My husband and I were in a hard spot this time last year with a recent job loss after 4 years of diligent service. We didn't know what our next step was, and as my husband searched for jobs, I attended the temple one day. I asked if we were meant to add any other children to our family and let God know that we were willing to do His will. Well, I kept getting strong promptings every time I went that we needed to have a baby. I knew it wouldn't take us long because we have been very fortunate to be so fertile. I was so scared. We couldn't even pay our rent, let alone add another baby to the mix.
But we were diligent and decided to go forward with this new trial. This was just the beginning. When we got pregnant, my husband had been accepted into school and had a job that could work along with his school schedule. BUT, we were still struggling to pay our bills. So, we tried another job. This job was the complete opposite of what we were looking for. Like, he had a desk job at a tech company for four years and all the sudden we were looking at manual labor working in oil business. Plus it was a cross country move! We felt like it was the right move and everything lined up for us to move within a week. My husband left first, and we joined him a month later.
By this time we were getting close to finding out what we were having. Mind you, not a soul knew we were pregnant (I was lucky and didn't have morning sickness or really show at all until I hit 20 weeks, but that was well after we had moved from all family and support). We went in to meet our new doctor, and we did the basic overview of this pregnancy. We then went in for our anatomy scan, when we learned the devastating news. Our baby girl had a fatal diagnosis of anencephaly. Anencephaly is where the brain and skull do not fully form, meaning that she would not be a viable baby. We also learned, along with anencephaly, she had other genetic issues that we could have been at fault for. My husband immediately told me that this pregnancy was still a trial of our faith. I was so....scared, sad, guilt-ridden....you name it. How, if we were listening to the Lord and doing what he had asked, would He allow this to happen?
I immediately started talking to moms on Facebook and looking for support groups. There are two women that really stuck out. One had already lost her son to something else, and the other was a mom of one, soon to be two, angels. Her little girl had the same diagnosis, and she was much further along. I saw that, even through all this hardship, she was so full of light! She is religious but not LDS, and she had such a strong light about her that I wanted to befriend her so I could feel that warmth.
We had a ton of family and friends and strangers praying for us, and those prayers brought such comfort during the hard days, the days I didn't feel like I could even get out of bed or see because my eyes were so tear-stained.
I had moments of joy though. I knew that my daughter was so special that she didn't need to stay on this Earth long to gain a spot in the celestial kingdom. The first mom I mentioned helped me with the eternal perspective on things. She mentioned that our sweet babies were already so perfect, and as parents, our goal is to raise our children so they can obtain a celestial being. How great it is to already have one waiting there! This has helped me on my hardest days, because I have come so close to angels who are building me up daily, holding my hand, and walking me through this. I am so important and special, because my daughter chose our family. She chose me to be her mother and to carry her so she could gain a body. That is all she needs, and then she will be on the other side waiting for us to come be with her!
Through such sadness and difficulty with going through loss, there is joy. The gospel brings me joy in knowing that this life is so short, and this is not the end. We will get to raise our daughter; we just need to be worthy. So in a sense, it makes the celestial kingdom more tangible.
I find joy in my two kids, the sensitive sweet spirits they are, and the knowledge they have about the gospel. We have really good days and then we have hard ones. On the hard ones, they let me know how much they love me with their funny personalities and tender hugs and kisses, wanting to just sit and snuggle and talk to their little sister. They know that she is going to die, but they also know that Jesus will take care of our little lamb just like the the picture by Greg Olsen.
I am a firm believer in the ripple affect. I find such joy when I hear how Eva's journey has helped another family come closer into the gospel. My cousin recently told me that she has had such a strong desire since Eva's diagnosis to get herself and her family ready to have a temple/celestial marriage because she doesn't want to leave this world and not be sealed to them.
So yes, this journey has been hard, but as I approach my due date and prepare to say goodbye to our sweet little girl, I know that goodbye isn't forever. Weatherford Clayton spoke about death on the Saturday morning General Conference session this past April, and it hit me hard. I will get to witness such a special sweet peace as we say goodbye to this world and as angels welcome her into heaven. It's hard to say that I look forward to that day, but I do. I want to feel that my baby won't hurt. She won't be in pain, and she will be welcomed by the family that have been walking me through all these hard times. I know that my Great Grandma Eva has been with me during all the moments, and she will be there for our sweet little Eva to welcome her home. And Jesus will be there to take care of her just like her big sister says.
Heavenly Father does not send us trials to be mean or cruel, because honestly, this is a hard trial, and it is unfair anybody has to endure child loss. He does this to strengthen us and make us better, so we can return to Him. So I can return to my daughter and raise her. I never regret this decision of getting pregnant and carrying her to term, because I know she is forever mine, and there is no 'death do us part'. That is Joy. So here I am struggling to say I am the mom of three beautiful children, but I think it is so joyous to know that Eva has a mission, and to know that her mission isn't just on the other side. It is on this side as well. I have had many people tell me how Eva has changed their life for the better as well. To me, that is joy.
My name is Sadee Carney and I am a mom of THREE beautiful children.
To read more of Sadee's story, click HERE.