Patty Adams Martinez
June 07, 2013

I was struck by the outpouring of feedback Parents received on Facebook after my last blog post, Terminate Your Pregnancy or Your Life? A Breast Cancer Dilemma. People were equally passionate for both sides. Many of you agreed with Laura, the woman who chose to terminate her fourth pregnancy in favor of saving her life so she could continue to be a mom to her three children. Some of you had even had to make that traumatic decision yourself (my heart goes out to each and every one of you!)

But lots of you felt that in the same situation you would have taken the risk and not received chemotherapy or undergone surgery in hopes of saving your unborn child. Many shared stories of friends and family members who took the risk and the baby lived and the mom died shortly after—making the ultimate sacrifice for her child; while others did the same and it paid off with a full recovery for the mom and a healthy baby.

Since one thing you all agreed on is that you care so deeply about the lives of little ones, I wanted to share some good news with you from this article I stumbled upon in the Daily Mail about brave moms who decided not to listen to their doctors' advice when their pregnancies were seen as high-risk. Please understand that this is in no way an endorsement of going rogue against a doctor's counsel (only you and your partner can decide what's right for you and your family after hearing all of the medical facts), it's merely me wanting to share the flip side of yesterday's coin.

Imagine you're an elementary school teacher who always felt she was born to be a mom. You've tried to get pregnant for seven years with thee failed rounds of IVF and one heartbreaking miscarriage before finally getting pregnant—with triplets! That's exactly what happened to Kirsty Woodhouse, now 37. She was expecting identical twins and a singleton (weird name, I know, but it's a technical term meaning the baby was not a fraternal or identical twin to either of the others). Multiple births are always considered high risk, so Kirsty was quickly advised that there was a 20 percent chance she would miscarry all three and her doctor advised that the best chance of having one healthy baby was "selective reduction," which meant terminating the identical twins.

The procedure would require a needle to be passed through her abdomen, into her womb that would inject the twins' hearts with a chemical that would stop them from beating. There was also a risk that the third child would also be affected by the chemical, leaving Kirsty and her husband with no child at all. But that risk was less than if she proceeded with carrying the triplets. If she and her husband went against medical advisement and she miscarried all three babies there was a good chance that she would never birth her own child (of course surrogacy and adoption were always an option).

While getting a second opinion, Kirsty's new doctor took the positive spin to the same facts and said there was still an 80 percent chance that if she continued with the pregnancy that one or more of the babies could survive. After having seen their babies on Kirsty's sonograms, hearing their heartbeats and already forming an unconditional love for each of them, Kirsty and her husband's decision had been made for them. They were too emotionally connected to all three babies to end any of their lives intentionally.

Kirsty's pregnancy was complication-free from then on out. After a planned caesarean at 34 weeks, now all three 15 month olds are happy and healthy. Kirsty and her entire family can't bring themselves to wonder what their lives would have been like without these three bundles of joy. For her, all of the stress and worrying was worth it. She chose her own path and it lead to three beautiful babies.

Tell Us: If you were pregnant with multiples, would you risk one baby's life to save another?

Image of baby courtesy of Shutterstock.


Comments (1)

January 5, 2019
Thanks for the article and thoughts. My wife and I received hard news the last couple of weeks. She’s very ill with chronic conditions along with mental health needs. She takes birth control for one of her conditions. She’s 40. We’ve been married two years and neither of us have ever had kids. We accepted that we likely won’t. Well, she’s pregnant—with mo-mo twins. 8 weeks along. We had a consult with an ObGyn yesterday. She is not confident in her abilities or facilities to handle delivery and wants the MFM to handle those decisions. That said, she strongly pressed termination. My wife wants me to make the decision. Abortion turns both of our stomachs due to religious convictions. Yet, we both accept the exception that Northern Ireland does when it comes to the woman being “physically or mentally wrecked.” I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. We’re going to wait for the thoughts of the MFM. This is just heart wrenching.