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.