Thursday, October 16, 2008
Austin 2.0 Negative (that's a positive) I LOVE THIS TOWN
Yesterday afternoon around 2 I got an email from Allen Chen, my big dog editor at the Austinist. A friend of his needed help-- his sister-in-law had an emergency C-section to deliver her twins 2.5 months in advance. One of the babies needed O negative blood, fast, could I help find donors.
So I emailed the Office of Good Deeds list-- which I hadn't done in a long time. And I emailed folks who'd been to the Dick Monologues. And I posted a note here. And I Twittered. Or Tweeted. Or whatever the hell you do over there. And someone picked up my Twitter and re-Tweeted. Within an hour nearly a dozen O negative donors from around the city contacted me and offered to drop everything to go donate. I heard from a donor in California. I heard from someone out of the country offering to donate immediately upon return. And lots of people, even though they weren't O negative, wrote to send good wishes.
I sat here at my desk totally weepy all afternoon at this amazing response. It would have been emotional under any circumstances but my gratitude was heightened because, as I mentioned in my call for help, when Henry was born he was in gravely critical condition. It was unclear if he was going to live-- in fact I wasn't even sure he was alive when I delivered him. He spent several days in NICU and so many people reached out to us with support, love, prayers, the whole nine yards. That was eighteen years ago and memories of having a little baby in intensive care are still vivid. It's a trauma you never forget-- a newborn wired up, on the brink.
I passed along all blood offers and good wishes to Jason, Allen's friend, and the family was able to put together a very strong donor list. I also told Jason not to worry about responding to me-- obviously he has a lot to deal with. But he took the time to write last night and told me it was okay to share his message, and so I will. Here's his note. But first-- thank you more than I can say to all of you who helped get the word out and who donated or offered to donate. A super big shout out to Bev Shaw who was the first to respond and who gave blood immediately. Okay, the note (the picture above is of the twin that needed the transfusion):
I just wanted to thank you both again for all that you did, and were
willing to do, today. We really, really, really appreciate it. I
took these pictures of my brother with his twins last night, several
hours after his wife's placenta ruptured forcing the emergency
Caesarean section that delivered the twins 2.5 months early (this
coming 1.5 months after an operation to treat twin-to-twin
The first baby pictured is the one that I emailed about. She was born
without a heartbeat, but doctors were able to bring her to life after
four minutes. She is only two pounds and was apparently in need of
blood because of all the samples that are being taken for various
tests to diagnose problems she may have suffered from delivery. She
had a transfusion today and may need more depending on continued
testing, which is why I'm now keeping a list of donors should we need
more. We're overwhelmed and feel truly blessed by the response and
generosity of all those willing to help, and we'll keep everyone
posted as the doctors tell us what is needed.
The second baby pictured weighs three pounds, and the angle is
somewhat deceiving; both babies are about the size of my brother's
face. She is doing much better than her sister, but both will remain
in Seton Hospital for up to six weeks (I heard they might keep them
until what was the expected delivery date in late December). My
brother's wife is still recovering in Seton as well, and I suspect
she'll be there for a while too as the procedure was pretty hard on
Again, I want to thank you both for everything you've done and were
willing to do today; it means the world to us. Spike, feel free to
share this message with anyone else who offered help or would like an
update on the situation.
My deepest gratitude,
Posted by Spike Gillespie at 7:20 AM