Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Seeing The Lord's Hand



*This is a post heavy in Mormon-speak, for the non Mormons out there I've provided some links to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism or LDS.com for more info.

The past few years have been rather easy, almost dream like sometimes in their happiness and simplicity. B and I have wondered out loud several times, Why is life so good for us? When will it get hard? And then in a small moment everything changes and you know your life will never be the same again. I'm sorry, but there is no way to make this story short...

By now, you all know about the baby dream. The miracle of our conception after a recent miscarriage and 2 threatened miscarriages. Well let's go further back...

Over a year ago we found out that we'd be moving to Cincinnati. I wasn't thrilled. When you're in a medical or dental program and you participate in 'the match' for residency it's a bit unnerving to feel as though you have little control where you and your family are going to live for the next couple of years, and Cincinnati was one of the few places I really didn't want to live. However, when we came house hunting in Cincy, my views started to change. The area was nice, with lots of things for families to do and weeeeeell maybe it wouldn't be so bad afterall. Besides this was B's first choice--the children's hospital is one of the best in the nation, which makes it a great place to learn pediatric dentistry.

I remember walking into our house for the first time. I loved it. It felt like my dream home. In fact, I was sure that because I loved it so much there was no way we were actually going to get it. I called the Bishop of what is now our new ward. I spoke to the Bishop's wife and told her who we were and that we were thinking of moving in to such and such house in such and such area...I wanted to know if this was a good area and if there were many members of the ward who lived here. Turns out that many young couples with young families lived in this area--just our luck! She said it was a great area and we'd probably love it. I came away from that conversation feeling confident that we had found our new house, in our new city. I felt at ease.

After we had made the move, it didn't take long for me to really start liking the area. Like I said, lots for young families to do. And our new ward friends were great as well. Very warm and friendly... we were welcomed with open arms. Bracken and I each received new callings {see callings} in our new ward and I have to say we were both pleased that they were rather 'easy' callings that would not require too much time and energy on our part.

The summer continued. I got pregnant. I miscarried. Then fall was here. I absolutely loved the fall. Around early November I found out I was pregnant again. I wrote about that experience here. What I didn't write about was that about 2 weeks after discovering I was pregnant and the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Bishop called us into his office. He told me that he felt impressed that I was to be the new Relief Society President of our ward, and he extended the call. I'd like to say I felt immediate peace and comfort that this was the right calling at the right time and that I was prepared to accept. But that's not how I felt. I had just found out I was pregnant again--which was wonderful and exciting, but if you know anything about how post partum treated me the first time around you'll understand that I was also rather nervous--and here I was being asked to take on a much bigger role in our ward than I felt comfortable. We had barely been here 6 months and would only be here 18 months more. I hardly knew any of the sisters in our ward, let alone how to serve them. Probably the only thing that gave me comfort was the fact that the Bishop himself also thought it was crazy, but he knew it was what the Lord wanted. Neither of us could argue with that. I accepted, but I walked out of the Bishop's office that day genuinely feeling shell shocked. Of course I also had a week to get him the name of my 2 counselors and a secretary--you know when I had time between cooking Thanksgiving dinner and entertaining my in-laws who were coming into town. No problem.

When I walked out of the Bishop's office that day, one of the first people I saw was Sister Jones. She was my visiting teacher already, and someone that I had a lot in common with. More than that, I knew almost immediately that she was to be one of my counselors. What I didn't know at the time, was that Sister Jones was also pregnant with her second child--just like me.

Once our presidency was solidified we went to work. Sister Jones and I, both being pregnant and about 2 months apart started planning for activities and meetings around our pregnancies. Someone other than Sister Jones would conduct RS on Sunday during May, when Sister Jones would have her baby. Then someone other than me would conduct in July, when I would have my baby We were both excited at our growing bellies and wondered how it would all be the second time around.

In early January Sister Jones had her 20 week ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. At first I didn't really think about the fact I couldn't get a hold of her that Friday or Saturday--I had left a few messages. Then I got her email. At the ultrasound appointment they found out that their baby had a fatal neurological disorder and would be born prematurely and would die. Devastating. My heart ached for Sister Jones and her little family. What could I do? What could I say? How would it be for her to remain in the presidency and watch my belly grow and watch my baby come in July, when hers would already be gone? It was a hard time for her and her family and of course she needed some space and time. A couple weeks later she sent another email letting friends know about the birth and subsequent death of their precious daughter. When she was ready, I went and saw her. We talked and cried a little. She shared her experience and it was bittersweet. Her little baby girl was perfect and they were grateful for the time they had with her. But of course, she would rather have her here. Of course.

I have to say Sister Jones bounced back faster than I expected. Not that she wasn't and isn't still grieving, but she was excited to get back to work in the presidency and after our first visit I was no longer worried that my pregnancy would be hard for her. I know that some days are better for her than others, but generally she has had a happy and positive disposition.

Now fast forward to the end of February--just a couple weeks ago. My family and I were preparing for a vacation with my in-laws to Florida. A week of Disney World and Disney Cruise fun. The princess and I were to leave on Sunday and the hubs would join us a couple days later. The Friday before our departure was our ultrasound appointment. We were excited--I could hardly wait to find out the sex of our new little babe. Since I really wanted another girl, I was sure we were going to have a boy. The Princess has thought that baby Lamp was a girl from the beginning. No surprise really, girls usually want more girls, and boys usually want more boys. I had asked Sister Jones if she would watch Princess for me after our appointment as I had some pre-vacation errands to run. We talked on the phone briefly before I went into the Dr's. office. We have the same Dr. She told me to tell him hello and wished us luck.

To be honest, I was bracing myself for the slight disappointment I would feel if it was a boy. {Small disclaimer here: it's not because I don't want or like boys but I've really wanted little Beanie to have a sister. I just like the idea of siblings close in age being the same gender.} The other slight worry in the back of my mind was wondering if the baby was OK. I hadn't felt the baby very much and I was a little concerned. However, right away we saw a heartbeat and the little body moving around. The technician said the spine, heart and body looked great so far. Phew! She continued on with the rest of the ultrasound. She wasn't too chatty but when we finally got a glimpse of the goods we saw that the baby looked like a girl. Another surprise. After a while of measuring and looking she got up rather suddenly to leave. I said, Is that it? And she said, I'll be right back. B and I looked at each other. That couldn't be good. And it wasn't.

When the Dr. came in he didn't mince any words. Our baby was not developing normally. While the head, heart and major organs appeared to be fine, there are problems with the limbs. All of them. Certain bones are shortened, some misshapen and in some cases bones missing all together.

POW. Like a swift and sudden blow to the head we were taken off guard and left reeling. His words were coming out faster than I could wrap my mind around it and the tears were soon to follow. We left the office that day with more questions than answers, but one thing was certain--everything had changed in a split second. Gender was suddenly a non issue and our ideas of traditional parenthood went out the door.

The first 24 hours involved a lot of crying, head shaking and long looks of desperation. Saturday afternoon we made a phone call to secure a blessing for each of us. I hoped Sister Jones' husband be willing to come and be part of our blessing. Although our situations are different, I couldn't help but be drawn to another family who had been through something so similar, so recently. Brother Jones gladly came and the experience was sweet. I won't give details about the blessings, only to say that we felt and continue to feel peace. While we wanted more answers as soon as possible, we decided to forge ahead with our vacation plans and face reality when we came home.

Last week was our vacation to Florida. It was great. Initially it had seemed like really bad timing to go on vacation after such devestating news, but it turned out to be great timing. We were able to put all our worries on the shelf and just enjoy our time together and with family--a definite blessing. I hardly thought about baby Lamp's condition at all. It was a soul soothing trip. Now we're back to reality. We still have tests and more questions than answers. Lamp's abnormalities could be an indication of a fatal condition or purely a physical handicap. There might be mental and developmental delays, there might not. Death, life, mental and physical challenges, drastic life changes... everything is up in the air and nothing is definite.

Except, there are some definites... we can definitely see the Lord's hand. From the people we've been surrounded with, like Sister Jones and her family, to the city we live in which just so happens to boast one of the nations top 10 children's hospitals, we can certainly see the Lord's gentle guidance during this difficult time. Certainly not all the puzzle pieces are fitting together nicely--we can't see the end from the beginning. It's day by day and step by step. While we feel peace, make no mistake--we are still struggling. Trials are difficult, especially when they directly involve your children. Even so, we firmly place our faith and trust in a loving and merciful Heavenly Father.


While I knew that I would blog about this eventually, it's been quite the task deciding how much information to share and what to say. In some ways it's strange to share such private information on the internet, but it's also the easiest way to disseminate this information to friends and family on a large scale. Additionally, my blog has often been a great outlet for me in writing, as well as expressing thoughts, feelings, joys and frustrations. In the coming weeks and months I'm sure this new turn of events will become a predominant topic. We only ask that your comments be kind and non-judgmental. We know that many families with special needs children often feel incredibly blessed--but we are in the early stages of this experience and are still trying to wrap our heads around it all. Additionally, we certainly appreciate any and all prayers, but kindly ask that you refrain from speculation on any spiritual aspects on our situation. We will continue to seek peace and comfort from our Father in Heaven.

*photo

43 comments:

  1. Amy,
    Thank you for sharing something so personal. I love you so much and we will keep you and your family in our prayers.

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  2. i love you. you and your family are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. I'm praying for you.

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  4. Anonymous11:42 PM

    You and my brother are and will be amazing parents -- this little baby could not ask for a better family! We loved spending time with you this week and are continually praying for you -- Lia said such a sweet prayer for baby Lamp tonight. We are all here for you and love you very much!
    Jill

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  5. Anonymous12:14 AM

    Dear B & A,

    Very well stated. You are in my prayers and thoughts, and I love you all very much. I love the painting "Christ Healing at the Waters of Bethesda" by Carl Bloch. Actually when we were in Provo two years ago and we had Nit for the day, I specifically took her in to the Museum at BYU just to see this painting. We sat on a bench and looked at the large art work... it was peaceful. I am glad you and B are experiencing a sense of peace. God is in the details.

    HUGS, LOVE, & PRAYERS,
    Papa & GG

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  6. I'm so sorry had to experience this recent "POW." In my opinion you deserve smooth sailing for the rest of your life. I'm glad you shared. Your words are so inspiring and faith promoting. Your family is in our prayers.

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  7. I don't really know what to say except that I think you are a strong and wonderful woman. You are capable of great and difficult things. Why else would you be trusted to take on such a special experience? I hope you'll feel support from me and the rest of your new York family. We love you.

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  8. I know the ache. I am so sorry the enjoyment of pregnancy has been interupted by this reality. I know this well. My mind immediatly went to how the rest of our lives would never be the same.....but with time I felt calm that if three of my children had C-polsy (he) would fill in were I wasn't able. Amy we didn't know until three months after they were born if they were whole or not. But it didn't matter, as long as we gave them a chance I felt that would be enough. To say the outcome won't matter sounds heartless, but what I mean is the talks and the tears and the resolve is what will shape you and allow god to find you. Good luck in this journey. This girl will be beautiful.

    A

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  9. perhaps 'baby lamp' was more than a funny name her sister came up with. she is already a light to us.

    love you.

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  10. You are a strong woman with a strong husband leading your family. I can't even imagine how hard this is for you. You already have an amazing perspective. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing this with us. God bless your family.

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  11. For such heartache you are experiencing, this is so well written. I'm sure your testimony will only be strengthened by this experience. Sending happy thoughts to your family.

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  12. O.k., here I am crying. I'm sorry for this unexpected turn of events. There is NO speculation on my part. I'm crying because it's very evident that the Lord is truly guiding every step of your lives. I love that you and B are willing to follow Him. It's at times like these when I'm blown away at how much our Father in Heaven loves us, and what amazing things are brought about because of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Can I please say that you and your husband are two of the most amazing people I know? (Even though I know B, I've never met you in person!) When I first read your blog, it quickly became one of my favorites. I appreciate the way you let your personality (LIGHT) shine here :)

    I will pray for your family daily.

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  13. I don't know what to say. I was just reading through everyone's beautiful comments and just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you!

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  14. Oh Amy! I just want you to know that we will be praying for your family during the upcoming months. I know you will continue to see Heavenly Father's miracles in your life. Lots of love.

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  15. Oh Amy, I wish I could reach out and hug you. Words are simply inadequate. You are in my thoughts. You are in my prayers. I know that in my own life, when I've been faced with things I don't have the strength to handle, God has been there to give me the peace and clarity to do the best I can. It sounds as though you and B are already intimately acquainted with that form of divine comfort. Love you, girl.

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  16. we are praying for you. you are an incredible family.

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  17. We love you guys and think you are amazing. We had so much fun with you on our vacay. You were so fun to be with. Glad we could have those moments together in the late evening. I already feel so much love for baby Lamp. Lils is missing her bff. Seriously we love you!

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  18. We love you guys and are praying for you... wish I was there to give you a huge hug.

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  19. God be with you and your sweet family.

    my heart is aching. I agree with the commenter above -- it must be so hard to have a happy pregnancy disrupted like this. Such a hard mental adjustment. It will take time and you allow your emotions to be real, okay?

    We are praying for you.

    love you miggy-girl.

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  20. I'm so sorry. I hope you can feel the ALL the love and support that are being sent your way. The partnership between you, your husband and the Lord is bound to get immeasurably stronger over the coming months and years.

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  21. Thank you for sharing. You will be in my prayers.
    xo, Juli

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  22. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

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  24. dearestmiggs -- it's so hard to know what to say but i want you to know that i am wrestling on your behalf. oh, women! the statement about acute suffering esp. when it has to do directly with our children is so true. so true. the fear, the faith, the fear, the faith. it will alternate. all who love you are filling the heavens on your behalf. we are blessed among women to have such support. muchlove!

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  25. As always, I'm here for you Miggy. I'll give you a call soon. Keep your chin up. xoxo

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  26. Amy. I'm so sorry about this news. How devastating and scary. I can't even imagine. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  27. Miggy! I like to ignore my trials sometimes, but this you cannot. I feel for you. It's good you can see the Lords hand.... Many would get stuck on the Why? I look forward to reading about all the growth you are being prepared for. Blessings...

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  28. I'm a friend of Katie McB's who checks in on you occasionally because I love your posts...I never comment but I wanted to say that I'm sorry. Beautiful post and I wish you the best in the difficult times ahead. God is real and He does know us and our needs.

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  29. We are praying for you and your family. You have been such a strength and support to me in my times of need. I hope that you are feeling that same support and love.

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  30. I appreciate you laying your heart and your thoughts out so openly. Lamp is already teaching us so much. The Lord has his hand on you. You and your family are so loved, and you are in my prayers.

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  31. Oh, A, this is devastating. I'm so sorry. I know you're being lifted from another place.

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  32. We love you guys, and all four of you will be in our prayers.

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  33. Amy, you are such an inspiration. You are such a strong momma. I think it's really brave to share this on the web, but in a way it helps us all be connected in a special way. A way that reminds us how we ALL go through challenges and we're not alone. you are NOT alone. You guys will be in our prays. We love you guys!

    Erin, Jordan and Olive

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  34. I loved Sandra's comment about Baby Lamp. So true! Your family and this sweet baby will be in our prayers. We're sending lots of love to you!!!

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  35. A - I'm so sorry for the heartache and that you have to go through this difficult time.
    You two are amazing parents and I know that Beanie is going to be such an awesome big sister. I always looked for you for parenting advice when you were around because I could see what a great mom you are.
    Your family is in our prayers. Good luck with all of the upcoming tests.
    Big, big hug from NYC.

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  36. Hi. It's Carri from the CFEC. Josie's Mom. I found your blog when looking at your playtents & thought I'd see what you were up to since I haven't seen you and P for while. My goodness Amy, my hearts goes out to you all. We'll be thinking about you. Obviously I don't know you very well, but it's very clear and that you are a strong and courageous woman and wonderful mother! Both of your girls are lucky to have you.
    If you want to meet at the park one day with the girls when it warms up, we'd love to see you. We've been through some tough times lately too (our third miscarriage, this one after a year of trying & at 11 weeks preg) so I know the value of being around people who understand your situation. Be gentle with yourself and thanks for being so honest and so open. This sets such a powerful example for P.
    Our blog has a tribute to our recent loss - www.threeschneiders.blogspot.com
    Take care,
    Carri

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  37. we'll be praying for you. and baby lamp.

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  38. You will continue to feel the Savior's love in this trial. You will continue to be lifted. You will continue to feel love for your newest baby. I am thinking of you and praying that all turns out the best.

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  39. Adding our love and prayers to the many expressed.

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  40. Amy,

    Thank you for telling me about your blog. My heart goes out to you for this difficult experience you're going through. From the day I met you, I knew you were a strong, fun, tender-hearted woman and I know you will be the best mommy for little Lamp. I like her nick name too. She will be a little light for your family. Her sister had good insight when she named her that.

    I hope you know I am praying for you and care about you a lot!

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  41. Thoughts and prayers here too, Amy. JOey and I both think of you often.

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  42. I just found your blog tonight (I started reading Bree's blog a few months ago, so that's how I found you), and I have only had time to read a few posts so far, but I just wanted to say that I already love your blog You write so beautifully and honestly, I just love it. Both your girls are beautiful, and I am looking forward to reading more. xx

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  43. My name is Louisa Brown. I want to give thanks to DR Papa for bringing back my ex husband.No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very close co-worker) that DR Papa is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person,It was one of the best things I have ever done. My love life was in shambles. I had been through two divorces and was on the brink of a third. I just couldn't face another divorce, and I wanted to try harder to make our relationship work, but my husband didn’t seem to care. And he brake up with me again.I was confuse and do not KNOW what to do again,rather than to get in contact with DR Papa. He did a love spell that make my husband come back to me. We are now very much happy with ourself. DR Papa make him to realise how much we love and need each other.This man is for real and for good. He can also help you to fix your broken relationship. I had my husband back! It was like a miracle! He suddenly wanted to go to marriage counselling, and we’re doing very, very well,in our love life. Contact email: supremetemple@hotmail.com or website on www.supremetemple.com

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