No good photos of your kids together?
I'll clean them up and make them look like they like each other.
I'd combined separate photos lots of times. But Jennifer wanted me to create a whole new person from pictures of other people. It sounded hard. I prefer not hard, because I am lazy that way.
Considering how picky some clients can be about a drawing of an existing person, how was I going to match Jennifer’s expectations for someone I couldn’t see?
About fourteen years earlier, Jennifer had been expecting her first child, a little boy. Over the moon with excitement, she went in for an ultrasound. As she began telling me her story, Jennifer asked me if I had kids. “You know how there is sometimes a hesitation by the ultrasound technician that can be a little scary?”
I knew what she meant. I had some greenhorn hack of a nurse’s aide during an early appointment when I was expecting Max. We'd heard a heartbeat immediately with Joey, but this time the nurse couldn’t find one. As she fumbled around, she kept glancing furtively at me with what seemed like fear or pity. By the time she gave up and called a doctor into the room, I was sick with terror. The doctor found Max’s mischievous little whooshy heartbeat quickly and I burst into relieved tears. The nurse’s aide gave me a sheepish smile while I fantasized about giving her hair a good yank.
| Somebody missed this class.|
There would be serious health risks for Jennifer in continuing the pregnancy. She and her husband were stunned, devoutly religious and devastated. They sought the help of their pastor who sadly advised them that in their case, terminating the pregnancy was a necessary, terrible thing they needed to do for Jennifer's safety. The same pastor baptized their son, at 22 weeks.
On a scrapbooking web site, she ran across an artist’s rendering using photos of a baby’s siblings. Jennifer thought it was one of the most heart breaking and sweet things that she had ever seen.
I thought about my easy pregnancies, how I happily announced to anyone and everyone that I was expecting about ten minutes after I knew for sure. I never worried for a second. How would I have coped with something like this? Was Jennifer able to enjoy her subsequent pregnancies? Did the fear ever give her rest? I wanted so much to ease her pain, if only a little.Looking back, I wish the sketch was better, that she'd found me after I'd had more practice being a full time artist.