Walk in Faith Part 2

To read Part 1, go HERE.

November 14, 2017

No, we're not pregnant yet.  At least not that I know yet.  But I need to write.  There are so many thoughts swirling around in my brain, and I need to organize them and make sense of them as I write about the last couple of months.

First, we went to an infertility specialist.  After confirming that everything seemed to be alright, we moved forward with trying to do an IUI along with taking clomid.  As I wrote HERE and HERE and HERE, that was an AWFUL experience, and the fact that I lived through it is a miracle to me.  We skipped that month of doing an IUI, because I needed to recover from the terrible difficulties the clomid had caused me to experience.  I was just fine with skipping that month, because I was sure that the news of being pregnant would not settle well with my very broken brain and hurt heart at that time.

The next month (November), we decided to try again, except without the clomid this time.  The days and weeks leading up to our next attempt at an IUI, I felt so peaceful and even quite excited.  This was going to be a very good thing.  I could hardly stop thinking about ideas of how we could announce that we were pregnant and how my daughter would be so giddy at this news.

While I was doing grocery shopping the day before the IUI, I felt so much gratitude in my heart as I looked back on the long journey of the last 2 years trying to conceive and everything that has transpired in that time.  I thought about how God had planted the thought in my mind to start trying again to have a baby at a time when things were so awful, but maybe that was because He knew it would take time, and by the time it would work, I would be feeling somewhat better about things.  I wanted to cry happy tears as I reflected on how blessed my little family is and how we are experiencing so many miracles along with the difficult storms.

The next day, a Sunday, we woke up to snowflakes falling for the first time this season.  It was so beautiful, and it felt like a celebration of what was about to happen.  I started to feel a little nervous, but I tried to push those nervous feelings aside and remember how much peace I had been feeling.  Sparing any details, we did the IUI, I headed to church, and everything felt so good.  I held someone else's baby all through Relief Society and imagined how I would have one of my own to hold soon enough!  My heart felt calm, and I was thankful.

Unfortunately, that calm didn't last very long.  After church, I started to feel some sadness, but I pushed it away.  This was a happy day, and no depression was going to steal the happiness I was feeling.  I was determined to keep my spirits high.  But the depression wouldn't listen, and by evening, it had overtaken me.  I tried to feel good emotions, but all I could feel was sadness.  I was so overwhelmed.  What if this works and I do have another baby?  How will I do that, when I'm often unsure how I will even survive this long, dark, cold winter?  I'm failing my daughter already.  How will I add another one to that?  Why can't I just be healed, so I can be the kind of mom I want to be again?  What if I don't feel excited when I find out I'm pregnant?  What if I don't love my baby?  How will my brain react to pregnancy?  

I felt so much doubt that it was the right thing to try to get pregnant, and I was so afraid of what was to come.  No effort on my part could dispel these fears, but thankfully my husband recognized that there was a storm raging inside of me.  As we got ready for bed, he asked how I was feeling.  I told him that I was sad, but I didn't expound, because I didn't want to admit that I had fallen so far from where I was.  I had been so excited, and now, that excitement was nowhere to be found.  Without pausing, my husband asked if I was sad about having a baby.  I was so thankful that somehow he knew, and I didn't have to say it, only admit to it.  He hugged me as I broke down and told him that I just want to be made whole.  I want all of this pain to be taken away.  I want to go back to the way things used to be.

I cried more as I told him all the things I used to do as a mom and how those things just aren't possible anymore.  I wanted to feel better, be back to normal, and then have a baby, but it didn't seem that was God's plan.  I was hurt and felt so alone.  My husband held me and repeated that he is so sorry this is my challenge and that we will get through this together.  I don't have to do it alone, because he will always be there to help me.

While his words were comforting, and while I did feel safe in his arms, the tears didn't stop for a few more hours.  I went out to our couch, so my husband could sleep, and kept sobbing.  Nothing I tried could bring peace to my soul.  Finally, I went back to bed and drifted off to sleep.  Sleep was my escape for that night.

I still feel so much fear at how unqualified I am for this task given the challenges I continue to face every day, but I am praying hard that I will feel some peace and genuine happiness when I find out we're pregnant (whenever that happens), so those happy emotions can carry me through the struggles to come.

November 28, 2017

The last time I wrote, I was so sad.  That sadness continued for a whole week, and I cried every single day.  It was so much to take in and handle.  I was beyond afraid and doubtful of my own abilities.  The week after (last week), I started to feel an enormous feeling of peace.  The darkness passed, and I knew and felt that everything would be alright.  I kept praying to feel peace and happiness, and God definitely answered those sincere prayers!

At the start of the week, I began to have some very early symptoms of pregnancy.  I was excited and nervous, but only nervous that I was imagining it, since it had been two long years of trying and tricking myself nearly every month.  By the middle of the week, I started to feel nauseous and very sensitive to smells.  I couldn't believe I was already feeling that, because I didn't start to feel that way with Brooklyn until I was about 6 weeks pregnant (I would have only been about 3 1/2 weeks pregnant at this point).  I continued to feel excitement and happiness, but I also tried to push away those feelings some, because I didn't want to feel disappointment if I wasn't pregnant.

At the end of the week, I took the pregnancy test.  I was going to wait until Sunday, but it seemed pretty obvious what the result would be, so I took it a couple days early.  It immediately showed a positive result.  Tears filled my eyes as I walked out of the bathroom all but shaking with excitement as I showed my husband.  We hugged, and I'm pretty sure there were some tears in his eyes too.  It worked.  It actually worked!  It felt like some huge miracle had just taken place in our lives, but perhaps the greatest miracle was that I felt so much happiness, peace, and JOY in the midst of finding out about our miracle baby.

I still feel somewhat shocked that it worked and that it's real, but the sickness I've been experiencing has been a sweet and tender reminder of the miracle forming inside of me.  The sickness has also been a huge tender mercy at helping to ease my fears of losing this baby, which would be a sure way to send me into a very long depression.  I have already experienced much more anxiety this pregnancy, but being sick has helped calm some of those fears and has been a big blessing.

November 30, 2017

I am a big ball of anxiety right now.  Like seriously, every second I am overcome with fear and worry.  What if this baby is stillborn?  What if I miscarry?  What if something ends up being wrong?  And will it all be my fault?  These thoughts constantly cycle through my brain causing so many frightening feelings.  The worst of them all is that I really feel like anything that goes wrong will be my fault.  I forgot to take a vitamin a couple of days, and those could have been the critical days when my baby needed that specific vitamin.  I took a bath, and maybe it was too hot.  I've just recently been getting on a better schedule reading my scriptures regularly, so maybe I don't deserve this blessing.  It goes on and on.  You wouldn't believe the things my brain can imagine when I have anxiety running through my system.

I think one thing thing that is causing this struggle is the fact that we have been trying for so long to have a baby, and I am honestly so afraid that it won't last, that it's not here forever, and then we'll have to start over.  I'm sure my first appointment in January will help me to feel some peace as I have an ultrasound and can see my precious baby's perfect little body.

These last few days have reminded me of a few years ago when I really really struggled with anxiety.  I remember how I kept telling my husband what I was feeling, and I kept repeating the word "fear" or "scared" or "worried."  Finally, after patiently listening, he suggested that I read talks and scriptures about the character of God, so that I could find out if those feelings came from God or from somewhere else.  I found great comfort in this gem of a scripture, and the truths it contains:

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I continue referring to this scripture in my mind, as I remember that feelings of fear and anxiety don't come from God.  If this was a prompting from the Spirit telling me of something that is to come, I would feel an overwhelming feeling of peace accompanying this prompting.  I can find comfort in knowing that God does not want me to feel afraid, and He does not instill fear in me.

One of the big blessings that has come from this anxiety is how it has helped me to realize how much love I have for this sweet baby.  This has been a concern of mine for the last year, because of my lack of good emotions most of the time, but feeling anxiety and sadness when I think about how difficult it would be to lose this sweet baby has brought me peace and overwhelming feelings of love.

December 7, 2017

I am so sick this pregnancy!  All day.  Every day.  It has really eased my anxiety feeling sick, and I'm sure hoping the nausea and vomiting is a sign that everything is going well in growing this baby.

I'm so excited to be pregnant at Christmas time, as we celebrate the perfect baby born so many years ago who changed all of our lives.  Every nativity I see brings tears to my eyes as I think about what it will be like to hold my own precious baby soon enough.  This is a very, very good thing!

I have been doing relatively well emotionally these last few weeks, which has been a very welcomed and appreciated relief.  I am already a little bit worried about how my body will react after having this baby since that was such a hard time after having Brooklyn, but I know I am surrounded by wonderful family and friends who love me and will help me if that happens to be a difficult time.

Overall, I am thankful and happy to have this miracle taking place in my life.  I am very blessed and filled with JOY!

December 27, 2017

These last couple days have been very emotional.  The tears won't stop flowing, and once again, I'm so afraid.  In the moments when the fear seems overwhelming and like it's too much to handle, I remind myself that things are going to get better soon.  Once this baby is born, we will continue trying to find a medication to help me.  It's going to be okay.  This is just one very wonderful step in the process!  I remind myself that I have a wonderful husband and daughter who love me and are so patient with me.  We are going to get through this together!  Sometimes I think that, as a mom, I shouldn't feel these sorts of emotions.  Pregnant moms should just be happy and excited all the time, but I'm re-learning that emotions are real and that there isn't really a should or should not when it comes to emotions.  I have probably experienced every single emotion possible in these last 2 months, but that's okay.  It's real, and it doesn't mean that I'm any less thankful for this miracle or less in love with my baby.  I have seen God's hand working in my life in tremendous ways over the last two years, and that isn't going to stop now.  I will continue to walk in faith, and I know God will continue to bless my family.

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I'm Back...

I haven't written in a while for several reasons:

  1. How was I supposed to write anything about me or my life when we weren't telling anyone yet about our huge, two-year anticipated secret of being pregnant?  I just couldn't find any words, so I didn't write anything.
  2. I have been doing relatively well emotionally since getting pregnant.  I was so worried about this a few months ago when we started trying again, and so far, it has been really good.  Yay!  (Therefore, I haven't had much to write in terms of why this blog is here.)
  3. I have been feeling unusually discouraged about writing.  It just feels like everything I write is dumb, not helpful, or annoying.  I have gone back to read the sweet messages people have sent to me about how the things I have written have helped them, so I have decided that I will continue writing, even though it is often a scary thing to put myself out there so openly.  
  4. I have been incredibly sick this pregnancy, and most of my days are spent just trying to get through the day.  It's kind of funny, because the result of being physically sick has been almost the same as being emotionally sick, laying in bed for hours during the day trying to find the motivation to do anything.  I'm sure hoping this part gets better soon!
In the coming days, I will have lots to share, including some very inspiring stories for my "That We Might Have Joy" project.  But for now, check out this collage of the JOYful things I found or that people sent pictures of this month in the beautiful celebration of Christmas.


Finding Joy in Christmas Celebrations

Yesterday was honestly the worst day I've had in a long time.  I had been doing so well for almost 3 weeks with very minimal emotional struggle, and then this last weekend, it all piled up on me, and yesterday it came out in continuous tears for literally hours straight.  I hurt so much, even more than normal, because it's Christmas, and I felt like I was ruining my daughter's life.  I felt like I was failing at making Christmas a magical, beautiful time for her.  Instead of making cookies, doing big things for the "Light the World" campaign, making ornaments, or going to fun events, I was laying in bed crying, still wondering how I would get the dishes and laundry done, let alone anything beyond that.

I couldn't stop thinking about all the wonderful Christmas traditions different families have and how my daughter must deserve someone better than me.  Surely, she needed some other mom who could fill her life with warm memories and sweet traditions, something that I simply can't give her much of right now.

But as I was wallowing in my own self-pity and allowing my mind to follow a destructive course of thoughts, I remembered that Christmas isn't really about cookies or ornaments or those other fun things.  It's about the Savior and His incredibly simple birth that changed the world forever.  So while there is nothing wrong with having big or fun traditions, there's also nothing wrong with making Christmas a simple time focused on the perfect baby born in the humblest of circumstances and the JOY that His birth brought to this world.

While I still wished that I could do more, I also felt joy reflecting on how this darkness can be overcome by the Savior and how it's the weight and the burden of mental illness that has allowed me to see the light of Christ shining brighter in my life, especially at this special time of year. 

And then I thought of an idea.  I wanted to look for the word "JOY" in the many decorations used to remember the reason for this season and focus on that joy that can come through Christ.

First, I saw the new nativity we bought this year.  I am so in love with it, and the simple message it displays so perfectly.

Then, my daughter and I saw two more joyful decorations on the way to our friend Betty's house and outside of her room.

After that, we went to the store and found joy all around!

When we got home, I saw the two beautiful gifts that people gave me last year to help me remember JOY, including the bag that I used as our church bag last Sunday.

By this time, I still had tears in my eyes from the difficult day I had experienced, and I still needed my husband to come home early and hold me while he repeated to me the truths that my broken brain had forgotten, but I also felt peace and JOY swelling in my heart.  It suddenly felt okay that I can't do everything I want to do this Christmas.  It felt okay that I have to simplify my celebrations, which is blessing me to have a more focused celebration.  It felt okay that my daughter doesn't have another mom, because she loves and needs me, despite what I can't do at this time.

And then this morning, I received a beautiful, thoughtful, kind gift that warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face.  Someone sent me this shirt that says "Joy to the World."  She didn't know what an awful day I had yesterday.  She didn't know that I was on a quest to literally find "joy" to get me through the sorrows that wanted to take over my heart.  It was perfect and filled my heart with joy to the very top!  There really is joy in the world and in my life because of Christmas.

***I'm still on my search for joy, so if you see any joyful decorations, make sure to send a picture my way!!!