At Jinsha Park, Jintang County, Sichuan Province, the weather is still chilly outside on Saturday (January 12, 2019), 59-year-old Lai Zhongping is looking at her twin babies chasing each other with full smiles on her face. "My biggest hope is to see them grow up healthily," said Lai.
"Others care about their children's academic performance, which is nothing to me. After experiencing all the life and death, their health is the top priority to me."
Lai is one of the survivors of Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008 at southwest China's Sichuan Province. Measuring at Magnitude 8.0, the quake was marked as one of the largest earthquakes in human history, and killed at least 69,227 people, and the other 374,644 people injured, and 17,923 people still missing. At the time of the quake, Lai's only child, then 22-year-old Yi Xiaoyan, was having an outdoor wedding picture shooting at Yinchang Valley, Pengzhou, with her fiancé, Shi Wei. The sudden sky cracking and ground breaking ended the sweet time without any warning. The two loved ones were buried by the sliding mountain. "When she passed away, she's already pregnant!" Lai said with heavy cries.
The couple's bodies were not founded until three days later when they were still hugging each other, man bracing her bride.
"I passed away in seeing their bodies. No parents would like to see their loved ones die in this way". Lai said she really wanted to go with her daughter at that time. "At least we can be together at the other side."
Burying the two loved one, the problem facing in front of then 48-year-old Lai Zhongping and her husband, then 51-year-old Yi Qiyou, is how to continue the life with such agonies.
"In those days, I and my husband can't go outside, as each time we see a child, our hearts were bleeding!" In the following year, what Lai did each day was to go through her daughter's pictures, remembering the old happy times. "I went shopping with her, and she joked that I don't have a good taste in picking up her clothes. And she liked my cooking, but said she can't eat much as she needs to fit the wedding gowns."
"Each day we were living in tears. Life was a desperation penalty to us," remembered Lai. 11 years later when remembering all this, Lai is still red-eyed. Lai's hope was reignited after hearing that the country was helping those quake-devastated parents to have new babies for free with artificial fertilization technologies. Three years after the giant quake, then 51-year-old Lai Zhongping received her first trial with artificial fertilization at Jinjiang Maternity and Child Health Hospital, one of the appointed quake rescue centers with test-tube baby technologies. However, the first trial failed as the embryo stopped developing at the womb.
"I insisted to have a 2nd try," said Lai. At the doctor's suggestions, Lai increased her physical exercise amount and adjusted her diet. Three months later, Lai received the 2 nd embryo transplantation surgery, and surprisingly Lai got pregnant again, and even with a pair of twins, a boy and a girl. On March 26, 2012, Lai successfully gave birth to a pair of healthy twins, Da Shuang and Xiao Shuang, meaning Big Double and Small Double. "It's a God's gift. HE sent me back my daughter and my son-in-law."
"When I heard the first cries of the babies, I started to believe reincarnation." The twins are now 7 years old and 1st graders at a local primary school. Each day Lai is super busy but fulfilled. At 5:30am, Lai gets up and prepares the breakfast, which could be a feast to other families. The breakfast has at least 2-3 fried dishes, steamed buns, dumplings, congee, and others.
"The brother likes light taste, while his sister likes spicy food." After making the breakfast, Lai then started to pick up the clothes for the twins and called the babies to rise. "They'll complain if my choice of clothes are not matching with their mood," Lai joked.
The twins has different personalities. Da Shuang, the brother, prefers quietness, while the sister, Xiao Shuang, is active and chatty. They have a common hobby, which is drawing. "The brother protects his sister all the time. At school, if there's a minute the brother can't find his sister, he'll look for her." After the birth of the twins, Lai hid the old family album. However, at the age of 4, the twins found the albums by accident and saw the pictures of Lai's died daughter and her fiancé.
"They asked me who they are, and why are they in the family's album. I told them that they are their big sister and brother, and now had gone to a far-away happy place. I couldn't stop crying that night as they kept asking me when they will come back." "My first daughter is 28 years older than the twins. If there was no such disaster, her unborn kid is even 4 years older than the twins." "Xiaoyan often came to my dreams, telling me to take care of her little brother and sister."
Lai said the twins gave her new hope. "Once Da Shuang suddenly asked me, 'why are we so young, while you're so old.' I couldn't answer the question, but replied, 'I adopted both of you from others.'" "However, on the 2nd morning when I called them to rise up, Da Shuang suddenly hugged me, saying "Mom, you're so good to us. You must have a joke with me. You are our real other. WE LOVE YOU!" Lai said that was the most touching moment since the re-birth. Talking about the current life, the most frequent words are Happy and Fulfilled.
"Da Shuang and Xiao Shuang gave me a new life. Although it's a bit tired in taking care of their daily life, I am so happy each day." Since the birth of the twins, Lai didn't go out and work again. "I am very satisfied with the current life. Now the happiest thing to me is to grow up with the two children," said 59-year- old Lai, smiles from her eyes. "In fact every woman has endless power. To become a mother, this power makes you fear nothing."