 days in), but the babies didn’t make their entrance for another 19 days. All sick. All needing resuscitation. All near death.

It was day-by-day and minute-by-minute. It was a lot of what-ifs and second-guessing. Wondering how we could have done things differently or if the outcome would have been different if we had.

Because, in the end, we lost Baby A – Carter – because that risk – that real risk they talk about in that conversation no one wants to have – it won.

I guess I share all this to say that even though I didn’t personally choose to reduce, I still didn’t get my happy ending. Could reducing have made for an easier pregnancy? Could it have helped my other two stay cooking longer and ultimately be free of the lasting effects of prematurity they have today?

I’ll never know. But what I do know… is that I made a decision. It may not have been a decision someone else would have made, but I own it, and I’m okay with the way it ended up.


Two women, two views. Different outcomes, same question.

We’d like to end by saying that every situation is different – every pregnancy, every woman, every uterus. In life, in the hardest of situations, you have to step up and do what you feel led to do. And we challenge you to put yourself out there and see the other side… to have compassion for someone you may not know for the decisions they make that are not yours to make, whether you agree with them or not. To love and support your friend through their struggle to make this decision and make sure they know you’ll be there on the other side. Because everyone deserves support. Everyone deserves at least that.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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