I am certainly no stranger to comments ranging anywhere from idiotic to hateful, and most all of the time, it doesn't phase me in the least.
Today, however, something came to my attention that I feel I must publicly refute. An article published on the day Boaz was born on a site called alternet.org is making the slanderous and horrendous claim that rather than Jachin passing away due to circumstances outside of our control, we actually intentionally killed him by way of selective reduction. You can find that article here.
In case you have missed it, I have blogged on abortion and selective reduction in the past. Of course, we vehemently oppose both since they are just murder by another name.
The article on AlterNet claims that:
Christian patriarchs like Anderson pound the pulpit about women thwarting God’s perfect plan, but when push comes to shove in the pregnancy and delivery process, normal human emotions often win out: fear, love and the yearning for children who are healthy and happy. Anderson and his wife did their homework and she underwent a series of procedures aimed at maximizing the likelihood of a healthy outcome. The procedure that ultimately saved one twin — a laser ablation that severed their connection — also killed the weaker one, which was left with insufficient blood flow.
Not only is this a ridiculous and slanderous accusation, it is entirely inaccurate from a medical standpoint.
Untreated, TTTS will kill both twins in 95% of cases. In the other 5% of cases, one twin may survive, but face serious, life-long complications. Until just a couple of decades ago, this was the bleak outlook for twin pregnancies affected by TTTS. Sadly, this is still true today in most countries around the world that cannot offer anything in the way of treating TTTS.
Thanks to modern medical advances, there are now several treatment approaches. All this information can be found and verified on the TTTS Foundation website.
1. Laser ablation of the connected blood vessels in the placenta. These blood vessels were never supposed to be connected to begin with.
2. Draining excess amniotic fluid in the recipient baby
3. In mild cases, a doctor may choose to just "wait and see", as about 10% of TTTS cases resolve on their own.
Besides these three treatment options, there are two other possible, but unethical ways to proceed:
a. Terminate the pregnancy altogether
b. Terminate one twin (whichever one is the weaker one), typically by severing or cauterizing his umbilical cord. This is often referred to as a "cord ablation", likewise carried out by laser.
As far as survival rates go, option 1 offers the greatest chances of survival for both twins individually, as well as the pregnancy overall. It is the preferred, standard recommended course of action in an attempt to give both twins the best shot at survival.
That is the route we chose to go with our babies. The surgery was a complete success, as the surgeon assured me before I even got to the recovery room. Both twins were healed of TTTS the moment their connected blood vessels in the placenta were severed by way of laser. Without the surgery, both of our babies would most likely have passed away within the next week, one from severe anemia causing brain damage, the other from the excess blood volume causing heart failure.
Unlikely as it was, even just 24 hours after the surgery, Jachin for the first time had a visible bladder on ultrasound (meaning he was no longer so anemic that his body had shut down his urine output), and had even built up some amniotic fluid rather than being "shrink wrapped" in his amniotic membrane. It was as ideal of an outcome as we could have hoped for.
Still, the surgeon warned us that he was only giving Jachin a 50% chance of survival, based on the fact that he had a very small share of the placenta, and that his umbilical cord was not attached to the placenta properly (known as a "velamentous cord insertion"). The doctor was not basing this information just on ultrasound, but rather real-life images from the camera used during the surgery.
Sadly, three weeks after the laser surgery, Jachin did, indeed, pass away. This was not a result of TTTS, or the surgery, but rather the fact that he simply was not receiving enough nutrition through his cord to sustain his ever increasing needs.
What AlterNet is falsely accusing us of, instead, is that we chose option (b) above - cutting off one baby to save the other. Besides being murderous, this option could not have been possible for two simple reasons:
1. Cord ablation results in the death of the unborn within a matter of minutes, not weeks, as the child cannot live without his life-line, the cord.
2. The surgeon I was treated by does not perform cord ablations, as he considers them to be unethical.
I wonder just what kind of person would write such a lying, misinformed article simply out of hatred for our way of life, and then publish it on the long-anticipated birth day of our surviving twin. We honored our baby Jachin in an actual burial just a few days ago, when we were not even legally required to do so (he passed away right before the legal threshold), and in spite of the fact that the vast majority of parents in our situation choose cremation instead. Baby Jachin was loved every moment of his brief life. We never would have chosen a treatment method that favored the survival of one child over the other, even if it had increased our chances of having at least one baby survive. We fought very hard for both, spent over $50,000 in cash doing so, and have no regrets about any aspect of our medical care.
AlterNet ought to rescind their slanderous article, and issue a public apology. Which would require a minimal amount of decency and human nature, neither of which they possess.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. ~ Matthew 5:11