My Grandmother

I was seven months pregnant when I moved to Pennsylvania in 1987. My pregnancy had been uneventful – pleasant even – but that was about to change.

In the highly litigious city of Philadelphia, my new obstetrician, whom I later learned was retiring from the practice of obstetrics, was taking no chances. In two months time more ultrasound procedures were scheduled on me than at any time throughout my pregnancy.

I was young. I trusted my doctor. The fact that my husband was a lawyer didn’t enter my mind.

Until the day, two weeks before my scheduled due date, when I walked the 14 blocks to Thomas Jefferson Hospital for yet another ultrasound procedure.

I was used to the process and considered it normal.

But something wasn’t normal.

The first doctor returned with a second doctor, to run another ultrasound. She returned minutes later with another doctor to run yet a third ultrasound.

By this time, as you might imagine, I was rather panicky. The doctors reached my doctor at his Cherry Hill office and handed the phone to me.

And my doctor informed me that the results of all three ultrasound procedures conducted that day revealed that my baby’s limbs were much too small for her body.

In a totally implausible twist of fate (seriously, this could only happen to me!), Philadelphia had hosted the annual Little People of America convention only weeks earlier. Local news had carried quite a bit of coverage on the conference, and my husband and I, in fact, had come across quite a few of the attendees in a restaurant one evening.

I asked my doctor why on earth he would be delivering this kind of information to me two weeks before my daughter was due to be born.

“We think that you should meet with a pediatric specialist in the next week,” he replied, “so that you’ll be better prepared to handle it.”

We scheduled an appointment to meet first thing in the morning.

I had walked to the hospital but it was all I could do to find a cab after leaving. The cab driver must have thought that I was insane, sobbing and hiccuping in the back of the car.

And when I walked in the front door, the first person that I called was my grandmother in Michigan – crying so hard that I could barely get my tale of woe out.

“Hmmmmmph!” she said indignantly. “Those doctors! They don’t know anything! You just pray to the blessed mother – everything will be alright.”

Her words had a ring of truth. After all, hadn’t I had a perfectly wonderful pregnancy?

Nonetheless, I barely slept that night. My husband and I were scheduled to meet with the doctor at 8:00 the next morning.

At 7:00 am my doctor called me with the news that all three doctors had misread the ultrasound. My baby was fine.

Considering that my Grandmother gave birth to all nine of her children with the aid of a midwife and never saw a doctor until she was in her nineties, it’s not surprising that she knew what she was talking about.

To describe her as generous would be an understatement. She had more common sense and faith than anyone I have ever known. She gave each and every one of her nine children, 24 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-grandchildren the gift of unconditional love.

On TweetsGiving, 2009, I am eternally grateful for the gift of my Grandmother’s presence in my life – for so many years.

This post was created as part of a global groundswell of gratitude called TweetsGiving. The celebration, created by US nonprofit Epic Change, is an experiment in social innovation that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. I hope you’ll visit the TweetsGiving site to learn more, and to bring your grateful heart to the party by sharing your gratitude, and giving in honor of that for which you’re most thankful.