Sarah, Tony and I went to the hospital for the sonogram yesterday. We nervously waited next to a couple who had just learned that their expected baby has heart problems. It was hard to listen as they questioned the technician and made plans for more testing. They seemed frightened but hopeful, just like us.
The sonogram took about 90 minutes. We were quietly holding our breath and hoping for good news. The technician carefully went over each baby, pointing out the brain, diaphragm, kidneys, spine, face, legs, arms, feet and hands. She measured everything and solved the big mystery: Quad A--Boy, Quad B--Boy, Quad C--Girl, and Quad D--Girl. Tony was so excited that he immediately started making plans for the boys' room and baseball!
Although she repeatedly warned us not to get our hopes up because things always go wrong with quads, she gave us good news, thank the Lord! Every baby is growing evenly and weighs the same. As far as she could tell, all is well. We are so thankful and relieved, especially after the waiting room experience. God is good. I keep thinking about the prayer cover and the power of God.
Then there's the other, unspeakable thing--the doctor's suggestion to end the lives of all four of my grandchildren--or at least two of them--that kept running through my mind. I felt damaged by the memory of it. I stared at the screen, watching the babies kick and wiggle, and tried to grasp the incredible cold-hearted evilness of the act.
While watching Quad C, I mentioned to the technician that the doctors had suggested selective or full reduction. I told her it was not an option for us. Then I had to ask, "How do the doctors determine which babies to take for selective reduction? It is hard to believe anyone could do it, especially after seeing the babies on screen."
She said, "I'm not sure; we don't do that here. Do you mean if there are no health problems? They first take any who have health issues that are observed or discovered through genetic testing. After that it is probably location." I wondered if that decision also allows for gender selection. She went on, "I do know that you have to go out of town to have it done, to New Jersey or some other location. They have to give you the option."
We were solemn. Seeing those four tiny, perfect beings, created in God's image...I should have been excited, but all I could think about was the recommendation that they should be killed. How did we come to this? Four babies can be reduced to nothingness by a word. They vanish. Legally.
I remembered that first phone call after the quads were discovered. Sarah was crying. The doctor had just told her and Tony not to tell family or friends that they were expecting quads, that it would make it easier to abort the pregnancy without having to answer questions. He then described the "procedure." First, the reduction doctor watches the babies via sonogram. Then he inserts a needle through the mother's abdomen into the protective sac of waters around the baby. Next, he injects the sac with salt water. Finally, the baby dies and just goes away. No one ever has to know.
Poor Sarah. I am angry that I couldn't protect her from the dreadful experience.
We are forever changed by these unspeakable things.