Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Twins

Photograph by April O'Hare Photography

A story I can't tell in full, but it held me spellbound and nervous as hell...
by Charlie Leck
Corrections were made to this blog at 11:05 AM, Sunday, 31 Jan 2010

Check out the photo above. It is spectacular. It was shot by April O'Hare. She has a blog that I went to solely because of this photograph. I got to see a good example of some of her other work. You might want to take a look because it really is special photography. [Click here to go to April O'Hare Photography]

This photograph represents the closing of a chapter on a harrowing and exhausting story of new and old life. I can't tell it fully because I only watched from a distance as the events surrounding it unfolded. It was a love story, filled with frightening moments, and it held me spellbound as I sat on the edge of my chair waiting and hoping for a good ending. No fiction, this! This was real-life drama.

A couple of months ago, two of our good friends boarded a plane in Minneapolis to fly west. They were going to spend time with a daughter and help her prepare for the birth of her twins. The time for their debouchment was rapidly approaching.

Well, everything went wrong. The babies, who were the result of Invetro Fertilization in this single, 40+ woman, came a bit early and were tiny things. The mother's innards had trouble as well and her liver acted up and her kidneys were deemed serious. She lost lots of blood and received more transfusions than most of us would think possible. She was hustled into intensive care and spent days in a coma.

Then, on top of it, my friend, the grandfather of the newborns, experienced an irregular heart beat and appeared to be in trouble. He was immediately hospitalized.

The Medical Center, in which they were all housed, doesn't remember any occasion when they had 3 generations of the same family as patients in the hospital. No one cared much about making history this way.

Friends of the mother and grandparents, all around the country, were sent into a panic -- as we certainly were -- and hung on the reports that came back from CaringBridge (a wonderful service, which originated here in my own hometown, for just this purpose). It was touch and go for the mother for a few weeks. Finally, in answer to our great and loud prayers or our constant hoping, she turned a corner and began to improve. She had children waiting for her, hoping for her, yearning for her to be their mother.

So, now we've arrived at the two month point. The twins, as you can see in the photograph, are healthy and beautiful. The mom is quite strong now and preparing to resume her extraordinary life as a medical doctor and health insurance executive. Grandpa is home in Minnesota again and appears strong and happy -- though he still needs plenty of attention.

The unpraised hero in all of this, of course, is Grandma. She juggled giving her attention to husband, grandchildren and daughter while still trying to maintain a connection to her career and job back in Minnesota. Nevertheless, she did it with elegance and poise and I was never so impressed with a person in my life as I was with her.

I picked them up at the airport on the day of their return -- 7 weeks after they had left for what they thought would be a visit of a week. Grandpa looked okay, but Grandma looked exhausted. She trembled a bit when I held and hugged her. I guess I've never admired anyone so much.

It was a tough 7 weeks, but when you look at that photograph above, you smile, and even laugh, and sing out a happy tune. Life! Life! Geez, it's wonderful!

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