Selective Reduction: A Painful Choice
From Six to Three
Denise Foltz of Michigan knew the risks. She was pregnant with six after taking infertility medication, in maternity clothes at five weeks and was very sick during the first trimester. “I was scared to death and totally in love,” she said. “I loved all of those babies.” She already had one successful pregnancy following infertility treatment and was shocked when the doctor told her she was having so many.
Unlike Sullivan’s physician, Foltz’s doctor suggested that they wait and see how her body tolerated the pregnancy and whether all of the fetuses continued to thrive before deciding on a reduction. “I knew it had to be an informed decision, not an emotional decision,” she said. So Foltz and her husband threw themselves into medical journals and reports, analyzed the statistics, interviewed perinatalogists, visited neonatal intensive care units, and consulted with clergy. The decision was made. Reduce to triplets. “The night before [the reduction], we called the doctor at home and asked if we could go for quads, but my doctor recommended against it,” Foltz said. The next day, she cried all the way there, all the way home, and for weeks afterward, she said.
“I had little bouts of depression over the years,” Foltz said, adding that she can’t bear to watch specials about families with quads or more. “I wanted all of those babies. I still think about them . . . But I know I made the right choice.” Today she has healthy 10-year-old triplets whose weight ranged from 5 pounds 6 ounces, to 6 pounds 2 ounces when they were born at 34-1/2 weeks.
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