• Thu, Nov 8 2012

Unbearable: There Might Be A New Angel Helping End My Struggle With Infertility

angelHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

Welcome to the Unbearable Story Hour. This week, I’m going to tell a little story of something that happened to me last Friday. I’m going to present it with almost zero comment, because I have zero idea of how to put my feelings about this into words.

Last Friday, my family and I sat with my grandmother as she succumbed to a pneumonia and passed away under a fog of morphine. She had been sick for a while, and we all knew that her time had come, that she was ready to rejoin my grandfather in Heaven whom she lost 15 years ago. It was a sad and emotional day, sitting around the hospital bed that had been brought into her home months before.

Shortly after my grandmother passed away, as my mom, aunt and I sat coping with our emotions and taking our last few minutes to say goodbye before the funeral home came to remove the body, the Hospice nurse told us a story. I’d like to share it with everyone, because that’s the kind of mood I’m in.

Brenda’s adult daughter has suffered from a seizure disorder her entire life. While this woman has kids of her own now, she still often looks to her mother for help, especially given her medical difficulties. A few years ago, Brenda’s daughter had a grand mal seizure and then stopped breathing for almost a full five minutes. Obviously, this type of medical emergency can do lasting damage to a person’s brain and body. Brenda’s daughter was lucky to wake up for this episode.

She told her mother that during the time she had lost consciousness, she saw and spoke to her grandmother who had passed away years ago. She looked up and saw that familiar face, and rushed to give her hugs and kisses. Brenda’s daughter said that she started to tell her grandmother about her son, wanting to share the join she had in being a mother. As the woman started to describe her little boy, the grandmother stopped her.

She explained, “I already know all about Braxton. I helped pick him out for you.”

Once the nurse got done sharing the story, my mother wrapped her arms around me. She whispered softly in my ear, “You know she’s up there, finding the perfect baby for you. Just you wait.”

I’ve never set much stock by near-death tales of seeing God or lost loved ones. I’ve always felt like these stories were powerful only because they give us such comfort in times of stress. For just a little while, I’m going to ignore that cynicism. I’m going to be comforted and hopeful, thinking that my grandmother is up there somewhere, picking out the perfect child for our family.

(Photo: Elisanth/Shutterstock)

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  • Allison

    Thanks for making me cry at work : ) Awesome story! So sorry about your grandmother.

  • Amanda

    Almost 2 months ago I found out I was pregnant after dealing with infertility. I was shocked to see that I found out 2 days before my paternal grandfather’s birth date (he is deceased) and was due 2 days after my maternal grandfather’s death date. I like to think they were somewhere pulling some strings for me and waiting for this perfect timing. I hope your grandmother does the same for you.

  • LaLa

    Last year, when I was about six months pregnant, my husband’s grandmother passed away. She had been in and out of consciousness for the last week. When we got there the nurse told us that the last time Grandma spoke she kept talking about our child and how cute it was. Thinking she was confused the nurse asked, “Are you talking about Lilly (our four year old)?” To which Grandma responded, “No, I’m talking about their son. I’ve already seen him.” She lost consciousness for good shortly after that (and we were never able to talk to her) but a few months later I gave birth to a baby boy.

    • StephKay

      That made me tear up. We had a similar period of giveth and taketh away during my first pregnancy. My partners father died suddenly on Christmas, at just 56 years old, only one week away from leaving new York to come help with the new baby. As if that weren’t bad enough, my partners grandmother had dementia and was obviously on her way out. She was so far gone she was totally non-verbal, had no idea who were, let alone that I was pregnant. We called to let the family know when I went into labor, and when my partners aunt got the call she happened to be at the hospital with her borderline catatonic mother. She hung up and said “great news, mom. Steph is in labor.” when, out of nowhere her eyes lit up and she said “oh how wonderful it will be to finally have a baby in the family again.”. She never spoke a word again, and died the next week. It was almost like she was granted a moments reprieve from the dementia so she wouldn’t miss knowing the first great-grandchild was here. I’m not at all religious, but that month of so much loss and gain made me genuinely believe that those going through opposite sides of the life/death revolving door have a connection that those of us in the middle aren’t privy to. Sounds like our husbands grandmothers experienced just that.

  • samsam

    Grandmothers are the best and I think they definitely have more power than anyone else in the afterlife. My grandma passed away when I was 2 months pregnant. Luckily my mother was able to share the news with her before she passed. She couldn’t speak and they didn’t know if she would understand, but she smiled so I think she did. She always wanted a red-haired baby since her favorite brother had red hair, but all 8 of her kids were blonde or brunette. There were 26 grandchildren-no redheads. I had the 5th great-grandchild – and the first redhead! I know she made that happen.
    It doesn’t matter what you believe in – family bonds are stronger than anyone could imagine and I am sure she will make it happen for you.

  • Melissa

    You never know – your mom could be right about your grandma picking out a perfect baby or babies. One of my cousins had trouble conceiving, but soon after our grandpa died she had her only child- a son who will be 10 on December 13. I’ve heard it said that for every death in a family, there’s a birth. I’m not thinking that it’s my turn to have another baby – I’ve had endometriosis for almost 8 years now. I’m hoping that maybe my brother and sister-in-law who have been married for 17 months will have an announcement that my parents will be grandparents again and that I will be an aunt for the first time soon. My sister-in-law graduates from college in December and will be working full-time at the hospital, but it could happen…

  • Lastango

    As time goes by I am more and more open to life’s possibilities and mysteries.

  • Michelle

    I’m sorry for your loss Lindsay. I hope that your grandmother picks out the perfect child for you.