Trust the Gene Genie

Monday, June 18, 2007


Back in the saddle. And there's a lot to write about. We'll try and keep it interesting and we'll try to spread it out over the week so it doesn't get overwhelming. So here we go.

I was reading Jayson's father's day post this morning and was -- yet again -- amazed at his ordeal and how he's handling it. A quick refresher course for those of you who don't know, Jayson, an old childhood friend and father of two, is going to be a father of quintuplets. His wife is blogging about her singular experience here.

Anyway, I rarely shill for anything on the Rob Report. When I do, it's simply embarrassing. This, of course, is because I'm fundementally unable to shill for things, it's not in my genetic code. Hence my profession. In my mind there's nothing dirtier than a car salesman (sorry, Brent)or a PR flak. I remember my first summer in Utah and working at a burger stand at Lagoon -- Utah's preeminent amusement park. Most of the time it was just kids coming up buying a cheeseburger or an order of fries or parents buying lunch for the fam.

But I vividly remember the handful of folks who would come by to buy a lunch or dinner and clearly couldn't afford it. Clearly. You know the type, they've saved all year, maybe two or three, just to take their kids to this crappy, over-priced amusement park and use their last dollar to buy the theme park food. Obviously, there was nothing wrong with it -- it's how the system works. They knew what they were doing and no one had put a gun to their head and made them come. But there's just something monumently degrading and undignifying about taking someone's last dollar. It still makes me feel uncomfortable. It certainly showed me I wasn't meant to go into sales.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I don't shill for things very well. So I'm not going to. But that doesn't preclude me from writing a few things about Jayson, Rachelle and their family.

Normal pregnancies last 40 weeks. A baby, at the relative earliest, can be born at 24 weeks and still have a chance (with lots and lots of medical help) at making it. If you remember, Elsa was born at 34 weeks, which many doctors say is the threshold for a premie to be born and require the least amount of help immediately following the birth. Elsa was, of course, in distress while in the womb, hence the early arrival, and that complicated things somewhat. But we were still out of the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) four weeks later. It could have been much worse.

Rachelle's hope is to deliver her five twinners at the 34-week mark. It would give them the best chance for survival. If you go back and read her blog, you see that the odds of her making it that far are not in her favor. She had a less than 50 percent chance to make it to the 24-week bench mark. If you make it past that mark, most quints are born between the 26- and 28-week mark. Even then, there's only a 65 percent survival rate and of those 65 precent, only 40 percent are what doctors euphamistically call "intact" or born without defect or disability.

Steep odds, those.

She's been on bed rest for the past month or so in Arizona and is just about to reach 28 weeks. Jayson stayed back in Austin to take care of the other two kids and, remarkably, move the family into their new house. In other words, they've been dealing with everyday life while still trying to manage this incredible pregnacy two states apart.

And while I imagine it's been hard, the real hard stuff is yet to come. Not only is there the physically and emotionally draining birth to go through, the new babies will be living for months in the NICU. It's hard watching your child in that kind of environment. I mean, you know they're there because that's simply the only and best place for them to be. But that doesn't make it any easeir to leave at night. And to put the stay in perspective, Elsa's month-long stint in the NICU cost just under $150,000. Multiply that by five and then by the four or five months they'll be in the NICU and you get an idea of what kind of medical bills they'll be facing.

And, of course, as anyone who has kids knows, they ain't cheap. For the next two decades, Jayson and Rachelle will have to buy five times the diapers, five times the food, five times the clothes, five times the insurance and doctors' bills, five times the swimming and piano lesson, five times the college tuition and on and on and on. And that's great if you're a successful venture captalist at Bain. You know, shillin stuff. But Jayson, like most of us, is a working stiff trying to make ends meet and provide for his family.

That's where we come in. Go here and help these guys. And I'm not just talking money. They're going to need all they can get with just about everything. Like this, for example: Dr. Darrell Park at Buttercup Dental, volunteered to give the quintuplets dental care until they leave home for college or a mission. That's huge. And when big offers like that aren't an option for us, we can do small stuff and all of it will help. And whether it's the Golden Rule, Karma or mere humanity that you believe in, you know doing it will be good for them, but it'll be good for you too. Good for your soul.

So go on, give 'em a hand.

1 comment:

urpy said...

I don't know, sounds like you'd make a pretty good salesman to me. Career in PR here we come!!

Seriously, my heart goes out to these guys. I've definately been thinking about what we can do. Having been on the receiving end of so many wonderful acts of kindness when Elsa was born, I deeply desire to return the favor to someone who needs it even more than we did.

Maybe your readers in Japan, China, and Tasmania will lend a hand...

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