Quintuplet Dad

This is a blog for Jayson Wilkinson farther to the Wilkinson Quints as well as Riley and Kaiya.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First post - My perspective on where it began

Well, Rachelle has a really cool blog with lots of good stuff in it so I suggest you read herís first. However, if you have already read her blog and are hungry for more information then I will try to provide some here. If you havenít read herís, then you should know that the primary topic of conversation on this blog (if it can be called conversation) is the fact that Rachelle, my wife, is pregnant with 5 babies and hopes to have them in July if all goes well.

Where to beginÖ

Well, things are really interesting now. I never thought I would be in the situation I currently find myself in. I have two kids right now and 5 on the way. Rachelle and I talked about this the other day and she said she thought she remembered us saying that we didnít want to have more kids than could comfortably fit into a minivan. I personally never intended to have more than 4. I guess we are eating those words now. The ironic part is that I am actually really excited about having 7 kids so I hope the next 5 all make it here in good condition.

Having to go outside the comfort zone of the minivan was a little difficult for me to accept at first. At some point, I realized that we were simply going to have to get a big passenger van for driving these kids around. This was a fairly depressing realization. I guess I faced a similar situation back when we were trying to decide to get our first minivan. We were very ďanti-minivanĒ when we first got out of college but gradually came to accept the reality that a minivan is way more convenient for going places with kids than a car or even an SUV. When we first found out about the quintuplets, I started looking into large SUVs like the 9 passenger Suburban but gradually came to the conclusion that a passenger van was really the only rational way to go. After that, I just decided to throw any remaining coolness I thought I had and embrace the passenger van! However, when I really think about it, there are still a lot of possibilities for making passenger vanís cooler. If I could just make it look like the A-Team vanÖ

Well, I suppose I should give my side of the story about how I felt when this dropped on our laps. When we were in the fertility doctorís office and he was telling us about the 5 babies, I really just couldnít believe it. It felt like I was in a dream and that I was going to turn some corner and find out it wasnít real. I kept thinking that God had thrown me a pretty tough curve ball and wondered what in the world he was thinking by doing this to us.

For me, it was as if we had been given a death sentence and had only a few months to live before the sentence was carried out. When these kinds of things happen, the proper medical thing to do is selective reduction. Being a good doctor, our fertility doctor advised us that the best probabilities for a positive outcome were with reduction. This totally horrified us. This is the kind of decision I never thought I would have to make. I was afraid for my wifeís health, afraid for the problems that could occur with that many babies, and also afraid that our relatively simple lives were never going to be as nice as they were. Having all of these ideas hit you at once is fairly difficult to deal with so we, of course took the only option we hadÖwe went to McDonalds and got chocolate shakes. After the effects of the shakes wore off, we were faced with a dilemma that I couldnít see a positive outcome for. I just couldnít imagine either path working out. I felt so empty and so sad that I had to make such a serious decision. I went home that night prayed really hard but I still felt empty. I couldnít even imagine actually trying to have 5 babies. I didnít know all the facts but I was pretty sure that the odds were really bad for getting 5 healthy babies. This is where some interesting things started to happen.

First, Rachelleís mom actually knew someone that had quintuplets and Rachelle was able to talk with her and hear her experience. Looking back, I realize that this marked a significant turning point for us. Another thing that happened was that we discovered that the daughter of someone whose house we once stayed at had quadruplets. Rachelle ended up calling her and talking with her for a long time about her experience. It was from this that we first heard about Dr. Elliott in Arizona. Dr. Elliott had delivered a fairly significant number of quintuplets (5 total) and I started to think that maybe there was a small chance we could keep him. At this point, I started thinking that maybe 4 would be OK but 5 still seemed like a lot. Also, by this time we had come to the decision that we would never reduce based on convenience but only if Rachelleís health was at risk.

While all of this was going on, I was still praying really hard. One Sunday, I fasted (which for me meant going without food for about 24 hours) and felt a significant peace come over me. I couldnít explain it but I somehow knew that everything would be OK or at least that I would be able to deal with whatever it was that I needed to deal with. A few days later, Rachelle and I went to the LDS temple in San Antonio. In our church, the temple is a place we often go to get closer to God. In the temples you can feel his influence much stronger. While we were there, I had a strong impression that we should keep all of the babies. It was funny because the biggest concern I had at that point was whether Rachelle would come to the same conclusion. I knew that I wasnít the one that actually had to carry the babies so it was more important for Rachelle to have the same feeling if it was really going to happen. At this time, I didnít know how she could ever get that same answer. She is a very logical person with a masters degree in Statistics and looking at the numbers, it just didnít seem to make sense. On top of that, I think she was really scared (and I can hardly blame her). I decided to just put it in Godís hands and hope that he would put something else in our paths that would help her come to the same conclusion.

A little bit later, we met with one of our church leaders called the Stake President. He is the guy in charge of all of about 7 or 8 congregations in the Austin area and would roughly be equivalent to a Catholic Bishop. During this meeting, Rachelle finally got her answer. It was amazing when it happened because it felt like a huge burden had suddenly been lifted off of both of us. I felt a confidence that really didnít make sense. My wife was going to have 5 babies and I was totally fine with that! What is cool is that the feeling of confidence has stayed with me and I STILL donít have any idea what is going to actually happen in the end... and I am OK with that.