Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Octuplets

I am sure most of you have heard about the Octuplets that were recently born in California. If not, you can read about them here.

There are so many emotionally charged questions running through my mind.

Is the human body really supposed to carry 8 babies?

Is this responsible?

Is this fair to the babies?

What about the cost to society?

To be honest, I have not heard if this was a result of artificial reproductive technology. Is it even possible for a pregnancy resulting in this many babies to have happened naturally?

197 comments:

terri w/2 said...

The fact that they will not disclose whether or not there were fertility drugs involved, implies that there WERE fertility drugs involved.

I saw the gushing going on this morning on Good Morning America. The Drs involved in the delivery were on TV. They were all happy about how "healthy" the babies were. Ugh.

The babies weigh between 1.5 and 3 something pounds and were 9 weeks early.

"Miracle" and "healthy" were once again used frequently in the news reports I saw.

terri w/2 said...

2nd thoughts on this. .

I find that neos whining about how "parents want us to do this" to be truly even more annoying today after seeing how the reporters are covering this story.

If the reporters cannot report the truth (that prematurity is the number one cause of disability, and that having 8 babies is a tragedy of modern medicine), and if the Drs. involved are all happy happy about this, why WOULDN'T parents come into the NICU with unrealistic expectations?

I share your exasperation, TPE.

Kyrsten said...

I second the disgust.

I doubt we'd ever hear of it, if any of the children died or lived with disabilities.

lea said...

Yes, it is miracle that all eight survived, but how about the practicalities? Bellflower is in California, a notoriously expensive place for real estate. How many bedrooms do you need for eight children? What kind of vehicle would you need for that many children? The economy is bad, how much can companies and people afford to contribute? How are you going to coordinate various therapies that will be needed by the children? In my opinion, this is so not what nature intended. What were the doctors thinking? What were the parents thinking?

This article is interesting:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/jul/12/septuplets-mom-inspires-other-mothers-of/

The myriad health ailments that make walking and doing schoolwork challenging for some of their children do not diminish the McCaugheys' conviction...

and finally, how will these children live if/when the parents pass on? Will the healthier siblings care for them? Why don't reporters and doctors ask these questions? I may be a little on the morbid side, but my own mortality figures into many decisions about my two children.

terri w/2 said...

Lea said: "Bellflower is in California, a notoriously expensive place for real estate. How many bedrooms do you need for eight children?"

Well, whatever they have for a home, I hope it's wheelchair accessible.

Sheila said...

I find it interesting that this was a Kaiser case, another person I know who received fertility treatment via Kaiser had to sign a pre-conception contract that said among other provisions that should a HOM gestation occur from the treatment that she would reduce to no more than twins (and while many will say they can't "force" you to selectively reduce, they CAN deny you medical coverage for the HOM pregnancy and delivery), while this news is making world wide headlines today, also her in SoCal (literally less than 20 miles from Kaiser Bellflower) a man killed his wife, five children and himself this morning, four of the five children were two sets of twins so it is at least possible that these children were NICU grads as well. But in any event, this is the third family anhilation at the hand of an overwhelmed parent in less than 6 months. Anyone who thinks 8 same age sibs are a 'blessing' should look up the meaning of that word.
This is being well discussed on our local SoCal radio stations this morning, a caller to the program I listen to mentioned that she conceived a very rare set of identical triplets naturally and she was calling in to dispute that all HOM births get lots of free stuff - she and her husband were told when they called diaper, formula, etc companies that they don't consider anything less than septuplets as qualifying - she said this is what fertility treatments have done to our cultural view of "multiples".

Sheila

Katie said...

I'm confident fertility drugs were used. I really don't think that would happen naturally. I'm sure a bunch of people and companies will be giving them money and supplies to help them make it with so many babies.

Cora said...

This story is so sad for me, for so many reasons.

That being said...what the hell, how can she carry 8 babies for 30 weeks, and I can only carry 1 stinking baby for 23 weeks!

And, yes, some type of ART was used.

Kristie said...

I about fell out of my chair when I heard these babies were only 9 weeks early. That's the only thing I find amazing here. Otherwise, it is beyond frightening.

I'd really like to hear the doctors explaining all the potential problems these babies are facing over the years.

Instead we stuff like "John and Kate Plus Eight" where the NICU stuff is glossed over 95% of the time.

Kristie said...

Oh, and the last thing I think when I hear 1.5 pound 31 weeker is "healthy".

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison:

Terri and Kristie, you are both so right about the totally misleading way that prematurity and multiple births are discussed in the media!

A study conducted in 2004 of 89 consecutive stories in the media on premature babies revealed that the majority of these reports portrayed premature birth as a positive event! Most reports fail to mention anything at all about longterm health problems or disability. Only one article out of the 89 surveyed gave statistics on the likelihood of disability (and I'll bet they were overly optimistic stats).

Hospitals and neonatologists are the major informants on these stories. As one reporter (who later became the father of a severely impacted preemie) told me: with neonatologists and the media it is "garbage in and garbage out."

For example, one medical center boasts in its brochure that their "dedication to excellence" makes babies "as small as 12 ounces grow and develop into healthy young men and women." (Thank you, Terri w/2,for sending me this reference, BTW!)

In US News and World Report, media doc Bernadine Healy quoted one well-known neonatologist as claiming that 95% of 2-pound babies "survive to live full and happy lives."

It is truly appalling! And it leads to a cavalier attitude toward high order multiple pregnancies and births.

Helen

sce said...

I have to admit, my main emotion is simply jealous.

My twins (who were completely spontaneous), born to a healthy, early thirties woman who did everything in the universe possible to get them here safely are both dead, in part from a disease that affects only identical twins, (which are only very very rarely fertility babies)where as a woman having eight babies has them all doing apparently reasonably well.

I think eight living babies would be completely more than my family could handle. It would drive us to the brink, whether or not they were "healthy". I'm jealous anyway. But when someone uses the phrase "not what nature intended" let me tell you something, the grass isn't greener on the "natural nature" side, where I would have died along with my babies without medical intervention. I don't think any reporter is brave enough to refer to these eight living breathing not-doing-badly 31 weekers as a tragedy. Being born at 31 weeks is far from optimal, certainly, but I'd take it any day over what we dealt with (dead 28 week twins)

The problem with HOM is the only real "treatment" besides crossing your fingers and picking as wonderful docs and hospitals as you can, is selective reduction. The emotional repercussions of selective reduction absolutely SUCK and can destroy a parent's psych, but that's not a subject the media (or TPE) is brave enough to tackle. Before we judge parents for choosing to carry all the children conceived to them, let's look at their not very attractive, heart-wrenching alternatives. Selective reduction was one of the options available to us, too, when our twins got sick, and I would have never in a millions years considered it, even if I knew it could have increased the gestation for one of the babies at the expense of the other twin's life. As terrible as our outcome was, I would rather have no babies than blood on my hands, and raise a child knowing I killed her twin sister.

I get a lot out of huge parts of this blog, but one thing that super irritates me is the seeming lack of comprehension of the consequences of some of the choices people make, and subsequent judgements without that comprehension. Even if you are taking fertility drugs, no one asks for eight babies. Those parents didn't "deserve it" or "have it coming" b/c they took them. Choosing not to take the life of some for the sake of the others does not make them bad parents. Instead, we should be concentrating on how to keep such a conception from happening in the first place, not blame those desperate for a family, and publicly refer to their living children as a tragedy. That is as unhelpful as the media referring to them as "miracle babies".

Catherine said...

Too little information given to determine the medical issues that the babies and mother are facing. Most of the press I have read does go into the risks and concerns that such a birth has.

I hope all goes well with the family.

I also hope that this does not become the new goal. I can't believe how many quads are being born these last few years.

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison to sce:

I'm sure we are all brave enough on this blog to discuss the possible negative effects of reduction on parents.

I know parents who have done this, as well as parents who have stopped treatment, or not opted for resuscitation, on a newborn whose propsects for survival was poor and whose life was likely, in the event of survival, was likely to be filled with suffering.

Most of these parents do not have the "blood on my hands" feeling you say you would have had, however. Most feel that they saved their newborn/unborn child much medical misery, and are grateful to have had that option.

Studies done on parents that requested stopping treatment on a severely ill preemie have shown that they do not suffer psychologically as a result. I am not certain what the studies on selective reduction might show, but I do know that women who make abortion decisions in other contexts are not often psychologically damaged by their decisions.

I think it is human nature to feel justified in the decisions you make based on your own psychological make-up and/or religious or philosophical beliefs.

But these beliefs and psychological traits vary widely in our society. Many parents do not see this the same way you do, and do not have negative psychological repercussions, other than grief over what is, in any circumstance, whatever the decision, a tragedy.

More disturbing to me, however, are the studies seeming to show that reducing a high order multiple pregnancy does not necessarily reduce the risk of preterm birth. If this is correct, it then becomes necessary, I think, to closely reexamine the risks of ART and to take steps from the very beginning to ensure (to the greatest extent possible)that only one fetus is produced.

It would be interesting to know how the octuplets were conceived. Was it the result of some super ovulation drug? Were 8 or more embryos implanted? I think in either case there are steps that can be taken to avoid conceiving super multiples. Were these steps taken?

Helen

ThePreemie Experiment said...

SCE wrote: "The emotional repercussions of selective reduction absolutely SUCK and can destroy a parent's psych, but that's not a subject the media (or TPE) is brave enough to tackle."

I'm brave enough to tackle it and I agree with you that it can be damaging to the parents.

I know only a few people who have chosen selective reduction so I can only speak from my experience with them. Most of them came to terms with the choice they made and know their choice was out of care and concern for themselves and their child(ren). A few have been so adversely affected that their marriage has suffered as well as their own mental health.

In no way, shape, or form have I ever said that it is an easy choice. Friends who have made that choice are always on my mind as I write my blog posts. Always.

I feel the culprits here are the doctors that do not accurately counsel their patients about the risks of ART and HOM (higher order multiples) and also the parents who still choose after knowing the risks.

I am not saying that it is easy for couples who want children but cannot conceive. I can only imagine how painful it must be. But, I also know couples who know the risks and couldn't bear to risk the lives of their future children by using methods that may produce HOM.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Cora wrote: "That being said...what the hell, how can she carry 8 babies for 30 weeks, and I can only carry 1 stinking baby for 23 weeks!"

Cora... I had the same thought for myself! My water broke at 23 weeks with Paige and I did everything right.

terri w/2 said...

To respond to SCE said above:

No one here on this blog has said that these parents "deserve it" or "have it coming" - I do not think that any of us who have been through the horrific NICU experience could ever be so callous as to wish this on anyone.

Is having 8 babies at one time a tragedy? I believe yes, it is. These parents and their babies are going to be severely impacted life-long - long after the glare of the current spotlight is gone.

Right now, if the going rate of $5,000 per day of NICU care holds, these babies are costing $40,000 per day, if they all need to stay in the hospital for one month, this cost will be $1,200,000. Two months $2,400,000. And that of course, is JUST the beginning. .

Most likely, if current research is correct, several of these kiddos are going to survive their prematurity with on-going disabilities - we all know the myriad of possibilities here. Repeat hospitalizations, surgeries, therapies, special equipment, special education. These children could easily end up costing a billion dollars or more. (We are all paying for this one.)

Then there are the obvious logistics - how in the hell can one couple care for 8 babies/children, and especially those with special needs? Housing, transportation, food, clothing, equipment. Extreme sleep deprivation, constant unrelenting stress and worry.

Having 8 babies at one time as I have said, certainly is a tragedy of modern medicine. It never should have happened, and people should be outraged at the irresponsibility on the part of the fertility clinics who repeatedly allow these births to occur. I believe too, that counseling for the parents in this situation must have been far from optimal. Of course, no one (sane at least) goes in for fertility treatments with the goal of having 8 children, but the fact that this keeps happening over and over just boggles the mind.

Perhaps if the fertility docs were responsible financially for the life-long care, we would see and end to this?

terri w/2 said...

From the BBC:

"How does it happen?

It is very unusual for such pregnancies to occur naturally.

Pregnancies involving large numbers of babies are usually the result of fertility drugs aimed at stimulating the number of eggs a woman releases.

Women are usually closely monitored to ensure too many eggs are not produced: if they are, she is generally advised to abstain from sex or use contraception to avoid the possibility of multiple births."

lea said...

The octuplet mother lives at home with her parents and her six other children. Link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/29/earlyshow/health/main4761676.shtml

Anonymous said...

What?!? That's 14 kids and 3 adults in a 3 bedroom house if the facts in that article are true. No mention of the dad either, which seems odd in this case. I can't imagine being a single mom in that kind of situation, with kids at home and 8 babies in the NICU, so I hope for her sake that was just an oversight.

terri w/2 said...

Ok, what the heck happened here? Was this mom on fertility drugs obtained illegally? NO MD in his/her right mind would have put this woman on fertility meds. . .

ThePreemie Experiment said...

This link was sent to me by someone wishing to remain anonymous. I want to thank them. I hadn't seen it.

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/eight-is-enough/?hp

Kristie said...

Interesting Stacy. Thanks for posting that link.

While I'm here, does anyone have a link to, or PDF copy of the Boston study that came out this year about the high rate of positive M-CHAT results in preemies at 2yrs?? The press release says Jan issue of Journal of Pediatrics, but I'm not finding it...

Kristie said...

Here is article from the BBC health news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7853257.stm

It's ok, until the very last section which states:

"And the long term?

If cerebral palsy does not affect these babies there is nothing to suggest they will not go on to live a life as healthy as that of a baby born without having shared a womb with seven brothers and sisters."

Seriously? Nothing to suggest a 30 week octuplet might not be totally healthy...

terri w/2 said...

Kristie said: "While I'm here, does anyone have a link to, or PDF copy of the Boston study that came out this year about the high rate of positive M-CHAT results in preemies at 2yrs??"

No, but I was amazed that Good Morning America covered this indepth this morning with Dr. Tim Johnson. They apparently found that when testing 2 years olds using the M-CHAT, that 20% of babies born 3 or more months early showed signs of autism. HOWEVER, they THEN removed those kiddos with other cognitive deficits and the autism rate was at 10% - still double the rate of a full term infant.

Interesting that fully 20% were showing signs of "something" at only 2 years old, either cognition probs OR autism.

This of course was the GMA interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

Many term-born autistic children also have other cognitive deficits (like retardation, ADDH).

The 20% rate tells us something important about functioning and potential need for services.

If autism is to be narrowly diagnosed to exclude other dxes (like SID, for example), it can be easily defined out of existence.

Helen

PS: I'll look for that M-CHAT reference which I know I have somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison returns:

Here's the study -- and the percentage is actually 26% of preemies tested positive for autism.

Limperopoulos et al. Positive Screening for Autism in Ex-preterm Infants: Prevalence and Risk Factors. _Pediatrics_2008;121:758-765.

Anonymous said...

TPD. Interesting. Of the 27 comments so far, not ONE has been positive. However those 8 babies ended up inside of one woman, for whatever reasons, it is amazing and wonderful that they were all born, and made it to 31 weeks to boot.

Sheila said...

I was interested and saddened to listen to two different fertility specialists here in CA (where almost all agree that it was fertility drugs not IVF or similar AR tech), that before we "indict" the doctors at this hospital for their irresponsibilty, the facts should be gathered. Apparently, it is becoming more common for women to seek fertility drugs on their own in Mexico or Canada because US doctors, nervous about litigation are reluctant to prescribe them without a high degree of follow-up and confidence that their patient would take their counsel regarding selective reduction should something go entirely wrong.
I am the Stacy and Helen regarding the emotional impact of this type of decision, the women I know who've done it do not feel at all as though they had 'blood on their hands', but rather felt brave and resolute about giving the child they had the best possible environment. Though as Helen points out, regardless of reduction, these types of pregnancies have a statistically significant chance of pre-term delivery anyway so, it would seem that the MOST ethical thing to do would be to use IVF technology with one embryo at a time. But before anyone jumps on this plan - I do realize that ALL pregnancies which were a result of AR have higher risks for preterm delivery ... I can only say that while "MY" idea would be to do nothing that might incur a premature results, I do not have the hubris to think I have a right to say that as the mother of two children, to a childless couple.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison, again:

Just went to MSNBC.com where I noticed that another study (which I'm sure is what Kristie was referring to) on autism and prematurity has just been published.

This one, like the Pediatrics study I just referenced, also shows >20% positive rates on autism testing at age two, with 16% scoring positive when other problems such as cognitive disability were excluded.

I will try to get a PDF of the J Peds article ASAP.

Helen

Tamara Coburn said...

K, just a random comment but I have to laugh at the name of this study:

"Limperopoulos et al. Positive Screening for Autism in Ex-preterm Infants: Prevalence and Risk Factors. Pediatrics_2008;121:758-765."

Ex-preterm? How do you "stop" being someone who was born prematurely? I'm sure it's probably correct medically but it just stood out. :)

Tamara Coburn said...

As just another comment as well to the above studies, I did find these extremely helpful notes which answered a lot of my questions. Namely questions such as if they took their actual or developmental age into account. Which would affect the M-CHAT significantly. According to the M-CHAT my own son at 18 months old would have significant risk factors for Autism. But it doesn't take into account that he was 4 months old, that he's had 6 surgeries in a year, that he couldn't hear for 6+ months before he got ear tubes. So the 26% of preemies showing autistic signs is to be taken with a grain of salt.

"- The researchers do not diagnose the babies as having autism. The study found that premature babies were at higher risk of having autism-like features, not autism itself. Further follow up of these children with tools that are used to diagnose autism (e.g. Autism Diagnostic Interview) is needed to see how many of them actually develop autism. The researchers say that the presence of developmental delay in their sample (which is expected in very preterm infants) may have contributed to the high prevalence of positive M-CHAT scores.

- The population of preterm babies in this study were a 'selected high-risk' group. As the researchers acknowledge, their findings may not apply to healthier preterm populations.

- The researchers say that because the M-CHAT is designed primarily for screening toddlers at about 18 months of age, the use in an 'older' sample here may not be appropriate. They add: "It is possible that the sociobehavioural deficits identified in this study are transient or, conversely, may emerge or increase over time."

Overall, this descriptive study provides little information that can be generalised to the wider population. It is unclear how positive screen tests in a high-risk population translate into actual diagnoses of autism. Early identification of autism is an important area, but further studies are needed to evaluate the risk of autism in all preterm babies and to decide which screening tests or tools are likely to be the best predictors of a diagnosis of autism."

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/103100.php

Kate K. said...

At one level, I'm fascinated by the ocutuplets. I hope the best for the children. At another level, it seems to me given all of the risks to the fetuses/babies when there are multiple children in the womb, there should be some kind of regulation of the fertility industry. It is a hard conversation to have b/c many people have to have fertility treatments to become biological parents. It is hard having the discussion w/o appearing to attack the individuals and the choices they've made. Yet, having the discussions of the ethics behind various fertility treatments is hard to have in a vacuum.

BTW, are all fertility treatments associated with higher prematurity risks? The reason that I ask is that I have a female friend. Her partner is planning to get pregnant. They have the sperm donor set up. He is having some kind of testing done next month. Then, they'll be ready to release his donation into her partner when it is determined that her partner is ovulating. I'm not familiar with the various treatments, so I don't know what term best describes this scenario. In this type of situation, when a person is getting a fertility treatment, not because they have problems getting pregnant but because of other reasons (e.g., female doesn't want to have sex with man), is the pregnancy still at a higher risk of resulting in prematurity? In short, is the fertility treatment the cause of the associated risks or the female's physiological make-up the cause of the associated risk? In this situation, is my friend's partner at a higher risk of having multiples (beyond what would occur if she got pregnant the old-fashioned way)?

My other question is similar to what Tamara asked. When premature infant studies are conducted and they report age, are they reporting the children's actual or adjusted ages? For example, if CP is usually diagnosed by age 2, does that mean 2 years actual or adjusted?

And on the autism discussion, are preemies more at risk for late onset autism? Is there an age by which one can tell if a child has autistic traits? If so, are the studies going by actual or adjusted?

Thanks, Stacy, as always for providing a forum that yields thought-provoking discussion.

Anonymous said...

"In this situation, is my friend's partner at a higher risk of having multiples (beyond what would occur if she got pregnant the old-fashioned way)?"

No, she's not at risk. Intrauterine Insemination (aka "the turkey baster method") just mimics nature and doesn't increase incidence of multiple birth or prematurity.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the latest news on these octuplets this morning? The mother already has 6 children! And it seems she's a single mother living with her parents and that for some inconceivable reason went for fertility treatments for a seventh child. I am so shocked by this. First of all, why would she go for fertility treatments when she already had 6 children? And second, why would a doctor help her in this endeavor? From what I've read, fertility treatments do not result in HOM births unless the patient or the doctor is not following the protocol. So someone in this mess is responsible. I am quite worried for the children at this point. I don't think that this woman, even with the help of her parents, can safely care for 8 preemies and 6 other children. I hope social services keeps an eye on this situation long term.

Kristie said...

Helen-

Yeah, that second article you mentioned is the one.

As for age range and adjusted age, they are comparing results to the results seen when the M-CHAT is given to the general population between 16 and 30 months of age (that group has 5.7% positive rate). Those 2 year old preemies definitely fall within that range whether you adjust for prematurity or not, so I don't think that is a huge issue here.

Also, while this screening tool doesn't diagnose autism, I think the important thing is that we have more evidence that preemies are not all catching up by two, and there are definitely some developmental differences that should be addressed. Whether these eventually go away, or whether they actually get worse is yet to be seen in this particular study population.

Either way, it is good to be aware, so perhaps we can find appropriate therapy or at least have appropriate expectations of extreme preemies in this age range.

-Kristie

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

I have the pdf of the study is anyone would like to see it. I got it for free at the J Peds web site however, so it may be available to everyone else that way too.

It is not listed in the current J Peds issue but as an "article in press." Just enter "Kuban" (last name of first author) into "search" and it will come up.

If not, contact me at
Helen1144@aol.com and I'll send you a copy.

The article, among other things, has references to the many other studies that have found high levels of autism in "ex-preemies" (I agree, the idea of an "ex-preemie" is weird).

Helen

23wktwinsmommy said...

Something needs to be done about HOM. And since I am not educated on fertility treatments, I don't know what it is, but this can't keep happening.
I feel like these news stories send us backward. With the media frenzy highlighting how wonderful and miraculous these stories are, and hit shows like John and Kate Plus 8, we have a looong way to go to educate the public on the realities of prematurity. Barely anyone who hasn't experienced it first hand "gets it."
I strongly hope that the babies do not have long term issues related to their multiple and premature birth (however unlikely that hope is). I know how challenging it is with twins...even healthy twins is tough I'm sure. I can't even fathom giving adequate care to 8 who are at risk for health and developmental issues. Honestly, I don't think it's possible. I truly hope she doesn't already have 6!
Shame on whatever doctor aided in this pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

I've just seen on MSNBC that this mom does indeed have 6 previous children and had in vitro fertilization to conceive the latest 8.

Elsewhere, there are stories (not sure if they are true) that she is unmarried, obtained the sperm from a sperm bank, lives with her parents, and already has one set of twins. All of her 6 previous children are under the age of 7! And yet this woman was a fertility treatment candidate!!

I saw several people who claimed to be neighbors interviewed, and I believe there are now statements from the grandmother on the IVF.

Kaiser delivered the babies but was not responsible for the fertility treatments, apparently.

Meanwhile, Newsweek has a feature on a fertility doc in Phoenix who specializes in creating super multiples, which he thinks can be brought all the way to *32 weeks* (as if that makes it all OK) with mag sulfate (forget that mag sulfate has been proven useless as a tocolytic).

It is time for legislation to stop such medical/social travesties. We are all going to be paying *bigtime* for this kind of medical and parental irresponsibility.

On the NY Times blog on the octuplets, several posters have suggested invoking the child abuse statutes. I'm inclined to agree.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Tamara Coburn, It doesn't do much good pointing out the limitations in this group, I'm afraid. I have come to believe that the posters interested in the studies on this thread are not looking for the positive, they are looking for the most negative. The underlying agenda I think is to ensure that the legal age gestational age for abortion is not lowererd as more and more babies survive at 23 weeks. And to gain support for parents not resuscitating babies at and below 26 weeks. To these ends, the more documented problems in extremely premature babies, the better, and there is no desire to put things in a "glass half full" perspective.

Tamara Coburn said...

Anon, I really hate to be a downer... but I don't believe preemies are all "miracles". I believe in having a realistic view of them, which is nearly impossible to find in the media and the general perception spread around about preemies. While I posted about that study, to point out that it was not definitive, I encourage these type of studies. I encourage all people to find out the truth behind preemies and the life-long devastating effects it has.

Maybe you have a good preemie story. I'm happy for that. My 1st daughter born at 32 weeks is a great success. Extremely intelligent, she's skipped a grade in school. She's in the 97% for her height. She's wonderful and I might have had the same impression of this site that you have when she was born.

Then I had my son at 1 lb. 11 oz. I was in agony watching all he had to go through. He didn't sail through his NICU experience. It was 4 months of torture for him and I. When my son was 8 weeks old in the NICU he had an IV in every limb and 2 in his scalp. He had 2 PICC lines (rare in itself). The nurses couldn't give him anymore medication because there was literally no where to give it to him. He was on an oscillator, 100% oxygen, nitric oxide for pulmonary hypertension, brain bleeds, so swollen it was painful to look at him. This may shock some, but maybe not others... I prayed for his death and it was the most unselfish thing I have ever done. I had never had the chance to hold my son, he was being tortured with dozens of medical tests, blood and plasma transfusions every other day, he had barely survived 2 full codes. He was sedated and paralyzed. Is that a way for a baby to live?? I prayed that his little life would end so that he wouldn't endure it anymore. I came to realize the power of the statement "there are worse things then death."

He's now 18 months old and a joyous, happy little boy. His development is that of a 9 month old. His speech is only at a 4 month old level. I do not regret that prayer though. I love my son, I would sacrifice and do anything for him. He's been through 6 surgeries, his doctor/therapist/surgeon list tops out at 12 right now. I am at various doctors and therapists 5-8 times a month. But I would never, NEVER wish this on someone else. And if I can save them this agony by telling them what the media, what the doctors, what the success stories won't... then I will make every effort to do so.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:02 from Helen Harrison:

I am in the process of reading the actual study, and have offered to make it available so everyone (of any "agenda") can read it for him/herself.

Two points I can speak to right now:

1) the study *does* correct for prematurity

2)the study *confirms* other studies that have showed a relationship between prematurity and autism, not only in two year olds, but also in older preemies

Helen

Kate K. said...

Dear Anonymous (January 30, 2009 5:02 PM):

Your assumption about the motivations of "the posters" on this board is misinformed as near as I can tell. I suspect that there are many reasons why people want to engage in discussion here.

I don't post here often, but I frequently read Stacy's posts and believe that there are long-term effects of prematurity that needed to be discussed openly. I also tend to fall more on the pro-life side of the spectrum, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to hear other people's views or close my eyes to those potential long-term effects b/c it doesn't fit with how I want the world to be.

Consequently, it is frustrating to see a post such as yours that discourages people from pointing out study flaws b/c you assume some secret agenda of "the posters" on this blog. As any research methodologist will tell you, every empirical study has flaws...every single one. But that doesn't mean strong inferences can't be made and bolstered by argumentation and discussion.

I come here b/c of Stacy's mission about discussing the long-term effects of prematurity openly. If you have read the blog comments thoroughly, you'll note that no one has said that every child who is born prematurity will have this or that. But the odds of problems are a lot higher, especially for micropreemies. Odds by definition mean that some preemies may very well escape some of the devastating risks.

But given that some choices are highly associated with poor outcomes, shouldn't we be cognizant of the effects of prematurity and discuss the implications of allowing certain fertility treatments when the cost is financially high for society and is potentially devastating to the children (who didn't have a say in the matter)?

BTW, I am the mother of a beautiful 25-weeker who weighed 1 lb 3.65 ozs at birth. He has had some problems along the way, but we are very fortunate so far. That said, I would never take a voluntary action if I knew that the action would involve high risks to my child (or potential children).

If there are things that can be done to prevent prematurity and low birth weight (e.g., not allowing doctors to implant 8 embryos), should those preventions seriously be considered?

Just my two cents.

Kristie said...

Thanks Helen. I guess I was looking too soon. I see it became available today. I'm definitely going to read it tonight.

As for anonymous, who wants to look at everything in a "glass half full" perspective - I think I already said it was a miracle these babies were carried as long as they were. That's as full as my glass gets on this issue.

terri w/2 said...

Tamara Coburn said:

"I prayed for his death and it was the most unselfish thing I have ever done. I had never had the chance to hold my son, he was being tortured with dozens of medical tests, blood and plasma transfusions every other day, he had barely survived 2 full codes. He was sedated and paralyzed. Is that a way for a baby to live?? I prayed that his little life would end so that he wouldn't endure it anymore. I came to realize the power of the statement "there are worse things then death."

Tamara, it was very courageous of you to "voice" these sentiments. And, having been in those same shoes, I understand exactly where you are coming from. It is truly the most selfless thing to pray that your baby is free of pain, even if that means death. I prayed for the same thing for my daughter after her massive IVH and later when we found out she had neurosurgery without anesthesia. She is now 22 and severely, multiply impaired.

It's time, I believe that the truth be told as to what happens to some of our kids in the NICU. And that in some cases, the treatments and so-called "care" is worse than death. I would not endure these things simply to survive, why shouldn't we be able to make those same choices for our children?

Sheila said...

I find it particulary interesting, as the tiny details of this medical travesty/miracle (you choose the side of the glass you want) start to emerge that from coast to coast 'BIG NAME' fertility and ethics MD's are circling their wagons and *blasting* the as-yet-unnamed MD's who collaborated in the situation. Just read a story on CNN in which the MD interviewed went so far as to say the MD should be charged with malpractice at a minimum. I've rarely seen ranks broken so swiftly - I have not read ONE account today from an MD's point of view that supports the actions of this woman and any doctors who assisted her in her efforts to use AR when she 1) was under 35 2) had six other children the youngest of which are barely 2. The spokesperson for the national organization which oversees fertility clinics indicated that IF it truly was IVF, that every single guideline they give to member clinics had been broken ...
But the echoing silence is still the answer for the most important question, which is 'WHY'

Sheila

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to Tamara:

I agree with Terri w/2.

You are brave to say what you have said, and emotionally honest enough to say that there are times when deep love and a wish for (merciful) death can co-exist, in fact, at times, I think the two sentiments are inextricable.

I felt the same way as you and Terri when my own son was suffering in the NICU (and as he continues to suffer 30 + years later), but that doesn't stop me from loving him with my entire being, and rejoicing in every happy moment he can eke out in an otherwise all-too-painful life.

Thank you for your statement of love and courage!

Helen

Sheila said...

Tamara,

I can tell you very honestly - that you are in extremely good company in your feelings about a fate worse than death. Over the past 14 years on preemie groups, I cannot tell you the number of parents who felt angst in revealing those feelings only to find out that they had many, many cyberfriends in that same thought.

The guilt surrounding premature birth is not the sole provence of the survivors, or the non-survivors, it seems that the emotional burden of participating in a situation which caused suffering to your child has no easy cure.

I don't think it is possible for parents or their preemies to "walk away" without a single scar. Even parents who sometimes post here who have "non-impacted" kids ARE STILL searching the internet for the topic "preemie" - so even if their kids have "no impacts" apparently the parents cannot leave the experience in their past.

Sheila

Sarah said...

Helen writes:

"I've just seen on MSNBC that this mom does indeed have 6 previous children and had in vitro fertilization to conceive the latest 8."

This blogger explains this better than I can, but just as there is much misconception about prematurity, there is equally as much about infertility.

I'm not being a stickler - just don't want to go on with misinformation. The likelihood of 8 babies conceived via IVF would be nearly impossible. It is much more likely via IUI and ovarian stimulation. Most people in the IVF community readily agree that an RE would not implant more than 4 embryos, which would mean that all 4 embryos would have had to split in this case and that is statistically nearly impossible.


http://bustedbabymaker.blogspot.com/2009/01/obligatory-octuplets-post.html

That being said, I'm still stuck on the fact that she could carry 8 to 31 weeks and I couldn't carry one.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

From an AP story today:

"... the children's grandmother, Angela Suleman, was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Times that her daughter had embryos implanted last year, and never intended to give birth to eight, but 'they all happened to take.' "

Helen

Sarah said...

I'm not arguing what was written. Just guiding readers to a much better explanation of how this could have happened. Despite what the grandmother says, the chances of this happening via IVF are infinitesmal. I don't want people going around blaming IVF.

http://www.livescience.com/health/090127-octuplets-faq.html

Nancy said...

Sarah said:
Most people in the IVF community readily agree that an RE would not implant more than 4 embryos, which would mean that all 4 embryos would have had to split in this case and that is statistically nearly impossible.

Thank you for mentioning this Sarah. It was one of the questions I had about the process. I know women who have had IVF and they have mentioned the possibility of the embryos splitting once they have been transferred. While discussing this at work (isn't everybody this week) I had posed the scenario that this splitting could have been a factor. So while it is statistically nearly impossible that it happened, is it still possible that 8 may not have been transferred and some split?

Not being anywhere near an expert on AR and barely understanding laymen's terms of the process, is it possible that an embryo can split, only to have one of those again split?

I think the reason that I am leaning towards the possibility of splitting is because she has already had a set of twins, putting her in that category of someone who is prone to a multiple birth pregnancy. Or I am completely off the mark here because of my ignorance on the situation.

That being said, I am stunned that any fertility clinic would consider her a candidate for any type of treatment. Unless of course she was not truthful in her consultations??

I think what it boils down to is a lot of speculation. We just don't know what any of the details are. And by nature, we are all assuming and judging, myself included. I am eager to watch the details of these unfold though, that is for sure.

Nancy said...

Tamara said:
I prayed for his death and it was the most unselfish thing I have ever done.

I mentioned once to my sister in law that when Caitlyn was born, and before she was a few weeks old, I silently prayed to God to just take her. Not because I didn't love her or want her, but because I didn't want her to suffer. Nor did I want to prolong MY OWN suffering. Selfish? Yes. And my sister in law was floored that I could be so open and honest about such a thing. Not that she judged me, she surprised that I basically had the balls to come out and say it.

Thankfully, that did not happen and I have my 7 year old daughter to experience life with. If we were in the same situation again, I believe I would feel the same way. I think humans are programmed to want to stop another humans suffering by nature. It's why there are euthanasia and mercy killing cases that go to trial. You never want to see the ones you love suffer and sometimes just praying for the suffering to end is all you can do.

terri w/2 said...

Sheila said: "The spokesperson for the national organization which oversees fertility clinics indicated that IF it truly was IVF, that every single guideline they give to member clinics had been broken ...
But the echoing silence is still the answer for the most important question, which is 'WHY'"

I hope the answer to "WHY" is not because she's a John and Kate plus 8 wannabe. It is frightening to think we have gone so off the deep end glamorizing HOM - now in ridiculous reality TV, however, part of me wonders if this could be the case here. The mom obviously has had some financial problems, what if she saw this TV show as her ticket to fame and fortune?

23wktwinsmommy said...

Kind of going off on a tangent with this, but I wanted to share that I was made comfortable in our NICU experience to outwardly express to the neonatologist and nurses that I did not want to see our son continue to suffer. Thankfully, they supported me and helped guide me through my choices and when things got the most critical the charge neo said, (and I'll never forget this), "I do not think it's unethical to decide to end treatment now. There is still more that can be done, but if you feel it's too much we can stop now. Either choice is ethical."
This support and nonjudgement enabled me to make the decision to sign a DNR and make a treatment plan that called for aggressive weaning off the oscillator. We made an agreement (family and medical team) that we would wean every day, and if our son tolerated it we would continue, if not, we would make the dreaded decision to remove life support.
I was also extremely lucky that my family supported the decision to "let him go" if he did not improve with the weaning. I was also able to tell my son how I felt without feeling guilty. It was an incredibly painful, yet in a way, was a release to be able to tell him that if it got to be too much that I would "listen" to him and take the pain away.
Thankfully, I feel things worked the way they were meant to, and he tolerated those weans and is our pride and joy along with his twin sister.
My hope would be that all NICUs support and engage families like ours did, and help give information that will assist families in the decisions they deem best for their particular child's circumstance.
It would have been much harder for me to sign that DNR if I didn't feel I had the medical team's support and expert opinion on his medical state. This experience shapes a lot of the positive feelings I have for neonatology, just as the examples of NICUs not being family centered or ethical shapes other's.

Kate K. said...

Regarding terri w/2's comment: "The mom obviously has had some financial problems, what if she saw this TV show as her ticket to fame and fortune?"

That would be very sick and selfish indeed. It is one thing to make decisions that affect only you as an individual adult, but to risk children's lives and well-being just to have 15-minutes of fame...or maybe a year long show...is just repugnant.

But I wouldn't put it past people. There is definitely a selfish, thoughtless, hedonistic streak in our "all about me" culture.

Susie Korbel said...

It was just confirmed that the mother used IVF, not IUI... I think at this point most concerns are legitimized. What kind of RE would put back 8 embryos?

Kristie said...

Terry w/2:
"what if she saw this TV show as her ticket to fame and fortune?"

I said this exact same thing to my husband last night after I read how young her other 6 kids were.

I'm also still hearing more reports that this was IVF. I don't know if they are accurate, but if they are, this is a serious problem. Even putting back 4 embryos in a healthy young woman with kids already is over the top.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison says:

You may want to check out this LA Times piece on ODS -- "octuplet derangement syndrome" ;)

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-daum31-2009jan31,0,6532827.column

Also, I read an interview with the octuplets' grandmother who stated that her daughter loved children and loved being a mother.

"I wish she'd just become a kindergarten teacher," the grandmother added!

Helen

Anonymous said...

Its pretty horrible that you guys prayed for your children's deaths.I had a 25 weeker, but that never ever crossed my mind. They are there struggling for their lives and you, the only true love they've got, are praying for them to die?????

terri w/2 said...

Yahoo News is reporting that on top of everything else - yes, there IS more to the story. . .

One of the 6 children at home is autistic.

I cannot imagine that Child Protective Services is going to allow this mom to take high risk infants into a household with 6 other kids, including 2 year old twins and a child with autism. The story just gets worse and worse and worse as each day passes.

terri w/2 said...

To Anonymous 5:52

Well, perhaps your 25 weeker fared better in the NICU and didn't need the horrific treatments than Tamara's and my micro preemie did. If that's the case good for you.

You know the saying about "walking a mile in my shoes". .

Anonymous said...

To Terri w/2 from Helen Harrison:

When my son was in the NICU undergoing what I consider to be medical torture, I contemplated "The Golden Rule".

What, I asked myself, would I want done if it were me lying there in that state, facing the kind of future he faced?

No question...I would want a nice dose of pain killer and a quick and merciful death.

My own mother was with me at that time, and she assured me that she would have felt the same way if it were me born into this kind of torment. (I quickly added her as a primary decision-maker to my living will.)

My husband also agreed, as did everyone closely involved, including the neonatologist who counseled us that it would be cruel to keep our son alive out of selfish parental interests.

I have written before about the apparent clash of philosophies going on behind the scenes that seem to have led to our son's impaired survival, so I won't repeat all of that again.

But let me point out that when a baby dies under these circumstances the religious among us often say things like, "Wasn't God merciful to take him?"

I was simply hoping for mercy.
****

I also want to add: I have read that right-to-life groups hire people to go around to blogs such as this one to post anonymously, or semi-anonymously, and insult/intimidate anyone who doesn't share their brand of zealotry.

I have heard that these people get paid according to how many people respond to their blog posts. Don't know if this is true, but I wouldn't be at all surprised.

Helen

PS: Just heard that the grandmother of the octuplets has threatened to move out before the babies come home. She's had enough of her daughter's irresponsible breeding.

Nancy said...

Anon 5:52 said
Its pretty horrible that you guys prayed for your children's deaths.I had a 25 weeker, but that never ever crossed my mind. They are there struggling for their lives and you, the only true love they've got, are praying for them to die?????

I prayed for her suffering to end. If that meant dying was the way to end her suffering, then so be it. Her "one true love" was praying for mercy and for her to be pain free. I think that's what loved ones pray for others?

I have to agree with Helen in her response stating that there is a definitely a clash when people say God was merciful to end their suffering. I can't even count the number of times that I have said to people who have lost family member, "At least he isn't in pain/suffering anymore." The person who left that comment has probably said it a hundred times over and doesn't even realize it.

Anonymous said...

But you see anon, why would you want your 25 weeker to endure that kind of pain? Perhaps, you didn't know the pain they were going through though. Did you know that there are many neonatologists even today who don't believe preemies experience pain? They would never tell you this to your face though. While you looked at your bundle of joy in that isolette their little body, their mind could have been screaming in pain. There are many preemies who are undermedicated for their pain. Don't believe me? Go to a nurse forum and watch the NICU nurses there express their disgust with doctors as they can clearly see these babies in pain but can't get more pain medication ordered for them.

It was simply your desire for your baby not to leave you that never allowed that thought of death to cross your mind. How brave and unselfish these women were to put their child's needs before their own.

Ask any parent who's child has endured horrendous and long medical treatment, the child with cancer, the NICU baby that's been there for 5 months, the child with failing organs. All these parents who love their child just as much as you love yours have wished for their suffering, their life to end.

It's the ultimate display of love and sacrifice, to put another's needs and wants before your own. Even if it's at the cost of never having them in their arms again.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Thank you to all who have shared their stories with such honesty. The fact of wanting your child's suffering to end is a painful thought but one that shows real love and compassion.

As for the mother of the octuplets... my disgust over the entire situation continues to grow with every new piece of information that the media reveals. I hope the doctor comes forward to explain the thought process used in this situation! I cannot find one reason that would justify what has been done.

Nancy said...

Not to add fuel to the fire or anything, but I stumbled across this. If this is in fact true, then I am speechless and just a little disgusted by this whole situation. The issues of prematurity aside, this woman is basically whoring out her story and her children now. I think I vomited in my mouth a little while reading this.

It states that she worked at a fertility clinic. Which really makes me wonder if there was something really shady going on in that clinic.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5627531.ece

Nancy said...

Here is the link again since it got cut off
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/
life_and_style/health/article5627531.ece

terri w/2 said...

I wonder where our March of Dimes is on this one. .

Rather than bashing preemie mothers as drug users, smokers, etc., perhaps they should start a campaign for healthier babies by educating the public on the dangers of overzealous fertility treatments. .

Nancy, the link you sent through about the mother's desire to make 2million to appear on Oprah, etc is about as sick as it gets. I mean really - this truly does go to show that the public's perception of prematurity is highly influenced by the miracle mentality of most preemie stories. It just never ends. Maybe this growing backlash will eventually shed some light on the realities of this and ultimately do some good?

But at what price - 8 little babies who may never be able to live with their family, and, who may have sig special needs.

Kristie said...

This story get's "better" every minute. I read a Yahoo news story last night where she reportedly told a woman who helped care for her autistic child that she "got paid" for the IVF treatments.

Here's the link: http://ad.vu/3df5

I've read two different versions of what Grandma is saying, but in more than one story, she says these were all frozen embryos from a previous cycle, and she didn't expect them all to take. Se had them all implanted because she couldn't just throw them away. The other version is that they were frozen embryos, but that there were "far fewer" than 8 and they embryos split.

Sarah said...

Anonymous wrote

"Its pretty horrible that you guys prayed for your children's deaths.I had a 25 weeker, but that never ever crossed my mind. They are there struggling for their lives and you, the only true love they've got, are praying for them to die?????"

It's been my experience in my life that sometimes death is more merciful.

None of us ever said our kids lives aren't worthwhile, that we don't love or advocate for them when they are sick.

And believe me, we all know TOO WELL that we are all these kids have.

Anonymous said...

TPD. I have been right there watching my child suffer and I thought I would crack in two. Personally, it horrified and sickened me that my baby had to be subjected to the medical procedures. I would not wish that on anyone. I would not second-guess anyone else's decisions or thoughts at that time.

I am also horrified and sickened by the reality that there are people who use studies on premature infants not to improve outcomes for future preemies, but to make it easier to end their lives before birth.

I am not at all ashamed to say that I am pro-life, and I am fine with being outnumbered here. But branding anyone who disagrees with the majority viewpoint as being in cahoots with some extreme right-to-life groups gets very tiresome.

I personally think it is the height of insensitivity to tell someone who is sharing about feelings "I would never feel that," - saying
"walk a mile in my shoes" is not any different. Both are just trying to invalidate the actual experiences and feelings of someone else.

I don't think it makes any sense to argue about someone else's experiences or feelings. I *do* think it is completely fair point out areas of disagreement over what the various policies and proecedures (of all sorts - medical, governmental, school, legal, etc.) for the preemie population in general should be. Our various viewpoints about these policies and procedures are shaped (in many cases I believe warped) by our experiences.

terri w/2 said...

Anonymous 4:12, whom is also anonymous 5:52?

The thing is, is that Tamara and I shared our thoughts about what is, I'm certain, the lowest, most frightening and traumatic point in our lives - watching our children suffer, being tortured basically - suffer so severely, that we set aside our wanting them to live, in favor of wanting their suffering to stop. If that meant death, then that was acceptable. Difficult as this would be, it was acceptable - in comparison to what we were witnessing our babies endure in the NICU.

It is unfair to attack that most vulnerable point on our lives by saying it is "horrible" for us to feel that way.

And then you do an about face the next day and claim that you are the victim here.

Huh?

Kristin said...

Nancy said:

"I think the reason that I am leaning towards the possibility of splitting is because she has already had a set of twins, putting her in that category of someone who is prone to a multiple birth pregnancy. Or I am completely off the mark here because of my ignorance on the situation."

A bit off the mark here. Someone who is prone to multiple birth pregnancies will have FRATERNAL twins, because something causes her ovaries to release more than one egg at a time. IDENTICAL twins (the result of "splitting") are just a freak of nature. (I'm an identical twin - also preemie, though that's irrelevant at the moment - so I can say that. ;) ) There is nothing medical, genetic, etc that causes it, it's just random. If you have one set of identical twins, you don't have a higher chance than anyone else of having another set in subsequent pregnancies. So her already having a set of twins has no bearing on the octuplet pregnancy and is in no way related to the possibility of any implanted embryos splitting. I'm not saying that none of the embryos did split, just that a previous twin pregnancy would not be a red flag that it would happen in this pregnancy.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Do you know what I find both interesting and aggravating?

When the media reports on the birth of a preemie we hear all about how much of a miracle the baby is. The reporters throw in phrases like, "the baby is healthy and expected to be just fine."

But, now that the public is outraged by the actions of the mother of the octuplets, the reports are mentioning the long term impacts of prematurity.

Where was this honesty before? And, I'm sure when this story dies down and the next extreme micro preemie is born, the reporters will go back to their feel good tone and proclaim the wonderful outcomes.

liz.mccarthy said...

grrr, I too was so angry at this story and the one sided reporting.

(I havne't read all the comments), but Bellflower is actually not an expensive area, it's a very low income area. And I believe I heard that the mother is a single mom and already has 6 other children!!!!

The grandfather answered a quick question from a reporter.

he said she wanted 1 more, but got 8.... Well, if she only wanted 1 why then didn't she terminate some. (oh I know this gets into the topic that everyone hates talking about)...

OK. this is so wrong...

A single mom who already has 6 and wants another one. I'm sort of speechless on the whole subject actually.

GRRRR

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090131/ap_on_re_us/octuplets

This is so sad. I believe one of her other children has autism. Even if all of her children were perfectly healthy they can have little to no time with their mother. As one of five children, I longed for more time with my parents.

Laura

Kate K. said...

It sounds to me like Octuplet mom has a mental disorder similar to the one exhibited by people who collect animals and have multiple cats/dogs beyond what can reasonable be given adequate care. Does anyone know what that's called?

When they "typically" do fertility treatments, is there any kind of psychological screening process that takes place? Or can anyone with a checkbook sign up?

Nancy said...

Kate- some of the blogs that I read are written by women who struggle with fertility. They have stated that typically there is a psychological screening. I am wondering if this woman went to another country or did something within the clinic she worked in that she should not have.

I have a difficult time believing that ANY doctor would transfer this number of embryos into a woman who has 6 live children, an obviously well function uterus once an embryo is in there, and someone of her young age. I really believe that there are events that took place that are quite possibly not only unethical, but illegal as well for this to have happened.

Anonymous said...

TPD. Um, Terri w/2, the two anonymous posters are not the same. I preface my posts with "TPD."

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

What is so disturbing about this case is that the mother, who, according to several accounts, had to declare bankruptcy before her most recent super-conception, is probably going to end up making a lot of money from the notoriety -- the interviews, book contracts, the movie, the adaptation of the movie to a television series and so on... which may, in turn, spur on a bunch of copy-cat imitators. I wish the media could all agree simply to ignore her and not to pay her for anything.

On the other hand the wave of public revulsion over this mom's irresponsible acts and obvious mental health issues may prompt legislation, such as exists in Europe to control the fertility industry. And that would be all to the good.

Helen

Anonymous said...

The chicken or the egg?

Autism Screening & Prematurity: Premature babies are at a higher risk for Autism. Are they saying that premature birth caused the Autism or Autism caused the premature birth? It would make sense for the latter.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 2:07 from Helen Harrison:

I'd say that whatever caused the baby to be born prematurely had already damaged the baby's brain in utero. So, something like infection/inflammation might be damaging the brain and causing preterm labor and later, autism and related disorders (such as cognitive impairment).

Inflammation/infection (often subclinical) is implicated in the vast majority of very preterm births, so I think this is the obvious first target for investigation.

I also think prenatal/postnatal steroids may be playing a role, and may help explain the rising incidence of autism among term born children.

How many of these children, born at term, were treated in utero with steroids because the pregnancy was considered high risk?

Helen

Anonymous said...

Octuplets mother demands £1.4m for her story - and wants to negotiate a deal with Oprah

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1134362/Octuplets-mother-demands-1-4m-story--wants-negotiate-deal-Oprah.html

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison to anon 2:43 --
The approximately 2 million dollars that this woman wants for her story will not last long with her gigantic brood, at least one of whom already has autism, and 8 new babies at very high risk for it (and other related disabilities/health problems).

There is a part of me that wants her to be thoroughly ignored by the media, and another part that hopes she gets the money so the taxpayers won't have to pick up so much of the bill.

But then, I can't help thinking that if she *does* get the money she'll just go out and spend it on more fertility treatments.

Helen

Sheila said...

Being a Californian like Helen and this dubious "super conceiver" ... I am conflicted about the media feeding this woman's sickness with ill-advised notoriety - but *we* (Californians) cannot afford to pay for this woman's sickness (I agree with whomever it was that said she is suffering from some form of 'Collector's Syndrome' a very dangerous mental illness). Our state is completely bankrupt (we can't even afford for the State to pay income tax refunds and will soon be borrowing money each week to pay State unemployment benefits). I also hope that this sad (disgusting even) story, forces the hand of the fertility industry to put "teeth" in their guidelines (there are some minimal teeth now in that MOST insurers that offer any kind of infertility coverage will ONLY cover those services for doctors and clinics who are members of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which requires it's members to adhere to their specific guidelines. I do not understand how Kaiser became involved in this case as I am not aware that any Kaiser hospital covers Medi-Cal patients (and if this woman was a FT student prior to her bedrest) it seems unlikely that she had employer based insurance and who knows how she got the embryo's transferred in the first place, but hopefully for anyone who HAS Kaiser insurance, the bill for these children will be under written by the state, or they may face defraying the cost via higher premiums. On the other hand, it seems based on what Kaiser is saying so far, these babies will have a "cheaper" price per baby than what many experienced preemie parents might expect. If they are in fact, all off support (which as of day 4 they were announcing) they're looking at "feeder grower" rates times 8 .. not cheap, but not 500,000 to a million per baby which is frequently a price tag for a preemie.

I was horrified when I first heard this story. Now I'm just plain old ordinary angry.

Sheila

Anonymous said...

Thanks Helen. I just read that Dr. Karl Kuban of Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, who led the study, said the increased risk for autism indicated in these children may not be directly caused by being born prematurely.Instead, it is possible that whatever causes a child to have autism also may force an early birth, Kuban said in a telephone interview.
Another article mentioned that scientists believe preterm labor does not directly result in autism, adding that the underlying factors responsible for autism should be considered as stimuli for premature birth in such babies. Therefore the infection/inflammation you mentioned would be the enviromental factor that triggers the onset of Autism. Because scientists say Autism has genetic components and have been unable to pinpoint which genes. There are many involved which in turn makes the symptoms vary from case to case causing the spectrum. Therefore, I'm taking it that preemies born due to conditions such as pre-eclampsia and incompetent cervix shouldn't be at a greater risk for autism. Would that be an accurate assumption?

Sheila said...

The mysterious element (to me) about genetic theories of autism is what has dramatically changed in the past 20 years, to cause wholesale genetic damage in families where no such damage existed in prior generations ? IF as autism advocacy groups indicate, the chance of a child being diagnosed with autism are now 1 in 150 children, that certainly was NOT the case 40 years ago. While I don't disagree with research into genetic factors, it seems strange (and if true, the most frightening thing I've heard about our planet so far) that there are mutagenic environmental factors we have no direct knowledge of at this time.

If what causes prematurity are in many cases the same things which cause autism, then that would be a situation where our intervention experiment in neonatal medicine has created autistic families, where there would have once been mothers who had pregnancy loss in addition to their live births. It is interesting the change in relationship woman have with regard to their pregnancy / gestations in an incredibly short time. In my mother's generation (born in the 20's), it was almost considered "expected" that if you had more than a pregnancy or two, that you'd likely experience a loss somewhere along the way. My siblings and I are almost all spaced exactly a year apart except for one "odd" space of 18 months, when as a young adult I made a joke about the "gap" with my mother, she off-handedly remarked, oh that was my "miscarriage" initially I was like "whoa" ... I never heard about that ... I wondered if my mother didn't mention it because it was traumatic ... but turns out - she felt just the opposite ... she felt *blessed* that it had happened rather than resulting in a child with a difficult life. She thought she had been smiled on by mother nature's plan. I didn't know how to feel about it initially, but when I also experienced a first trimester loss, her words came back to me and I understood how she felt.

Sheila

Sheila

Sarah said...

Anon at 6:10 said

"Therefore, I'm taking it that preemies born due to conditions such as pre-eclampsia and incompetent cervix shouldn't be at a greater risk for autism. Would that be an accurate assumption?"

My son tested positive for autism and is considered at risk, and he was born early due to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is actually an inflammatory response to a 'poisinous' placenta, to put it in layman's terms, which would support what Helen is saying.

I have no idea about the incompetent cervix.

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison to Anon 6:10 who asked:

"Therefore, I'm taking it that preemies born due to conditions such as pre-eclampsia and incompetent cervix shouldn't be at a greater risk for autism. Would that be an accurate assumption?"
****

Not nessarily. A preemie in the NICU is also subject to infection and inflammation even if s/he wasn't exposed before delivery. The same harmful effects of infection/inflammation on the brain still apply in the NICU to a baby who is in the midst of a highly vulnerable stage in brain development.

(Also I should note that there has been debate among OBs about whether or not what is called "incompetent cervix" might not actually be a cervix that dilates due to undetected infection/inflammation.)

It seems that anything which disrupt the brain's "wiring" or neural circuitry during the critical period before term gestation (40 weeks) can be harmful and might result in autism spectrum disorders.

"Premature" exposure of the brain to pain and other noxious stimuli in the NICU has also been hypothesized by physicians as one cause of brain disruption and damage.

Finally, preterm birth, in and of itself, has been shown to cause permanent negative alterations to normal brain development.

When otherwise healthy animals are delivered prematurely in a lab setting, researchers later dissect the brains and see the damage caused by prematurity alone. It is significant.

But the sicker the baby and the more complicated the NICU course, the more likely the child is to have autism, it seems. Almost half of all preemies sick enough to require tachs develop autism, for example.

In the Kuban study, many of the children who looked like they had autism at age 2 also had other problems such as serious cognitive, motor, and neuro/sensory deficits -- suggesting global brain impact.

But, even when the children with serious impairments were excluded from the analysis, preemies (<28 weeks) had 3 times the autism rate of term infants.

My own thoughts are: inflammation/infection causes most very preterm delivery (and damages the brain in utero, and/or primes the brain for damage, ex utero). Given the state of brain vulnerability in very preterm infants, adverse stimuli (pain, light, noise), drugs (such as steroids), further infection/inflammation, brain bleeds and brain ischemia (not enough blood flow), hypoxia, hyperoxia, poor nutrition, and all the other ills of prematurity combine to derail the neural circuitry crucial for normal brain function.

As for pre-eclampsia, exposure to magnesium sulfate, as is common in pre-eclamptic pregnancies, *might* be protective of the baby's brain and lessen the risk of autism and other impairment. The jury is still out on that one. But I do know several preemies from pre-eclamptic pregnancies who have autism.

I think the Kuban study is available in full and for free on the J of Peds site. And if anyone wants to contact me for a copy I'd be glad to send it along.
Helen1144@aol.com

Helen

Kate K. said...

Regarding Sarah's comment: "Preeclampsia is actually an inflammatory response to a 'poisonous' placenta, to put it in layman's terms, which would support what Helen is saying."

If that's the case, how is it that the odds of preeclampsia reoccurrence increase if you've already had a pregnancy resulting in preeclampsia? Are some people just more susceptible to the infection from the get-go? And if that's the case, what's the significance of the proteins found in the system as a by-product of the preeclampsia?

Kate K. said...

One more question. If the infection causes the preeclampsia, why couldn't the doctors prescribe some kind of low grade antibiotic to knock out the infection before needing to deliver?

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

There are many mysteries about pre-eclampsia, but I don't think an actual infection with an organism is involved, though some sort of malfunction involving the placenta and, perhaps, the immune system, is a part of the picture.

I'll go check out the latest on pre-eclampsia and get back to you.

I once *thought* I knew a lot about it, but the conventional wisdom/evidence keeps evolving.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison adds:

The easiest place to start might be the Wikipedia entry on pre-eclampsia.

It describes the inflammatory processes associated with the maternal immune system's reaction to the placenta.

These inflammatory processes, involving the kidneys, liver, and the inner linings of the blood vessels could, perhaps, be doing the same harm to the fetus as the inflammatory processes involved with infection, at least as far as causing brain damage and autism.
I'm not sure this is the case, but it would make sense to me.

Helen

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Here's the latest from the Associated Press...

http://tinyurl.com/cpfafn

It will be interesting to see who gets the first interview. I cannot imagine what she could say that will change the way I feel about what she has done.

future of hope said...

Sheila wrote:
IF as autism advocacy groups indicate, the chance of a child being diagnosed with autism are now 1 in 150 children, that certainly was NOT the case 40 years ago.


40 years ago, a child diagnosed with autism was AUTISTIC, by classic symptoms and was non-fuctional in society. Now every child on the sensory spectrum carries the catch-all diagnosis of Autism. Kids that 40 years ago would have been labeled "shy" and "quirky" or "marching to a different drum" now carry one variation or another of the Autism label. Autism is now the disablity du jour. While the focus is no doubt helping many children that would otherwise have gone without needed support - in my opinion at least it is a slap in the face to those fully in the trenches with autistic family members. Kind of like the on the edge feeling I get whenever my sister in law starts discussing her "preemie" ( a 6.9 lb 36 weeker with a normal 3 day hospital stay!)

As far as the original post topic - I am totally speechless....... and very, very frightened for these children's futures- even if they are all *normal* - because their mother certainly isn't!

Brooke's mommy said...

Not sure how true this is, but I read something very disturbing about this woman on AOL news this morning. It said she was previously employed at a fertility clinic. Guess that may explain how she found a doctor (her employer) to implant all those embroyos. He/she needs to lose their medical license forever.

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison to future of hope:

The idea that autism increases are due to lax and changing diagnostic standards is interesting,and probably, to some extent, valid, but according to California data, which is very strictly monitored and defined, classical severe autism is definitely on the increase -- at least in our state.

In some of the preemie studies (for example the one on preemies with trachs) the issue of possible lax diagnosis was brought up when the study was discussed at SPR last year, and it did not, apparently, play a role. The children had to meet very strict standards for severe non-functional types of classic autism.

So although changing diagnostic standards may explain some of the overall increase in what is called autism, very strict standards are being used to diagnose autism in preemies, at least in the studies.

That being said, the 2-year-old data showing 21% to 26% of preemies testing positive for autism is not yet definitive. Further testing of these children will be needed to verify these results, which may be better or worse than the early screening tests indicate.

Helen

Sarah said...

Kate K said
"
If that's the case, how is it that the odds of preeclampsia reoccurrence increase if you've already had a pregnancy resulting in preeclampsia? Are some people just more susceptible to the infection from the get-go? And if that's the case, what's the significance of the proteins found in the system as a by-product of the preeclampsia?"

First, the odds of having recurrent preeclampsia is a tricky one. Your risk goes up if you've had a previous history of pre-e, but the chances of having pre-e in a second pregnancy is actually less than the first. Also, the risk increases for a second pregnancy if you develop chronic hypertension in response to the pre-e, which I have.

Right now research is being peformed to find out why exactly some people are at higher risk for pre-e than others. I don't know about infection from the get-go, but as far as pre-e, some women are simply more susceptible to it for reasons yet unknow. Think of the placenta of a preeclamptic as a parasite and the mother is the host. There have been studies that show a gene mutation in quite a few mothers with pre-e but the disease is far-reaching, which leads to your next question about the protein as a by-product. The protein in the urine is part of the inflammatory process. Because the placenta puts out soluble FLT and something else that you can google or go to the pre-e website forum, it causes the mother's body to put out an enzyme in response that, which causes water retention/inflammation and then eventually strain on the kidneys which can't keep up with the demands that the mother's body and the placenta are placing on it. Way too complicated for me to explain here. You can go to the PF website forum and read the article in the New Yorker, which explains it really well.

Basically, the placental blood flow is restricted and sends out more blood vessels into the mother to try obtain the nutrients necessary for survival, but they fray and are unable to obtain the nutrients, so they build more blood vessels... which then fray ad infinitum. The mother's body can't keep up with the demands placed on it by the placenta and starts to protect itself by attacking the placenta, which is where the inflammatory response comes from.

Once the protein has developed in the urine, full-blown pre-e has set in and will increase in its severity.

Sarah said...

"One more question. If the infection causes the preeclampsia, why couldn't the doctors prescribe some kind of low grade antibiotic to knock out the infection before needing to deliver?"

As far as it is known right now, infection isn't what causes preeclampsia. You can find much more information at www.preeclampsia.org.

Anonymous said...

TPD. Many people that have diseases with a genetic component don't actually develop the disease - there are environmental triggers and genetic triggers at play. I wonder if it is the same with autism.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to TPD:

A geographically-based Japanese study found two manifestations of autism in its population.

In one, two or more autistic children were in the same family -- these children were generally born at term (suggesting that genetic factors were involved, or predominantly involved).

The other pattern involved families in which only one child had autism. In that case, the child tended to be preterm.

In my own family genome, there is no autism. (I do have a half-brother with something like Asperger's syndrome, however this is clearly from a genetic issue in my step-father's family since he had a brother with almost identical traits.)

My prematurely-born son has autism (and intrauterine and extra-uterine exposure to infection, and exposure to potentially damaging NICU treatment, pain, etc.)

At several medical meetings I have attended, developmental pediatricians have noted that very few autistic preemies they see seem to have autism "in the family" (seeming to bear out the Japanese research.)

Helen

PS: Some researchers also think there is a genetic predisposition to BPD. Just add prematurity and a ventilator.

Nancy said...

"TLC President Eileen O’Neill said production companies that work with TLC have already made offers to Suleman’s family, but the network is waiting to see how TV-friendly the family is."

In other words...if these kids are suffering from any lasting effects of their prematurity, then we naturally can't have that shown on tv.

This statement came from this article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29002731/

Anonymous said...

Also from MSNBC this morning...
'This is a huge problem'
David C. Magnus, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, said that if the octuplets were produced through in vitro fertilization, it would spotlight the poorly regulated infertility and reproduction field.

"This is a huge problem," Magnus said. "You've got a virtually unregulated marketplace with tort law serving as regulation in the U.S."

Magnus said that U.S. medical standards are not unlike those of other countries, but that U.S. guidelines are laced with the language of "you should" rather than strict rules and sanctions.

The professional organizations should take a stricter line with doctors and clinics, he said. "They've been very loath to take that action."

Slideshow

Whoa, baby
Find images of famous multiples, including the Dilley sextuplets, the McCaughey septuplets and the Chukwu octuplets.
more photos


But "if you leave it up to the marketplace," he added, "there will be abuses."

Suleman's babies, who are still in the hospital with their mother, were born 30 1/2 weeks into gestation, weighing between one and a little more than three pounds. They are breathing on their own, according to doctors, but are expected to stay in the hospital for weeks.

In the meantime, Suleman has hired publicists to handle the hundreds of media inquiries from around the world. According to her spokesman, Mike Furtney, the "very bright, very engaging" Suleman has a degree in psychology and hopes to continue work toward a master's degree.

As for some of the criticism aimed at her, Furtney said, "she's hopeful that when she tells the story, people will change their opinion of her — for the good."

Bleh ... I ask the reasonable among us - what could this mother POSSIBLY say about her reasons or the circumstances that would change ones opinion to the good about her resulting decision/behavior. The simple fact that she's allowed her poor mother to live in a media sh*t storm, caring for 6 children under the age of 7 and won't say one unpaid word to the world pretty much closes the case in this correspondents view.

Sheila

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Sheila wrote: "I ask the reasonable among us - what could this mother POSSIBLY say about her reasons or the circumstances that would change ones opinion to the good about her resulting decision/behavior."

Nothing. Not a damn thing.

I am still quite outraged by the entire circus production. I thought by now I'd be able to just accept that some think only of themselves and let the whole mess go out of my mind. Sadly, this has not been the case.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Nancy wrote: "In other words...if these kids are suffering from any lasting effects of their prematurity, then we naturally can't have that shown on tv."

Exactly. And, this is also the very reason why I cannot support the March of Dimes anymore. Not only do we only see the cute kiddos who are camera friendly, MOD does not take out full billboards (magazine ads, television spots, etc) explaining the dangers of HOM and ART. Yet, they will spend tons of hard "walked" money to tell us not to smoke and take our folic acid. They support the studies and research and then sit on the results so the general public is not armed with all of the information when making a decision about their own fertility choices.

It's a sad thing really. They are positioned to do good. Too bad they appear to be too afraid to alienate their biggest supporters... women who can afford the therapies that "can" cause prematurity.

Ok, off my soapbox.

For now.

Kate K. said...

Sheila wrote: "I ask the reasonable among us - what could this mother POSSIBLY say about her reasons or the circumstances that would change ones opinion to the good about her resulting decision/behavior."

Hmmm...well if she could present hard evidence of an alien abduction that resulted in the implantation of the embryos against her will, I might be a bit more forgiving...

sheila said...

Well hurray .. perhaps we haven't as a society taken complete leave of our senses ... This report is on our local Los Angeles CBS affiliates Web today. I don't think these babies should be forced to suffer needlessly because their mother is mentally ill (they should have diapers and formula that CA isn't paying for) ... But I hope this will act as warning to others with a similarly disgusting plan that the "amazing multiple card" has already been played out of the deck..

Where are all the gifts for the Southern California mother who delivered octuplets last week?

Women who have multiple births are often showered with dazzling gifts from big corporations, local businesses and strangers. But that is not happening with Nadya Suleman.

Suleman is reportedly unmarried, conceived all her children via In Vitro and now has 14 children under the age of 8.

Normally, in the cases of multiple births, diaper companies, baby food manufacturers and toy producers line up to donate products in an effort to be associated with the rare achievement.

But Suleman has been lambasted by talk-show hosts, fertility experts, even her own mother, who has her hands full taking care of Suleman's six other children.

Conservative radio talk show host Bill Handel in Los Angeles, who has branded the births "freakish," said on the air Tuesday that people are ready to boycott any corporations that help the octuplets or their mother.

Suleman's spokesman says that he has received some "fairly negative" comments from the public but that offers to help with the babies have come in.

Sarah said...

TPE said

"Exactly. And, this is also the very reason why I cannot support the March of Dimes anymore. Not only do we only see the cute kiddos who are camera friendly, MOD does not take out full billboards (magazine ads, television spots, etc) explaining the dangers of HOM and ART. Yet, they will spend tons of hard "walked" money to tell us not to smoke and take our folic acid. They support the studies and research and then sit on the results so the general public is not armed with all of the information when making a decision about their own fertility choices.

It's a sad thing really. They are positioned to do good. Too bad they appear to be too afraid to alienate their biggest supporters... women who can afford the therapies that "can" cause prematurity."

I think I'm misunderstanding this... are you suggesting that women who use ART should not?

Never mind. Just re-read. I think you're saying that it would harm their organization to publish information regarding ART/HOM and prematurity?

sheila said...

Sarah said:

Never mind. Just re-read. I think you're saying that it would harm their organization to publish information regarding ART/HOM and prematurity?


Hi Sarah,
That is exactly what Stacy was saying. MOD will NOT report the findings of their studies,which show that HOM/ART and advanced maternal age to be the three biggest "controllable" factors in prematurity, because they know that their biggest revenue sources wouldn't like that message. Women of my generation, were certainly raised and fed on the notion "you can have it all" .. You can spend your 20's and 30's climbing the career ladder, and then, if you so desire, stop at 38 and science will enable you to conceive and bear children, despite any objections biology might like to raise about the issue. A more *truthful* message would have been, "you are entitled to the career you dream of, but recognize that there is a high probability that this will be a trade-off situation. You MAY NOT be able to change your mind about a family if you forfeit your biological fertility window" - that way, we could have taken a longer moment to consider whether or not the MD, JD, CEO tag after our name would be sufficient compensation for perpetually being "Auntie So and So".
But it is these women with disposable income that provide a great deal of the MOD's non-governmental funding.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

I think MOD is probably going to be more open to candid discussions of the risks of ART (which aren't limited to high order multiple pregnancies) and the risks involved in postponing motherhood to a later age.

The evidence is just too overwhelming, and I think/hope they can move beyond political correctness here.

I do want to point out, however, that the folic acid thing is really important and has not been promoted enough. We still have large populations (like the Hispanic population) that is not getting folic acid supplemented food (since corn is their major carb) and then there are the people like me who have to follow low carb diets.

Folic acid (and we should all probably be taking more) can reduce many birth defects, prematurity rates, and some of the diseases of old age, as well.

So MOD is doing *some* good. We just need to keep at them, and give them "permission" to follow the truth, even when it violates political correctness and the cherished myths/interests of their donors.

Here's hoping,

Helen

Sarah said...

Sheila said:

"A more *truthful* message would have been, "you are entitled to the career you dream of, but recognize that there is a high probability that this will be a trade-off situation. You MAY NOT be able to change your mind about a family if you forfeit your biological fertility window" - that way, we could have taken a longer moment to consider whether or not the MD, JD, CEO tag after our name would be sufficient compensation for perpetually being "Auntie So and So".
But it is these women with disposable income that provide a great deal of the MOD's non-governmental funding."

Please be careful with this. There are many women who support Stacy's blog who are advanced maternal age and have used ART, which is not limited to "elderly" women wanting to conceive but environmental factors as well, and the HUGE misconception that infertility is a woman's fault. Male factor plays a significant role in infertility as well.

sheila said...

Hi Sarah,

I was in my mid thirties when I started my family, so "technically" advanced maternal age. I think its regrettable and unhelpful to think in terms of "fault" for infertility - I'm sure you are probably right about the misinformation out there regarding infertility in general and the technology surrounding it in specific ... and I think that a lot of that information void serves the reproductive technology industry. The less that is known by the general public, the less likely there are to be laws imposed on their practices.
I think everyone who wants a family should have one, by whatever means they have available to them to achieve that goal. I wasn't saying or implying that ART was wrong - on the contrary... I think it should be fully defined and documented in the general lexicon of our society. I think women should have the data to make choices with.

Sheila

Nancy said...

Here is a question that keeps popping into my mind. Why do you think that this situation has caused much negative attention versus all of the other women who have given birth to HOM? Do you think it is because of her personal situation of not have a significant other or the fact that she already has 6 children or both? If she were married and slightly older, do you think the reaction would have been the same?

I only wonder because the reaction is sooo drastically different from what we are accustomed to hearing. So different to the extent of the companies coming out and saying that they aren't going to be donating to her to the same extent that they have other parents in this situation. John and Kate plus 8 is the perfect example. People went crazy over them, and still are. Is it because she was married? She already had 2 children, granted not 6 like Suleman, but she had proven that her body was capable of conception and carrying.

Is it possible that people truly are realizing the dangerous consequences of transferring a large number of embryos that can result in HOM? Maybe they are recognizing the fact that HOM result in a premature birth which can have devastating effects on the child? Maybe people are realizing these things more than we think? I am just truly curious as to why she has gotten such a different reaction than what is usually given.

lea said...

I agree with Kate:

Hmmm...well if she could present hard evidence of an alien abduction that resulted in the implantation of the embryos against her will, I might be a bit more forgiving...

and that they are half Klingon.

sheila said...

Nancy asked:
Here is a question that keeps popping into my mind. Why do you think that this situation has caused much negative attention versus all of the other women who have given birth to HOM?

Hi Nancy,

I *think* it is ALL those things combined. While Jon & Kate have their own show, and certainly their fans - even they have some vocal detractors. But they are married and both parents are fully involved in the child-rearing project. I think this woman would have thwarted the tsunami of negative press, had she personally commented on the situation. She allowed the octuplets to be thrust onto the national stage, and then stood by silently while the world opinion turned against them. She allowed her parents to be victims of the press onslaught, while caring for her other kids. Americans are compassionate toward people facing extraordinary circumstances,except when they feel they are being manipulated for the victims profit and inappropriate benefit. Her silence has actually cost her kids things that they need. It's not just that companies aren't jumping in with offers, those companies are now probably unable to assist (or at least assist at the level and public manner they would have) because they face a wildcat boycott of their products organized by right wing groups. I find it more than hilarious that it is the Christian right who is most actively working against this woman - you'd think she'd be their Joan of Arc. Refusing to selectively reduce a HOM, regardless of medical advice. But no, they want her shunned. Very interesting.

It is also curious to me that her story is experiencing more coverage on the Web and in other new media than she is experiencing here in Los Angeles. When I was surfing all my local new affiliate Webs yesterday, there was no new info on ABC, NBC or Fox only CBS had an ethics piece (that I mentioned here).

I am actually glad that public disinterest is preventing a chumming of the waters...

=Sheila

Kristie said...

I just read that she's going to be interviewed by NBC's Ann Curry at an undisclosed location. The publicist declined to say whether she was being paid, which makes me think she is...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/02/the-mother-of-o.html

Maybe we should send some messages to NBC and Ann Curry?

Kristie said...

Here's the3 announcement on the Today Show website:

http://allday.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/02/05/1782189.aspx

There is a comment form there.

sheila said...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,488627,00.html

Well this explains something which I've been sooo curious about - how did she financially care for her 6 older kids while she super-gestated. She would have had to go on almost immediate bed rest. So now we know, not only did the state pick up that tab, but apparently the tabs for many of her other pregnancies. While workers ARE entitled to worker's compensation for on-the-job injuries, I'm far too jaded not to see the unreasonably serendipity of this "coinky-dink".
OK .. so I REALLY, REALLY need to get a life - I do not know why this crazy woman has gotten under my skin. I keep saying I WILL NOT read anymore stories surrounding her sick ass situation, but then, BAM ... another pops up and I'm compelled. I wonder if there's a 12 step for media stalking LOL..

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Sheila, I'm with you in this addiction. I become more and more outraged with every new piece of information. I cannot believe she received that much in disability payments for a hurt back, yet was able to carry out her pregnancies.

And, her reasoning for having so many children was due to the fact that she was an only child? Give me a break!

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Kristie wrote: "Maybe we should send some messages to NBC and Ann Curry?"

I think the interview has already happened. I would have loved to be the one asking the questions!

Kristie said...

I think you're right. The first article I read made it sound like it was going to happen soon, but after a couple more articles, I'm sure it's already done.

23wktwinsmommy said...

The interview is going to air on the Today show Monday and Dateline Tuesday. I really hope they talk about the effects of preterm birth, and especially the complications associated with preterm multiples. If they say they are doing well and just need to learn to "suck, swallow, and breathe" and then be fine I think I'll vomit, brush my teeth, and then go to bed. Here's an opportunity to tell the truth...let's see how it pans out...
A coworker had 30.2 week twins in November. They had a pretty uneventful NICU stay, went home, 3 weeks later caught RSV, were brought to the PICU, one coded, was on the oscialltor and then conventional vent for weeks, and is still there 2 months later. He's being weaned off pain meds and paralytics with methadone. He has lost his ability to swallow and they are going to send him home with an NG tube. He may require a g-tube if he doesn't regain his ability to swallow. Additionally the other twin was released from the PICU after a couple of weeks, only to return to the ER a few days later with continued respiratory issues. Two months after catching RSV he is still requiring albuterol every 4 hours at home. And these were "feeders and growers" in the NICU. One never even required a single whiff of oxygen in the NICU. Imagine this happening with all EIGHT of your childnewborn preemies??? They all have premature lungs whether they are requiring respiratory support at this time or not. Let's not sugar coat the issues with the preemies in the 30s...immature lungs, difficulty feeding, reflux, eye issues, etc. Not to mention developmental issues. Either no one is telling her the reality of her situation or she just isn't sharing it. But there is nothing fun about albuterol treatments for sick twins...never mind octuplets.
On a rant here, but I'm pretty concerned about these babies. Too bad the neonatologists or mother doesn't appear to be...
"At this point in their development, they are not mature enough to coordinate the suckling and swallowing at the same time to be bottle-fed," said Dr. Mandhir Gupta, the hospital's neonatologist.
Who they heck is going to bottle feed them once they are able anyway? Propped bottles with reflux-prone preemies. Great...

Kristie said...

23wktwinsmommmy-

You're right. My daughter was born at 31w 1d, and had only minor lung issues afer the first 5 days. She got RSV after discharge, and ended up hospitalized again, and home on O2 and multiple meds for most of the next 14 mos... Plus, once one of those 14 kids gets RSV or the flu, they are done. Everyone will be sick.

No matter how they are doing now, this is not going to be easy. A few with reflux, some with extra fragile lungs, varying sensory and developmental issues, maybe a feeding issue here and there. I can't even imagine.

PS I need a 12 step program too....

ThePreemie Experiment said...

I don't know if the link will work but here is the preview to the interview. I'm still just as outraged.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29038814/?gt1=43001

Sheila said...

You mention RSV. This was something I thought of the other day, at least big pharma will have a benefit here. I'm presuming that all will qualify for and get Synagis ... assuming that they can get away with a vial a baby, that's about 1,000+ dollars per kid or $48,000 dollars per season. Ka-ching ! See there was a silver lining. You just had to look for it.

Kate K. said...

Here’s what was going through my head as I read her interview:

Suleman : “I know I'll be able to afford them when I'm done with my schooling.”

My response: Yes because people with BAs and MAs in psychology are just rolling in the dough!

Article: “Suleman…said she holds each premature infant 45 minutes each day…”

My response: Is she aware that there are 24 hours in a day? The kids will be held a lot less than they should be. I don’t think that she understands any of the psychology courses that she’s taken. And she thinks that she’ll earn enough once she gets a BA and MA. I’m kind of thinking that she isn’t graduate school material. Plus, she obviously doesn't realize what it takes to get an MA in psychology (at least at a decent program). Graduate school isn't the same as undergrad. It is often akin to a full-time job and then some. So she's going to do that and then neglect her kids even more?

Suleman : “All I wanted was children. I wanted to be a mom. That's all I ever wanted in my life. I love my children.”

My response: She’s really hit the essence of parenthood when she talks about her wants and desires. Parenthood is all about what the parent wants, right?

Suleman : “It’s a gamble.”

My response: And some might say you are incredibly ignorant and selfish (just what we want to see in parents) for taking that gamble.

Suleman : “I went through about seven years of trying, through artificial insemination, through medication. And all of which was unsuccessful. And then the first IVF procedure from that facility — it was successful. And then I just kept going in.”

My response: OK. She had 6 children before octuplets were born. The youngest of those 6 is 2, right? What does she mean trying for years? She already has kids. And she really needed to jump on the IVF bandwagon getting implanted with 8?!?

The article refers to “fairly healthy octuplets.”

My response: What does that mean? Leaves a lot of interpretation, doesn’t it?

23wktwinsmommy said...

Way off topic here, but I wanted to share that at my alma mater (College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA) there will be a presentation on the "Ethical issues in neonatal intensive care."
Interestingly, this neonatologist was one of ours in our 4 month stay, is a fellow graduate of the college, and was one of my mother's students her first year teaching the Organic Chem Lab. (A requirement for any pre-med student.)
Of course we'll be there and I'll be doing a piece on my blog and will email Stacy with a synopsis.

Since this is a Jesuit college, but yet one prided on being academically competitive, (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is an alum), with many students opting to go into the medical field, (graduates are admitted to medical school at rates better than twice the national average),
I'll be very interested to see how this lecture goes.

Sheila said...

On that "gamble" she had the INSANITY to say...

Of the octuplets' birth, Suleman said she had been hoping to have one more child and had six embryos implanted, two of which led to twins.

She said she knew she would not selectively reduce. "Sometimes we have that dream and that passion and we take risks. And I did and it turned out perfectly."

What the F???

Turned out "perfectly" ???

She thinks EVEN with a "PhD" she can "afford" 14 kids ?? Gimme a freakin' break !!

Additionally in the article -

Doctors say giving birth to extreme multiples comes with tremendous risks for the mother and the babies. Risks for the children include bleeding in the brain, intestinal problems, developmental delays and lifelong learning disabilities.

Suleman said her fertility specialist told her about risks for the children. But she did not want to have only one or two embryos implanted. "Of course not, I wanted them all transferred. Those are my children. And that's what was available and I used them. I took a risk. It's a gamble. It always is."

So, she *willingly* and obviously forcefully had 6 embryos transferred. I SINCERELY HOPE that this story does *force* laws rather than guidelines. I do not want to hear interviews with "shocked and confused fertility experts" who want to claim they cannot imagine how this could have happened with their guidelines... here's a hint princess ... guidelines won't get your ass sued or successfully imprisoned for ignoring them... but laws ... provide a mechanism for both.

We now know without a doubt that this woman did the intentionally with the goal of some reality TV career. We also know that she is mentally ill and those poor kids need to be supervised. Of all the disasterous reasons for becoming a parent, having a child to fill an unresolved childhood trauma is the one with the greatest potential for creating an unbalanced home for the children. I guess the only upside to this media circus is that these children will never be at the mercy of their Mom because the California department of children and family services will never allow this woman an unsupervised year.

I feel bad for her mother, because she's basically being "blamed" for this travesty because she had only one daughter. I find it simply inconceivable that this mother is NOT in the hospital with her 8 preemies and NOT at home caring for her 6 kids, but is allowing her mother to continue to bear this responsibility.

Ugh !
Sheila

Kristie said...

Insane. That's quite a gamble. I hope the state monitors the welfare of all the kids involved, because I can't even fathom how it will be possible for her to adequately care for them all.

How is the child who already has autism going to get his needs met amidst all of this chaos? I hope he doesn't have too much trouble with sensory overload, because that's going to be one crazy house when those babies come home.

Sheila said...

Yes, Kristie - I completely agree about the child with autism (and based on the news coverage, this is not a "spectrum" kid whose been given an autism label - he wears a helmet to avoid self-injurious behavior and is placed in harness while out of the house to make sure he doesn't wander or hurt himself. This is a child who will need enormous help and resources. The thing is, he's entitled to state resources... but I'm sure the mother will get a lot of push back based on her other decisions. I cannot imagine bringing 8 more (some of whom if not autistic, might certainly wind up on the spectrum ..) into the home. The octo-Mom's mother said in a comment yesterday that her daughter was going to have to have a crash course in taking care of children because up to now apparently she and the Nanny have done the lions share of the child care. I'm sure her "friend" who provided the sperm must be considered a move to a distant planet to avoid being dragged into the sideshow. Crazy Mom said she "hoped he'd be in their lives" ... If I had been that guy -my first thought would have been "feets don't fail me now !!!"

On the other hand - he HAD to know she was one bubble off level before he relinquished his "DNA"

=SHEILA

Kristie said...

LOL. I wonder if they had some sort of contract. Otherwise sperm donor buddy could be in for it.

I was curious about the severity of the autism. I really hope that child gets the services he needs.

Catherine said...

The human body certainly is not made to hold 8 babies at a time. The mortality and morbidity rate of multiples makes that very clear. It was a very irresponsible thing to do in that the mother's life was endangered as well as all 8 of the the embryos. The grandparents were put in a position where they may have ended up with the other 6 kids (which may happen anyways), and those 6 older siblings are not going to get much attention with 8 high risk newborns joining the family. The taxpayers are going to end up supporting this one way or the other, I suspect. The cost of that pregnancy, birth and infant care has to be tremendous, and subisidized from somewhere.

When the Morrison sextuplets were born and all but one died, there was an outcry about implanting so many embryos at a time. So quickly everyone forgets.

There are a lot of ethical issues involved as to what to do with frozen embryos and who has the right to make those determinations.

Anonymous said...

Single mom. That may not be the worst part of it. We're assuming a spouse is a good thing.

Although many parents reading this blog may have been fortunate enough to have wonderful supportive husbands and fathers of their children, there is a huge percentage of parents of children with special needs who end up divorcing with the stress - not to mention the number that just end up divorcing unrelated to the stress of parenting. So that weight, stress, struggle and breakdown of a relationship is off her shoulders to start.

Who can imagine dealing with a man when you have 14 children to take care of anyway?

Joan

Sheila said...

Hi Joan,

I don't think it's so much the single Mom aspect for me per se (being a single Mom myself), but rather, the cavalier attitude this woman has taken about the entire situation. It's clear that she's played the system, including what seems to be an egregious misuse of the state disability system - she wants us to believe that on the one hand she is so disabled that at one point, she could not even care for a newborn, and could not under any circumstances undertake paid employment - but now we should believe that she will be a wonderful, loving, involved mother to 14 kids under the age of 7. If she were trying to take care of this many kids that she hadn't birthed the state of CA would not allow it. The state mandates no more than 6 kids to 1 care giver to maintain a daycare license. What happens in the case of a disaster - a house fire, an earthquake ...whatever ! How do you safely evacuate 8 newborns and four toddlers, with a Kindergartener and a first grader as your "help". She doesn't need a husband - she needs a flippin' 3 person STAFF. How do you go to the MD's office ? How will your family ever go anywhere as a group ? The whole thing is horrific. Grandpa's going to Iraq and if Grandma's interviews can be believed she's "done" with her service ... So crazy Mom will be patching together "help" charts ? How will she fit it in between college classes (and from her photos from the interview ...her plastic surgeon for collagen injections - perhaps another use of the 165,000 dollars for her back injury). Poor, poor kids.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sheila,

I understand your point entirely - and noticed the collagen injections also.

My point was an aside, hopefully wryly humorous, on the value of a husband in parenting - and I say that from the perspective of a single mom - and with a bit of warped humor!

Again, I realize there are women out there with husbands who are wonderful partners and parents and in no way mean to disparage them. Were that there were more of them!

Now regarding the woman with 14 children, it seems there have been some heavy duty issues with boundary setting in her life.

When she had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then 6 children - at any point did anyone set boundaries - and say this is your responsibility? No! Mama and Nanny took care of the babies. And Daddy helped too.

Nobody set boundaries for this woman. Nobody said NO. Mommy and Daddy didn't say no. Fertility doctor didn't say no - fertility doctor kept injecting baby stuff way past any point of rational defense.

Is the insanity in the mother of 14 or is it one of those codependent, enabling kind of things with the parents and the doctor.

I'm imagining our children if we didn't struggle with setting boundaries, if we let out child be the boss, and the tyrant, if we took responsibility for their choices and their actions way past the time we were supposed to.

Then we end up with our thirty something year old child living in our house, procreating like a rabbit, lording over us like a tyrant - like a 4 year old temper tantrum that never ended but rather became completely disguised under an articulate adult facade that can even show up on talk shows on the evening news, and leaving us to clean up their room and their mess, leaving us to bankruptcy and leaving us to work our a-- off the rest of our life taking care of their irresponsible and poor choices.

Let this be a lesson to all of us parents. Set boundaries. Say no. Set your limits. Let your children become adults and responsible for their own choices and their own actions.

Joan
Enjoying a Soapbox

lea said...

California Medical Board probes octuplet birth, I hope this link works:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090206/ap_on_re_us/octuplets

Kristie said...

"Suleman also said six embryos were implanted for each of her pregnancies. "

Seriously? The first cycle, she only would have been 25 or 26 years old. That's crazy.

I wonder what the statistical chance of conceiving 8 babies from 6 FROZEN embryos is. It has to be astronomically low.

terri w/2 said...

If I were grandma, you bet your a**, I'd be on the next plane to Iraq with my interpreter hubby.
Desertion IS an option! She has paid her dues raising this obviously personality-challenged daughter who doesn't have a smidgen of common sense.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

I saw bits of the interview on the news last night, and this woman totally fails (IMO) to explain herself in any kind of plausible or sympathetic way. She seems to live in some sort of dreamy fantasy-land. I suppose I have to feel sorry for her total cluelessness, but I feel much more sorry for the children and all the collateral damage her motherhood obsession has wreaked.

I was disappointed that (otherwise very savvy) anchors Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow discussed the case totally from the practical standpoint of having too noisy and crowded a house (eg. "I was an only child till I was 10 and I liked it just fine, I wouldn't have enjoyed eight siblings suddenly appearing.")

They totally missed or ignored the huge immediate and longterm medical/developmental issues these children face. There's obviously still a lot of education to be done among the mainstream media!

Helen

Nancy said...

After watching just a snippet of the interview online, I have but one word....sociopathic. This woman has such a complete disconnect from reality it really is genuinely frightening. The fact that she plans to care for the children by loving them, spending time with them, etc shows how removed from reality she is. We all know that children need those things. But they also need food on the table and clothes on their backs. And forgive me if I sound pessimistic, but I don't think a master's in counseling is going to be able to handle that. At least not for 15 people.

Anonymous said...

Her goal is a masters degree in counseling. Seriously, who would go to this woman for direction? She obviously doesn't have sound judgement. But more than my dislike for her decisions in her own life, my anger grows for the doctors involved in making this happen.

Catherine said...

I'd like to hear an interview with the doctor who implanted those 6 embryos. I thought after the Morrison deaths last year, things had tightened up about multiple implants.

It is a problem when there are embryos in the freezer. What are the rights regarding what to do with them?

Sarah Blake said...

What amazed me is that the article I read said that she had tried to have a child for seven years before having her first one in 2001. She is 33 now. So she was a teenager when she started this sobsession? Where did all that money come from???

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

Just read an interview with the grandmother who said that she and her husband begged their daughter's fertility doctor to ceast and desist after the first 6 babies, but either the daughter found a new doc or the old doc didn't listen to them. I hope the state comes down hard on this doctor whoever he is.

The grandparents are obviously doing all the heavy lifting here, and I wish their warnings had been heeded.

Helen

Anonymous said...

TPD. The woman is mentally ill. The fact that the doctors and others in her life enabled her to do this is a problem. We take the keys away from drunk drivers; the doctors held the keys and should never have let her put so many children at risk.

The children are still pure in this, and their futures should be the focus, eg, get them into foster care so they have a fighting chance. Surely the state could make a good case that she is unfit, or at least mentally impaired in a way that leaves her unable to make decisions for these children.

sheila said...

yeah, I loved her "spokes" person who had the balls to say "my client hasn't been home in 2 months and should not be held responsible for the disheveled manner their home was found in for the interview (um, excuse me princess - but you put 6 flippin kids and two adults in a TINY three bedroom house - how do YOU THINK it is going to look with bunk beds, two cribs and clothes for 6 kids under the age of 7 ... OF COURSE you don't know because it's clear you've never been the primary care giver your entire life. You wanted siblings and when your mother didn't provide them, you provided them for yourself - your MOTHER is raising 6, now 14 kids SHE never asked for - in fact SHE did the responsible thing and had ONE child she could care for exclusively .... talk about no good deed going unpunished. I'm sure Nadya is freaking out now that she's finally telling her story and not only has it not quelled the criticism ... it's fanned NEW fires of disgust.
I wanted to SCREAM at the publicist who said,"the condition of the home should not be considered his clients fault - does he not see the INSANITY of that statement ? OF COURSE it's her fault, if she hadn't been flat on her back for 8 months, she MIGHT have been able to make a bed or do a load of wash.

Disgusting. Truly, absolutely disgusting.

=S

Anonymous said...

Conservative radio talk show host Bill Handel in Los Angeles, who has branded the births "freakish," said on the air Tuesday that people are ready to boycott any corporations that help the octuplets or their mother.


And if she had aborted them....can't play both sides of the fence can you?

ThePreemie Experiment said...

TPD wrote: "The children are still pure in this, and their futures should be the focus, eg, get them into foster care so they have a fighting chance."

I think the children are getting lost in this fiasco. Foster care is an option. But as a friend pointed out, who will take them all to keep them together? I think they would be better off away from the mother but my heart just aches for them and the fact that the 6 at home could be separated.

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Anonymous wrote: "....that people are ready to boycott any corporations that help the octuplets or their mother."

See, here is a case of people not seeing the big picture. The children are the big picture. If the mother doesn't get the free diapers and formula, what will happen to the kids? I agree that the mother should NOT profit at all. But, let's not go using our purchasing influence to sway the companies into leaving the babies in the dust.

Sheila said...

I agree Stacy - I see a boycott of helpful companies as pointless and mean spirited. However, it seems clear that she doesn't need those things as much as other families might as she is already receiving public assistance with her other children, and three of the six she has are receiving disability payments for 'undisclosed' handicaps (can we presume that they were preemies also ?). There is no graceful way out of this train wreck now, but I agree these kids should not carry the weight of their mothers judgment. If the foster care system actually protected any children, it might be a suggestion - but kids in foster care are far more in jeopardy than these kids will be, even with the crazy Mom and the overwhelmed Grandma

Nancy said...

This whole situation just gets more and more ridiculous as time goes on and more information is released. I must say that this comment is the funniest and most entertaining thing I have read throughout all of this:

Furtney said Suleman didn't consider the federal assistance to be welfare.

"In Nadya's view, the money that she gets from the food stamp program ... and the resources disabilities payments she gets for her three children are not welfare," he said. "They are part of programs designed to help people with need, and she does not see that as welfare."

The definition of welfare is assistance to a person in need. thus, the money that she is getting, as described by her own words of programs designed to help people with need, is in fact welfare.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with people being on welfare. When it is necessary. To stay at home with 6 children, be on disability, have 3 other children collecting disability, receiving food stamps, while you go out and have 6 embryos transferred is certainly not my idea of someone in need. It is my idea of someone who will not stop their erratic and irresponsible behavior and go out and get a job to care for the 6 children that she already has.

The whole thing just disgusts me and pisses me off.

terri w/2 said...

You know, one of the commentators, and I am forgetting which one, put up a picture of Angelina Jolie next to a picture of the octuplet mom - wow, it is truly amazing how similar they look! They could easily be sisters. Could it be that this mom has had plastic surgery to look like Angelina and THEN decided, like Angelina, that she was going to have a houseful of children?

Bizarre all the way around. And now the grandma is saying that the fertility Dr. promised them (apparently her and her husband) that he wouldn't implant any more embryos in their daughter after the six. Grandma says that Nadya went elsewhere to have the latest fertility treatment. . .however, Nadya told NBC that it was the same Dr. for all of the pregnancies.

Sheila said...

Apparently, she thinks her complete disregard for the lives of 14 innocent children should make us look the other way as she commits fraud and theft under the guise of "making ends meet" ? She admits it is her intention to support her kids with student loans (which will by her own words run out before she gets back to school in the fall (as IF she thinks that will actually happen with 14 kids under the age of 8)... Not only that, but she admits spending 100,000 dollars on fertility treatments alone - not including the costs to HAVE those other babies (and I'm assuming given the fact that 3 have disabilities that some were also preemies), yet she wants us to somehow believe that working "double shifts" as a psych tech she saved up enough money to pay for it all ? Really ? So then, Nadya - are you calling your mother a liar to the entire world - because your mother has said, she and your father have been financially responsible for you and your other kids. And unlike you hiding from the world except a well lit, hair and makeup first interview with Ann Curry - your MOTHER has let the world take a real look at the world you've created for these kids you say you love so much. How could you not see food stamps as welfare ? Do you think we ALL get them ? How do you afford a nanny ? I'm guessing that poor woman must be freaking out that sooner or later some snoopy news reporter will figure out that she is here illegally and bam .... back she goes, only because she couldn't figure out her employer was a complete whack job. Did this woman read one damn thing about the outcome for babies under 1000 grams (and several of the octuplets are well under 1000 grams) - the BIGGEST one is barely 1800 grams.

Sheila said...

Apparently, she thinks her complete disregard for the lives of 14 innocent children should make us look the other way as she commits fraud and theft under the guise of "making ends meet" ? She admits it is her intention to support her kids with student loans (which will by her own words run out before she gets back to school in the fall (as IF she thinks that will actually happen with 14 kids under the age of 8)... Not only that, but she admits spending 100,000 dollars on fertility treatments alone - not including the costs to HAVE those other babies (and I'm assuming given the fact that 3 have disabilities that some were also preemies), yet she wants us to somehow believe that working "double shifts" as a psych tech she saved up enough money to pay for it all ? Really ? So then, Nadya - are you calling your mother a liar to the entire world - because your mother has said, she and your father have been financially responsible for you and your other kids. And unlike you hiding from the world except a well lit, hair and makeup first interview with Ann Curry - your MOTHER has let the world take a real look at the world you've created for these kids you say you love so much. How could you not see food stamps as welfare ? Do you think we ALL get them ? How do you afford a nanny ? I'm guessing that poor woman must be freaking out that sooner or later some snoopy news reporter will figure out that she is here illegally and bam .... back she goes, only because she couldn't figure out her employer was a complete whack job. Did this woman read one damn thing about the outcome for babies under 1000 grams (and several of the octuplets are well under 1000 grams) - the BIGGEST one is barely 1800 grams.

tbonegrl said...

I too felt very jealous she made it so far with 8. I am also disgusted she gets welfare for many of her current children. The whole thing is very sad.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 11:41 that said,
"And if she had aborted them....can't play both sides of the fence can you?"

I never know why this reverts back to a pro life/pro choice thing but very curious to pose this question to YOU. Let's take abortion out of the equation. Not an option at any time. How do you feel about these embryos? These doctors create life and leave them frozen. Isn't that a little inhumane? They have them frozen, no intention to use them once they fulfill their family size but won't share with other infertile families. And when they do use them, risk each one's individual health by implanting so many. Where's the rules to protect them? What are your thoughts and solutions on this and remember abortion is not an option nor your case to argue against.

Anonymous said...

How do ya'll feel about her new website?
http://www.thenadyasulemanfamily.com/
It has a link to donate money and address to send stuff. Apparently, she's hoping for the kindness of strangers to support her 14 kids.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

Below are two interesting comments on the octuplet situation from Andrew Sullivan's blog.
***

About Those Octuplets ...
Heather Mac Donald launches a broadside:

...the backlash against Nadya Suleman, the mother of six artificially-conceived children who gave birth to another eight two weeks ago continues. The nine-week premature octoplet’s delivery required 46 doctors, nurses, and assistants; in twelve days, their care has likely cost at least $300,000 and counting. Here’s a possible rule of thumb: If you are a radical pro-lifer and believe that every artificially-conceived embryo must be brought to term, no fertility treatments for you unless you are prepared to bankroll all the resulting medical costs yourself. Either accept your God-given condition of infertility or accept a human condition on the man-made science for overcoming that infertility: use within reason.

***

Allahpundit asks pro-lifers to give money to the octuplets’ mom:

You say you’re pro-life. Now’s your chance to prove it...Worried that she’ll just roll the dough over towards another round of fertility treatments? Don’t be. She’s totally, honestly, completely, seriously done having kids now. Besides, she still has grad school to pay for and, quite possibly, new collagen injections before there’s any thought of IVF. Look at it this way: Since caring for the kids will cost millions and California’s already bankrupt, it’ll be federal bailout money that ends up footing the bills. That is to say, we’re all “donating” already. Might as well do your part now.

Sheila said...

Anon wrote:
These doctors create life and leave them frozen. Isn't that a little inhumane? They have them frozen, no intention to use them once they fulfill their family size but won't share with other infertile families. And when they do use them, risk each one's individual health by implanting so many. Where's the rules to protect them? What are your thoughts and solutions on this and remember abortion is not an option nor your case to argue against.


Why is is inhumane to free a few cells ? We do it all the time in pathology labs across the world. These are not "children" is some kind of scientific frozen prison.

They belong to the DNA contributors used to create the cells. They have every right to toss them away.

You don't get to dismiss options you don't like. Regardless of when the cells are tossed, in the freezer, in an over implanted uterus, a mistake, is a mistake and if left alone, nature itself would correct the problem by not only removing one or two, but by flushing the uterus of the botched gestation. Why are you more powerful or correct than the system which has seen us through at least three near extinctions JUST that we have become intelligent enough to discover.

I have no problem with parents utilizing technology to create a family. They should understand the process, it's risks and benefits and then they ought to be left alone (and unjudged by others).

There is no reason why they should "share" their cells with others - would they pick out a sleeping child in their nursery and give it to someone who 'deserved' them because they couldn't create a child themselves ?

The outrage that America feels isn't because this was an IVF misadventure .... there was nothing accidental about it. America is disgusted, because this woman who already had a family she couldn't care for, deliberately and intentionally created a situation that put 14 innocent lives in perpetual jeopardy - and then goes on the airwaves and tries to convince us that she's a good mother.

If this travesty does not initiate wholesale change in the ART industry, then we totally deserve the cultural ruin we are rushing toward.

Anonymous said...

To Sheila,
I agree with you, my questions were directed to Anon 11:41 because of the comment
"And if she had aborted them....can't play both sides of the fence can you?"

BTW Dr. Phil is making a plea for people to search their heart to help out with these children and has the link to donate to them.

Thank goodness I'm pro-choice. You choose to have 14 kids and I choose not to support your kids.

Sheila said...

Hi Anon,

It did cross my mind when I hit "publish" that my choice of the word "you" might not be taken in the editorial "you" sense I intended to have it read as. I completely understood the questions you were posing and I agree totally that this was a "choice" issue. Her choice was to do this, and my choice is not to endorse her mental illness, the lack of professional judgment on the part of her medical team and none of the media sycophants who are sucking off the tit of human outrage for their by-lines.

I hope that there are many out there who will feel better about themselves by contributing to the care and feeding of this disaster (we are, by far the most compassionate and generous culture on the planet) we give to starving children in places we cannot even pronounce, we give to the abandoned and mistreated animals serenaded by Sarah McClachlan, and two the never ending supply of tragic suffering of man made and natural disasters... so I hope that someone will feed Nadya's kids. I hope that the world is now clear on the fact that whatever misconception they were laboring under that parents-to-be using these higher risk technologies are more carefully vetted, have had those misconceptions completely removed. It was harder for me to rescue a Puggle from the Pasadena Humane society as a Christmas present for my 14 year old than it was for this woman to create this medical sideshow. I had fill out paperwork, have an interview, bring my OTHER DOGS to the Humane Society so that their animal behaviorists could evaluate both my dog raising skill and whether or not the proposed new addition would fit into the existing group. And finally, sign a three page contract spelling out my responsibilities and detailing what I must do if something failed to work out and agree to an adhoc inspection at ANY point in the future if the Humane Society wanted to do so. For a dog. A homeless, half-breed dog.

terri w/2 said...

The latest on Yahoo about octuplet mom, is that the LA police are investigating death threats against her and her PR manager. Apparently there have been hundreds and hundreds of negative e-mails flooding her website. What a turnaround from "miracle" this story was just a little over 2 weeks ago. .

And Ann Curry from NBC who did the hour-long segment on Tues night mentioned the same thing about the aount of negative e-mails NBC has received. She also finished up the segment with the risk of CP for these kiddos. Shocking that at least ONE of the possible disabilities was mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

And I also heard that *3* of her older children are disabled!

I don't know if this is true (I'd previously heard about one child with autism), but that's what I *thought* was said on CBS news tonight.

Helen

Anonymous said...

Octuplets doctor has another patient expecting quadruplets.
Here's the link.
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-me-octuplets13-2009feb13,0,457763.story

Sheila said...

Over the past few days, several talk radio programs here in LA have thrown open the question "what should happen to these kids" to the listener base. I was SHOCKING to me that 99 percent of the callers felt that these children should be removed from the home. I guess the average person knows less about the foster care system than they know about a crazy biological Mom on public assistance. They somehow feel foster care would be better for these kids than living with their biological family and receiving appropriate psychological and caregiving services. I am MOST baffled about why octoMom and her reps are receiving death threats and the MD is getting nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the CA Medical Board - if anyone deserves cultural vitriol it is the MD. She may be mentally ill - but it was HIS responsibilty to decline to treat her (especially, if it is true that her mother begged him not to do it).

Apparently the sensationalism this morning is that her life long friends have come forward to say that she IS obsessed with Angelina Jolie, DID have the surgery she's had specifically to look like her and has written her several times over the past year to shower her with glowing praise (a direct contradiction to what she told Ann Curry). It is clear that in addition to having some form of mental illness that drove her to this outrageous gestation, she is a compulsive liar - welfare, celebrity obsession, sounds like her testimony about her "injuries" were fabricated ... I feel so very sorry for Nadya's mother. When I heard her 6 year old daughter say she didn't want 8 more babies because they would cry all the time and make her Mom even more stressed out - I thought how pathethic, that a six year old has more common sense than her mother.

Anonymous said...

Sheila-
I caught a little of this mess on Dr Phil yesterday. He had a few doctors and experts talking about this doctor not following the guidelines. But Dr. Phil and others quickly mentioned that rules and laws don't need to be created to stop this from happening because we don't want to be a police country like China regulating how many babies people can have. They quickly cover each other's butt instead of saying Yes, what this doctor did is appalling and laws must be created to stop this from happening in the future. Absolute craziness!
-Tammy

lea said...

Speaking of the fertility doctor, here is another article:
http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-octuplets13-2009feb13,0,4217157.story

He allegedly implanted a 49 year old who is now pregnant with quadruplets and no insurance.

Sheila said...

Hi Tammy,

Typically, my political leanings are somewhere between Libertarian and moderate/middle of the road Liberal and as such, I bristle at additional layers of governmental direction in our private lives. But in this case, their efforts to police themselves with good sense, judgment and evidence based medicine isn't always working, there is currently no LAW that has been broken by this man. Should half the octuplets wind up needed expensive and extensive life long medical care, she *could* sue him for medical malpractice, but she would have zero chance of prevailing when his defense attorney's have dozen's of hours of tape of her own words indicating that she knew every risk and insisted that the MD transfer a number of embryos completely out of line with the standard of care. So, in order to protect MD's from other crazy women, we DO need law that says, you cannot implant more than 3 embryos at a time. The mother then still has the choice to have serial pregnancies (a la crazy Michelle Duggar) we aren't telling someone how many children to have, we are merely telling them how many they can have at once, unless the gestation is literally the result of "divine" or "biological" misadventure - but NOT a result of preventable medical intervention.

That MD needs to be punished. Especially, since it's clear that he is consistent in his complete lack of compliance with industry guidelines or good judgment.

terri w/2 said...

Yahoo news is reporting today, that Octomom's agent who was representing her probono has quit. Apparently their office has received so much negative e-mail and death threats that they are releasing their client. The article stated that even the agent's other clients are being harrassed.

I wonder if the Octomom's MD is also receiving the same?

Angelina Jolie apparently has said that she is "creeped out" by how much Octomom looks like her.

Anonymous said...

When I posted at February 9, 2009 11:41 PM:

Conservative radio talk show host Bill Handel in Los Angeles, who has branded the births "freakish," said on the air Tuesday that people are ready to boycott any corporations that help the octuplets or their mother.


And if she had aborted them....can't play both sides of the fence can you?

The "you" was directed at the radio talk show host who apparently wants to punish the children for the sins of the mother.

Anonymous said...

When I posted at February 9, 2009 11:41 PM:

Conservative radio talk show host Bill Handel in Los Angeles, who has branded the births "freakish," said on the air Tuesday that people are ready to boycott any corporations that help the octuplets or their mother.


And if she had aborted them....can't play both sides of the fence can you?

The "you" was directed at the radio talk show host who apparently wants to punish the children for the sins of the mother.

sheila said...

Do you think he (or any of the loud critics) were suggesting "punishing" the children for the sins of the mother ? The birth is freakish. Empirically that is true. And it is also true, that companies whose fortunes are made or lost by their relationship with the buying public, so it is prudent for them to gauge the impact that supporting the freak show might have with their revenue base. While the conservatives are unhappy, so are the liberals and the self proclaimed middle of the road folks. Companies who have in the past chosen to gift their products for positive press did it not because the children "deserved" or didn't "deserve" a life time supply of Pampers or Gerbers or Similac - but because the *COMPANY* would benefit from that gift. What is wrong with those companies NOT doing something that would be bad for business. I had a very interesting conversation at the nail salon with a woman who had IVF recently for the specific purpose of having a boy child (she had two older girls). She was stunned to hear that this woman was able to convince the MD to transfer that many embryos. She was a bit older than Nadya, but given her two successful spontaneous pregnancies, the MD said they would transfer no more than two, and that number was not up for discussion, even though, they were paying out of pocket costs and really couldn't afford more than two attempts. She was lucky in that IVF worked first time and only one embryo implanted and she got her son - but she could not understand why this MD was continued to be permitted to practice given the damage his lack of ethics was doing to the science of ART that has worked so hard to come back from the bad old days of Pergonal litters etc ..

I don't think that the death threats that have happened to her former PR firm or herself are any less insane than octoMom. But I think the depth of her mistake is hitting home. The sperm donor had best hope his contract is iron clad - because the state will be looking for any cracks that could leave him financially liable for this situation.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

If anyone is still reading this thread...there is a news story today maintaining that only 20% of fertility clinics actually follow the guidelines on embryo transfer.

So octo-mom's doc is far from alone.

Time for legislation with teeth, I'd say.

sheila Brown said...

Hi Helen,

I'm still reading ... I read that news story as well. It was sad to read it spelled out like that, but back when the octomom story first broke, I was very surprised at the number of fertility specialists they were able to find for media quotes who all said "well, there are many factors which must be considered" and "who are we to say how many is too many" ... I privately thought to myself, it's probably a miracle that there aren't MORE cases of extreme HOM. But I read a companion article to the one that talked about lack of compliance that talked about the unprecedented epidemic of trips and quads ... while that isn't as "shocking" as 6,7 or 8 in terms of neonatal morbidity and maternal risk, they are still serious, serious threats.

I seriously wonder how this mother is going to care for these kids even just considering one element like financially. The Gallup poll published yesterday indicated 70 percent of responders felt extremely negative toward her and her situation. 70 percent - that is a shocking number.

sheila

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison responds:

Thanks Sheila! I hadn't read the poll, but I am so glad to see people are being rational this time around.

Before, high order pregnancies were always celebrated unconditionally.

I have to wonder, how much the current economic "unpleasantness" is contributing to this newly sober and realistic judgement by the general public?

I read today that both Paul Volker and George Soros feel we're in for something worse than the great depression -- world-wide.

Under these circumstances, high order multiples, and many of the other costly (in every sense of the word) excesses of fertility/NICU care, will be under far greater public and media scrutiny.


Helen

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Helen Harrison wrote: "Time for legislation with teeth, I'd say."

What I am really amazed about is that abortion is illegal yet a doctor can help a woman have 8 babies which affects the lives of the babies and the community.

Yes, we need legislation!!

Sheila said...

Well despite a great assault on Roe v Wade by Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft .. it is still legal in the US to have an abortion, though I would stay away from South Dakota if you'd like to keep that right - since someone has apparently forgotten to tell their current Governor that they are still part of the United States of America and their citizens aren't entitled to less rights - but your are certainly right about the fact that the government has tried to take the decision about live born, but desperately premature babies from their parents and MD's with embarassingly badly written laws such as Baby Doe. My concern about leaving it to legislators to write the ART laws, is that those would be the same clowns that brought us Baby Doe (they're about the ONLY ones who look at Octomom as a scientific and divine 'achievement'.

Bleh -
Sheila

ThePreemie Experiment said...

It never ends...

http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2009/02/octomom-erupts-video-showdown-with-her-mom-over-babies.php

In case the link doesn't work, you can find the video of Octo mom and her mother arguing on www.radaronline.com

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Apparently her father will be on Oprah today.

Kristie McNealy said...

Just watched the radar link, and I love the part where she says she has to "let go and accept the help that i'm offered."

Seriously? She really went into this expecting to do this all alone, and just realized a few days ago that she might need help?!? 8 newborns... Yeah, I think she needs more than one type of "help."

Sheila said...

The thing that struck me so deeply about that link is that Nadya's mother looks COMPLETELY exhausted and drained and Nadya looks like she just got out of Hair and Makeup - NOT like the mother of 14 children under the age of 7. It is soooo CLEAR who is taking care of these kids and it sure as hell isn't their clueless, dumbass mother. Let's HOPE that help is actually being assembled behind the scenes, because her poor mother will not survive another six months of this. I was stunned to hear that Angels in Waiting has offered a contract to help care for her and her kids for 135,000 dollars a month. They feel they would need 12 carers (I'm guessing that would be two shifts of 6 or something) but MAYBE that number is starting to shock little Miss "done, done, done ... move on and accept what has happened" into reality. She is very glad she is her mothers daughter, because if she were MY daughter and she talked to me like that - I'd have stood up and walked out. She talks about the frozen embryos like they were minature frozen children which would be taken out and killed instead of a few cells so small you couldn't see them with a naked eye. She's a lunatic. I cannot imagine why her boyfriend who donated sperm wants to have paternity checked - I'd stay as far away from the crazy lady as I could. I worry that as the costs for these kids spills into the millions that the State of CA is going to come looking for somebody to co-sponsor the costs. The interview with Nadya's Dad is sad.

Sheila said...

So it seems in the continuing saga and manipulation of the public, that Nadya must have presumed that an offer of a bigger house would just pour forth as soon as the news of the octuplets emerged, and now that it seems clear that the kind of support that usually follows this type of event is NOT forthcoming...we are being fed the story that the hospital will not allow her to take her babies home if she doesn't have a bigger / safer / nicer house. While clearly, her house isn't even big enough for the 8 adults and kids that are already living there (I'm assuming Grandpa doesn't live there since he and Granny are divorced). On the one hand, I'm glad to hear that DCFS is obviously involved or that the hospital is taking a DCFS role in advance ... on the other hand, why is this our problem ?? It seems SO unbelievable that this woman never gave a single thought to what would happen if she gave birth to 7 MORE kids not even considering the 8th surprise. She planned for no help, she planned for no housing, she planned for no financial support, she planned for nothing. She actually said to RadarOnline that she was reluctantly willing to accept some volunteers to help feed the babies for up to a year, but hopefully no more. Please someone STOP this crazy, crazy woman before some poor child gets hurt. For the parents who read Stacy's blog ... can you honestly imagine how you would get 14 kids ready for school, with lunches or lunch money, clean clothes, homework, breakfast and out the door given that her oldest is 7, she'll have kids in different schools at some point, some in elementary, some in middle school etc ... not to mention the kids who will be going to SpEd programs which may be at different facilities all together - while getting yourself ready to go to work at the same time. Puhleeze. I have two kids who are completely self sufficient other than the transportation issues and STILL some mornings at my house could legitimately be labeled chaotic. There is a rumor here in SoCal that Paramount and Dr Phil's production company are going to buy her the house they filmed her interview in. Not sure whether I think that is great or that it sucks. I hope that Dr. Phil can handle the heat either way.

terri w/2 said...

Sheila -

What is the "Angels in Waiting" that you spoke of in one of your previous posts? Is this a home health care co, a nanny service, a group daycare?

Personally, I think the best thing (out of all the possible really ugly scenarios here) is for the newborns to be placed with adoptive families. .however, I wonder if there is a law that prevents multiples from being split up? It seems to me that there was a law enacted decades ago that prevented twins, etc from being placed separately. .but wonder if this would extend to higher order multiples?

The grandma is on the brink of having a breakdown from dealing with her daughter and caring for all of these grandchildren. The mother - well, we know what her capabilities are of caring for 14 children alone. .I cannot think of another way for these babies to get the care they truly deserve other than to place them with adoptive families who might under condition be required to get the kiddos together on a regular basis for sibling time.

What a mess.

sheila said...

Hi Terri,

Yes I really worry for the Grandma - basically, AIW is a non-profit group started by a nurse to take medically fragile foster kids out of institutional care and place them with medically appropriate care givers - it's expanded since it originally started mostly with micro-preemies that were in the 'system' - here's a little snipet of local news...

a registered nurse named Linda West-Conforti are stepping up to the plate. West-Conforti has offered Nadya Suleman and her children the services of "Angels in Waiting," a non-profit founded by West-Conforti, which cares for children in foster care who are "medically fragile." AIW will provide free medical and emotional services to the family, a place to stay and round-the-clock care, consisting of 12 caretakers for the children, including trained nurses experienced in tending seriously ill children. For a family this large, it would normally cost approximately $135,000 a month, and the services could only go on for a limited time unless more donations are received. Suleman has a week to accept the offer. If she doesn't accept the offer, Allred says, Nadya Suleman may have all 14 of her children taken and put in foster care by social services,

I don't really know that Gloria Allred is really going to add any value to this situation, but I wasn't surprised to see her name pop up - she can't stay away from a good media scandal. She is not actually affiliated with the nursing group... It doesn't appear that Nadya decided to take them up on the offer (too many strings I guess)... She is working on "gathering her community support" .. puleeze. I can already see the headlines Ocotchild rehospitalized again and again and again and ... well you know lather, rinse repeat.

:-)
Sheila

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison writes:

I suspect only a few of us are still following this thread, but it reminds me, sadly, of another event from last fall that described to me by a neonatal nurse practitioner.

It seems to me to be another case of reproduction and NICU run amok, with much collatoral damage and suffering for everyone involved (not to mention society at large).

I have altered or removed names and places. I now offer one nurse's account from her unit:
***

"...just got in from working (at S__ hospital), and have made note of yet another of the endless stories...

"Today I was told that one of our former patients had passed away on Thanksgiving at 11 months of age.

'Jennifer' was a 23 week twin born to a woman whose previous 8
children were in foster care due to her low intellectual capacity.
Jennifer's twin died in the delivery room.

"On her first day of life, Jennifer sustained a Grade IV IVH, and shortly thereafter, a bowel perforation. I was covering the unit the day after this and called the attending physician to carve a plan to discuss/pursue withdrawal
of care for this infant. To my tremendous dismay, I was told that 'our statistics do not support that intervention...our survival is not adequate in the VLBW population and withdrawal is not an option for this child.'

"I tinkered with some other avenues, but no medical support.

"In the best of circumstances, Jennifer was going to live her life in foster care. As it turned out, she never got that far. She was transferred to B__ Children's Hospital for 'rehabilitation' at 9 months of age, vent dependent with a tracheostomy and gastrostomy
tube.

"From there, we heard that she was back and forth between
B__ and W__ County Medical Center...not actually sure
in which place she died, but I can guess that it was not with a
familiar pair of arms holding her. I believe that this poor child must have had over 50,000 painful interventions in her short little life - one that was a battle with sepsis, multiple surgeries, NEC, ROP, reflux, IVs, suctioning, endless blood work, central lines - only to succumb a few months later.

"Never mind the pain and suffering...the cost of caring for this child was undoubtedly billed
out at over a million. Certainly, tens of thousands of dollars
exchanged hands at her expense. And sadly, her story -
one of hundreds that I alone have -is unlikely to make an impact or
be exchanged beyond this email.

"Oh...lest we forget...she improved our "survival to discharge statistics" this past year.

"I actually once envisioned a
'20/20' hour long special of this
family, as both Jennifer's mother and her siblings are very fertile, and most of their children are well known to our hospital and multiple social service agencies.

"To some degree, the reproductive freedom of Jennifer's grandmother has cost society multi-millions of dollars, cost many children enormous amounts of suffering, but has largely existed below the radar screen. A TV special could be a big eye opener, I believe."

***

Sheila said...

Hi Helen

Your probably right that there are just a few of us lingering on this topic - but the point you illuminate in the nurses story is an important one. While most cannot control their outrage from bubbling up and spewing forth regarding octomom ... we MUST face the fact that as unbearable as her story may be - there is no clear roadmap for what to do when the ethics of scientific reproduction intersect a woman's inate reproductive freedom. Does society automatically get to pick family size if you are unable to conceive naturally if so - why ? Should we think about abridging everyones reproductive rights tying them some how to class and financial status ? Or unilaterally a la the Chinese govt.

The thing which is truly, truly heinous to me in this scenario, is that IF she had only had twins or even triplets ... she would have taken those babies home to her overcrowded house, with no income and help or support beyond her overwhelmed parents and NOBODY would know unless and until they somehow came under the scruitiny of DCFS. Yet I think the average person would reject the notion that one unemployed, unsupported mother could appropriately care for 8 or 9 children under the age of 8, several with special needs.
One thing which keeps bugging me is that Nadya has *repeatedly* said that she had 5 or 6 embryos transferred with every pregnancy. If this is true (and I'm guessing it is since no one has come forward to call her out as a liar - and certainly if it could be proved a lie the MD would do it, since he HAS to be in hot water even over doing it alledgedly "once" ... Then someone should be making a big deal about the fact that "guidelines" aren't guiding - if MD's are willy nilly ignoring them.

This whole story is an all-day-sucker version of an ethics problem.

Sheila

terri w/2 said...

Helen said:

"I believe that this poor child must have had over 50,000 painful interventions in her short little life - one that was a battle with sepsis, multiple surgeries, NEC, ROP, reflux, IVs, suctioning, endless blood work, central lines - only to succumb a few months later."

What is the difference between this type of neonatal experimentation and the horrific experimentation on infants/children in Nazi Germany (coincidentally, many of them twins)??

Torture is torture is torture, regardless of the intent. This baby was suffering! And, no one could stop it. Naziism cloaked as neonatal "care".

Anonymous said...

Helen Harrison to Terri:

And it was all to inflate the (short-term) survival statistics of a NICU!

Torturing a baby!

There really ought to be some sort of human right's abuse group to investigate this sort of moral outrage. Where is PETA or Amnesty International?

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison to anyone still reading:

check this out!

http://secondthoughts.typepad.com/second_thoughts/2009/03/octomom.html

Sheila said...

Wow Helen !

Thanks for sharing that. I keep thinking my drove facination for this train wreck of a story will wane ... but 5 weeks into it - I still can't look away.

I think the reason for this, is that my concern/facination is LESS about Ms. Suleman and her litter and MORE about the issues in the larger sociological / cultural backdrop.

Sheila

Sheila said...

There is another issue that has just been driving me nuts since I first heard it. Anyone who is still following this thread has probably seen Dr. Jamie Grifo interviewed repeatedly on this topic, well specifically on the ethical guidelines of ART. I saw an interview with him about a week ago that really stuck with me - he said a formal review of the alledged MD in the Suleman case has yielded that his practice achieved a "10 percent" success rate for the last calendar year data was available for - FAR lower than the national average for IVF treatment. So ... then ... tell me, HOW is it possible that this doctor had been 100 percent sucessful with Nadya ? Not once, but 7 times ? Something is rotten in Denmark. I have wondered WHY the MD she named as "guilty" has not been the subject of more media or governmental scrutiny ... could it be that perhaps, he has some ability to document that he is NOT the guilty party ? I remember when this story first broke that there was speculation that Suleman had perhaps travelled across the border for treatment. Maybe. I just don't understand how an MD with 10 percent stats hits grand slam after grand slam with one patient. It just seems hard to reckon.
Sheila

ThePreemie Experiment said...

Sheila wrote: "Thanks for sharing that. I keep thinking my drove facination for this train wreck of a story will wane ... but 5 weeks into it - I still can't look away."

I'm right there with you (and Helen).

I was watching the news this morning and they mentioned that the police had been called to her house many times over the past year for missing kids, trapped kids and concerned neighbors over the health of the kids. Apparently nothing was done. I wonder if the environment was really fine or just that the system is taxed already and her situation was better than others in the system.

I am still very sickened by the entire chain of events.

Sheila said...

I was not surprised by the 911 tapes (big news here because she's a local) ... but then, I very well know that you pretty much have to be bringing your tricks home while your kids play in the next room or do methamphetamine on the coffee table while your kids are watching cartoons to have DCFS take action here in SoCal. They will flat out say "if there's no physical harm - we have bigger fish to fry". It disturbs me that radaronline is giving her a video blog - while I understand the tabloid "journalism" mentality ... I'm sickened that they don't refrain from doing this because it provides this sick, sick mother with the public platform she so desperately wants. To hear her say "This is Nadya Suleman and welcome to my life !" was truly a sad moment for me. I had hoped that all the negative press would shame her into a different plan .. but nope ! She intends according to one video entry to have the octuplets in the master bedroom of her new house. She said it's a huge room "big enough for all of them" ... I shook my head and thought - NO ROOM is big enough for 9 people to sleep in. It is clear that she hasn't given a single thought to how the day to day will be managed when she had 8 newborn preemies at home with 6 young kids. She keeps saying that she has a lot of help on deck - but how will that work ? Where will you sleep while your helpers are caring for the infants ? In the room of your 2, 3 and 4 year olds ? Maybe she's lucky and all her kids crash early and soundly and sleep 10 hours - but MY toddlers were up all night A LOT !
She doesn't EVER look sleep deprived or stressed - her MOTHER looks more like someone caring for 6 young children. I cannot even imagine how this is going to play out.

terri w/2 said...

You're right - she does not ever look sleep deprived or stressed, which again reiterates that she just doesn't get the gravity of this mess.

I keep thinking as I've watched her now in a couple of interviews -she really is quite verbal, but really lacks common sense, is very self-focused, has extremely poor "executive functioning" skills (cannot grasp the gravity of the situation or how to plan for the care needed of these babies). . .my daughter, who has NLD would be exactly, and I mean EXACTLY like her in this situation. She wants what she wants, but cannot for the life of her, see how this impacts others. Completely self-focused. Frustrating - you betcha!

I know that many people are falling all over themselves trying to find a diagnosis for this mom. .but with her already having a child on the autism spectrum, it is possible that this mother, herself is on the autism spectrum.

Sheila said...

Funny you say that Terri ! I thought the same exact thing - great or deranged minds must think alike. She has three kids who (according to her) were all FT healthy kids who have issues (speech, spectrum etc) - that is a bizarre percentage of issues 50 percent of her kids have problems. Why isn't the media focusing on THAT issue ? The data is out there if any journalist wanted to dig, that ART carries risks BEYOND prematurity and HOM. But - nope, not a peep. Based on her previous experience, she can be expected to have 7 special needs kids. Can you EVEN imagine. I would be shredding the hem of my garment and sobbing. Bleh.

Sheila

Shea Kang said...

Wake up with determination. Have a good day :)
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