The Racine Journal-Times Sunday Bulletin from Racine, Wisconsin on July 19, 1959 · Page 46
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July 19, 1959

The Racine Journal-Times Sunday Bulletin from Racine, Wisconsin · Page 46

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Racine, Wisconsin
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Sunday, July 19, 1959
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Page 46
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Page 46 article text (OCR)

Family l^mMeiy July 19,1959 How love saved our blind triplets by Marie Peti'iiglia aslouifo.M„ .u. HOSS Here is the tonchinfj story of a brace mot tier ami father who con(/ffered the trafjedy of ralslm/ three sUildless indnes More than 85 percent of a child's learning is based on sight - but not for afflicted Gail Petroglia and her sister and brother. PHOTOGBAPHS fcV MAXWCU COPIAN The triplets' home is a monument to man's basic goodness. r f I ET'S HOPE they live," the doctor had said after L. he'd brought my tiny premature triplets into the world. And for the next five months we lived on a fearful day-to-day basis, praying that they could challenge the odds that were stacked so high against them. Slowly, the answer began to take form—and it was a wonderful answer. Only 2% pounds at birth, they gained steadily until they were almost pounds each, and I waited eagerly for the day I could take them home and cuddle them in my arms. I made special plans to cope with the monumental task of raising three infants all at once; bought the extra clothes, blankets, and diapers I'd need; and wondered if we could alTord a large, ground-floor apartment to accommodate our new, big family. Then in the midst of all this joyful anticipation the terrible, heart-breaking blow struck. It might have been less painful a few months earlier when the struggle still was in doubt—but nou)/ The four words in the hospital report almost shrieked: "Your babies ore blind." How could God do this to me, I wondered. The same God who had listened to, and answered, so many of my devout pleas. How could He be so cruel now? My head spun dizzily as I groped for the answer, and for days I lay on my bed and cried in frustration. Frank, my husband, patiently tried to lead me back from my despair. He placed my Bible and rosary on the night table where they would be within reach. He sat on the side of my bed one day, patted my hand gently, and reached for my heart with his soft words. "Marie, you have a right to cry," he said. "You might even have a right to be bitter. But think about our babies. They have no sight, but they do have a mother. And they need a mother's love more desperately than other babies. Without it, they don't have a chance. You're not going to take that away from them, too, are you?" The answer was in my heart before Frank had finished. "When can we bring our babies home?" I replied. I had to wait 15 months before I could take the triplets from the hospital. During this time wc tried to find out why the babies were blind. We had them examined by eye specialists, and wo wrote letters to Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Leahy Clinic, and other research centers for information. When the answer finally came, it reopened all the wounds. The triplets were not bom blind, as we had been told, but had been blinded during the early weok.s of their struggle for life. They were victims of retrolental fibroplasia—damage to the immature retina of the eye. And, the doctors agreed, the culprit was the least likely of all suspects—oxygon. ramilv UrMfclv, July It. I»M

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