This has been a difficult process. My partner and I made the decision to embark on this journey a year ago with high hopes - eager, enthusiastic, happily naive. After months of watching others around us become pregnant, we still were not. After five expensive, emotional IUI cycles, I finally became pregnant, only to lose the pregnancy at 7 weeks. I remember thinking, while I was pregnant, if anything goes wrong, I won’t be able to handle it. But it did, and it’s been immensely painful, but I’m somehow moving forward.
I called my grandma today, mostly because I knew I’d cry at Thanksgiving when I saw her and wanted to get some of that out of the way beforehand safely over the phone. I’ve known about her own history since I was in elementary school, but never truly understood. Now I am utterly in awe of how much pain she must have experienced, and of her strength.
My grandma lost five babies, some stillborn, some right after birth. Five in a row. And she kept trying. Finally, she had my uncle, a beautiful little boy who at age 4 was found to have severe cognitive deficits due to PKU. Because it was simply how it was done back then, he was placed in an institution. They came to her house one day, picked him up, and took him away.
My grandma still kept trying, and had my mother, and then my aunt. I honestly don’t think I could have done it, but she did. She turned 98 in October (I was pregnant at her birthday party). Maybe the silver lining of my own experience is that I am able to feel this understanding of and connection with her. I am beginning to realize that I’m actually truly grateful to have some inkling of what she went through. I know I’ll still compare my lot to those around me, especially those who seem to have gotten it all, and so easily. I hope, though, that I will be able to carry just a little bit of my grandma’s strength with me as well.