Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sextuplet update

Actually, no news is good news at this point - and there isn't much. You won't be seeing the irate bloggers talking about litters for at least a few more days. Hopefully closer to 2-3 weeks.

Karoline Byler (more here) was admitted to the hospital over 2 weeks ago and is 28+ weeks now. The docs hope to get a few more weeks with medical management and bed rest, but the survival rate at 28 weeks is pretty good.

The Sodani family has been quiet, too. They should be about 27 weeks by now. The last update on Brian and Gracie's web site says that she's in the hospital - no date, but it's been there for a month or so.

The Masche's are all home and doubtless too busy to do much in the way of updates. I don't even see any new pictures in their photo gallery.

There hasn't been an update on the remaining Morrison baby. He was still in critical condition at the last update, nearly a month ago. He may well be in critical condition for another month. Possibly even longer. He was tiny and it takes a long time for those tiniest babies to outgrow their respiratory and feeding issues.

The families all still have their "how to help" links on their web sites. I hope they're getting what they need. I won't be contributing to any of the sextuplet families. There are plenty of families in need in my own community.

I also found a web site called MOST - Mothers of Super Twins.

This is how they describe themselves:

MOST is a network of families with triplets, quadruplets and more that provides information, resources, empathy and good humor during pregnancy, infancy, toddlerhood and school age

If I had the resources to donate outside my own community, I'd support their adopt-a-family program. With the upsurge in higher order multiples, people with 3-5 babies at a time just don't get the publicity (and the assistance) that they did a few years ago.


Rachel said...

Cripes. I wish them joy and healthy babies. I also want to know what the hell those fertility doctors were thinking, giving injectables and then not monitoring the number of follicles produced. Unless, of course, they did monitor follicles and the couples refused to be abstinent that cycle. Either way it's disturbing that this is happening so frequently. Medical ethics have to come into it somewhere, don't they?

Someday I hope that the insurance companies will wake up to the fact that it costs less to fund two IVFs with single-embryo transfers than to pay for all the medical support that high order multiples need.

Judy said...

One of the families claims there were "only" 4 follicles prior to IUI - and they found evidence of 10 afterwards. IOW, they were lucky to only end up with 6 instead of more. I know it can be tricky, but you do wonder about the quality of monitoring. Personally, I wouldn't risk it with 4 follicles, but I'm a NICU nurse.

I wouldn't have used the injectables either. My limit was Clomid. Even with that, I badgered my OB into doing an early sono so I could sleep at night.

Part of the problem is a lack of patience. There's a real rush to high tech infertility treatments even in young couples.

Medical ethics? That's a problem too.

Anonymous said...

As for helping these families out with things, I won't. I used to think it was pretty cool to read about these families, until I read something that made me stop and think. We get upset when poor black women have more kids than they can afford. Why do we think it's cute when middle class white women have more kids than they can afford?

I don't think you should risk 6 kids w/o thinking about how you'll diaper, feed, cloth, etc, if the you actually get 6. They can shop at Goodwill like the rest of us.

Judy said...

Can't afford doesn't bother me so much and I'm not concerned about skin color when single moms continue to pop out babies they aren't competent to care for. We had one mentally ill woman who'd had more than 10 taken away from her before she dropped out of sight. It didn't take CPS long to figure out that they should never go home with her - and none of them got in the same condition as the baby in AD's heartbreaking story.

I didn't say I hope they get what they want. Just what they need. They do seem willing to sell their story to support the kids - and that's their right. Plenty of people keep clicking on their web site, so I suppose I am supporting them in a way by providing links. Not coming out of my pocket, though.

I shop at Good Will too. It supports a worthwhile organization and saves me $$ I can use for something else. Like local charities.

Rachel said...

Hey, I love Goodwill! But seriously, I do worry that the media shows the "miracle" and donated minivans etc, but doesn't show the CP, ROP, IVH, and dead babies.

Clearly there was either a failure of monitoring or a failure of thoughtfulness on the part of the parents; while the media portrayals probably don't influence doctors much, I wonder if they might push some would-be parents into taking risks that they otherwise wouldn't take.

In this case I think the problem is too little technology, not too much; you sure wouldn't get 6 babies with IVF... injectables seem to me to be the worst of both worlds.

Then again, I have so far refused to take Clomid because I am so scared of multiples. Too much reading about NICUs, and 27-week godkid twins. I'm glad to know that there are caring providers like yourself out there, but I personally don't want to give you any business!

Judy said...

The incidence of twins with Clomid is about double the rate without intervention. The incidence of higher order multiples is the same as without. It does make sense to try things like metformin or a diabetic diet if hyperinsulinism is the issue before even considering infertility treatment.

Media coverage of the Morrisons should make a lot of people really think, but I don't think there's an easy answer. In their case, I wish they'd waited a little longer to see if a natural pregnancy was a possibility. I don't know their whole story, but there clearly wasn't any blocked tube issue with them.

IVF docs are USUALLY being more careful these days, although I've taken care of IVF triplets and quads and IVF twins who were reduced from quads, so I'm not really impressed on that score. At least it's uncommon to get 6 or 7.

Anonymous said...

Judy - by all means, we should help those who need help, but the HOMs should get in line. My objection to the canonization of the parents/families of HOMs is that it is blatent hypocrisy and subtle racism. The sextuplet parents will (probably) expect the free minivans, new houses, new furniture, etc. After all, that was the ones before them got. Yet there are no new cars, new furniture, etc for people like the African American family in the paper today. The story that featured them was on the expense of back to school. This couple supports their 3 kids on disability, so they need to get free back to school supplies for their 3 kids. No one is throwing any fundraiser for their family or any of the multitudes like them. But I can just imagine what would be said if this couple, who sounds like they are just like any of the rest of us parents and doing our best by our kids, had more kids. But what is the difference between the lower income African American family and the white family who was well off enough to afford the fertility treatments that led to this morass? Neither family can afford to take care of their kids w/o outside help, yet we make saints out of the white parents. As soon as they start fertility treatments, they should start stocking up at diaper sales and onesies at garage sales. (Or have the relatives keep an eye out - that is what I do when my kids need something specific and I am too cheap to pay full price.)

Ultimately, I go back to my first question. We get upset when poor black women have "too many babies" (even one at at time, so THEY at least can save their hand-me-downs instead of having the added expense of buying a set of 6 of anything) but we think it is cute when upper class white women have too many babies. We get upset at the poor decisions that poor women make that negatively impact their babies, but no one says a word about the poor decision-makingof the sextuplet parents. The mere fac that there ARE sextuplets (from ARTs) in the first place indicates the parents were not thinking clearly. The poor women/teenagers/etc. w/ no prenatal care who end up with preemies get judged badly. The white women who pursue a course that is even more likely to results in multiple preemies get turned into heros/saints/what-have-you. Can anybody tell me why the discrepancy??

Obviously, I left the anonymous post. Sorry about that - I posted before I meant to. I depise trolls who leave anonymous posts, so I don't want to join their ranks.


Judy said...

The sextuplet families are taking advantage of the marketability of their situation. People are curious and companies don't lose money sponsoring their sites.

I don't know that it's racism so much as classism. These are educated, middle-class families who present themselves well on television. They can not only afford the infertility treatments, but the computer and internet access that lets them go so public with their plea for help. One local family who had multiples - and who was featured prominently in local media - was African-American. They were also well educated and middle class. The reporters clearly feel that plays better on television.

I disagree that the existence of sextuplets necessarily means the parents weren't thinking clearly. Some may not be, but others are following the best advice they can get. Maybe their docs need better quality ultrasound equipment.

I post on sextuplets rather than the expense of back-to-school. I'm a NICU nurse and it's been many years since I sent a child to school. My youngest has never been, and likely won't before I send him to college. It's not one of my interests beyond what I can do in my own community.