Pair and a Spare – Our first visit to the John Radcliffe Hopsital

As the shock of our first scan was starting to sink in and we were starting to get our head around the idea of the addition of triplets to our family (a bigger car, more rooms in our home, three cots, three car seats and all the other practical stuff) we got a call from Northampton General Hospital to check that if the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital had been in touch to make an appointment and to generally check in on how I was feeling – emotionally and physically, and if I had any questions.  Physically I was feeling fine (no morning sickness etc.) apart from the fact I was tired.  Since the scan I had not slept properly due to so many things whizzing through my head! I have always found it hard to stop my brain (especially when I was competing) from being overactive and thinking about every different possibility, so the news of the triplets had sent my head into overdrive.  During the call they offered the opportunity to come in and talk to someone for advice, but if I am honest I had no idea what to ask!  During this call they dropped the bombshell of a selective reduction.  This was something that had not even crossed our minds, and the proposition of this was something that caught us both off guard – if your pregnant with triplets, then you have triplets… don’t you?

On the Friday of what had been already a very long week we had our first appointment with the consultants at the Fetal Medicine Unit at the JR Hospital.  Before we go into any more detail in this post or future posts in this blog can we both say how thankful we are to all the consultants, nurses and admin staff at the unit for all their care and support which has been invaluable to us.  Off the back of the phone call during the week we went into this appointment with a great deal of apprehension.  The outcome of the scan showed that we had at the moment three healthy babies of which they believed two were a monozygotic (identical) twins and one singleton (in simple terms 2 eggs were fertilized and then one egg split to form twins).

After explaining what we had, the consultant started to inform us of the cons associated with this high risk pregnancy (twins who share a placenta are at risk of twin to twin syndrome or of IUGR, without the complication of a third baby in the mix).  They talked through the option of a selected reduction, which upset us as how can you choose to take one away when they were are all currently healthy.  I have always believed you are never given anything that you are not strong enough to cope with, we have been given three little miracles (especially when people cannot have children) and it didn’t sit comfortably to choose which one to remove and which ones should stay.  At this point it was made clear to us that we did not have a choice, if we were to have the selective reduction then the twins would be the ones to go.  At being just over fourteen weeks pregnant there was a risk that any reduction could lead to a miscarriage of the remaining singleton.

So we had some options to weigh up a) keep all three and have a high risk pregnancy where we could lose them or have a premature birth and all the risks associated with that or b) have a managed reduction and potentially lose them all anyway.  My initial emotional reaction was I cant do that, I will keep them all and carry on with the pregnancy whatever.  Steve was much more logical wanting to know what the risks were to me – at this point our family of three and my health was his biggest priority.  Collectively we made the decision that as all three were currently healthy, I was fit and healthy, I had successfully already carried a baby to full term and the risk to me was low we would give the three babies the best opportunity we possibly could to come into the world.  As sport has taught us both – all you need is a chance, positivity and the faith of others in your ability to be a success.


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