Content note: This post deals with themes of pregnancy loss that some readers may find triggering.
I was diagnosed with primary ovarian failure in June 2016. What that basically means is I was starting to go through menopause at 27 years of age.
We were told our only hope of having children was through IVF and we should start to come to terms with the fact we would be a childless couple (quote from our fertility specialist). We were told it was very unlikely that we would ever have children.
We pursued onto IVF and after failed rounds, we stopped and decided to live out our fun aunty and uncle potential. Then we fell pregnant naturally. It was a Christmas miracle! My body, being faulty and defective, decides it needs to do one better, and instead of conceiving one child, we have conceived three!
Our three baby girls were due September 2017.
Estelle and Georgie are identical twins, sharing a placenta but in their own gestational sacks and Milo a fraternal twin with her own sac and placenta.
At our thirteen week scan, Estelle was seen to have multiple anomalies. For the next few months we went to weekly appointments with our OB, maternal foetal medicine experts, cardiologist, neonatal intensive care doctors, palliative care doctors and many many more to assess what could be done to save Essie’s life.
We had an amniocentesis to determine if it was a chromosomal abnormality but all came back clear so we came to the conclusion that when the girls egg split, it didn’t split evenly. Every organ of Essie’s body had fatal defects and it was deemed that they were incompatible with life.
We were faced with the hardest decision. As Essie and Georgie shared a placenta, any treatments would impact Georgie, so if Essie died, Georgie would as well. We were given two options:
1. Continue the pregnancy for as long as we can (average triplet pregnancy is 32 weeks) and Essie would go straight to palliative care. Her heart, lung and brain defects would not immediately kill her, she could live for a few weeks without intervention, but she had a giant omphalocele (liver and bowels outside of her abdomen) which would likely get infected and that is what would kill her. She would die a slow and painful death.
2. We medically terminate Essie. We would have to be under guidance of specialised surgeons who would monitor us weekly and study all three girls. They could clamp the cord between Essie and Georgie to stop the blood flow between the two girls, terminating Essie and saving Georgie.