Sunday, December 28, 2008

Multiple Blessings - A Great Inspirational Read

Last night I finished reading Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets
by Jon & Kate Gosselin and Beth Carson. As most of you know, Jon and Kate (from the TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8) are the proud parents of twins and sextuplets, complements of shots/injectables & IUI. Like myself, Kate also had PCOS and didn't ovulate on her own. What is neat about this book is that it tells their story from Kate's first person point of view and takes you on a journey through the early years - from getting married to the birth of their twins, their journey through infertility and the birth and first year of their sextuplets. Since I'm a big fan of their TV show that focuses on current day life, it was neat to go back a little and find out where they've been since then. For me personally, it was also nice to learn more about their bout with infertility.

In reading this book I was overwhelmingly struck by a few major points. One, I am completely and utterly amazed that a woman's body can go through the things that her body went through both before, during and after pregnancy, both mentally and physically. Her story gives me great hope and a belief that I too can keep marching on through even what might seem the toughest of times.

Secondly, and on a related note, it is quite clear to me that the only way she has been able to keep her strength and sanity is to have complete and utter faith that God is in control of all things and His will, will absolutely be done. It is just amazing how He has provided for this family. Kate mentions in this book, and it's pretty obvious on the show, that she is a very controlling and take charge type of person. While that is good, it is also very challenging at times - I too share this same blessing/curse. I have such a hard time just "letting go and letting God" take care of the situation. I think that if something needs to be done, I will map out a plan and will begin to see the outcome before I've even started on step 1. Oh if I can only learn to just relax a little and trust that everything will work out as He has planned. I can say, however, that already through this journey I have noticed a change in myself in this respect. Not that I feel I've "arrived", but I have definitely learned that infertility is a one-day-at-a-time process and that in and of itself requires a little letting go. I continue to pray for peace that things will work out as He has planned and that I simply cannot stress over every little detail.

Another very huge, and concerning, concept that I took away from this book is the concept of "selective reduction". Honestly, until I read this book, I hadn't really given any deep thought to what it entailed, however, it could potentially be a very monumental part of the ART process. For Kate and Jon, their position was very cut and dry from the beginning - they wouldn't consider selective reduction for a minute. Selective reduction, in case you are unfamiliar, is when they reduce the number of fetuses in a multi-fetal pregnancy by way of injection during the first trimester (but usually after 12 weeks) in order to reduce the risk of complications in a pregnancy. As you might expect, this procedure is highly controversial.

I came across a Washington Post article by Liza Mundy entitled, "Too Much to Carry?" that follows a few couples through this process. I have to say that their stories put a very real situation around this issue. She also wrote a book called "Everthing Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Our World". I think I am going to get myself a copy and make myself read it. I should mention the fact that the odds of the mother and/or babies having a complication from a multi-fetal pregnancy is more than double that of a singleton. This fact is what pushes some people to undergo selective reduction, but what very huge, and heavy thing for a person to be faced with considering. If we are going to go through infertility procedures we need to be prepared for anything that might come our way and we need to know where we stand on such important issues.

At this point, let me just say that there is one part of Mundy's article that echos in my mind and in my heart: "Some of these people tried to get pregnant for the past five years and prayed to God. And now that they are pregnant, they are telling God: You gave me too many. I sometimes feel like we are playing God, and that is very emotionally stressful."

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