Saturday, January 31, 2009

Womb With A Few

I went to bed last night planning to write about the day I had yesterday. But it was one of those ones that you'd rather not remember. It was a comedy of errors though, I'll tell you that. My friend Christen went with me to run a few errands because my printer bit the dust and I needed to grab a few things at the grocery store. The timing ended up being poor and I had 2 hysterical babies, 2 exhausted & cranky toddlers, and 2 grumpy boys. Not to mention that we got quite a few dirty looks from some rude people in the grocery store parking lot- for various reasons. But, I'd rather forget about that.

Did you know that Leila cries for Daddy at the front door every day? Ok, let's not talk about that either. But still, isn't she sweet even when she's pouting?
I'm sure you've all heard by now that the octuplet mom already has 6 children at home. Six children ranging in age from 2 to 7, including a set of twins. Can you imagine? That's 14 children ages 7 and under. Unreal.

There's been a lot of speculation about whether or not she did fertility treatments. There's been a lot of talk about the ethics of allowing a woman to do fertility treatments when she already has 6 children. And of course the question of why anyone would let her carry 8 babies.

Honestly, I am no expert on fertility treatments but I do read a lot of multiples blogs and have learned a lot from other moms who've been there. I've even met Kate Gosselin (from Jon & Kate Plus 8) and heard her story of how they got pregnant with their sextuplets.
I think it's safe to say that there was definitely something sneaky going on with the octuplet mom. Rumors I've heard speculate that she did IVF in Mexico, that she did injectables and had an irresponsible doctor, or that she worked in a fertility clinic and took the injectables without a doctor's guidance.

Either way, I can't imagine that this mom planned to have 8 babies at once. Unless she is insane. With 6 other kids at home, I suppose that she very well could be insane. Trust me.

That's my belly in the picture below. Back when it was full of babies.

It's no wonder this woman wants to remain anonymous. Can you blame her?

I am excited though, to see that the babies are receiving donated breast milk. That part is great! I am saddened to think about the life they'll lead as 14 children compete for attention, love, and affection from just one young mother.

So just for fun, what are the odds of having spontaneous multiples? I came across this awesome website that has a ton of information about multiple births.

Odds of spontaneous conception of:

Twins - 1 in 86 live births

Triplets - 1 in 7396 live births

Quadruplets - 1 in 636,056 live births

Quintuplets - 1 in 54,700,816 live births (54 million)

Sextuplets - 1 in 4,704,270,176 live births (4.7 billion)

Septuplets - 1 in 404,567,235,136 live births (404 billion)

Two sets of fraternal twins - 1 in 3000

Two sets of twins (one set fraternal/one set identical) - 1 in 10,000

Two sets of identical twins - 1 in 70,000

Three sets of twins - 1 in 500,000

There's a whole page about multiple multiples! Jason remains convinced that, should I get pregnant again, we'd be on the list for 3 sets of twins.

Then there's the odds of conceiving with various fertility treatments. For example, the odds of conceiving multiples while on Clomid are 1 in 6.5, with a 1 in 1000 chance of conceiving quints! With IVF, 1 in 4 births will be twins and 1 in 22 will be triplets. Even though most births resulting from fertility treatments will end with just one baby, the odds of having multiples is still drastically higher than with spontaneous conception. And 77% of higher order multiples were conceived with fertility treatments. I think it's safe to say that the octuplet mom was using some kind of fertility treatment.

Here are some more interesting facts I found.

Odds of:

Conjoined twins - 1 in 50,000

Mirror image twins - 1 in 4 of all identical twins

TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) - 10-15% of all monochorionic twins

There are also stats about average birth weights, prematurity, and vanishing twins. Did you know that only 18-19% of twin pregnancies result in the birth of twins? The research shows that 38.5% result in singletons and 42.8% result in a miscarriage of both babies. It's safe to say that most women carrying twins don't even know it.

This all has me thinking. I know we are blessed, but to see all the facts and figures is just amazing! When I was pregnant with Joshua there was a period of a few weeks when I was convinced I was carrying twins. I ended up having one big (11 pound) baby. When Joshua was almost a year old, I had a miscarriage. Just 4 months later I conceived the girls. I had no idea I was having twins until 22 weeks into my pregnancy. Then I conceived the babies in December 2007 and right away I suspected twins again. I never imagined what the outcome would be though.

We seem to have defied the odds. Only a 1 in 70,000 chance of having 2 sets of identicals, and it happens to us? And then there's the fact that both sets developed a rare complication when TTTS hit. With the girls, my mirror image twins, I carried them to 39 weeks and 1 day. They were 7 lbs, 6 oz each. They were born at home, in my bedroom. Leila had a single umbilical artery and was breech until 36 weeks. And they developed TTTS at term, possibly even during my 12 hour labor, and suffered no lasting complications. Leila was anemic and Sarah was polycythemic and had we been in hospital, they'd have had blood transfusions. But everything turned out perfectly.

Then when I was pregnant with the babies, things were different. I had an early ultrasound at 9 weeks because I couldn't shake the thought that I was having twins again, despite knowing that the odds were against it. It was shortly after that first ultrasound that we discovered that the babies were also sharing a placenta, just like their sisters did. That's a risk factor for TTTS so I worried a bit. And from the beginning I feared that something wasn't right. And in September my plans for another homebirth went out the window when Ryan stopped growing properly and went into distress. And yet I still brought home 2 beautiful, healthy babies.

I'm torn between feeling so grateful that I could never ask for more... and wanting to try again for another healthy, beautiful baby someday. For now, no more babies for me. But hey, I'm not even 30 yet so there is still time. I can assure you that Jason is not agreeable to having more. Ever. And I can assure you that I will not have octuplets.
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