Monday, September 05, 2005


Soon after my last post, the phone rang. It was the maternal-fetal medicine doctor, who had been roused to action by a prodding from Dr. FYC.

I was taken aback by his tone: no preliminaries, no questions of me except my age, height and weight. When he went into his spiel, it sounded as though he had delivered the same lines a thousand times.

Full pregnancy loss for triplets between 12-24 weeks: 10-15%.
Post-delivery mortality rate per triplet: 15-20%.
Full pregnancy loss after reduction of triplets to twins: 3-5%.
Post-delivery mortality rate per twin: 5-7%.

My advantages as a potential high-order multiple mother are not insignificant--sedentary, low-stress job; the ability to go on extended bedrest without bankruptcy; generally good health; a willingness to do whatever it would take--but the disadvantages are blunter, perhaps more meaningful, and out of my control: I'm just over 5'4" and went into this pregnancy at 118 pounds. That's three inches and thirty pounds shy of his recommended cutoffs, and there's not a damned thing I can do about it.

I will find another expert and another opinion. These numbers seem so high; I don't know if I trust them. But now they're out there, tangible, coloring my imaginings of the months to come.

This decision is breaking me up in a hundred small, warring pieces. I want it to be over.


My grandmother died this morning in her sleep, just before four a.m. Pneumonia appears to be the cause, though her chronic heart failure was likely the root problem. She suffered another series of small strokes not long ago, and had fallen into a semi-conscious state from which she struggled to rouse herself each day when my father arrived. She was uncomfortable, couldn't see much and couldn't hear well, but did not complain. She would turn all conversations about herself and how she was feeling to us--what we were doing, how we were doing, what our plans were. She gave congratulations for our successes and sympathy for our minor annoyances. She was so pleased about the pregnancy; it was something she had always wanted for me, long before I wanted it for myself. She loved Jeff as a grandson and told me often how lucky we were to have found each other. She kept talking, even when the strokes had made most of her words impossible to understand, and somehow made herself clear. She had her faculties, and even her sense of humor, through it all.

There will be no funeral--my father is not up to it--and she will be buried next to my grandfather without fanfare. We will meet at her house one day soon and remember her in the place and with the things that have come to represent her to us all. We will picture her sitting on the tasteful brocade sofa under the Thai temple rubbing, slender stockinged ankles crossed demurely, listening and encouraging.

It was time for her to go; that much was very clear. There is a certain relief. But I will miss her now and mourn the loss, and I will remember her always.


Blogger chris said...

I'm sorry about your grandmother and the difficult decisions you're dealing with right now.

Take care.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Ollie said...

Oh honey, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

I am thinking of you and the decisions you are having to manage. It shouldn't have to be this way.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your gradmonther. Rest and take care of yourself.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Claudia said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother, and that you have so much to grapple with right now. Be good to yourself and know that whatever decision you make will be the right decision.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Emma Jane said...

Oh, Bugs. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother (and angry that the universe had to have such timing, and hoping that you will eventually remember all the time you'd spent with her recently as good, as the right thing to do).

And I'm frankly shocked by some of the numbers your doctor cited. What an ocean of information to digest. Getting another opinion is good.

2:23 PM  
Blogger MsPrufrock said...

I'm sorry everything is so overwhelming for you at the moment. Thinking of you...

2:52 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I"m so very sorry for your loss my friend. I can't imagine how overwhelmed you must be right now.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I am so very sorry to hear about your Grandmother. {{{HUgs}}} and prayers and hoping you find the strength needed to make the decision.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Priscilla said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your grandmother. She sounds like a great lady. It seems as if her grace was passed on to you...Good luck with your fact finding and decision making.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

Very sorry for your loss. It's a horribly difficult time for you. Thinking of you.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Sweetie, I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I know how close you were, and this has to be a terrible shock and loss, no matter how "expected."

4:45 PM  
Blogger Cass said...

Oh honey. I am so very sorry to hear about your grandmother. There are really no words. I am holding you and your family in my thoughts.

(And I hope in the meantime that you are able to get a second opinion from another M/F specialist - if they don't have to see you in person, that seems to open up some additional options for finding a second opinion, maybe.)

4:45 PM  
Anonymous kiwi said...

I'm sorry about your loss. My condoleances to you and your family.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother. And about the difficult decisions you're facing. I'm thinking of you.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother's passing and am thinking of you.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Galloping Cats said...

First, I'm sorry about your grandmother. Second, I'm sorry that this doctor could not show a bit more compassion in his delivery of such scary numbers. Certainly a second opinion is in order-- it's a big decision-- one I'm truly sorry you have to make. Try not to let the values of others influence you and once you make your choice, never ever look back or doubt yourself, because down that road lies madness.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous anne said...

I am sorry for your loss. Thinking of you during this hard time.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Z said...

i'm so sorry about your grandmother and for the difficulties in your life right now. i wish somehow things could just be easy and fixed.

5:39 PM  
Blogger JJ said...

Darling, I am so sorry. My heart is with you.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Leggy said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your grandma.

Re: your dilemma about reduction. Have you emailed with Jody @ RaisingWEG? She did a post a few months ago about the myths of reduction- I thought it was interesting, don't know if it would be helpful. Her blog is

6:03 PM  
Blogger LabiaLady said...

delurking to offer you my condolences for all that you are going through at the moment. I hope you find what you need to carry you through

6:23 PM  
Blogger persephone said...

Gawd, Bugs, no one should have to make this kind of decision. All I can hope for is that you're able to find peace of mind about it somehow.

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother, too. It's all too much.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous deborah said...

You're in my thoughts, Bugs...on all fronts.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Molly said...

So sorry about your grandmother's death. I'm thinking of you.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Tine said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother. Even when it seems like the "right" time for someone to die, it's still so hard. Hugs to you for that and for the tough decisions you're facing.

7:20 AM  
Blogger April said...

I am so sorry. A while back you wrote a post about her, in which you described with great imagery her clasped hands. It was such a beautiful and moving post. I wish there was something that we could do to alleviate all that you are going through right now.

All I can say is that we are here for you. And I am so sorry. My deepest condolences to you and yours.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Anna H. said...

I'm so, so sorry about your grandmother, Bugs.

Thinking of you.


7:51 AM  
Anonymous Mandy said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your grandmother's death. Wishing you comfort from your memories of her.

7:55 AM  
Blogger amyesq said...

So, so sorry to hear about you grandmother. You have so much going on right now.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous T said...

I'm so very sorry about your grandmother and of course, the decisions you'll soon have to make. Take care.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I'm so sorry about your grandma. And all the worries you have right now. *hugs*

12:56 PM  
Blogger laura said...

I am so so sorry. It's clear from your previous posts how warmly you felt towards your grandmother.

Your upcoming decisions and worries are so difficult, yet so important. I'm thinking of you and hoping you and jeff have the strength to deal with all this, and come out happy and healthy.

On a side note, I'm confused about the whole issue of your size/weight. I think 118 at 5"4 is pretty darn healthy.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Blue said...

Oh Sweetie, I am so sorry. It sounds like your grandmother was a wonderful person who will be missed greatly.
Thinking of you and your family.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's actually better to be somewhat overweight, and tall, to carry multiples. Your body has more room and support built in for the extra babies.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm so sorry about your grandmother. I'm pulling for you during this rough time and sending prayers your way.


3:29 PM  
Blogger Beaver Girl said...

I'm so sorry. What a difficult time for you.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous reprogirl said...

I am so sorry about your grandmother. And the decisions you have to make must be agonizing. Sophie's choice.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Zarqa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I could say something about mystical messages from beyond to guide you in the difficult decision you have to now make but since I don't really believe in mystical messages I'll refrain. I have to say that I disagree with reprogirl: it's not *quite* Sophie's Choice, it's still so so early...
Anyway, I wish you peace and good health as you go through this tough time.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Lindy said...

Oh, Bugs. I'm sorry I didn't see your post sooner. I'm so sorry for the loss of your Nam. She sounds like a truly amazing woman and I can't imagine how much you miss her. I know it must be a great comfort to you that she knew about the pregnancy before going. And the pregnancy. I'm so sorry that the much awaited opinion of the expert was so cold and matter-of-fact. Not exactly the specific assessment of your particular situation you were hoping for. It sounds like you've got a good grip on whatever information is out there. I know this decision must be killing you, but I know that you and Jeff are in it together and will pull through it together.

Thinking about you both.

4:42 AM  

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