Welcoming a baby into the world is a beautiful, difficult-to-properly-explain thing, but there can be no doubting that it can also be extremely stressful.
Though science and medicine have come on leaps and bounds, delivering a baby can be fraught with risk, even today, and as a parent you’ll continue to fret over your child’s health from the second they arrive.
Now just imagine that your baby – or babies, as the case may be – was born in a war zone, and potentially lacked what was needed to keep them alive.
Well, that terrifying scenario was all too real for Chicago residents Alex Spektor and Irma Nuñez, whose joy at having twin baby boys was soured by the fact that their surrogate, a woman named Katya, was in Ukraine when she gave birth.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, you’ll know full well that Ukraine is one of the last places on earth suitable for a baby to enter the world right now.
Though Alex – who originally hails from Kyiv, Ukraine – and his partner Irma live in the US, they were left helpless when their boys arrived.
Making matters worse, the twins, named Moishe and Lenny, needed special formula and expert care because they were born prematurely. Yet moving them to another location posed life-threatening complications.
Alex and Irma, naturally stricken at being so far away from their newborn children – started a GoFundMe page to aid the boys’ rescue. Fortunately, their story went viral across the world.
The GoFundMe read: “Lenny and Moishe, the twin sons of Sasha Spektor and Irma Nuñez, were born via surrogate on February 25 in Kyiv, Ukraine. They came into the world two months early, at the end of a complicated pregnancy and the beginning of a war.
“Lenny and Moishe are healthy (and hairy!) but need additional medical care before they are strong enough to travel to the United States. Sasha and Irma will soon head to Warsaw, where they will work to coordinate medical transport out of Kyiv then exit from Ukraine for their boys, as well as for the surrogate who carried them, her 6-year-old son, and possibly two other newborns from the same agency.
After catching wind of the parents’ heartbreaking plea, Project Dynamo, a specialist extraction team that helps American citizens escape war zones, run by U.S. Army and Navy veteran Bryan Stern, stepped in.
As per Project Dynamo’s Facebook page, the team consists of “veterans and civilians, committed to the evacuation of Americans.” They named the effort to rescue Moishe and Lenny “Operation Gemini”.
Earlier this week, Stern and his team of veterans, doctors and nurses, as well as a Ukrainian ambulance crew, collected the twins and began the bid to whisk them to safety.
“[The Russians] were shelling something else, but it was close enough that the ground was shaking,” Stern explained. “I mean, the artillery doesn’t care what it is — it’s gonna land where it lands. The artillery doesn’t say like, ‘Oh, well, there’s babies here, so we’ll go somewhere else.’
“If dust gets in the room, they’re in trouble. If the power goes out in the room, they’re in trouble. If there’s a whole bunch of shot-up troops and the doctors get spread thin, then they’re going to be in trouble. So the bottom line is getting out of Kyiv.”
A few tense hours later, and the twins had safely crossed the border. They were taken to a hospital in Poland, while Stern and his team had a small window to celebrate their success before preparing to launch another mission.
Project Dynamo shared a welcome update on their Facebook page on Wednesday. It read: “Honored the Project Dynamo team was given the opportunity to help the Spektor family with rescuing their twin premature sons, Lenny and Moishe.
“Every seat filled on each of our missions, has a story, a family, and is equally important, but pulling this mission off was such a rewarding experience.”
Our 13th mission in 12 days of war, and “Operation Gemini” was one the team worked extremely hard on, every mission is a story, a life, a family, a future, but #13 will be one we will never forget! Stay tuned for more details about what Project Dynamo was just able to pull off for American newborn infants, trapped in a war.
Thankfully, the twins are now out of immediate danger, and their family can’t wait to move forward with their lives.
“The war didn’t want to let them go,” Alex said. “But we got them out.”
This truly warmed my heart. Even in the midst of a terrible invasion, there are stories that remind us of the good in the world.
I’m so happy these twins have been taken to safety, and equally pleased that their parents will be able to raise them with love and security.
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