Dear Thomas and Amanda Stansel,
I am sorry you had such difficulty conceiving children. I can only imagine what heartache that would bring, as I was fortunate enough to conceive my children effortlessly with no intervention. I know this is a blessing.
It is understandable that you would turn to a fertility specialist in order to realize your dreams of parenthood. Modern medicine has made many things possible that would have been inconceivable a few generations ago. The desire for children is a powerful, biological force, and in a perfect world, everyone who wanted to have children would conceive them effortlessly. Perhaps you were thrilled that your dreams of a large family were going to come true when your doctor informed you that intrauterine insemination was successful, and you were carrying not one, but six, embryos.
You lost my empathy when I learned that you disregarded your doctor's advice to selectively reduce the number of embryos to help increase your chances for a healthy outcome, and decided to play some very large odds, by bringing six babies into the world. I understand that in keeping with your religious convictions, you consider the notion of selective reduction to be tantamount to abortion, something which, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you could not abide. I am glad you consulted not only with a reduction specialist, but with church elders, to help you arrive at what must have no doubt been a difficult decision to forge ahead with your pregnancy.
It must have been harrowing to deliver your sextuplets fourteen weeks early, and I imagine you were despondent to learn that they had a 60 to 65 percent chance of survival, and a one-hundred percent chance of problems. Your babies were born so early that hospital protocol dictated that no medical care be given unless specifically requested by the parents.
And this is where your logic falls apart, and you made what turned out to be a literally fatal error, when you decided that despite all evidence to the contrary, you would ignore medical statistics, because "God doesn't work in statistics."?
Do you not see that you were playing God all along? That perhaps your difficulty conceiving was God's way of telling you that it was not his plan for you to conceive biological offspring. Perhaps he had something else in mind for you, which, while not what you intended, may have led you to a rich, fulfilling life.
Was it worth it to lose three of your six newborns to gruesome deaths resulting from complications associated with a high-risk pregnancy, and premature birth? Was becoming a parent so important to you that you will treasure the privilege of knowing that one of your newborns died when blood seeped into his lungs via an open heart valve, while another developed an infection in the trachea that inflated his lungs so much that they crowded out his heart? Are you glad to be making daily trips to the neonatal intensive care unit to visit your three remaining infants, one of whom is experiencing kidney failure, and is hovering on the precipice of death?
In life, everyone suffers, and all parents will make their children miserable, hopefully unwittingly, and for as brief a period as possible. Can you live with the fact that you have played such an active role as the architects of your children's suffering? Is it lost on you that had you made the decision to selectively reduce at the beginning of the pregnancy, you might now be the parents of healthy twins, or triplets? At this point, your best outcome is two children with lifelong developmental and neurological issues. Is all the suffering you have selfishly unleashed because you could not see any further than your desire for biological offspring worth it?