Time for Another

the diary of our quest for baby number 2

I’m back :) Tuesday 4 August 2009

Filed under: comments,negative,positive,reduction,triplets — timeforanother @ 5:23 pm
Tags: , , ,

For today anyway! Can’t believe it’s been so many months since I last managed a post. Very remiss, but I have got an excuse, being a busy mama to my two wonderful kids. If can barely believe that our little boy turned 1 just a couple of weeks ago, and our beautiful daughter will celebrate her 4th birthday in a couple of weeks time.

I just caught up with some comments left here.  I’m always surprised to find them – I forget that there are people who find and read this blog (despite no advertising of it anywhere as far as I’m aware).  Other than spam, I decided early on to publish all comments made, whatever their content. Some might find this a bit bizarre but for the most part, I accept that the topic of selective reduction will produce strong reactions. Most of the comments I’ve received have been very nice with the odd more unpleasant one thrown into the mix. I don’t deny anyone the right to say what they feel, but it really disappoints me that the pro-lifers are so crude and unwilling to accept that some things in life are not black and white, however we would like them to be.  For sure, the decision may have been a lot simpler if I’d had such strong views. Then again, maybe not. I remember thinking at the time how it might have been if I’d had a faith (I don’t). Now that I’ve been in contact with other women who have been through SR – most of whom are practising Christians – I’m certain that it would have only made things more woolly. Ultimately I only have myself to answer to. My husband and I are lucky to have a strong marriage and friendship and we made the decisions we made together. If I’d wanted something different, I’m not entirely certain where we’d be right now. I strongly suspect that even with the strongest of relationships, ours may not have survived having triplets. Financially I know that it would have been pretty devastating even during the pregnancy – having time off when you’re self employed means no income. I can only imagine what might have been. And so, because it really doesn’t matter about all the infinite ‘what if’s’ now (what’s done is done), I choose to think positively about it all. We have an adorable little boy with a gorgeous and proud big sister. The twins I’m sure would have been equally adorable and gorgeous, and I like to think of them with a smile instead of a cry. We talk about them still – they are part of our lives and our family – just because they are no longer here with us in person, doesn’t mean they aren’t still the siblings to our surviving kids, or our children. They were more than just foetuses to us, I felt them moving and saw them on the scans. I feel I owe it to them to remember them and honour them, for they did exist, if only for a short time.  And no amount of sanctimonious commentary will ever make me feel any differently.

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Countdown commences Monday 30 June 2008

37 weeks tomorrow which means we can have our homebirth from then (all being well). The pool arrived today so a quick dash to the local DIY shop to find a suitable tap connector and we can have a test drive later on. Wriggler has definitely dropped down which makes breathing easier but walking harder – plus trips to the loo every few minutes as the pressure on my poor old bladder is constant 🙂

The antibiotics seem to be kicking in now but I’m still coughing and blowing gunk from my nose – yuk. It doesn’t really help with my breathing practice as I’m wheezing so doing the long slow breath in and out (used for contractions) is proving a bit tricky. Oh well.  The TENS machine arrived on Saturday too so we’re pretty much good to go. I’ve packed two bags in case of a hospital transfer – one for me and one for Wriggler and added in the energy bars. Our cupboards are now replete with chocolate biscuits and toast making ingredients to keep the midwife happy!

DH spent the weekend cleaning, tidying and doing DIY so the flat is looking good – we should be instructing our chosen estate agent today so it’s all go on all fronts. MIL will be coming down on Weds with the crib, baby car seat and baby bath that she’s had in her attic for us – just hope things don’t kick off whilst she’s here. Despite us telling her we didn’t want anyone around last time, she decided to turn up anyway which made us both pretty cross. I’m determined for it to be me and DH only this time, with our DD being the next person to meet Wriggler. Everyone else can just wait until we’re ready.

I’ll be seeing my midwife tomorrow so we’ll go through the birth plan and arrangements for a homebirth, then a counselling appt on Weds. As D-Day draws nearer, I can’t help but be reminded again of the twins we reduced and wonder what if…  I love them every bit as much as I love my DD and Wriggler, even though I never got a chance to meet them properly. They are still very much a part of me and will never be forgotten. I’m just so sad that we had to make the decision we did. I hope I can find some time to grieve properly for my two little babies, and that wherever they are, that they understand why we did what we did.  I’m not religious or even really that into ‘life after death’ type of thing but I hope they are kind of around and looking over us all. I know that physically they are literally a part of me having been partially absorbed and whilst that sounds a bit gruesome, it actually brings some small comfort. Emotionally the whole experience has impacted me greatly – a totally unexpected twist in our lives that has had to be incorporated somehow, and physically it’s the same I suppose (although on much less of a scale). But, life goes on and their brother is making his way into the world which brings happiness tinged with sadness. 

 

Monday 14 April 2008

Filed under: facts,life sentence,multiples,potty training,reduction,scared,triplets — timeforanother @ 1:54 pm

I came across this (found here) today and it’s probably the first time I’ve actually seen some statistics written anywhere other than in medical papers.

Risks of multiple pregnancies is high

Multiple pregnancies are a greater risk to the mother and the babies. The risk is greater for twins than single babies but rises dramatically with three babies or more. Without selective reduction 13 per cent of multiple pregnancies end with no live babies, and more than 15 per cent end with premature babies.

And this (from here)

CONCLUSION: In trichorionic triplet pregnancies, embryo reduction to twins does not improve the chance of survival but may reduce the rate of handicap. Reduction from triplets to singletons may reduce both the survival rate and the handicap rate among survivors.

I still can’t help but feel we weren’t given enough information about the management of an id twin pregnancy compared with a reduced singleton one. The statistics seem contradictory and confusing the more I find. I probably shouldn’t keep looking, but I really can’t help myself. I guess I’m searching for the elusive ‘that choice was the best one medically’ statistic, which would absolve me somewhat. Although in my heart of hearts, I know that any of our ‘what if…’ options would have me here thinking and researching the others, there is no real peace to be found, only acceptance and a desire to do the best with what we have. I’m usually a great believer in letting the past go, or at least not letting it affect ones future, but maybe it’s too fresh right now to move on just yet. Accepting that bad & horrible things happen sometimes, but having to also accept that it doesn’t mean we are bad & horrible, or that bad & horrible things should continue to happen, or that we should somehow punish ourselves even more for the decisions we made. They have been made and acted upon; we cannot change them. It’s easy to write, say, even think, but much more difficult to believe. I hope to get there someday, but I’m also aware that maybe I never will, and I will just need to live with that.

Back to the here & now – must sign off and change my dd’s nappy. Roll on potty training!

 

Down down down Tuesday 12 February 2008

OMG even writing that has made me cry (it has trhee down’s, one for each triplet). I finished reading Jackie Clune’s book ‘Extreme Motherhood’ today – it’s about how she dealt with having triplets with an 18mth old daughter. I ordered it when we first found out about our triplets as it came highly recommended. I avoided it for a while during the reduction period then came back to it. It’s generally a fun book and had me laughing in many places, it also made me think we couldn’t have done it. But the end has made me weep big fat sobbing tears for what we’ve lost. We didn’t even try. And I feel awful. I haven’t felt like this since the days before the reduction. I’ve failed my twins, the triplets and my four children. How can this get easier? When I signed the consent form, they should have told me I was signing a life sentence of grief and guilt.

 

Ups and downs Tuesday 29 January 2008

Filed under: EDD,gender prediction,movements,reduction — timeforanother @ 6:00 pm

Nearly 3wks have passed since the reduction and it feels like months. Not that we’re used to it or have forgotten, but time is behaving very strangely to us. I’m 15wks pregnant today (although I look about 25wks!) and so much has happened that it feels like I should be further on. I have good days and bad days, good minutes and bad minutes. I still feel incredibly sad and guilty about our twins. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I can’t seem to reconcile my rational ‘head’ thoughts with my emotional ‘heart’ thoughts and I think it comes down to this:

Trying to imagine our 3 tiny babies, alive, dead, ill, in incubators with tubes, and/or disabled is beyond my comprehension; it isn’t where we were, and although they were real enough places to end up, it still felt ‘out there’ and not solid. Where we were, the more real place, was very much pregnant, hormonal (x3) and with 3 healthy 12wk old babies who could wave their arms and legs, and had definite profiles. They weren’t just a bunch of cells; we couldn’t ‘un-know’ them once we we’d had that first scan. Noone plans to have a twin or triplet birth, it’s just one of those things and despite only plannng for one more child, the fact that we had 3 more in one go was a reality to deal with. I loved them straightaway – how can a mother not? And I still love them. I know our decision was made with as much information as was available and all the reasons why it was the least worse ‘choice’ but I still find it hard to accept that we had to make the choice at all. It doesn’t get any easier and I really can’t imagine myself ever really resolving the two conflicting feelings.

I have felt a tiny flutter or two in the last few days but nothing much, and nowhere near as much as I was feeling with all 3 there. It’s been such a slap in the face – a really obvious sign of the twins not being there anymore. I really can’t wait until our wriggler can be felt moving often, it’ll make it feel more real, and hopefully reassure me that all is going well.

I’ve missed not being scanned this week, but there haven’t been any good reasons to go in early (next one is on Monday morning) and I know that I have to get used to having a ‘normal’ pregnancy sooner or later. I’m still getting the odd bit of brown gunk but nothing too much and I still get mild cramps and pulls particularly if I’ve been walking or doing the housework. Sounds like a good excuse to take it easy, but it’s driving me spare not getting to clean the floors and walking really slowly. Today I did the floors anyway so I guess I’ll pay tomorrow. I can’t keep living in a bubble of being scared of hurting this baby, as long as I don’t start swinging from chandeliers and attending hardcore aerobics classes I should be ok!

Our friends continue to amaze me with their support. As usual we thought we’d only tell a select few close friends, but it’s been easier to tell the full story to our friends. There is only one person who I’m loathe to hear the full version – she’s Catholic and I’m sure would have strong views on the reduction. Whilst I understand everyone is perfectly allowed to have their opinion, I’m not in a place yet where I can deal with feeling judged. I’m doing plenty of that myself thank you. So they will get the ‘lost the twins’ version which isn’t so far from reality. If they pry further, I shall simply say I’m not up for discussing it thanks. That’s the plan anyway.

My bump is really showing – mostly to do with having lax muscles I’m sure, but it does make me feel a bit more pregnant and we got some new tops for me over the weekend which emphasise it nicely. Funnily enough I’m still under my pre-preg weight, although it’s gradually creeping up again. Damn those double choc cookies.

On a lighter note, the Bounty girls had a fun thread the other day about gender prediction. There is a lady on Ebay who was ‘selling’ a prediction for £1.10, which went to charity. Well, it seemed like a good idea, and for charity, so why not?! You needed to email her your EDD and your own date of birth. Within minutes my reply came through – she says it’s a GIRL!! Well, obviously we have no idea just yet although my instincts tell me we’re bound to have another daughter (I come from a family with lots of females). Maybe I’ll be able to find out at the scan on Monday, otherwise we’ll hopefully find out at the 21wk scan (a very long way off at 14th March). We really don’t mind either way, it’s been such a bumpy journey so far, we’ll just be thrilled that we got to the end and have another baby to love.

 

Thursday 10th January Monday 14 January 2008

I have to get this down, and as I’m as honest here as I am for real, it will not make the most pleasant reading. However it is what happened.

My MIL looked after our dd whilst I faffed around most of the morning before deciding to go for a swim. I managed about 3 lengths before becoming breathless – that’ll be the triplets then, sapping my energy and oxygen!! I took time to float in the blue and talk inwardly to my three babies. Nothing really specific but as much love as any mother feels for her children and sincere apologies about what was to happen. As I was swimming, the blue of the pool became out of focus so I couldn’t distinguish the bottom and it’s something which remained with me all day – ‘into the blue’ – that’s where my babies were going, into the blue, swimming and floating endlessly, happy and safe.

After a tearful phone conversation with my mum I got home to wash the chlorine out of my hair and put on some smarter clothes. Why the need to look smart I don’t know but it felt right. I realised when I got home that I had subconciously dressed all in black. I packed my bag with some fruit, my notes and a book then ordered a cab to get to the station. On the train, I wrote up our list of questions – one page for decision making, lots of ‘if this, then ???’ and a page for afterwards.

My husband met me at Victoria and we travelled the final stretch to Denmark Hill together. A grim, grey windy day – I couldn’t decide if it was apt or if I’d have felt more miserable if the sun had been shining.

We arrive at King’s College Hospital and find our way to Suite 9 of the Jubilee Wing. We wait. It’s hot and busy – lots of excited looking mums – some probably at the same stage as me, here for their nuchal scans, others much further down the line. We get called through for them to take my bloods, although because I’m expecting triplets, blood results are no use for diagnostic testing for Down’s etc. I told the guy this but he insisted that he had to take it. I’m phobic about needles and blood so blood taking is like pure torture for me and already stressed by the day ahead of me, I didn’t cope very well. It hurt like hell and I could feel him prodding the needle around – probably not helped by me wailing like a baby. He managed to get a tiny amount of blood but the lab needed more. So he began butchering my other arm instead. Thankfully not quite so painful but unpleasant nonetheless.

We then were called straight over to have the scan done. Before I even got to lie down on the couch, it became apparent that they thought I was having twins and when we explained, no it’s triplets (we’ve had 2 scans already) they told us that we’d have to go to another waiting area to wait for the better scanning equipment. He also said (as I thought) they needn’t have taken bloods. I burst into tears again- already the day was filled with small mistakes, how could it get any worse?

We headed down to the other waiting area where there were 2 other couples. They were called and seen and we were joined by others. They were called and seen. We waited. We were near the offices of the consultants and midwives so there was much to-ing and fro-ing from them. At one point a woman (doctor?) came out of one room and spoke to a man in scrubs “do you want to watch a baby being killed later?” she said to him. There was much joshing around about this, but we were appalled. How insensitive can you get? Not least for us who were considering the reduction but for any pregnant woman. I was furious and resolved to complain later.

After 2hrs waiting, we finally got called in. The sonographer was pleasant enough but kept asking “what do you want to do?” all we could say was we can’t keep three. The scan took time as they had to measure each one and use all the diagnostic tests available because they couldn’t combine with blood tests. Each of my babies was perfect. Everything in order, low nuchal fold measurements, heart beats, all limbs, stomach, brain, spine etc etc. Perfect. How can such good news be so crucifying? We were sort of hoping that the results would show a problem which might make deciding easier. But no.

We then wait for the Professor to come in. He arrives with an entourage of about 7-8 doctors (who we presume are research fellows). He puts things bluntly and tells us to put our questions away. Why can’t we keep 3? I feel like I’m being questioned for a crime, my mind goes blank and yet I know we’ve been over and over the how’s and how nots in the last week and a half. I feel scrutinised. He writes on a bit of paper the chances of miscarriage for keeping one, two or 3 of the babies – 15% for all between now and 23wks. Then a second set of percentages for risk of premature birth/disability/death for each ‘option’. 20-30% for 3, 10% for 2, 5% for 1. That’s it he says, that’s all you need to know.

We go and sit in a quiet room for 10 mins (we could leave our decision until next Tues but I don’t think you’d have got me back there – it’s now or never). I desperately want to keep the twins – it seems natural to want to keep as many as possible, but my husband ever the practical minded says the best outcome is to keep one and isn’t that what we decided? I guess it is but I’m blinded by my heart again. Despite this, we have to decide now. Against my every fibre we tell the doctor we ‘want’ (never has a word been so inadequate) to keep the singleton. I swear I get given a look that says ‘what? you’re getting rid of 2 out of 3 babies? do you know how rare it is for you to have even conceived them naturally?!’ My husband tells me that isn’t how it is, but already I’m judging myself and assume everyone else is too.

We go to another room and are told, the Professor is finishing another procedure so we’ll have to wait for him. They scan me again, give us the calculated risks of Down’s etc for each ‘fetus’. Typically, the twins have the lowest risk scores but the singleton is not anywhere near high risk. We try to ask about what is to be expected afterwards but keep getting dismissed with “if you get lots of heavy bleeding and pain, you are miscarrying, go to your local hospital” no mention of any ‘normal’ symptoms in the coming days. We wait some more. I ask about antibiotics to minimise the risk of infection. And yes, they will be doing that shortly. It takes me a moment to realise these aren’t goint to be oral, oh no, they want to stick it in my arm. Once again they attempt to use my left arm as it’s the one which at the time hurts the least, however there is pain and immense discomfort (more wailing and crying from me) – they decide that the veins in that arm are no use for injecting and so go for the right arm again. It hurts less but I am in a panic now and can’t stop sobbing. It takes an age for the stuff to be pushed in but finally it’s over. We continue to wait for the Prof.

He arrives and after a terse question about if we are certain, I’m told to lie down and stop crying, grip his arm and look away from the monitor. I’m vaguely aware that the entourage are surrounding the couch, silently filing in. My darling husband grips my other hand tightly and wipes tears from his eyes. It’s 7.45pm The needle? is pushed into my abdomen and through my uterus. It’s an unusual sensation, not painful but strange. My only analogy is threading raw chicken onto skewers. There is one moment where the feeling is really unpleasant and a moan out loud a little. I hear the Prof asking his assistant to put 2ml into the end – I guess this is the potassium chloride. Another couple of jabs and that’s it. About 10 mins in all. The Prof tells us, you have one baby. The entourage have silently filed out again, leaving me and my husband with one or two others. I sob uncontrollably and feel like the worst mother in the world and immediately filled with regret and remorse, that we have made the wrong decision. The doctor assisting gives me a big hug and tells me “you have made the best decision for you and your family”. By the time we come to a little (3mins?) the room is almost empty, the Prof has long gone. Again, we try to ask about the coming days and what to expect – any bleeding or fluid loss etc? but are again told about the miscarriage scenario. We go and sit in the quiet room again. The sofa in there is so old and saggy that to sit in it is really uncomfortable so I sit in the hard chair instead. There is an empty box of tissues on the side which just about sums up the place. We cry some more then try and get a grip, it’s done after all and there’s no going back.

After 30mins or so, we go back into the scan room where the check that our remaining baby is doing ok. We see it briefly and it is moving and it’s heart is beating. Already I miss seeing all three of them and I become aware that I can’t feel them move any more. They’d been going like crazy up until the reduction, and quite obviously they weren’t now. 12 wks is ususally far to early to feel movements so it’s going to be a few weeks yet before I can feel our little bean moving on it’s own. I’m overwhelmed with sadness once again. Once the 2 min scan has confirmed all is ok, we’re off. That’s it. Over.

It’s 8.30pm – we have been there 6hrs, mostly waiting. Physically it’s my arms which are hurting the most (not something I expected from the day!), mentally we are both drained. We get home at 10.30pm exhausted, all cried out. My tummy aches but I can’t bear to touch it. I just want to get through the coming days.

Now, nearly 4 days on, I’ve had 5 fluid leaks and continue to feel achey. Some days are ok, some I want to curl up and stay there. MIL took our daughter back with her for the weekend to give us some time together alone which was good, we missed her like crazy but we needed to take time for both of us. I’m desperately hoping that the remaining bean is a sticky one. We have been unable to find about what is normal after a reduction – the fluid loss bothers me although I know I’m not miscarrying. I’m surprised and disgusted that King’s didn’t give us any information about what to expect – my local hospital were lovely but didn’t have any ideas about what is normal as they don’t see reductions. Even if you have a tooth extracted at the dentist you usually come out with a checklist of what to expect and when to be concerned. But no, we’re left to our own devices, feeling as if what we’ve done is a dirty little secret.

Thank god for our fantastically supportive families and friends, and also the Yahoo support group Selective Reduction Loss Support group (invitation only). The staff at the Royal Sussex hospital have been amazing too, unlike their counterparts at King’s college hospital, who were at best capable of performing the reduction quickly, at worst, ineffecient, uncaring, crass.

To my darling twins, I hope you are safe in the blue. I love you so much and will never forget you. To my little bean, stay with us little one, you are very much loved. At least you’ll have a little more space to stretch your legs now.

 

Today triplets, tomorrow… who knows. Wednesday 9 January 2008

The last evening with 3 inside me probably. Tomorrow at 3pm we have the nuchal fold scan at King’s College Hospital, London, x 3. Then an appt with Professor Kypros Nicolaides who will discuss reduction. Then we if we think we have enough, and the right information he’ll do the reduction. It will be based on the results of the nuchal scan as well as statistical evidence on the best outcome. A hard day. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about it, but it’s so hard not to. How can any mother ‘choose’ to ‘lose’ one or more of her babies, that are growing and wriggling inside her? I just hope that we are able to hold on to at least one and it will make the decision more bearable – that we did it to give that one the best possible chance of a healthy life.