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We were thrilled to find out we were pregnant in April last year, and went for an early scan at 7 weeks. Finding out it was triplets was like being hit over the head with a baseball bat; we felt concussed. The next few weeks were a blur; we didn’t know up from down. We went for another scan at 9 weeks, and all three foetuses were still progressing.

We talked to two consultants, both of whom recommended reducing to a twin pregnancy because of the health risks to my wife, and the relative safety of a twin pregnancy compared to triplets. Beyond the medical issues, we don’t have any family living near us that would be able to help us out with child care, and the financial implications were stark. Having twins would be a stretch anyway, but we felt we could handle that. It was an awful decision to have to make, but we knew it was the right one for our family. Some members of my family reacted very badly to the decision, which added to the stress.

We were put in touch with a clinic in Spain, as they have experience with reductions and were highly recommended. My wife’s family helped financially, and we arranged the reduction for a Friday. It meant flying to Spain on the Thursday for a consultation, and remaining there until Monday to allow my wife to recover. Friends of ours looked after our daughter while we were away. It was excruciating to leave her for 5 days, but our country gave us no choice.
It was surreal to be flying abroad for a medical procedure because it’s illegal at home, but at the time you don’t really think about the absurdity of it all.

The consultation and procedure went as expected. The staff at the clinic, and the surgeon in particular, were extremely compassionate, which made a big difference. I do remember saying goodbye my wife before the reduction, stepping outside and bursting into tears because the whole situation was so awful and we were in a place where we knew no one. The scan on Monday showed the two remaining foetuses were in good health.

After arriving home on Monday evening, my wife began to feel unwell. We went to the hospital for a scan, and one of the twins had no heartbeat. It was heart-breaking.

We were told to come back on Friday for another scan to check on the remaining foetus. On Thursday evening, my wife passed some water, and the scan on Friday morning showed that the heartbeat had slowed almost to a stop. We were going to lose the third. They kept my wife in hospital overnight, and did a scan Saturday morning which confirmed the worst. We were practically numb at this stage, and my wife had to have surgery on Saturday evening to remove the foetuses. I don’t know how she coped with it all. She had to endure two surgeries while trying to come to terms with the emotional trauma. It was almost unbearable.

It’s likely an infection set in at some point after we arrived home, which caused the two miscarriages. We can’t say for sure whether having to fly home played a part, but it probably didn’t help. It’s been 9 months since it happened; the pain is still there and always will be, but it’s not so close to the surface. We lean on each other as much as possible, and our daughter is the light in our lives.
I can’t believe my own country forces women to travel abroad at a time when they should be supported and cared for at home. The 8th Amendment is cruel, and we need to repeal it.

This story was submitted anonymously.

Artist: Jacob Stack.

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