{Infertile Me} Grace

Something told me to find my family before I attempted to transfer Embryo #3. I cannot explain it. Deep down my soul was telling me “find Grace, find your family, and go HOME.

In early September my Dad and I went home. Home to Crow Wing and the White Earth Reservation. There I touched the house my ancestors built and walked amongst their graves. I did what my Grandfather never did, I went home for him. My heart she wasn’t settled, she needed to find Grace. She needed to stand before the woman who never gave up on her children.

Find a grave. com is an amazing tool and it helped me immensely. Fate had a hand in this too. Someone had documented Riverside Cemetery in Seeley WI, Grace Geneviève Beaulieu Cox’s stone was amongst the photos. My Great Grandmother’s stone was staring back at me plain as day on my iPhone screen. When I looked it up I realized that I had driven right by her for years.

Hayward is Wisconsin’s vacation land and it’s a place I try to visit every year. The Main Street is lined with cute little shops and there are lots of restaurants serving down home north woods cooking. If you venture outside of Hayward you will see “canoe landing” signs dotted along the highways. The area is amazing for canoeing. Speaking of canoeing; I AJ canoed right by my Great Grandmother’s grave and didn’t know it. I have driven by Grace’s grave every fall on my way to Bayfield. She was there in Seeley, just waiting to be found. Waiting for us to stand before her and say her name.

She was lost, but now she’s found. My dad and I instantly spotted her grave when we pulled through the cemetery gates. My dad never got to meet her when she was alive. I watched as he laid the tobacco down and said “Grandma you’ve been found.” After Irene died I was allowed to go through their home and pick out items I wanted. Nestled in a corner covered in dust was a statue of an Indian woman with a baby on her back, I was drawn to this and put it in my box. It’s been sitting in my garage ever since and I had no plans to bring it inside. It came to me that the statue was meant for Grace. I held the statue steady as my dad squirted the glue and I stuck it to the concrete. My dad instructed me to push down and give it a little twist so it will stick. We gave Grace her heritage back.

After Grace’s children were taken she did what she had to do to survive. She got married and made a new life for herself all while still holding out hope that her children were alive. Grace reunited with my Grandfather, her son was lost, but now he’s found. I cannot imagine what that moment looked like, when he was taken he was around 5 years old and when he was found Clifford was a middle aged man. Grace was whole, her children were found. Seeing my Dad stand before Grace, his grandma was something I will always treasure. My Dad is now whole too. He got to touch the stones of his ancestors and lay tobacco down to acknowledge that because of their battles he exists.

And now I feel whole too. Whole because I stood before the grave of the strongest woman I never got to meet. The courage and determination she had was beyond measure. I relate to Grace; our lives are similar. Like her, I know what it’s like to have your life ripped to shreds. I know the strength it takes to build a new normal. To never give up fighting for your children. Dead or alive your children will always be yours and you need to fight for them.

Grace once was lost, but now she’s found and we are never letting go. My Dad and I decided that we are going to visit her grave often and I have faith that one day Embryo #3 will stand before her.

{Infertile Me} She was lost; and Now I’m found

It’s been a stressful past few weeks. I found myself in a place I never thought I would be in. I’ve called more fertility clinics than I’d care to admit. All of the clinics in MN will not take our embryo. Between you and me; I feel like Dr. B put the word out that I am a terrible patient. Several of the clinics said it’s a liability after they found out who I was. After the last clinic said no I felt defeated. I was ready to throw in the towel and face a childless life head on.

Yet something in me was tugging away. Something in me told me to pick up the pieces and continue the fight. Geneva is a name that I carry. I carry my Great Grandmother’s name as my middle name. Now she was a warrior. Geneva’s children were taken from her during the relocation and assimilation period. That woman, that strong woman never gave up on finding her children. Even when authorities told her that they had died in transport, she never gave up hope. Geneva picked up the pieces of her shattered life and never stopped searching for the missing pieces. Geneva lived his life knowing that pieces of her were scattered and she rode the wind until they were found.

Geneva was reunited with my Grandfather Clifford. Life came full circle. June was found too, along with her other son. This woman, this patient woman was finally whole. I thought to myself “Geneva didn’t get you this far for you to give up. She fought like hell for her children and her battle paid off; she died whole.”

I need to honor this woman’s legacy of determination and grit. Knowing she walked this road before me and that I would not be walking this road alone I turned to Wisconsin. Wisconsin is in my blood and is my second home. My mom, she is from Wisconsin and Geneva is buried outside of Hayward in a sleepy little cemetery. My roots run deep in Wisconsin, so it’s the perfect place to bring our embryo. I called a couple clinics in Wisconsin and they will take Embryo #3! I got ghosted by one doctor in Johnson Creek, which is ok. My gut is leading us to Green Bay. With a little luck and a lot of faith Green Bay will be where Embryo #3 is transferred back to me. Our little embryo, this little fighter of ours will be made in Wisconsin and with a little luck born in Minnesota.

Call me crazy but, I deeply believe that Geneva is leading the way that somehow someway she is going to make this work for us. She’s been in this fight, she brought me this far and now it’s up to me to bring it home. Her blood, her fight runs through me and I know IVF got this.

{22 Trips in 2014} Cirus World, Baraboo WI

3315Circus World is an important part of Americana and mostly a huge part of Wisconsin’s state history. The state of Wisconsin has given us a lot of great things such as: cheese curds, beer -lots of beer, the Badgers, and of course the circus. Or more specifically Wisconsin is the birth place of the Ringling Brothers. In 1882 the 5 brothers performed skits and juggling routines in towns all around Wisconsin. In 1884 the Ringling Brothers held their first one ring circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin and united with a famous showman named Yankee Robinson. Using the title “Yankee Robinson and Ringling Brothers”, the Ringling Bros. and Yankee Robinson circus traveled through out the Midwest.

3350Wisconsin would always be home to the Ringling brothers and Baraboo would prove to be the perfect wintering ground for the brothers and their performers. The Ringling’s spent their winters designing and fabricating new props and wardrobes, hiring new and returning performers, planning the route the circus would travel, and laying out their new advertising campaign. They also cared for their animals which in 1916 consisted of: five hundred horses and ponies, 29 elephants, 15 camels and about 20 other hay eating animals, plus tigers, lions, monkeys, and birds including ostrich. Today only 10 of the original 25 structures remain in Ringlingville and are open to the public.

As the glory days of the great railroad circuses began to fade, John M. Kelley, personal attorney for the Ringling brothers, saw the need to preserve the history of the circus. To this end he joined forces with members of the Gollmar Family, first cousins to the Ringlings and circus owners themselves. The team incorporated Circus World Museum as a historical and educational facility in 1954. Following Circus World’s opening on July 1, 1959, the site was deeded debt-free to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. What began in 1959 with less than an acre of land, six old circus wagons and a boatload of passion, has now become an internationally recognized historical treasure.3363

Circus World is an important part of American History. For children, it is an eye-opening experience that they cannot get in a classroom. For adults, it is a look back at the good times before iPads and smart phones took over as a form of entertainment. My parents went to Circus World in the 1970s, however they only saw it from outside. To their disappointment they arrived at the museum after closing time and were not ale to visit. They told this story to me numerous times throughout my childhood, I think it was a lesson to always check to see when things close and to be on time.

3331As a little girl I loved going to the circus. My parents took me every time it came to Red Wing, it was always held at the Bergawald Arena and it was usually in the spring. Cotton Candy and a pin wheel kept me company as the acts unfolded before my eyes. Elephants, acrobats, and clowns danced around, and I was as happy as a clam. At 31 I had child like excitement as I plopped down my $19.95 and strolled under the entrance sign.

I love museums where one does not have to tag after a stuffy tour guide. At Circus World you can tour the grounds at your own pace and there is no one trying to stuff facts down your face. My mom and I wondered from building to building, reading, pointing, and chatting about how much work goes into putting the circus on. We made our way through the Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall and we made are way up the hill to the W.W. Deppe Wagon Pavilion which holds a3327 collection of over 50 historic circus wagons. From the wagon pavilion my mom and I trucked on over to the C.P. Fox Wagon Restoration Center and got a glimpse of the wagon restoration process. We took in a magic show, the magician was pretty good and he told us “don’t miss the big top show.”

3365Big top show, my little heart pitter pattered at those words, and we made our way back down the hill. I spied an elephant and skipped on over to visit her. I cannot being to tell you how happy she was, she was probably the happiest little elephant I have ever seen in captivity. At Circus World they pump circus music over he loud speakers and this little elephant was keeping with the beat. She was enjoying the day, swaying back and forth, swinging her trunk, swishing her tail, and stepping to the beat of the music. The elephant made my trip to Circus World worth it. My mom pulled me away and we walked on over to the Side Show display.

Inside the tent they tell the stories of the bearded lady, tiny Tim, the fat lady, and the really tall man. These folks were not freaks, they were human just like you and me. I could not imagine being put on display and having people point and laugh at me for days on end. This to me is the dark part of the Circus and I vacated that tent and made my way to the big top!

3367Yay! A circus at Circus World, wow that’s a crazy concept. I bought a Snapple an some cotton candy, yes I am five and found a spot inside the tent. The circus did not disappoint, puppies did tricks, the ponies pranced, the acrobats spun, and the elephants, OMG the elephants were my favorite part of the entire show. The show did not disappoint and it lasts for a little more than an hour. I was content with my visit and with a grumbling tummy I was ready to head on out.

If you find yourself in the Wisconsin Dells area, pull your ass away from the water slides and take a short drive to Baraboo. Circus World does not disappoint, show your children a piece of your childhood, munch on cotton candy, and let your heart fall in love with the circus all over again. Trust me, you will be glad you did.