Tuesday, January 27, 2009

this just in. and out.

California: Second Set of Octuplets Born

Published: January 27, 2009

A woman gave birth to eight babies in Southern California, the world’s second live-born set of octuplets. The mother, who was not identified, gave birth to six boys and two girls weighing 1 pound 8 ounces to 3 pounds 4 ounces, doctors at Kaiser Permanente hospital told KCAL-TV. “Eight newborns are in stable condition, and they’re doing quite well,” Dr. Karen Maples said. Myra Suarez, a Kaiser spokeswoman, said she could not release any information about the mother, including whether she used fertility drugs. The first live-born octuplets were born in Houston in 1998, and one baby died about a week later.

[via nyt]

Who are these people? We are not livestock.* Two breasts, not eight teats. Motherofgod, who would want to put themselves and this many babies at risk?

I understand the desire for children. I was lucky. Had two children and happily put up the Closed for Business sign. I understand the risk of multiple births with invitro or fertility drugs. But too often this is about abortion.

If you have 8 eggs implant (one might question the dosage of the fertility meds or the enthusiasm of the fertility doc) you get to choose between the probability of losing some or all of those embryos or having children with untold number of physical and mental problems due to lack of natural development and almost guaranteed premature delivery. Well, shit. Unplant (read: abort) five of them and have two or three children who have a better chance of not spending their lives with full or partial blindness, central nervous system disorders, serious learning disabilities, chronic respiratory problems, etc. and worse.

Just because these 8 babies are breathing on their own doesn't mean they are going to be a-okay. Furthermore, this story is the exception. Dead or damaged multiple births don't make the news. The long term effects of medical intervention need to be highlighted with stories and photos.

We are not livestock.*

P.S. "...Kaiser spokeswoman...could not release any information about the mother, including whether she used fertility drugs." That's okay. You don't have to release information about whether she's ever had sex either, we can figure it out.

ADDENDUM: Of course, many of you have now read that Miss Reproductive America has six other children under the age of 7 at home. This, obviously, is the big footnote to my opinionated thesis. But even if she weren't...crazy is the only adjective I can call up, this is still a deeply disturbing decision. Either the fertility doctor didn't do his homework or she's one hell of a liar.

*Apologies to most livestock. They usually do not drop that many calves, lambs, etc. I should have said, "We are not hogs or household pets."

(Holy shit. I've just used a post script, addendum and asterisk for post post commentary. There must be a name for people who can't stop editing. Or clarifying. Oh, that's right, it's called obsessive-compulsive opinionating. Ha, ha. Beat you to it!)


Menchuvian Candidate said...

The part that sent me through the roof was reported by the BBC:

The babies will be in incubators for at least six weeks and the mother is planning to breast feed them all, the hospital officials said.

"She is a very strong woman, so she probably will be able to handle all eight babies," said Dr Mandhir Gupta.

Yeah. Right. Because that is what strong women do. It's not like breast feeding a single infant has ever proved debilitating for a woman. Hell, it is a well known fact that any mom who has ever failed at nursing twins, triplets, singletons, etc. were weak.

Let's do the calculations: a newborn nurses roughly every two hours for ten minutes per breast. 12 * 10 * 2= 240 minutes per day per baby. Uh huh. Multiply that by 8. Okay, strong woman that she is, she can nurse 1960 minutes a day. Hell, yeah, that's only 32 hours a day—16 if she doubles up. Woman should probably volunteer to nurse orphaned orangutans to use up some of that extra milk + time...

What's that? I'm being unfair? Within a month or two it will be less? Okay, at 1-2 months she'll only be nursing 9 or 10 hours a day if she keeps the table service hopping at both boobs. All she needs is discipline! One good system for keeping track of which child started each round, as the quality and composition of breast milk changes through a feeding...

Incidentally, the licensing standards in MA for a home based day care (which doesn't involve boobie wrangling) require one licensed provider:3 infants, but one of those infants must be 15 mos +.

Gentlepeople, sharpen your pencils!

8 newborns. Uh huh. In MA that would mean 4 qualified adults to provide care, per shift. 3 shifts a day + weekends = the work of 12 people each day every single day of the year.

No freaking comment.

epiphenita said...

maybe she could have hubby rig up a lazy susan (oh, the irony)/baby carousel around her beleaguered torso so that the boob buffet could be automated.

it should also have an enormous gerbil water bottle attached to make it easier to consume the 12 gallons* of water she's going to have to drink daily to keep the milk flowing. rhymes with lowing.

*just a guess. but menchuvia is on a role, she might have the math on this.

StevensVox said...

Oh, Sweet Google-goo! Thank you, I needed that so much. I have not laughed out loud so much in forever!
When someone told me about these births today, I was like ‘that is not a birth, that is a litter'!

I agree about a woman's choice, but I question the mentality of a person that puts that many of their children at risk for multiple births. To my dumb way of thinking to me it is abuse or neglect, knowing putting your children in a position that has a very high possibility of a harmful outcome. And don’t get me started on caring and the cost of raising that many children.

There is a reason natural selection exists and why some people have so much difficulty having children. Granted, I would not have the blessing of my wonderful niece and nephew without fertility treatments, but maybe there was a reason why she could not get pregnant. I am glad they are here, but even after a year they both still have medical problems due to being preemies.

But what do I know, but have 8 babies at once is just CRAZY!!!!

salsez said...

Who's that family that has the 16,18,32,48? children? Maybe that's the goal.

Anonymous said...

its her way of helping the economic crisis we are in. think of all the doctor visits, diapers, clothes, babysitters etc. we all need to do our share here. enita you and barbara need more children. be the gay pitt/jolie for your community. we all have to work together to get this country back on track. yes we can

Anonymous said...

she also has six other children at home