Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Decision

When we first found out that there were five babies, the doctor immediately began talking to us about selectively reducing the fetuses. He strongly recommended reducing to two, and he referred me to a doctor in Houston who is skilled at performing reductions. The doctor felt that it was the only way to give some of the babies a chance for a decent life.

The “reduction doctor” in Houston gave me all kinds of statistics for the survival rates of multiple pregnancies. The outlook for quintuplets was not good. Because there are so few quintuplet births, there isn’t very good data on the mortality(whether or not they live) and morbidity (whether or not they have disabilities) of the babies. For quads, there is only a 50% chance that the pregnancy survives to 24 weeks. It is less than that for quints. Twenty-four weeks is about the earliest a baby can be born and still have some chance for survival. If the pregnancy survives past 24 weeks, the average delivery for quints is about 28 weeks. This means that about half of the babies will be born before 28 weeks. Babies who are born between 24-26 weeks, have only a 65% chance of survival. Of the 65% that survive, only 40% will be intact, meaning that they will not have long-term disabilities. The doctors all assured me that the happy smiling quints that you see on TV are very much exceptions to the rule.

Over the next three weeks, we talked to several doctors, other mothers of multiples, and church leaders. Nearly all of the medical professionals strongly recommended reduction. We also spent a lot of time praying that we would make the right decision. This was a very emotional time for us. Then one Sunday, nearly three weeks after hearing the news, a feeling that is hard to describe came over me and at that moment, I knew that these five babies did not come to me by accident. I knew that God had sent them to me for a reason and that he wants me to do all I can to bring them into this world. I felt it so strongly, that I could not deny that this was the answer that I had been searching for. I felt such a sense of peace come over me. It felt as though a boulder had been lifted off my shoulders. There was no more of the doubt and dismay that I had previously felt.

Since that day, I have felt so much peace and confidence in the decision we made. I know that the road ahead is going to be incredibly challenging, but I feel comforted knowing that we are doing the right thing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How it all began...

It all started in April of 2005 when my husband, Jayson, and I decided that we were ready to try for child #3. With our first two, Riley (now 6 ½) and Kaiya (nearly 4), getting pregnant was very easy and happened on pretty much the first try.

Four months, and several pregnancy tests later it was apparent that something was wrong. A trip to my obstetrician revealed that I was not ovulating on my own. Over the course of the next year, we went through several cycles of two different ovulation-inducing drugs with no success. At this point, my OB sent me on to a fertility specialist.

The fertility specialist, recommended that we try Gonal-F, an injectable hormone that stimulates the follicles to produce eggs. Every night I gave myself the prescribed dose through a shot in the leg. (The shots freaked Jayson out much more than me---he couldn’t even watch, much less give me the shots.) Every other day, the doctor would do an ultrasound to monitor the growth of the follicles. Although I produced several follicles, the doctor said that only two, maybe three were mature enough to release an egg. At that point, I got a shot of HCG, which caused the follicles to release. This was followed by two days of IUI’s (intra-uterine insemination).

The day after ovulation, I had another ultrasound, which showed that three follicles had released. Slightly less than two weeks later, on December 31st (technically it might have actually been Dec 30th, since I was anxious and got up sometime in the middle of the night to take the test) a home pregnancy test gave a “+” sign. The next day, the doctor’s blood test also showed that I was pregnant with an HCG level of 486. (Normal HCG for that stage was about 100---so mine was high, but not extremely high). Needless to say we were excited to finally be pregnant after nearly two years of trying. We were also excited and anxious to find out if there was more than one baby in there, since the doctor had told us that there was a 20% chance of twins and 5% chance of triplets. Unfortunately we had to wait three more weeks (until I was 7 weeks pregnant) for our first ultrasound.

Finally, January 23rd, the day of the ultrasound, arrived. For three weeks we had been excited about the potential for twins, and little worried about the idea of triplets—though the possibility of either of these seemed unlikely. As the doctor began the ultrasound, we first saw one sac with a little beating heart inside, then two. Then the doctor moved the probe again and we saw a third baby. I started to get nervous, because idea of triplets was quite daunting. The doctor moved the probe again and two more sacs appeared on the screen. At this point, I figured he had just gone back to looking at the first two. (The idea that there could be more than three never crossed my mind, since I thought that just three eggs had been released.) Jayson, who had been watching the doctor’s face instead of the monitor, knew immediately that something was wrong. A moment later, the doctor announced that there were five babies in there.

The word “shocked” only begins to describe what I felt at that moment. I felt almost numb as the doctor tried to explain how this could have happened. The doctor immediately began explaining the risks of trying to carry five babies and strongly recommended that we selectively abort three of the fetuses, to give the remaining two a better chance.

We left the office in a state of disbelief. Things like this only happened to people on Oprah---they didn’t happen to real people. I tried to drive Jayson back to work, but made it only as far as a McDonald’s parking lot, where we sat for a long time trying to let everything sink in. The only thing that was clear at that moment, was that the road ahead of us would be very challenging.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our Story

Jayson and I met at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. I was the TA for the engineering statistics class that Jayson was taking. We started dating a few weeks into the semester (statistics can be very romantic). At the end of the semester, Jayson proposed. (No, dating the TA did not help Jayson get a better grade in the class.) We were married a few months later on August 14, 1997 in the Salt Lake City Temple.

After graduating from BYU in April of 1999, we moved to Austin, Texas where both of us were able to get job offers. Jayson works for National Instruments. He has held a variety of job positions, but is currently the Multimedia Group manager. I worked for 3M for a little over a year until I had our first son, Riley on June 18, 2000. (Well technically his name is Jayson Riley, but he goes by his middle name.) We thought it was very appropriate that Riley was born on Father's Day. After having Riley, I quit 3M to be a stay-at-home mom and starting teaching a night class at Austin Community College just for fun. Almost three years later, on March 6, 2003, Kaiya joined our family.

Riley is now 6 1/2 and Kaiya will be 4 in a week and a half. Riley is in the first grade. He loves to draw, do origami and go to gymnastics. Kaiya is taking a tap and ballet class and totally loves it. She is very smart and is always trying to keep up with her older brother.

Welcome to the Wilkinson Quint Blogspot!

Welcome to the blogspot for the Wilkinson Quints! We plan to use this blogspot to keep everyone updated on the progress of the quints and to share news and photos.