Selective Reduction

When we found out I was pregnant with twins, the doctors immediately offered me selective reduction.  I didn’t answer the first time it was brought up, because I was shocked.   Not only was I surprised I was carrying two babies, but I was unaware that they even offered selective reduction for twins.

I knew I was going into a high-risk pregnancy, and my chances of coming out of it with a live baby were not nearly as high as almost anyone elses.  I also knew I was looking at bed rest, hospitalizations, complications, and NICU time.  I wasn’t naive, I realized that it was going to be a long, difficult pregnancy, and that carrying more than one baby just complicated things further.

I remember the doctor telling me I was a candidate for selective reduction because of my history. I just couldn’t imagine killing one of my babies on purpose after burying three. She’d said there was a 5% chance of pregnancy loss associated with reduction, and a 95% chance I wouldn’t make it to term carrying two. I wasn’t expecting miracles. I knew the cards were stacked against me.

She began to talk to me about all of the things that can go wrong with a baby that was born early- brain bleeds, long NICU stays, etc.  I reminded her we did 9 weeks with a 25 weeker.  I knew it was her responsibility to inform me of my choices and make sure I knew about the possible outcomes. I totally understand that. But I wasn’t going into the pregnancy blind.

The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got.  I’d already buried three babies. Why would I intentionally take the life of another? I knew going into the pregnancy better than anyone that there’s no guarantee of a live baby.  I didn’t do fertility drugs, there wasn’t six of them in there. I’ve never had preterm labor, my losses are from pre-e and HELLP and a cord issue.  I knew carrying two increased my chances of pre-e and HELLP recurring, but that wasn’t enough to go through with the reduction.  I knew I’d probably have the same complications with just one baby.

I didn’t feel like I was ignorant to what my chances if having a successful pregnancy were, and what possibilities could occur.  I knew bedrest and a long NICU stay were very likely in our futures.  I remember thinking that both babies were measuring right on, perfectly healthy. It’s not like one or the other had something wrong with him that would jeopardize the pregnancy. It’s MY body that ends up screwing up, not the babies.

Obviously I didn’t go through with the reduction.  If I had, we now know that it would have been Dylan who was sacrificed.  Kind of ironic, since he’s the healthy one, the twin without cancer.  And I went to 33 weeks- further than I dared dream at the time.  I only went to 35 with Lili and Mia.    As I watch these two boys crawl all over each other, I can’t imagine life any other way.

Dylan- I can't imagine life without this face.

Ryan- And what would I do without seeing that smile every day?


  1. 1

    How do you know which one they would have aborted? Is it always Baby A, or something?

    Glad you didn’t do it. 🙂
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..pimping my post =-.

    • 2

      Yeah, the baby closest to the cervix, which was Dylan. They explained that they go in through the cervix with a needle and inject the baby’s heart with something to make it stop beating.

  2. 3

    Wow. Knowing which baby it would be makes the choice seem even more obscene.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..pimping my post =-.

  3. 4

    that’s horrible! i can’t understand why any doctor would advocate this. okay, i can, in certain situations, maybe, but that a doctor would suggest it in this case is astounding. you have such beautiful, beautiful boys.
    .-= c.c.´s last blog ..bad brain radio =-.

  4. 5

    Your boys are beautiful. I am shocked that a doctor would suggest that with twins although given your history maybe they thought it was the right thing. When I started infertility procedures we were told about selective reduction just in case. The thought of ever doing that never crossed my mind.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Spread the Love – May 2010 =-.

  5. 6
    Courtney says:

    Wow. I’m shocked they even mentioned selective reduction for twins! One of my best friends went through years of infertility treatments and according to her, they doctor would only bring up selective reduction if she was carrying more then triplets. Thankfully she now has one very healthy singleton so the topic was never an issue.

    As a twin mom myself, I can’t even imagine having to make such a choice.

  6. 7

    I am crying looking at those beautiful faces. So Sweet!

    I also wanted to tell you as much as I hate that any child/parent has to walk the cancer path I feel so completely blessed to have your support and love. You are an amazing inspiration to me! XOXOXO
    .-= Michelle Pixie´s last blog ..Room To Breathe =-.

  7. 8

    Wow! That’s all I have to say. After losing three babies, you would think that they wouldn’t even offer that to you.
    You are so strong and an amazing mom! Your boys are beautiful!! 🙂

  8. 9

    I’m SO glad your pregnancy went so well and you beat the odds!

  9. 10

    How did you know it was Dylan they would have taken? Either way I am glad you took the risk because now they are both here and you can enjoy them guilt free.

  10. 12

    Aww! I can understand the dr bringing that up, and it sounds like you do too. I’m glad you made the decision that was right for you! ((Hugs)))
    .-= Cari´s last blog ..Funrise Strong Arm Tonka Trunk Giveaway =-.

  11. 13
    Danielle says:

    Jayme I am so glad you made the decision to continue the pregnancy with both Dylan & Ryan 🙂

    After all the loss you suffered & all the extra love you & Aaron had to give, you deserved TWO babies!

  12. 14

    Wow, I can’t imagine that being suggested to me. You did the right thing.

  13. 15

    As much as we need our doctors in our life, they dont always know what the best choices are for a parent…the only one who can decide that was YOU…and im glad you did as you can now see the boys wrestling together 🙂
    .-= Antoinette´s last blog ..8 posts away from 100!! =-.

  14. 16

    Wow — this made me tear up. I can’t imagine ever contemplating that option.

    Your boys are adorable.
    .-= Rachel — Following In My Shoes´s last blog ..Dear Face … =-.

  15. 17

    I didn’t that was an option with twins and now that I know how it’s done (and your history- sorry), why would a doctor even suggest reduction?!?

    You made the right call. Those boys are beautiful. I smile just seeing their smiles!
    .-= Evonne´s last blog ..Lingerie and Corn =-.

  16. 18

    Oh wow, what an amazing story!!
    .-= TwinHappyJen´s last blog ..FollowFriday and a New Look for TwinHappy! =-.

  17. 19

    You know my thoughts on this one 😉 I get why the docs suggest it but I find it horrific too. I wonder if on the inside the doc finds having to talk about it awful too? I’m sure you were thinking “just get me to 28 weeks and we can take it from there”… heck 33 was a magnificent effort 🙂 And TWO lovely little boys.

  18. 20

    i dunno. maybe the doc was concerned you’d lose both, and that if you reduced your chances were higher of at least having one. now that everything turned out well it’s easy to say that selective reduction wasn’t the right choice, but what if you’d gotten pre-e/HELLP at 20 wks and lost both?

    i don’t think it was wrong of her to offer it to you–ultimately it’s up to the patient to make the best decision they can for themselves and their family.
    .-= laura´s last blog ..the one in which i indulge my first world whine… =-.

    • 21

      I don’t think it was wrong of her to offer, and I understand why she did. However, when we made the decision to try again, we did so with knowing that there were no guarantees that I’d even get a baby out of another pregnancy. We knew there was a risk I’d get pre-e/HELLP again and that it could hit early- and that was before we knew it was two. We were already taking a chance.

  19. 22

    I’m with you totally. I could NEVER ever willingly give up a baby – a LIFE! No matter what!

    When we did the Down’s Syndrome testing the doctor said to me you need to think about what you’d do if one of them has Down’s – I said, “there is NO WAY I’d do anything; all it would do was help me be better prepared”

    And this is how I felt pre-infertility – God gives life!

  20. 23

    I didn’t know they offered selective reduction for twins either!

    It’s crazy how you know which one they would have “reduced”! Life would be so different if you had and I’m so glad you didn’t!!

    You NEED to head over to you WON something! And sorry I’ve been MIA lately! I WILL get better at managing everything and visiting my bloggy friends more often lol
    .-= Christa´s last blog ..If I get Child Support I won’t… =-.

  21. 24

    This post seriously gave me the chills (in a good way). I actually didn’t know they offered selective reduction with twins either. I had a different set of problems and scares with my twin pregnancy but when you showed the pictures of your twins and said how you couldn’t imagine life without that face it made me cry. I have thought so many times about the one we could have lost during the pregnancy and the one we almost lost at birth and I absolutely cannot imagine my life without either one! How wonderful that you fought for them and carried them and now have those beautiful faces to love. You are an amazing woman!
    .-= Sonora´s last blog ..My kids the shoplifters =-.

  22. 25
    Andrea S says:

    Wow… You just amaze me.

    I’m glad you kept both babies 🙂

    Ayden has that same shirt lol

  23. 26
    Gretchen says:

    I’m very glad you got your take home babies. :::hugs:::

  24. 27

    For the people who say if things didn’t work out you may feel differently I think they need to think about what they are saying. Life is about ups and downs and we shouldn’t plan things around our convenience. Being a mother is a blessing and gift from God. Having twins may be more challenging but so much more that killing one just for your own convenience will make it better. What happened to taking responsibility for our actions. I’m sick of people just thinking they can just get rid of a baby instead of stepping up and being a selfless Mom. What happened to life not being about you?! A good mother sacrifices FOR HER CHILDREN not sacrifices her children for herself! How do you choose which one to kill? Jayme I give you credit for being a good mother. I’m sure you feel that you have 2 blessings and all the more love and joy! My husband and I said we will never do selective reduction even if it means never getting pregnant and cancelling our treatments. We could never look at one of our children and say sorry your missing a part of you, life was too hectic so we got rid of your brother or sister. No good mother or father with any compassion would be able to do this. Thank you for being an example Jayme. God will and I’m sure already has blessed you for this!


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