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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prenatal Hell, Pt. 2

The interview went well, and surprisingly no questions about what I envision five years from now. Second interview was with the prospective workgroup and found out that one of the members was a grad student at UT same time as me, so maybe there's an inside track. Unfortunately, things won't happen quick and it will be the better part of a month before any decisions are made.

So back to catching up, where was I? Oh, triplet pregnancy and prenatal hell. I don't know if it is any easier for those who do not adhere to the acknowledgement and adherence to a greater being, but I ponder how one without an absolute moralistic foundation feels about the tough decisions. For me and my wife, we are Christian and although our actions and/or reactions do not always reflect a conciousness that we are not in control, we simply are not in control. We're not religious, well not overly religious because I suppose you cannot exercise faith in God without some degree of religion. But through all of those episodes of prenatal hell, the professionals that we dealt with seemed perfectly fine to suggest that termination is always a viable option. Even if you put aside all arguments about the morality of choosing to terminate a pregnancy, I hold fast to the notion that we are given every capability to love and care for each child that we bring into this world.

Needless to say, that although my wife and I were shattered visit after visit, our resolve was to make every effort to bring three children into this world. Our next to last prenatal visit morphed from a coctail of probabilistic birth defects to the realistic condition that the amniotic fluid was dangerously low. Our corrective action was to get Tiffany out of the elevation of Los Alamos, NM at 7400 feet above sea level to Albuquerque where the elevation was considerably lower at 5300 feet. To boot, the only NICUs in the state of New Mexico are in Albuquerque. For one week, Tiffany was on complete bed rest and drank fluids like crazy in hopes of increasing the amniotic fluid. On the last prenatal visit, Tiffany was told that Ethan's umbilical cord flow was stagnant between heartbeats. She was immediately admitted to the hospital and I packed bags and left for Albuquerque. The next day, Ethan's cord flow was reversing during the resting beat. This condition was certain to cause mortality and there was an unknown finite window for action.

Our options were to either have emergency c-section or to let Ethan pass in utero. At 24 weeks gestation, the odds were stacked against all three should we choose emergency c-section. Choosing to let Ethan pass in utero would give Devon and Reagan better chances at survival, but since Ethan and Devon shared a placenta, a sudden change in blood pressure could leave Devon seriously brain damaged. Neither option was ideal, but we choose to go ahead with the emergency C-section and give all three children a fighting chance to beat the odds. That afternoon, October 17, 2009, Ethan was born at 10.6 ounces, Devon at 18 ounces, and Reagan at 23 ounces. All three were sucessfully intubated and our NICU experience began.

When she was born, Reagan let out a cry. Given the gravity of the situation, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.

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