A gift sent from heaven

Grandadd Jack was the only one who could help me have a baby...

Published by: Jenny Bray and Clare stone
Published on: 11th August 2011

When my nan Dorothy went on holiday to Blackpool, we thought she’d bring back a stick of rock and a Kiss Me Quick hat.
Instead, she found a boyfriend.
‘He’s called Jack,’ she announced back home.
Nan, 71, had been on her own for 14 years, since my granddad George died. I knew she missed having someone around.
‘What’s he like?’ I chuckled.
‘Gorgeous, smart, polite… and you don’t need to know any more,’ she joked, eyes twinkling.
‘Sounds perfect,’ I agreed.
‘He’s been married twice, so maybe it’ll be third time lucky,’ she winked at me.
It certainly seemed that way – four months after meeting, Nan married Jack. They loved taking cruises or visiting Jack’s family in Israel.
‘We just need you to find Mr Right now,’ she told me.
I was only 20, but wanted to marry one day and have children.
‘Let’s hope I find someone as nice as Jack,’ I smiled.
Then, one night down the pub, I spotted a familiar face.
‘Christian Davies. Where’s your red hair gone?’ I teased.
The bald bloke in front of me looked confused.
‘I’m Mel,’ I said. ‘We used to live on the same street.’
‘Blimey, it’s been years,’ he said, the penny dropping.
‘Yep,’ I nodded. ‘But I still remember you as a cheeky boy with bright red hair, pretending to be an aeroplane.’
We chatted for ages. I told him I’d just bought my first house and was doing up the bathroom.
‘I’m a tiler,’ said Christian, 26. ‘Maybe I can help?’
But during the night, we lost each other. I was disappointed because I thought he was cute.
Then, three months later, I spotted him in a nightclub.
He wasn’t escaping this time! I said hello, and we got chatting until it was time to leave.
‘Fancy sharing a taxi?’ I asked.
‘Okay,’ he smiled.
On the way home, we swapped numbers and arranged a date to see Dracula at the cinema.
It went brilliantly and, as we started dating, I introduced him to Nan and Jack.
Jack was like a real granddad to me now. Sadly, in the past three years he’d gone blind, but he had a guide dog called Wheat.
Nan nudged me as we left. ‘He’s a keeper,’ she smiled.
And she was right. Six months later, Christian proposed over a romantic meal in Blackpool, where Nan had met her true love…
We bought a bigger house before the wedding, too.
‘A family home,’ Christian said.
‘As long as our babies have my looks and your brains,’ I laughed.
Two years after we met, we married at Churnet Valley railway station. Our wedding breakfast was held on an old-fashioned steam train.
It was a fantastic day and, after our honeymoon in the Isle of Wight, there was still more to look forward to.
‘Me and Christian are going to start trying for a baby,’ I told Nan.
‘That’s wonderful news,’ she smiled back.
Except, that was the only news I had for her. Every time we visited she’d ask if I was pregnant, and every time I had the same answer – no.
Eventually, two years passed. Concerned, we visited the doctor for tests, but they came back fine.
‘Falling pregnant doesn’t happen overnight for some,’ the doctor tried reassuring us. ‘Just give it some time.’
But one awful phone call showed just how precious time was. A year after we’d visited the doctor, Mum called.
‘It-it’s Jack,’ she faltered.
‘What’s wrong?’ I worried.
‘Melanie, I’m sorry – he’s dead,’ she croaked.
‘No,’ I wept.
‘He had a stroke, and developed pneumonia,’ she explained.
Nan was heartbroken, so I started visiting her as much as possible.
‘How are you?’ I asked, two months after she’d lost Jack.
‘Fine,’ she smiled sadly. ‘But what about you?’
‘Me?’ I frowned.
‘I’ve got 13 great-grandchildren,’ she sighed. ‘When are you giving me number 14?’
‘We’re trying,’ I smiled gently.
But if I was honest, I wasn’t sure how many more times I could say that. We were desperate for a baby, but I couldn’t fall pregnant.
‘Maybe we should go back to the doctor,’ I told Christian.
‘There must be something we can do,’ he sighed. ‘There’s always IVF,’ I suggested.
But then our doctor delivered a massive blow.
‘You can’t get IVF treatment
on the NHS from your hospital,’ he said sadly. ‘You’re victims of a postcode lottery,’ he explained. ‘If you want IVF, you’ll have to pay for it.’
That meant every scan, blood test and procedure would cost money. But Christian was a tiler, and I worked as a shop supervisor. We didn’t have that kind of cash.
‘We’ll never have a baby,’ I wept, telling Mum the news.
Then, six months later, Nan phoned and asked me and Christian to visit.
‘Now,’ Nan said, handing us a cuppa. ‘You know Jack left me some money in his will?’
We nodded.
‘Well, I want you to have £4,000 and use it to have a baby,’ she said.
‘W-what?’ I stuttered.
‘Your mum told me everything, and me and Jack always wanted you to have children,’ she insisted.
‘Oh Nan, thank you,’ I sobbed, hugging her.
As we started IVF, I was so excited. But my bubble burst when we got the news it hadn’t worked.
I felt incomplete. I had the perfect man and family home, but no babies to fill it with.
‘I’m sorry Jack,’ I whispered.Nan’s words echoed through my mind – me and Jack always wanted you to have children.
‘I think we should try again,’ I told Christian. ‘Nan had faith in us the first time round, and we need to believe it’ll work second time.’
So we spoke to friends and family and, with their help and a bank loan, raised enough for a second attempt at IVF.
And that time, it worked!
‘Jack’s looking down on us,’ I told Christian.
Nan couldn’t believe it when we told her.
‘Jack will be smiling in heaven,’ she said, eyes filling with tears.
And soon our newborn son’s cries were filling the hospital ward.
‘We haven’t thought of a name,’ said Christian, as he smiled down at me cradling our baby.
‘Jack,’ I whispered back. ‘How about Jack?’
His great-granddad had helped us reach our dream – it was the perfect tribute.
Nan burst into tears when she saw him for the first time.
Now Jack’s two and doing brilliantly and, when he’s older, I’ll tell him all about the special man who helped us have him – his truly great, great-granddad.
Melanie Davies, 33, Leek, Staffordshire