Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Journey to Our Miracle

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. It’s just a part of who I am. There is nothing in this world that brings more joy to my heart than babies and little children. Watching my nieces and nephews discover life is the most fascinating thing.  While I’ve had wonderful moments in my career, my marriage, and my single life, I’ve always looked forward to the day that I would start watching my own child’s life start to take shape.

In August of 2013, Brad and I were told that having our own child might never be a possibility. I knew God wanted us to be parents, but realizing it may take extreme measures to get there was terrifying. Having known incredible families who have struggled through infertility and adoption, I knew this road would be long and costly, both monetarily and emotionally. 

Once we knew the odds, we started discussing our options and praying for guidance. I was discouraged, but hopeful we could find a solution. On a particularly rough night, I asked Brad to give me a priesthood blessing. I needed guidance from the Lord to help me find strength and courage to face the battle ahead. In the blessing I was assured that we would know the path to follow as we started our journey. While this didn’t tell me exactly what to do, I had hope, and I was ready to start taking action.

Our first stop was LDS Family Services. I knew if adoption was part of our journey, we needed to get started right away. We set up online classes and put together an upbeat Facebook post letting all of our friends, family, and acquaintances know that we were “excited” about the opportunity to adopt. As I clicked send, the sobs poured out of my “excited” soul. See, adoption is a miracle, and I know firsthand the incredible blessing it brings to all involved. However, I also know of the hope, heartbreak, fear, and endless waiting that comes before the blessing. Acknowledging our situation out loud to everyone we knew suddenly made this journey intensely real. This moment was the most painful, and maybe the most hopeless for me.

Our next stop was a fertility doctor. I wasn’t convinced adoption was our only option, and we wanted some more formal answers from a medical specialist who could potentially help boost our chances of conception. As the doctor reviewed our options, I knew immediately in vitro was not something I was ready to pursue. I was open to doing what was necessary, but the process did not feel like the right path for us. However, the doctor did suggest a less complicated procedure, and we decided to try that for a few months, and then revisit the possibility of in vitro.

The night before the second procedure, I realized it didn’t feel right, and I started thinking about the blessing I’d received with the promise that I would know what to do. I felt like we should do it, but I didn’t know. I spent the day going back and forth in my mind without finding peace, so that night I drove up the hill, sat in front of the temple, and poured my heart out to the Lord. I decided I needed to lay it all out on the altar, and let Him help me figure this out.  I was afraid that my concern over money was holding me back. Or maybe I still didn’t think I was ready for motherhood. It seemed I should be taking every opportunity given, so I couldn’t determine why I felt so unsure. 

As I prayed for guidance that night, I was reminded of a scripture I read shortly after moving to Rexburg. In 1 Nephi 17:13 the Lord tells Nephi, “…I will be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments. And if ye keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.” The Spirit taught me at then that we all are heading toward our “promised land”, and the Lord wants to provide miracles along the way so we have the assurance that we are led by him. I realized the Lord had been my light in the wilderness many times, and had required nothing but patience, faith, and obedience. As I looked back at that teaching moment I found myself saying, “Heavenly Father, I was promised that I would know the right path. And while our options aren’t bad, I don’t seem to know they are right. I feel like this is meant to be your miracle to give. That I am not meant to take every option the world gives, because you will provide the way, and I will know it is from thee.” I assured him I was willing to follow any path, and asked for a clear perspective if my understanding was misguided, and closed my prayer feeling peace. I knew there was another answer for us, and with patience it would come.

I was apprehensive about sharing my feelings with Brad, knowing it was hard to let go of the opportunity to take whatever help we could find. But he was incredibly supportive and told me he trusted my decision. From that time on I found profound peace, knowing God is a God of miracles, and would provide for us if we continued to have faith. I also continued to listen and watch for anything that might be an answer to our prayers and our faith, not knowing how the Lord would provide, just knowing He would.

We took no extreme measures for a few months, but I started researching any information that might lead down an unexplored road. I knew that Brad had suffered pain through most of his life that medical science hadn’t resolved, and started researching anything related, even though there was no reason to believe his pain affected his fertility. Along the way I stumbled across a blog post written by someone who had suffered the same pain and was helped by a homeopathic doctor. I knew a few friends who had switched to natural medicine for other medical issues, and decided it was worth a try.

Brad was skeptical, and we were both afraid of getting our hopes dashed once again, but in June of last year we met with a homeopath to see what we could find out. In a few short minutes we discovered that Brad’s body had not been processing proteins, and while a normal person had a protein count around 1500, Brad’s was at 85. It turned out Brad’s problem was not in his reproductive system, it was in his digestive system! We were given some natural supplements to help his digestive system start functioning again, and steadily watched his protein counts climb over the next 6 months. This meant our miracle was two-fold. We had the ability to overcome the obstacles that kept us from conceiving, but we also found and fixed a problem that would most assuredly have caused bigger health problems later on.

Over the last 10 months I feel like I’ve taken on an evangelical role toward natural medicine, both recognizing the physical and emotional healing we have found, and also knowing there are so many out there facing similar obstacles, who might benefit from all that we’ve learned on our journey. The answers didn’t come overnight, and there were still tears shed in moments when yet another newlywed couple announced a baby on the way and doubts started to crowd out my faith. Brad’s healing (and even my own) took time. But as of January, we can officially say that it WORKED!! On October 12th(ish) we are expecting our first baby and could not be more happy and grateful to the Lord and to those who He has placed on our path to help guide us to where we are today. I know this is His miracle.

I know the answer we found will not be the same answer for everyone. I know that we were guided onto this path. We had physical and emotional damage that was repairable, and needed guidance to know how to recover. I also know that while we’ve reached the point of conception, we still have six more months to go, but we’ve overcome the part that seemed impossible almost two years ago, and knowing that means there is hope we can conceive again, without the trauma we faced this time around. I also know that it was the Lord who provided the way, and I hope that our story can provide hope to others who are praying for their miracle too.