That's exactly what makes Nancy Eaton of Maine look back on her decision to reduce her pregnancy from four to three fetuses with reservation. "We went from that [ultrasound] room so excited, 'Oh wow' . . . and then the doctor says, 'This is not a good thing,'" Eaton said. Her doctor ran through the risks for the quads and put pressure on her to reduce to twins. "That was a total shock to us," said Eaton, who had used an infertility treatment to get pregnant. "We didn't know what to do."
The perinatalogist she spoke with, who specializes in high risk pregnancies, said some quads can do well but added that she'd likely be on bed rest at 16 weeks. "We talked back and forth," she said of herself and her husband. "We did not have the heart to go down to two." It was particularly hard, she said, because her mother was not supportive of reduction. "She was one of the ones saying, 'You just can't do this,'" she said. Because she was so uncertain, she wishes she had had a support network or some counseling to get through the ordeal. "You felt like you were on an island and no one else had gone through this before you," Eaton recalled.
Going into the reduction procedure, Eaton was still weighing the decision in her head. "I still felt that I wasn't sure," she said. While she cried a great deal about the procedure during the pregnancy, the reality of the reduction didn't really hit home until she saw her triplets in the hospital after being born at 31 weeks—all healthy—at around three pounds each. Eaton said she looked at them and thought, "What did I do?" It's particularly hard, she said, when she sees three of her friends who have quadruplets. Though one mother has two children with cerebral palsy, the rest are healthy. "It was so hard on me emotionally," she said of the reduction. "I don't think I could do it again."