Interview…a mother of quadruplets

1. Your name and some details about your twin or higher multiple baby/s who died, and other children (if any, living or previous losses)…

After several years of infertility, we became pregnant with quadruplets from our second in-vitro attempt. At 18 weeks, due to PROM, I delivered our first son, Jacob, who died 12 minutes later. After complete bedrest for an additional 10 weeks, I delivered our other three sons, Derek, Chandler and Trevor. After an 8-9 week NICU stay they came home and are now healthy 2-1/2 year olds. We are also expecting their younger brother sometime in late July (also a result of IVF treatments).

2. When I remember my baby/s, I….look forward to seeing him again, to our family being whole once again. I am finding myself more and more able to look forward instead of constantly, longingly looking back.

3. The worst part is… always missing him.

4. I have coped with anger by… attending support groups, talking about him, especially with those who can relate, and talking about him regardless of whether other people become uncomfortable. Also by channeling my anger and my energy-doing things for Jacob, such as creating his website, his memory box, planting a tree for him, or sending off balloons for him.

5. I still have problems with… my children being referred to as triplets-or people discounting Jacob’s existence because he was born at 18 weeks gestation (medically speaking, a miscarriage). Had they been there in the hospital room with me as I held him as he lived and died, they would understand that it doesn’t matter when he was born. He is still my child.

6. I have learned that… most people will never understand my feelings, but in order to be true to Jacob, myself and his brothers, I need to mention him when I am asked about my children.

7. I no longer think that… bad things only happen to other people. I used to think I lived a charmed life. I generally got what I wanted. And even though I knew the risks in having quadruplets, I really thought ALL of my children would come home with me. Now I know that nothing is ever for sure and I just have to make the most of what I am given, and learn from all the rest.

8. I remember when… there were days I couldn’t stop crying, days I could barely function. I am thankful that those days are past, but I am also thankful to have gone through them. In a way, the severity or the sharpness of the pain I felt is a reminder that although Jacob is gone now, he was once mine, here with me. I would rather miss him desperately than to not have had him at all.

9. My partner (if any) and I feel close when… we talk about seeing Jacob again and having all of our boys together, finally.

10. The best times to remember my baby/s are… always-whenever I look at my surviving children, every time I count heads to make sure they are all where they’re supposed to be, every time someone asks me if my boys are triplets…

11. The worst times to remember my baby/s are… whenever someone asks if my boys are triplets, and then INSISTS since there are no longer four of them here, that they are triplets. And whenever I read about quads or see them-I wonder why couldn’t all my kids have made it? And nothing is worse then torturing myself with the “why’s”.

12. Sometimes I wish… I could start the (quad) pregnancy over again, knowing what I know now, able to do the things that may have made a difference in the outcome, such as having a preventative cerclage done in the first trimester. I don’t know that anything would have made a difference, but I sometimes wish I could give it one more shot.

13. When I could handle it again… I grieved. It took a long time for me to be able to get our life under control with the continuing pregnancy, then the boys’ NICU stay and the chaos that ensued when we brought them home. When I finally had a breather (at about 18 months old) the full force of the grief hit and instead of shutting it out, I finally allowed myself to grieve for my Jacob.

14. If I could choose whether or not to have twins again (or triplets or more etc. again)… As much as I love raising multiples, I would not want the risks of another quadruplet pregnancy. I don’t think I could handle having another child die. But, I wouldn’t trade being a mother of quads for the world.

Brenda did go on to have twins, a boy and girl who were born healthy at full term.