Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Learning Heaven's Lessons

I am writing this post because I just finished reading Megan Farnsworth's most recent posts. Her posts were about not being pregnant when you want to be, again! And they have also been taking foster/adoption classes at Child Haven. Her first post was the one that really struck a chord with me. 

Byron, 1 week old.

Byron flew into our lives right on cue! We had been married for three years when I finally convinced Steve that we would survive parenthood if we just jumped in with two feet, and now was the time. One or two weeks after our last pre-child hurrah, a trip to Australia, I discovered I was pregnant. On April Fool's Day, Steve thought I was making it up! The pregnancy, birth and life with a newborn were pretty smooth sailing. On November 30, 2003 Byron was born.

The following April Fool's Day I took another pregnancy test to Steve with the telling "pink" line. He didn't respond, so I thought he didn't buy it. Turns out he was in shock! My pink permanent marker did it's job! I should have kept the charade up, if only I'd known he was buying it. It is rare that I get a joke in on Steve. Instead I brought out the marker and confessed. It took him 3-5 minutes just to laugh. Well that is the comic relief for this post!

We moved to Las Vegas that June and I found out in July that I was pregnant again. I had that moment of sheer panic, because my baby wasn't even a year old! I couldn't have another one yet! It didn't take but a moment to calm down, and then become very excited! This was what I wanted, to be a mom and have a big family!  Because I was a little farther along and I was in a new city I went to my first midwife appointment when I was 14 weeks along. I heard the little heartbeat that day! I love that sound. Two weeks later I spotted, just a little. I called my midwife and she said it can be very normal. I made an appointment to see her after the weekend. That weekend we made a trip to Southern California with my family to see my sister and her family before they moved to Texas. This was late November. We returned home on Sunday, and that night I lost the baby. It was traumatic and difficult for me. I was 17 weeks along, 3 weeks shy of the half way mark. I was pretty sure I had felt the baby move already. We know it was a little boy.

It took a little while, but with much love and care from many I came around and we started trying to get pregnant again. The summer of 2005 I found out I was expecting again just after Girl's Camp. I was elated, but cautious. I made an appointment with my midwife and went in for an ultrasound. I thought I was 5-6 weeks along, but we could tell that something was wrong. The ultrasound was not normal. I was already spotting again. I miscarried within two weeks. My angel midwife, Kaye Bullock, had me come in both those weeks and was an immense support. This miscarriage was hard, but I had more mental preparation this time and recovered more quickly. We started trying again soon after for another baby. But now the pressure was on, because I was informed that once you have 3 miscarriages you get to undergo a series of tests. Who wants to deal with that? The third time had to be the charm. 

Month in and month out there just wasn't a third time. Frustration set in. I went and saw the doctor, an internist because I discovered I had a mild goiter (thyroid swelling). I knew from close family and friends that thyroid problems can mean hormone problems, not good news for having a baby. Well all my blood work came back perfect. Sometimes it takes blood work up to a year to register thyroid changes, I was told to come back in 6 months to a year. I panicked a little. "I don't have a year. My cute little Byron needs a sibling before he is 10. Let's get this show on the road." All the wonderful thoughts that flowed through my little brain and emotions that flowed through my little heart!

This is where sincere prayer, pleading prayer and priesthood blessings came in to play. I distinctly remember in one blessing that I was told that there was another child who would come to my home, but that child had a specific time and wouldn't come until then. Oh the relief, there is another child! And then the impatience. Is it this month Heavenly Father? No. This month? No. This played out for a bit. I asked all the questions. Why? When? What am I supposed to learn from all of this? 

I got my answers little by little in many different forms. I knew that there were things that needed to be right with my physical body. My answer to that prayer = Dr. Kevin Jenkins. He was my chiropractor (and in my ward), and I decided to try the more holistic route after I got the "wait 6 months to a year and then maybe we can help you" answer from my MD. I asked Dr. J if he knew of a D.O. or more holistic doctor who could help after explaining my dilemma. His answer to me was that he did homeopathy (which thanks to my aunts I was familiar with), and he had helped a couple of women with thyroid issues recently. I saw him regularly and things started to return to normal with me! I was elated! I was doing my part, so maybe Heavenly Father could make my child's time NOW!

Another answer to prayer was attending the Laurel's class one Sunday. I was the camp director, so I would attend Young Women's for a couple of months before camp to bond with the girls. None of the girl's on a ward level that year were laurels, but somehow I ended up attending anyway. Pam Pickett was teaching that Sunday. I don't even remember what her lesson was really on, Faith? Hope? Who knows. I just remember that she shared her struggles with having a second child. I don't know if she would want her story shared publicly, so I will just say that she got four more children. Her daughter was 7 when the second child was born. I remember crying and walking up to her after the class and saying, "I can't wait till Byron is 7".  (That would have been a 4 1/2 year wait at the time!) Pam simply said that she hoped it wasn't that long for me and that you have to remember to turn to the Lord and have faith in Him. His plan for us is better than our own. I so appreciated that Sunday.

It was then that I realized that the that more I pressed the more frustrated and down I got. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was trying to control the situation. Month after month I wanted to decide when my baby came and my decision was NEXT MONTH. Then it was just a pleading request, if it could be next month that would be really great. I remember saying in a prayer that Heavenly Father's will should be done, but I would really like that to mean that I got pregnant the next month. The light bulb went off when I realized what I had just said. I realized that I didn't even know how to really, honestly, deeply submit my will to Heavenly Father's. So that is what I prayed for instead. To learn to submit. Sweet and joyous were the prayers and experiences that followed, and I learned what that meant for me in my life and situation. My feelings changed. My prayers changed. I changed. In those sweet moments I realized I had a heart a little more like His! And it was because of Jesus Christ that it was possible. I had a heart more like his through him! It was liberating emotionally. The stress lifted. 4 to 6 months later I found that I was pregnant with Taryn. Through some continued help from Dr. J and Kaye things went smoothly and she arrived on July 17, 2007! She is my little miracle! I love her!

Taryn, the day of her birth!

I'm not sure why I'm posting this. In part to tell Megan of my heartache and journey. I do not suppose to assume that her journey or answer will be the same. All of our lessons are just that, ours. I remember having someone tell me a long time ago that if we all put our problems and blessings into paper lunch sacks and set them in the middle of the room, at the end of the day no matter how tempting someone else's blessing were we would pick our own bag. That is because we are the accumulative product of our experiences. And our experiences have brought us to this point in our lives. We are prepared for our problems, blessings, lessons, joys, trials and triumphs. I had some dark moments on this journey of mine, but there was also much joy and sunshine too during those years! Here I sit a year removed from the close of that particular lesson and journey. Taryn is 13 months and as cute as two bugs ears! I can look back and see so much more clearly. Walking that road was far more cloudy.

I write this post, because if it makes even one person feel more "normal" it is worth it. I know that I feel more normal when I know that I am not alone in my journey. I have come to realize that my TMI nature can be a blessing. I write this post because I have learned Charity through my journey for all others who will walk this path after me. I unconditionally love and understand those who have had a miscarriage or had infertility problems. That is just one of the gifts and lesson's that I received from Heaven on my journey. To Megan and others I simply say, "I love you. I'm sorry. I know. Have faith, no matter how slow, the answers always come."

As I finish up and in a way walked my road again through writing, I realize that unfortunately the lesson to submit didn't stick completely. Or maybe it just didn't cross over to all the areas in my life. I don't know exactly, but it is my blessings today to REMEMBER. Heavenly Father's path and plan for me is better than my own.


Kristin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Erin said...

I know how hard it must be for you to talk about your pain this way, but I think you are doing a really great thing for other women. I think sometimes people can be very insensitive about miscarriage because "it's not so hard because you don't know the baby yet" or "it's probably for the best because there was probably something wrong anyway". I think sometimes people expect that a mother shouldn't grieve very much over losing an unborn child. Thank you so much for helping us understand that it's okay to feel what you feel and that there is always hope when you trust in our Father in Heaven.

Thanks so much for sharing your personal journey with us!!!!!

Darrell and Alissa said...

Janelle, you don't know how much I needed to read that today!! We had 3 baby girls right when we wanted- well or were a little surprised when one of the 3 came!:)I swear- everything you said hit me like a ton of bricks!
It's such a hard thing when you realize you are not in complete control of your body- the Lord has a plan for us and it's not always the same plan we have for ourselves! I had 2 miscarriages last year and it was one of the hardest things I've been through. I was blessed enough to be somewhat prepared for the first one, I was further along also, but was having really strange cramping and just felt like something was wrong. I went in and had an ultrasound and the baby was the perfect size and form- It was so surreal! I remember the nurse coming and puting her arm around me, and the doctor getting really quiet- and then I knew. I looked closer and I could see no movement, which meant there was no heart beat. I also had another bag of water, and he was wondering if I had miscarried a twin first and then this one. We don't know for sure though. I had to call Darrell and tell him- he thought I was joking at first, and then when I told him I scheduled a D&C he knew I was serious. It all happened so fast, and I had been somewhat prepared so it wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be. I read a great book called GONE TO SOON- it helped me so much! But my thoughts were that I'd just try agian in a few months and it would be easy. WRONG! I tried again and was very nervous and when I saw the pink lines on the preg tests- I actually started crying because I knew, I just knew this baby was not meant to stay. 7 weeks later I miscarried again. This one hit me hard- that's when I realized I needed to put more faith and trust in the Lord- and his time table. I don't know if I've really recovered from the miscarriages- I'm not crying constantly, but there is a feeling of something is missing. I know I have another baby but when is the right time? I got an IUD put in so that I just could recover emotionally from the losses, but knew I wanted to try again in a few years. Once again, MY time table! Um, a month ago my IUD just fell out! My doctor has had only one other patient in all his years of practice, have the same problems I did with the IUD! So now I'm at that cross road again! I want a baby and I know we have another one, but when? I keep thinking well I'd love a spring baby so now is the time to try again- but the fear of going through another miscarriage is so over powering! I worry that it would really break me! I don't know that I can go through that again! I have been exercising 4-5 days a week, I know I am a little overweight and I want my body as healthy as possible to carry a baby. A few people have told me it's a sign since the IUD fell out, but really I think it's a test of my faith. If we start trying- can I be strong enough to wait for the Lord's time? I know He has a plan for us- I have no doubt of His love and concern for each of us- but man! I wish I could just have a peek at what my time table is!!
Thank you again for posting this- it is so nice to know someone knows exactly what I'm feeling- well not just someone, but a close friend! I hope your friend Megan has a good support system- it's amazing how much that helps! Thanks agin for posting this- it has remindedme that there is a bigger picture, and that my trials my be hard, but once they have been conquered it's amazing how strong we have become- and how thankful we are for those trials we curse!! Love Ya!

Larae Merritt said...

What a GREAt post Janelle. I may not have had to struggle with pregnancy, but I do have the problem with allowing my will to be swallowed up in the Lord's will. It is a good lesson to all of us that we are here for a purpose and ONLY the Lord knows the whole picture of that purpose. To be our best selves we have to rely on Him to lead us.

I love the brown bag theory. I thought for a momemnt about if I would trade trials. Honestly, I wouldn't, as tough as mine may seem sometimes. My trials are for ME. I need them to become who He wants me to be.

Thanks so much for sharing. I don't think you you have a TMI sharing problem, maybe because I'm the same way. I think it is great when we are able to say how we truly feel and people can relate to us, or be strengthened by us!!

Kristin said...

This post was absolutely amazing! I just know you were being led by the Spirit as you wrote. What you wrote is beautiful! You are incredible! Thank you for sharing this straight from your heart. I love you. You are such a blessing in my life.

Farnsworth Family said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I knew bits and pieces and truly appreciate you being so honest. I also appreciated Alissa's comments; although I don't know her, it is always reassuring to find people who are going through similar situations. At least then you don't feel so alone. I am 100% positive some day we will have an additional family member added. I do not know the year, I do not know how, but I know that we will. My Heavenly Father has blessed me with some wonderful things, a fantastic husband, terrific kids, a great job and many nice material items. In many ways, I think this is his call to me and my family to get things in place spiritually. As we have looked into adoption agencies, I had heard many wonderful things about LDS Family Services, the catch...both parties must be LDS and Temple attenders. We are neither. My plan is to have what I can in place and let the Lord "do his thing." It is not easy, and each month I get down, but I always know he has a unique plan just for me and that I will be ok! Thank you again for your post!!!

The Ravsten's said...

Thanks for sharing and for making me cry. Your testimony is so sincere.

Steph said...

Thank you for sharing that. I can't even imagine how painful it must be to relive those feelings as you document them. I can only say that I have always thought you are such an amazing patient mother and the Lord has sent you two beautiful children to be blessed in your house.