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Readers weigh mixed blessings of multiples

Twins, triplets and more — adorable? You bet. But the health risks, expenses and exhaustion proved overwhelming to some readers, and many say they wouldn't choose to have multiples again.
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Twins, triplets and more. Adorable? You bet. But when we asked parents to respond to our story about the high price of having multiples, the latest piece in our special report BabyQuest, many said they wouldn’t choose to have multiples again. The health risks, expenses and exhaustion proved to be overwhelming for some.

“I have twin boys, and it angers me to no end when people tell me, ‘Oh, I want twins!’” writes Andrea from Columbia, Mo. “I love my boys with all my heart, but I would never wish multiples on anyone. They are too difficult, and the health risks to mother and children are in no way worth it.”

Still, some readers’ long battles with infertility makes them hope for multiples, so they can end the fertility treatment process for good.

“As a woman struggling with infertility for years ... the possibility of a multiple birth would be the answer to our prayers,” writes one reader. “Going through this once with the possibility of having two children would be so worth it. Our resources are only so limited.”

Read on for more responses.

Love my twins, wouldn't trade the experience, but would never want multiples again. Exhausting!
— Kelley, Kalispell, Mont.

We had three embryos implanted and ended up with quadruplets. Three girls, one boy. Sadly, we lost one of the girls, but doctors explained that what happened could have occurred during a singleton pregnancy and the multiples didn't factor into the outcome. We now have three healthy 5-year-olds who keep us hopping! … We don't regret one single thing about our decision to have three embryos implanted. For those who are still trying, don't give up! We are living proof that miracles do happen.
— Shannon, Canton, N.C.

I have a set of 14-month-old twins (no fertility treatments). It is the hardest “job” I've ever had to do. There is nothing in this world to prepare you for multiples. Having twins is like running a marathon. You need and learn to conserve your energy for the long run. You don't get much rest, just a very quick moment to take a deep breath. Every so often, you get an energy burst but then you have moments of “what am I doing?”
— Cate, Georgia

I had triplets in 1992 after only one month of fertility treatment. Although I was on bed rest, contractions caused me to be hospitalized for over a month and I ended up with a C-section at 26 1/2 weeks because my water broke and the compression from the babies on top were causing the heart rate of the one below to slow. The hospital charges in the NICU for the first week and a half of their lives were over a million dollars! Over the subsequent weeks, multiple procedures were done. Today, one child, my daughter, still bears the result of prematurity — cerebral palsy. ... I would not recommend multiples (and yes, I secretly wished for twins so I would not have to go through the fertility process again — careful what you wish for!)
— Ann, Grand Blanc, Mich.

I have four children right now. They were all single births. I think that it would be awesome to have twins, triplets or more at the same time. I know how amazing it feels to just have one at once. Having two or more at a time must double the feelings. I don't know why people are so concerned about the risks of having multiples. There are plenty of stories of people who have had multiples and they had a great pregnancy without any serious problems. The fact of the matter is that every child is a gift from God. People need to stop making it seem like it is such a burden to have more than one baby at once. It is a blessing, not a burden. I hope the Lord blesses me one day with multiples.
— Rachel, Friendswood, Texas

My wife and I have triplets. Two boys and one girl. We went the IVF route and were hoping for one. The doctor talked about taking two and just leaving one, but we said no. They weighed between 2.2 and 2.10 when they were born and they came at 29 weeks. They came home on oxygen and heart monitors with in-home nurse care. They are 8 years old now and they suffer from ADHD and other problems. I would not want to have multiples again.— M., Atlanta

I have 2-year-old twin girls. I did not use IVF or any type of fertility treatment. I do not think people realize how emotionally hard it is to have preemies. … People really need to see a NICU before they decide to choose to have multiples. I think it would change their mind.
— Tammy, Charlotte, N.C.

I have twins, now 15, and I think most folks do not have a clear idea of how much more work multiples are — even twins — or how disruptive it can be to have a child with learning disabilities or other issues, as one of my twins has (whether due to being a multiple or not we will never know, but it is a risk factor). … I would also like to see more responsible media coverage … Show what it means to be raising a child who cannot assume his own independence at 18 or 21 as most of us expect our children to do when we give birth.
— Susie

As a woman struggling with infertility for years (both myself and my husband), the possibility of a multiple birth would be the answer to our prayers. The amount of money we've spent and fertility drugs/treatments we've taken have taken their toll physically, emotionally and financially. Going through this once with the possibility of having two children would be so worth it. Our resources are only so limited.
— Anonymous

In deciding whether to have two or three embryos implanted, my doctor has asked me what would be more devastating, to be pregnant with triplets or not at all, and I said, “to not be pregnant at all.” During my pregnancy, I think I chose not to think about the extra risk with twins, and I certainly did not want to read about it. Maybe positive thinking helped, I don't know. I had a picture perfect pregnancy and carried them to full term (38 weeks).
— Karen, Queen Creek, Ariz.

I am lucky to have 1-year old twins, via IVF. … While I am thrilled to have two wonderful children, I (and they) suffered with pre-term labor and hospitalization at 29 weeks, and emergency c-section delivery at 31 weeks. … Children are not meant to be born in “litters,” although it does happen, but our bodies are not made for it. I think many women, lost in an understandably difficult quest for children, are willing to take a risky path to have them.
— Anonymous