I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all enjoy the holidays and that this next year brings happiness and many blessing to all of you.
Here are a picture of my two miracle babies and stepdaughter: Serenity - 6 Brynn- 14 months and Hannah - 4 months
Post Your Holiday Photo too :)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all enjoy the holidays and that this next year brings happiness and many blessing to all of you.
Posted by Rachel Doyle at 9:21 PM
Hey everyone -
Just wanted to give you a "heads up" on an adoption agency (based out of Utah) that my friend just warned me about. She says that after two separate personal incidents with them, that she and her husband found out a lot of negative information about the agency- unfortunately, she didn't give more details than that.
They are All for Love adoption agency, and I would advise caution if you are looking into using them, or if you have been approached through an outside source (i.e., parentprofiles.com).
I personally have not researched this agency, so I hope that I am not offending anyone by passing on this information. If you've adopted through this agency and have had positive experiences, please let us know. I would hate to be the one that keeps others from using a legitimate agency because of this post.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Posted by RaeAnn at 11:32 AM
Has anyone else worried about bonding with an adopted child?
Shortly after we took Mimi home from the hospital someone said to me, "You can't even remember life without her, can you?" and I laughed and told them that of course I could! How could nine years of just the two of us fade away after a month or two of dirty diapers, crying, and mid-night feedings? As I reflected on the question and my response, I began to realize that what they were talking about was the "instant bond" that mothers seem to feel toward their children only minutes after giving birth which seems to change the way a new mother looks at everything. I began to wonder if it was because Mimi was adopted that I didn't feel that bond, although I'd heard some adoptive parents say they'd felt it right after having their child placed into their arms. But as much as I loved my little girl and knew that she was mine the moment that I saw her, I didn't feel "the bond". It worried me a little, but I was busy with a new little baby, and honestly didn't have much time to even think about it, except to re-evaluate periodically and see if I felt that way yet. No one told me that the feeling can grow from the simple love that you begin with, but because of our adoption situation, I had complete faith that having her in our family was right and that the feeling would eventually come. And I was right!
Mimi is now 2 years old and just a few weeks ago during a diaper change as we sat giggling together over something silly, I had this overwhelming feeling of rightness come over me that being her mom was what I was always meant to do. And it was then that I realized that the bond that I'd longed for had been growing inside of me as she grew. And I couldn't imagine my life without her. As I thought about that feeling over the next few days, I realized that I had gotten to the point that even though I could remember those nine years, that they were fuzzy compared to the last two- even with dirty diapers, sickness, tantrums and all. That's not to say that I don't have moments of wishing for a little peace and quiet, but I'm grateful for the small, simple joys that occur in random ways every day.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Posted by Shannon at 10:15 AM
Monday, November 17, 2008
Just found this article I thought you all may enjoy.
Posted by Rebecca at 8:19 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thanks for the beautiful posts ... Elder Wirthlin's talk and From God's Arms. They were both wonderful reminders to me of the miracles in my life. And particularly at a time in which I need reminding.
We found out Wednesday our birth mother has selected a different family and is working on placement with a private agency because they can offer her living expenses. Again, none of this really makes any sense to me. And once again the tears of lost opportunities continue to fall.
Sorry I haven't called or emailed, we haven't quite known what to say. We not ready to completely shut this door ... just the window.
Our resolve to have faith and hope remains strong.
Posted by Addie at 7:36 AM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I'm sure you've all head this song before, but I thought it was really sweet how Donny and Marie introduce it, especially since November is National Adoption Awareness month:
Posted by Hillary at 10:31 AM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Hello everyone....I hope you are all doing well. It has been such a busy time for everyone! I just wanted to share an experience I had today at the mall....
I saw a guy standing in line at the chick Filia we made eye contact and nodded like we knew eachother. After he got his food I said.....
How do I know you
he said didn't we go to school together
I said no, and then asked him if maybe he had adopted any children. Why would I think to ask this random, personal question to someone I didn't even know....or did I????
Any way he said well we are actually adopting TODAY
I said WHAT, WOW, that is awesome!
I went on to tell him that my two boys are adopted and that I was so happy for him and his wife. He informed me the reason they were at chick Filia was because there placement had been postponed and they were killing time. I was amazed that we made this unusual connection on this particular day. He sat to have lunch with his wife and me and the boys finished up ours. I stopped on our way out to say hi to his wife and congratulate her. You could tell she was a little apprehensive and asked me if it was normal to have the placement postponed. I reassured her it was and that most people I know have had placement postponed for one reason or another. After talking with them for a few minutes about our adoptions and what a miracle it has been for us I gathered the boys and left. I pray with all my heart this sweet couple received the miracle of a child today. I believe the Lord puts us in the right place at the right time and I feel that is what he did today. This sweet couple just needed a Little reassurance and I hope in some small way I was able to help. I drove home with a pray in my heart for them but also a prayer of gratitude for my boys and what they have given to me. Not only have they made me a mother but they have given me a perspective I would not have other wise. I wouldn't have been able to connect with this couple on such a personal and deep level. I got tears in my eyes knowing what an amazing experience they were in for today. Life is not easy for any of us no matter what our trials are. Infertility is hard but it is also a blessing. It is a blessing to see these children for what they truly are....A MIRACLE. I wouldn't trade this knowledge for anything. Even though I have had to endure a lot of heart ache and pain I wouldn't change a thing. I have been paid back a hundred fold by my loving Heavenly Father. It is because of this trial my joy is so full. Infertility is still hard for me and there are days I just cry. I feel I lost 6 months of my life with our IVF and the pain is still there. BUT I have been so blessed. I think if we choose to count our blessings and find joy in life even tough it is NOT easy we can find true happiness. We just have to trust the Lord and put complete faith in him and he will give us the peace and comfort we need.
I loved this talk by Elder Wirthlin from Conference and wanted to share it. I felt this talk was written just for me. I cried my eyes out through the whole thing and even wrote him a letter thanking him for giving me the answerer's I was looking for. I hope that it will bring that same comfort to you. All the pain you have felt and the tears you have cried are not in vain. There is a purpose just be patient and you will know and understand the reason for your trial!!!
The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
When I was young I loved playing sports, and I have many fond memories of those days. But not all of them are pleasant. I remember one day after my football team lost a tough game, I came home feeling discouraged. My mother was there. She listened to my sad story. She taught her children to trust in themselves and each other, not blame others for their misfortunes, and give their best effort in everything they attempted.
When we fell down, she expected us to pick ourselves up and get going again. So the advice my mother gave to me then wasn’t altogether unexpected. It has stayed with me all my life.
“Joseph,” she said, “come what may, and love it.”
I have often reflected on that counsel.
I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.
There may be some who think that General Authorities rarely experience pain, suffering, or distress. If only that were true. While every man and woman on this stand today has experienced an abundant measure of joy, each also has drunk deeply from the cup of disappointment, sorrow, and loss. The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness.
For me, the Lord has opened the windows of heaven and showered blessings upon my family beyond my ability to express. Yet like everyone else, I have had times in my life when it seemed that the heaviness of my heart might be greater than I could bear. During those times I think back to those tender days of my youth when great sorrows came at the losing end of a football game.
How little I knew then of what awaited me in later years. But whenever my steps led through seasons of sadness and sorrow, my mother’s words often came back to me: “Come what may, and love it.”
How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.
Over the years I have learned a few things that have helped me through times of testing and trial. I would like to share them with you.
Learn to Laugh
The first thing we can do is learn to laugh. Have you ever seen an angry driver who, when someone else makes a mistake, reacts as though that person has insulted his honor, his family, his dog, and his ancestors all the way back to Adam? Or have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?
There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.
I remember loading up our children in a station wagon and driving to Los Angeles. There were at least nine of us in the car, and we would invariably get lost. Instead of getting angry, we laughed. Every time we made a wrong turn, we laughed harder.
Getting lost was not an unusual occurrence for us. Once while heading south to Cedar City, Utah, we took a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until two hours later when we saw the “Welcome to Nevada” signs. We didn’t get angry. We laughed, and as a result, anger and resentment rarely resulted. Our laughter created cherished memories for us.
I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.
We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.
The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.
Seek for the Eternal
The second thing we can do is seek for the eternal. You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, “Why me?”
But the dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt.
I love the scriptures because they show examples of great and noble men and women such as Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Moses, Joseph, Emma, and Brigham. Each of them experienced adversity and sorrow that tried, fortified, and refined their characters.
Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.
Remember the sublime words of the Savior to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he suffered with his companions in the smothering darkness of Liberty Jail: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”1
With that eternal perspective, Joseph took comfort from these words, and so can we. Sometimes the very moments that seem to overcome us with suffering are those that will ultimately suffer us to overcome.
The Principle of Compensation
The third thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father.
Because Heavenly Father is merciful, a principle of compensation prevails. I have seen this in my own life. My grandson Joseph has autism. It has been heartbreaking for his mother and father to come to grips with the implications of this affliction.
They knew that Joseph would probably never be like other children. They understood what that would mean not only for Joseph but for the family as well. But what a joy he has been to us. Autistic children often have a difficult time showing emotion, but every time I’m with him, Joseph gives me a big hug. While there have been challenges, he has filled our lives with joy.
His parents have encouraged him to participate in sports. When he first started playing baseball, he was in the outfield. But I don’t think he grasped the need to run after loose balls. He thought of a much more efficient way to play the game. When a ball was hit in his direction, Joseph watched it go by and then pulled another baseball out of his pocket and threw that one to the pitcher.
Any reservations that his family may have had in raising Joseph, any sacrifices they have made have been compensated tenfold. Because of this choice spirit, his mother and father have learned much about children with disabilities. They have witnessed firsthand the generosity and compassion of family, neighbors, and friends. They have rejoiced together as Joseph has progressed. They have marveled at his goodness.
Trust in the Father and the Son
The fourth thing we can do is put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”2 The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in.
He who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He will make weak things become strong.3
One of our daughters, after giving birth to a baby, became seriously ill. We prayed for her, administered to her, and supported her as best we could. We hoped she would receive a blessing of healing, but days turned into months, and months turned into years. At one point I told her that this affliction might be something she would have to struggle with the rest of her life.
One morning I remember pulling out a small card and threading it through my typewriter. Among the words that I typed for her were these: “The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.”
She did put her trust in God. But her affliction did not disappear. For years she suffered, but in due course, the Lord blessed her, and eventually she returned to health.
Knowing this daughter, I believe that even if she had never found relief, yet she would have trusted in her Heavenly Father and “[left] the rest to Him.”
Although my mother has long since passed to her eternal reward, her words are always with me. I still remember her advice to me given on that day long ago when my team lost a football game: “Come what may, and love it.”
I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.
As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, “Come what may, and love it.” Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I can't say that I love being infertile or that our IVF didn't work, but I take comfort knowing that someday somehow I will be blessed with another child and that I will LOVE......
Posted by Jon & Kim at 9:52 PM
Hi girls! I hope you all had a fun Halloween and enjoyed Election Day yesterday. I'm posting today because until recently, I hadn't been thinking all that much about our infertility. No, nothing's different with our situation. We're still saving our pennies for either in vitro or adoption early next year. Even though it seems far away, I've been at peace with it...until recently. I know a lot has been said in the media about Proposition 8 in California, which the Church supported. On the other hand, for a multitude of reasons, I did not. Do I still believe in and sustain my Church and its leaders? Of course. I just disagreed (not like it even mattered, since I don't live in California). For the most part, I kept my opinion on such a controversial issue to myself. But when pressed, I admitted that I did not support Prop 8. That's when the firestorm began.
I was told, by more than one person, that the reason my husband and I are infertile is because I am disobeying the Lord by opposing Prop 8. I was told that if I was more faithful and did not dissent or murmur, maybe then I would be worthy enough to become a mother. Ouch. Other women I know have been told that clearly they're not being faithful enough, or paying enough tithing or fast offerings, so that's why they're infertile. Girls, I hope that despite political differences, we can all agree that the Lord just doesn't work like that. I don't think we're punished or rewarded with children according to our politics or other matters. Otherwise, how do you explain all the out-of-wedlock, drug-and-alchohol-fueld pregnancies that occur constantly? So, to anyone who's had similarly insensitive and/or rude things said to them, take heart. The Lord I know, the one who speaks to me through the sweet whisperings of the Spirit, doesn't do that. He loves us all, and infertility is not a punishment.
Posted by Hillary at 11:34 AM
Monday, October 13, 2008
In my life, I continue to ask myself am I making decisions out of fear or faith???
At our lunch group on Friday, we were talking about past relationships and how sometimes patterns tend to repeat themselves.
I was reminded of a time in high school when a friend I was hanging out with asked me to choose - if I was going to play it safe and stay "outside the fire" --thanks to Garth Brooks -- because of fear, or if I was going to "step inside the fire" with faith. My conscious decision to take a big risk lead to a great love and a meaningful relationship.
I too am facing a new "fire" as we risk putting ourselves out there in hopes of adopting another child. As I was pondering the risk, I realized fear is the only that holds me back. Fear of time, fear of losing money, fear of not being selected, fear of the birth mother's expectations, and fear of another loss. For me these fears are real, as they are for many of you.
But if I let go of fear, the decision to LOVE and have complete FAITH in Heavenly Father's plan for me and my family is easy. My heart opens to embrace the joys of loving more fully, with less conditions. And experience more true faith, in which I doubt less.
My prayer is we continue to choose faith over fear! Enjoying the joy in the journey a bit more!!
Posted by Addie at 2:03 PM
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Hi sisters. I am new to the blog and have been touched by your experiences shared and the invitation to belong to this support group.
Me and my husband have been married for five years and have been doing inferility treatments and testing for the past three years. This summer we were elated when an IUI treatment was successful and we were pregnant! It was a very exciting and special eleven weeks until our baby's heart stopped 15 days ago. We have been dealing with the loss of our sweet baby as well as the loss of our dream of starting a family finally coming true.
Part of the struggle with our miscarriage was telling all of the many people that had encouraged and supported us, and I was dreading all of the comments about "how this happens for a reason" or maybe if we would have done something differently... I have been surprised and glad that most people have just expressed sympathy, until last week after my D&C a family member asked my husband if I had "had my abortion yet". He told her that was not a good choice of words, but it really hurt me and I worry about her telling other people that we aborted our baby.
So my question is, how do you deal with hurtful comments? Is it better to try and educate people about what they are saying that is incorrect, or is it better to let things go and not risk also offending them?
I hope this is an OK post, especially because it is kind of grumpy and I am new to the group! Others just don't understand quite the same or haven't gone through these trials.
I look forward to getting to know you better~
Posted by RaeAnn at 10:36 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008
It's been awhile since I have posted anything, but since reading Sherydon's exciting news - I thought I would share mine. As you might remember from my previous post - my issues of infertility deal with the ability to carry a child to full term. I have lost 3 babies to first trimester miscarriages and my tiny son Nathan was born 4.5 months premature and lived ten minutes. When I wrote my last post I was 7 months pregnant and on full bed rest because I once again began dilating and contracting at 4 months. Well on August 10th at 35 weeks pregnant I gave birth to a beautiful red headed little girl named Hannah. The delivery was very dramatic and scary. Multiple doctors and crash teams were brought in. My blood pressure went from 120/80 to 50/35. Hannah arrived and was pretty blue and very banged up due to the doctors having to manually pull her out. She was rushed to NICU where she spent a week due to a undetected heart condition. She is now doing well and the doctors will continue to monitor her heart as she grows. I feel truly blessed to have her as the doctors once again reminded us in the delivery room that they were amazed she had made it to 35 weeks and through the delivery. I am so grateful for this little miracle from heaven. I know that our Father in Heaven is mindful of all of us during our trials and he will bless us all -- sometimes we just have to wait and endure until that time -- whatever that trial maybe.
(Hannah at 3 weeks - we blessed her at home so she wouldn't be exposed to a lot of people due to her health issues.)
Posted by Rachel Doyle at 6:15 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
After some sweet nudging from Kerith, she has encouraged me to share about the miracle that has changed my life.
Ladies, I am pregant. You were the first people i wanted to shout this wonderful news to. I have been so apprehensive about sharing because i really don't want anyone to think that im rubbing it in, or being insensitive. I don't want anyone to feel anything negative towards me or the situation. Please know that im mindful of each and every one of you. If you don't mind, i'll quickly share my story and be done.
.......When Nick and I went to the RCC on the 26th of Aug. I could feel that i was ovualting so after the evaluation with Dr. Blouer, i asked him when it is best to try when ovulating. I informed him that my current ob gyn had instructed me to wait until 2 days after the LH test was positive before "trying". Dr. Blouer wasn't too fond of that idea and told Nick,"You go home and get her, Nick!" We just giggled, it was too funny to hear him say that. He made a distinct remark that we will remember for the rest of our lives,"Maybe she'll get pregnant so you wont have to spend anymore money!" Ya right!! We hadn't planned on using clomid or doing an IUI because of this Dr. visit, and the fundraiser. I knew that i was going to be so stressed with the fundraiser and if by some crazy miracle i did get pregnant, i didnt' want to miscarry. So my cycle in August was all natural.
Last Wenesday i began with cramps early in the morning and a little spotting, so i took my nessecities with me to work along with a heating pad and tylenol. The whole day was unbearable, i kept watching for my period but nothing but spotting. I figured tomorrow i would probly start. Wednesday night i had cramping so bad that i couldn't sleep, at about 4am or so i gave in and took a percoset for the pain and called into work. At this point the cramps were so bad i had a beating pad on my back and was laying on one as well. I thought for sure i was having a cyst rutpure on my ovary. During that day the cramps lessoned, but still no period, i was getting so frusterated, i just wanted to get my depressing period over. Thursday night again, so much pain, no sleep and no period. I stayed home the next day with cramps and a headache and insatiable hunger that coudn't be filled. Still no period.
That afternoon, my mother had called me and during the conversation we were talking about this period that wasn't coming. She told me that she knew that soon enough i was going to be a mommy. I, as always, rolled my eyes and shrugged it off. My cousin called me and suggested that i take a pregnancy test. I shot her down and told her that i was over taking tests because as soon as i did, id start and be depressed.
When i got off of the phone, the thought kept nagging at me and i started couting the days since the 26th........17days. Um....i don't usually go over 12.? Wierd. I took the test and set it on the counter and figured eventually id go look. While i was watching Ellen a prenancy test commercial came on and reminded me to go look. I went in the bathroom with a bit of an attitude because i knew what it was going to say......Pregnant. I threw the stick, started crying and hyperventilating and called Nick...no answer, he was chasin cows on the forest and didn't have service.
I went to Evanston Regional to get a blood test and didn't get the results that night, Nick was so excited, we were both in shock. We kept saying,"Can you believe this? Can you believe were going to have a baby?". I went home and took 2 more tests just to make sure and lo and behold, all 3 tests were positive. I don't think i have ever felt so much relief, remorse and sheer happiness all at once.
I don't know why Heavenly Father chose to bless me and at times, i feel really guilty. I know that i haven't gone through as much as pretty much every woman on this blog and haven't endured it as long. All i know is that my testimony of faith has grown in leaps and bounds and i want each and everyone of you to know that WE will enjoy every minute for each and every one of you and WE will love this child with everything we have.
I want to thank everyone here for the great love and support you given me, even though we have never even met. Thank you Kim for starting this wonderful sounding board.
Posted by Sherydon at 10:29 AM
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I don't know how many of you have heard or read this talk, but I think it bears repeating here. It is one of my ALL-TIME favorite talks given by a woman who has never been married or had children. I was in the midst of fertility treatments when I heard her give this talk in women's conference, and I bawled my eyes out. I hope you all can feel the spirit of this message as keenly as I did seven years ago. -Beck
Motherhood is more than bearing children. … It is the essence of who we are as women.
Sheri L. Dew
Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency (September 2001)
This summer four teenage nieces and I shared a tense Sunday evening when we set out walking from a downtown hotel in a city we were visiting to a nearby chapel where I was to speak. I had made that walk many times, but that evening we suddenly found ourselves engulfed by an enormous mob of drunken parade-goers. It was no place for four teenage girls, or their aunt, I might add. But with the streets closed to traffic, we had no choice but to keep walking. Over the din, I shouted to the girls, “Stay right with me.” As we maneuvered through the crush of humanity, the only thing on my mind was my nieces’ safety.
Thankfully, we finally made it to the chapel. But for one unnerving hour, I better understood how mothers who forgo their own safety to protect a child must feel. My siblings had entrusted me with their daughters, whom I love, and I would have done anything to lead them to safety. Likewise, our Father has entrusted us as women with His children, and He has asked us to love them and help lead them safely past the dangers of mortality back home.
Loving and leading—these words summarize not only the all-consuming work of the Father and the Son, but the essence of our labor, for our work is to help the Lord with His work. How, then, may we as Latter-day women of God best help the Lord with His work?
Prophets have repeatedly answered this question, as did the First Presidency six decades ago when they called motherhood “the highest, holiest service … assumed by mankind.”
Have you ever wondered why prophets have taught the doctrine of motherhood—and it is doctrine—again and again? I have. I have thought long and hard about the work of women of God. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of motherhood means for all of us. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to the temple—all of which teach an ennobling doctrine regarding our most crucial role as women. It is a doctrine about which we must be clear if we hope to stand “steadfast and immovable” regarding the issues that swirl around our gender. For Satan has declared war on motherhood. He knows that those who rock the cradle can rock his earthly empire. And he knows that without righteous mothers loving and leading the next generation, the kingdom of God will fail.
When we understand the magnitude of motherhood, it becomes clear why prophets have been so protective of woman’s most sacred role. While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” —and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that “God planted within women something divine.” That something is the gift and the gifts of motherhood. Elder Matthew Cowley taught that “men have to have something given to them [in mortality] to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. [They] are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls … and the regenerating force in the lives of God’s children.”
Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is “as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.”
Nevertheless, the subject of motherhood is a very tender one, for it evokes some of our greatest joys and heartaches. This has been so from the beginning. Eve was “glad” after the Fall, realizing she otherwise “never should have had seed.” And yet, imagine her anguish over Cain and Abel. Some mothers experience pain because of the children they have borne; others feel pain because they do not bear children here. About this Elder John A. Widtsoe was explicit: “Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.”
For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature. Some of us, then, must simply find other ways to mother. And all around us are those who need to be loved and led.
Eve set the pattern. In addition to bearing children, she mothered all of mankind when she made the most courageous decision any woman has ever made and with Adam opened the way for us to progress. She set an example of womanhood for men to respect and women to follow, modeling the characteristics with which we as women have been endowed: heroic faith, a keen sensitivity to the Spirit, an abhorrence of evil, and complete selflessness. Like the Savior, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” Eve, for the joy of helping initiate the human family, endured the Fall. She loved us enough to help lead us.
As daughters of our Heavenly Father, and as daughters of Eve, we are all mothers and we have always been mothers. And we each have the responsibility to love and help lead the rising generation. How will our young women learn to live as women of God unless they see what women of God look like, meaning what we wear, watch, and read; how we fill our time and our minds; how we face temptation and uncertainty; where we find true joy; and why modesty and femininity are hallmarks of righteous women? How will our young men learn to value women of God if we don’t show them the virtue of our virtues?
Every one of us has an overarching obligation to model righteous womanhood because our youth may not see it anywhere else. Every sister in Relief Society, which is the most significant community of women on this side of the veil, is responsible to help our young women make a joyful transition into Relief Society. This means our friendship with them must begin long before they turn 18. Every one of us can mother someone—beginning, of course, with the children in our own families but extending far beyond. Every one of us can show by word and by deed that the work of women in the Lord’s kingdom is magnificent and holy. I repeat: We are all mothers in Israel, and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality.
Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us. I was thrilled recently to see one of my youth leaders for the first time in years. As a teenager who had absolutely no self-confidence, I always sidled up to this woman because she would put her arm around me and say, “You are just the best girl!” She loved me, so I let her lead me. How many young men and women are desperate for your love and leadership? Do we fully realize that our influence as mothers in Israel is irreplaceable and eternal?
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for Mother to wake me in the middle of the night and say, “Sheri, take your pillow and go downstairs.” I knew what that meant. It meant a tornado was coming, and I was instantly afraid. But then Mother would say, “Sheri, everything will be OK.” Her words always calmed me. Today, decades later, when life seems overwhelming or frightening, I call Mother and wait for her to say, “Everything will be OK.”
Recent horrifying events in the United States have underscored the fact that we live in a world of uncertainty. Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers—mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety, security, and confidence about the future, mothers who teach their children where to find peace and truth and that the power of Jesus Christ is always stronger than the power of the adversary. Every time we build the faith or reinforce the nobility of a young woman or man, every time we love or lead anyone even one small step along the path, we are true to our endowment and calling as mothers and in the process we build the kingdom of God. No woman who understands the gospel would ever think that any other work is more important or would ever say, “I am just a mother,” for mothers heal the souls of men.
Look around. Who needs you and your influence? If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with. If we will stay right with our youth—meaning, if we will love them—in most cases they will stay right with us—meaning, they will let us lead them.
As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.
We just can’t let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.
I know, I absolutely know, that these doctrines about our divine role are true, and that when understood they bring peace and purpose to all women. My dear sisters, whom I love more than I know how to express, will you rise to the challenge of being mothers in these perilous times, though doing so may test the last ounce of your endurance and courage and faith? Will you stand steadfast and immovable as a mother in Israel and a woman of God? Our Father and His Only Begotten Son have given us a sacred stewardship and a holy crown in their kingdom. May we rejoice in it. And may we be worthy of Their trust. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Yesterday, I had an unusual experience at church.
We had a combined YW lesson on Divine Nature, of which there is a discussion about the divine role and stewardship of mothers. We have a few leaders who brand new babies. Our teacher presenting the lesson asked one of these mothers (Brooke) to share her thoughts on "the stewardship or motherhood". Being a young mother with a new baby, she went to feed her child during the lesson. Before leaving, she leaned over and asked me if I would help out by sharing my thoughts.
When it came time for the this part of the lesson our teacher asked if Brooke was here. I then replied, she had to feed the baby and I was happy to step in when ready. Awkwardly, she asked me if I knew what the assigned topic was. I said Brooke asked me to share my thoughts on the role of mothers. Our teacher than introduced the topic of motherhood, and then asked (avoiding any eye contact with me and directly looking at the other leaders who have born biological children) "if there are any mothers willing to share their experiences of having a child." She started her discussion by sharing of her "sacred" experience of having a spirit child in her body and then looking into this little child's face at birth and what a wonderful opportunity that has been. She then asked again if anyone was willing to share - only one offered comments regarding the unique experience of being able to tell how different each spirit child was by each individual pregnancy. Then she moved on to the rest of the lesson.
I handled myself fairly well, only let out a few silent tears. Even enjoying the rest of what was shared. After class, I felt fine and was ready for the next thing. Which happened to be temple recommend interviews. I was waiting in line, when my YW Pres. came over and validated my role as a mother and recognized my offerings in this discussion are of the same value as those who have born children.
In 5 years, I haven't been this caught of guard by someone's narrow view of motherhood.
Am I not a mother? Is my stewardship any different? Isn't my divine purpose of motherhood the same as others?
YES! YES!! AND YES!!!
Posted by Addie at 7:59 AM
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Hey Girls just wanted to share this sweet story and let all of you know I am thinking about you.
I longed to be a Mother
By Tamara A. Ilich
My struggle with not having children left me in turmoil. Could I ever find peace?
As a child, I never had any reason to doubt that I would be a mother when I grew up. It was the strongest desire of my heart. I began training myself for the job when I was a little girl, pretending my dolls were real babies, closely watching parents with their children, even working as a nanny for five months when I was 18.
So when I found myself struggling with infertility at the beginning of my newly married life at age 23, I was more than a little stunned. I felt defensive and confused when people asked when my husband and I would be having a baby. I answered their questions in a lighthearted way, but my heart was growing heavy. I thought my body was betraying me, and though I didn’t show it at first, I was in turmoil.
Little things seemed to make the pain most acute, like traditions I brought into my marriage from my own family. For example, Christmas had always been a time for baking cookies and sharing them with children, so I baked. Only after the baking was finished did I realize that the children for whom I carried on these traditions were absent. I also thought Christmas gifts and decorations were primarily for children—the children I didn’t have.
Everywhere I looked, I saw painful reminders of what I lacked. In the spring, a pair of birds raised their babies in the eaves above our front door. It seemed that women all around me were pregnant. People who mistreated their children and therefore didn’t seem to deserve them still had them. It seemed that everyone and everything but me could “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
My husband and I received fertility treatments. We fasted. My family fasted. We prayed. Our names were added to temple prayer rolls. Still no baby.
I tried to bargain with Heavenly Father in an effort to find the key that would turn the lock and reverse infertility for me. I believed in miracles, and I was desperate for one. I was sure that the answer lay in some law I needed to live better; I just needed to figure out which law it was. But trying to change myself didn’t change my childless state.
My spiritual struggle lasted for more than seven years. During that time, my relationship with my Father in Heaven was affected. It seemed that every prayer I said was directed toward my goal of having children. After my disbelief wore thin, I found myself angry. I became less and less humble. Soon I lost the desire to pray altogether.
I alienated everyone around me. I cried during Mother’s Day sacrament meeting programs, never thinking to honor my own mother because I was too wrapped up in my own sorrow. Relatives hesitated to tell me of new babies to be born, and people at church didn’t know what to say. Hearing that perhaps I was not yet ready to be a mother made me cringe. How could that be when I was never told how to get ready? Nor was it a comfort to know that blessings withheld in this life would be granted in the eternities if I was worthy; I was in pain today.
Worst of all, I alienated my husband. In the beginning of our relationship, while we dated, he had been attracted to me because I seemed carefree and effervescent. Now, even that quality was lost in my struggle. Parenting had also been a lifelong dream for my husband, but he came to believe that it would be better for us to stop trying rather than to bring such misery into our home through our unsuccessful efforts. I felt betrayed by his suggestion. My pain left no room for his, and I believed that no one understood my feelings. I felt very alone.
Toward the end of the first seven years of my infertility experience, I was extended a calling as a Relief Society teacher. I accepted the calling even though I felt spiritually depleted and unworthy. I returned to my knees, but instead of praying for myself this time, I prayed for the sisters in Relief Society. I wanted to be able to teach so that hearts could be touched and gospel principles understood. I wanted to bring hope and help to renew the resolve to live whichever gospel principles I was teaching. I knew these things could be accomplished only through the Spirit of the Lord, so I sought the Spirit as I studied and prepared, and I fasted and prayed for His influence to accompany my teaching.
Little did I know, but the effort I was giving for the Relief Society sisters was preparing my heart to be healed. It was while I was teaching one of the lessons that I realized I believed my long unanswered prayers for a baby meant that I was not loved. This realization brought me once again to my knees. I prayed for myself, but now my prayer did not concern my childlessness. What I asked was simply, “Do you love me?”
As soon as I uttered that question, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love, joy, and peace. Like Alma, I had been in the “gall of bitterness,” but “I could remember my pains no more.” Indeed, “my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!” (Alma 36:18–20).
From that moment, I began to better understand the Atonement. In Gethsemane our Savior took upon Himself the pains, sicknesses, and infirmities of His people so that He would know how to succor them according to their infirmities (see Heb. 4:15; Alma 7:11–12). He sweat great drops of blood as He suffered for all of the afflictions that result from living in a telestial world. Before this answer to prayer, I understood that He did what He did for the world. Now, I understood that His sufferings were also for me.
I knew that because of the Atonement, the Savior understood the nuances of my pain. Because He knew my experience, I did not have to feel alone. My understanding of the Atonement and of the Savior’s love for me were forever changed. Now I have hope. I have joy.
About a year after that answer to my prayer, Heavenly Father blessed my husband and me with a beautiful adopted daughter. I do not know if our home will be blessed with more children, but one thing I do know:
I am loved, and my Savior knows me by name. With joy, I strive to pass on this understanding to the heart of our child.
Most of us will have to experience heart-wrenching adversity at one time or another. Infertility was my greatest trial. Although I still do not understand why I have never been blessed with the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, I realize it is not essential for me to understand why—that understanding will come at a later time. What matters is that I know that the same Jesus Christ who walked on the earth, healing spiritual and physical sickness of every kind, has healed the sickness that infertility created in my heart. He lives, and my knowledge of His love and of His Atonement is a greater gift than any other—even the gift of being a mother.
Posted by Jon & Kim at 1:53 PM
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Yeah, as I kind of suspected, our third IUI didn't work out. But at least I feel like I've given IUI's a genuine chance to work, so now we know we have to move on to other things. Other than the cramps and occasional bouts of sadness, I'm pretty okay with all of this. Though my sister-in-law just had a baby last night and is already complaining about her lack of sleep...I'm thinking of steering clear of that situation until I'm in a better place.
What's everyone else up to? Any news or progress or decisions made?
Posted by Hillary at 10:43 AM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Hi all, after an extended absence from blogland, I'm back. Tomorrow morning Brian and I are going in for a 3rd (and final) IUI. We felt like it'd be good to give it one more shot. If it doesn't work, then we'll do either in vitro or adopt. Wish us luck!
If anyone is wondering about the whole donor sperm thing, we actually reached a decision. Before our trip the bishop called us in on an unrelated matter (changing callings), but we decided to take the opportunity to remind him of our situation and get his take on all of this. He was kind and encouraging, and didn't necessarily warn us against using donor sperm. He just said he knew that we'd make the right decision for us, and reminded us that if all of this infertility stuff doesn't work out, there are still beautiful blessings to be had through the miracle of adoption. After a week on vacation at the beach, we came to the conclusion that for now, donor sperm just isn't right for us. We might revisit that option in the future, but neither of us felt 100% comfortable with it right now.
On a positive note, I think Brian's opinion of adoption is changing. Unfortunately, the costs for both in vitro and adoption are staggering. If this IUI doesn't work out, we might just get our adoption papers together and get on a list while continuing to try naturally for the next few months. If we got chosen quickly, we would have enough money to pay for the adoption plus a bit leftover to use for future fertility treatments a few years down the road. On the other hand, if we just did in vitro, I feel like we'd be putting all of our eggs in only 2 baskets (pardon the pun), because we only have enough money to try it twice, max, and then we're out of money and unable to afford an adoption.
I feel like this is definitely major progress for us, and I know the Lord's plan for us will be revealed as long as we are prayerful.
Posted by Hillary at 3:27 PM
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sorry for so many posts. My cousin had me listen to this song and i have searched high and low for the lyrics or a video or something because this song talks about faith in your trials, i listen to it over and over again. I love it!! Her is a little tidbit, if you can download it and listen to it i promise you wont be disappointed!!
~Tell me friend, I see your trials,Why doesn't He who worked the miracles send solace to his child?
Tell me friend, if you understand,Why doesn't He with pow'r to raise the dead just make you whole again?
It would be so easy for Him. I watch you and in sorrow question why?
Then you, my friend, in perfect faith reply:
Didn't He say He sent us to be tested? Didn't He say the way would not be sure? But didn't He say we could live with Him forevermore, well and whole if we but patiently endure?
After the trial we will be blessed, but this life is the test.
Posted by Sherydon at 8:19 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Nick and I have made an appointment for August 26 to have a consult with an RE. Im excited, but not really. More scared than anything. We wont be starting this month however. I have been putting together a fund raiser for my cousins little boy for Sept. 6, and i don't want to have to take all that medicine and hormones and have the stress of the benefit as well, so we'll wait until September. I guess in a way, a little procrastination as talked about in the previous post? I think a little!! As for now, we haven't made a decision about putting our adoption papers in yet!! Hope everyone is doing well.
Posted by Sherydon at 7:24 AM
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Have any of you done this before? Taken a step or two towards adding to your family, then suddenly jerked to a stop?
Because I'm there.
Went to the RE clear back in May, had some tests, now I've stopped short of the HSG test that will tell me if IUIs are still a good option or not. It's not that I'm afraid of the test - I've had too many horribly painful ones (try a uterine biopsy- that one hurts!) to have that be my concern, but I find myself just stopped at this crossroads trying to figure out why my feet won't move. And it isn't just with infertitlity stuff: We met with LDS family back in May as well. Our social worker gave us the initial paperwork to fill out, and do I even know where it is at this very moment? Okay, so I'm pretty sure I know where it is, but have I even looked at it since that day? Nope.
I tell myself that it's because we're busy trying to sell our home, or that DH has been gone too much to make scheduling the HSG nearly impossible, but I fear that the reality of it lies somewhere in the realm of frightened procrastination.
I mean, sure, I'd really like to lose about 30 pounds before starting the treatments that ballooned my weight up 30 pounds when I did them before, but I'm starting to think that the layer of dust on the treadmill makes it look sophisticated, much like the graying hair on a man. And the fact that we had a message on our answering machine from the social worker asking if we are still interested in adopting hasn't sent me into panic mode, just made me want to drag my feet a little slower to avoid having to make that decision.
What is wrong with me????
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Does invitro hurt?
Posted by Sherydon at 12:04 PM
Im not posting this to make it sound like our trials are minute because they are huge to us and everyone feels pain. I just felt i needed to share this.
Glenda posted a blog about a woman who lost her daughter to choking on an apple. I love to blog surf so i figured id check it out....
Such an amazing woman and a heart wrenching story. I can't even imagine the pain and suffering this woman has been through. I look at my trial and realize that even though Nick and I's arms seem empty, i would rather feel this way forever than had to endure loving and losing a child. Today I am so greatful for my trial.
Hopefully im not stepping on any toes!! Check it out if you have time.
Posted by Sherydon at 9:30 AM
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thanks for all the nice comments people left. It's always great to meet others who have been through what you've gone through, but I left out one part of the story (because it was waaaay too long already) and that is that I've just recently been to see an RE up at the U who says my chances for getting pregnant are excellent if we do IUIs again. Which has, unfortunately started the whole raging conflict over again (and is one reason for joining all you incredible women on this blog)! We just went to ask about getting some blood tests done to see if there is a reason for my 2 failed pregnancies and instead of just coming out of the initial Dr appointment with a prescription for a bunch of blood tests (that I can't begin to pronounce, or spell), we walked out with hope. And in so many ways that was more frustrating because I thought that all of this infertility stuff was behind me. I felt like I'd somehow stepped back in time about 5 years, and it was, well, almost like drowning in bad memories.
So we did the tests and all but one came back negative, which the Dr's nurse said probably means that there are no blood disorders causing miscarriage. At the sonohystogram appointment (to check for uterine abnormalities) he said I am borderline PCOS, and that if I wanted to do an HSG to check to see if my tubes are open (common problem with endo), I could schedule that at any time--which I haven't done. Right now I just can't bring myself to even look at the possibility of going back through the ups and downs of clomid (or injectibles and all of the risks associated with that!) as well as starting to pee on those "period starter" sticks again (aka pregnancy tests).
Like I said, the memories are getting deeper and I'm not sure that I can wade my way out to even think clearly about the possibilities.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I know many of the women on here have adopted through LDS Family Services, and have had great experiences. However, if you're thinking about adopting again and have some financial flexibility, you might want to consider going through A Guardian Angel. It's an adoption agency based in Salt Lake City, but as far as I know they're open to out-of-state couples. My cousin's good friends used A Guardian Angel because the wife's mother is a caseworker there, and apparently the agency often has more babies than families wanting them. From what I've told, their average wait time is 2 months or less! Another reason why this couple used A Guardian Angel is that apparently LDS Family Services just has way more adoptive couples than birth moms placing through them, meaning longer waits. So, for them, it was the way to go. They adopted a darling baby girl a little more than a year ago. Then, a few months ago, they got another call because the same birth mother was pregnant again and wanted to know if they'd like to adopt the new baby as well. So in less than 2 years, they have 2 beautiful kids!
The only potential negatives of A Guardian Angel, depending on your personal preferences and financial situation, are that A Guardian Angel is much more expensive than LDS (like $20,000) and tends to have more mixed race/non-white babies available for placement sooner (so it might be hard if you're white and would like to adopt a baby who looks as much like you as possible). For us, if our medical stuff doesn't pan out, this might be the right choice. I just don't care about the race thing, and I'd feel a lot better about spending some serious cash when a baby is the guaranteed result (and that result comes quicker!). Anyhow, just thought I'd share.
Here's the website--I just sent away for a free information packet. It might be useful for anyone wanting to know their options.
Posted by Hillary at 4:45 PM
Okay, so here is the (believe it or not) shortened version of our journey to parenthood. Read at the risk of becoming very, very bored... :)
Before DH and I were married almost 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, so five months into the marriage, we stopped all preventative methods, and waited nonchalantly for pregnancy to commence. About two years later we started to get worried, so DH went in for some tests at the suggestion of my OB. They found a very minor problem, fixed it with surgery, and we left it at that. Right before we bought our current home, I was surprised one day by horrible pain that was followed immediately by AF (Aunt Flo). Two days later I mentioned it to my mom, who told me to call the OB because it sounded like a miscarriage to her. The OB said it probably was a miscarriage, and that if AF lasted too long to make sure I called them back. Even though I didn't know I might be pregnant, hearing that it probably was a miscarriage gave me a lot of hope that I wouldn't have to go see a specialist after all.
Then enters the saga of the house (which actually is important to the story): I didn't really want to move, but the DH was tired of paying rent, so we began looking at homes. We passed over our current home several times before we actually toured it with our realtor. I was ready to give up the hunt, but that night we both had very similar dreams about living in the house, and after about a week of me stewing over not wanting to move again, we made an offer which was quickly accepted. We moved into an awesome ward, and a few weeks later the bishop tried to call me into primary (Let's put her in with all those KIDS! That will make her feel better about her inability to conceive.), which, after a lot of prayer, I refused. The following week I was called as the Beehive advisor in YW, where I served for almost 3 years.
After another 2 1/2 years with no success, we finally went to see a new DR. He wasn't an RE, but he had a definite plan of attack to find out what, if anything was wrong, and then a treatment plan that seemed completely financially reasonable. After tests determined I had CLPD (lining issues), and a "hostile" environment to DH's swimmers, we went the IUI route. After six IUIs, we found out I was pregnant. The pregnancy ended 8 weeks later as an ultrasound tech told us that there was no heartbeat. I took the photo of our baby home with me, and the next day had a D&C because I couldn't stand the thought of carrying my dead baby around inside of me for who knew how long before my body decided to expel it. We tried 3 more rounds of IUIs with no success and I slowly got angrier and angrier at God for taking my baby and making me suffer with infertility while even "stupid" teenagers could get knocked up without even trying. It consumed me, and even though I continued to be active in church, I just dreaded going every Sunday. Around this time I was released from YW and called to be a RS teacher which helped to strengthen the little I had left of my testimony. Meanwhile, we had been thinking more and more about adoption (since we'd spent so much on treatments, surgeries (3 for my endo), tests, etc) and decided to go fasting to the temple to see if this was the course we should take. I bawled when I knew that it was right because a huge part of me was not ready to let go of all of my dreams about having a baby that looked like us or had DH's amazing talents. So we stopped the IUIs, and contacted LDS Family Svcs. Before I could bring myself to fill out any of the paperwork, the DH lost his job, which brought any plans for a family to a screeching halt.
DH eventually found a new job, and we commenced the monumental task of filling out paperwork for an adoption, taking well over a year to complete everything. Almost another year later I was called to serve in the Primary. I struggled with accepting the calling (making the new president wait for over a month while I prayed and cried and cried and prayed), but eventually felt like it wouldn't be too horrendous to see kids that were about the same age my baby would have been. I became close friends with our president (who was the mother of one of my former Beehives) and one Sunday as I was telling her my frustrations about some of our friends being picked by a birth-mom after only having been approved for 4 months (we having been approved for 16 months), she told me that it might happen sooner than I thought. I told her that I really didn't think so, and then she, very haltingly, told me that her daughter (Erica), my former YW, was pregnant.
We hadn't wanted an open adoption at all and were extemely worried about how something like this would work, but through the next few months, as Erica and her family spent time with us, things just seemed peaceful. Since Erica and I had a good rapport from YW days, she spent a lot of time at our house and we came to love Erica for herself- not at all for the baby she was carrying- and our love and concern for her well-being took center stage as we went through the pregnancy with her. We were constantly telling her that it would be fine if she changed her mind after she had the baby (which, I can tell you was the honest truth), but she continually told us that she knew that the baby was meant for our family. We had several long talks with her parents about the situation, and as a result became fast friends.
I finally discovered after 9 1/2 years of marriage that God had been ever-watchful, guiding me through my darkest hours to shape me into the woman I am slowly becoming. He guided DH and I to our home where we became part of an incredible ward family that eventually led us to our daughter and a bigger extended "family" than we ever imagined. Our journey to parenthood was a difficult one that I can now see was only complicated by my anger at God. Fortunately for me, God is very patient and forgiving, and even though I probably didn't deserve it, he led me to a situation that allowed me so many wonderful experiences, including being able to help Erica as she brought a beautiful little girl into the world. My amazing daughter is proof that God knows each of us, individually - our hopes, dreams, righteous desires as well as what each of us can handle.
Wishing you luck with all of your righteous endeavors,
Monday, July 28, 2008
So, we're back from our vacation and no closer to deciding what to do about the donor sperm vs. IVF/ISCI decision we have to make. My OPK test turned positive Saturday afternoon, but we wouldn't be back home in time to do an IUI, so we just went au natural. Surprisingly, I feel really at peace either way. For the first time in a long time, I don't feel like it would be the end of the world if I didn't get pregnant this month (but in 2 weeks maybe I'll feel differently!). Oh, and it's also kind of weird that we'll find out if I'm pregnant on the anniversary of our first date--isn't it so girly to keep track of stuff like that?
Anyway, my reason for posting is that when I blogged a few days ago about our last appointment, many of you mentioned how using donor sperm was just not for you, or how you didn't feel right about it given the Church's guidelines. From what I've heard, this seems to be very common among LDS couples--no one wants to use donor sperm. I'm never one to question personal revelation, so if you prayed about it and just got a "no", then that's one thing. But am I missing something else? Does anyone know why LDS couples, in particular, are really reluctant to use donor sperm?
Granted, I haven't thought about it all that long, and Brian and I still don't feel like we've been given a definitive answer one way or another to our prayers, but I don't see anything all that wrong with it. Sure, I can see the Church having a problem with men going off and donating sperm for money, or single women (or a lesbian couple, for that matter) opting to forgo marriage and a traditional family structure and using donor sperm to get pregnant on her/their own. But I don't know why, other than the Lord specifically answering a prayer, the Church would have a problem with a stable, married, heterosexual couple using donor sperm to help them multiply and replenish the earth.
A few weeks ago, we spoke to our bishop again about our fertility struggles. He was, of course, very kind and reassuring. I mentioned donor sperm as an option down the road, but he didn't mention anything about Church guidelines or caution us to beware of that option. I know he's been preoccupied lately with the declining health of his parents, so maybe he was distracted? I know that particularly in our ward, our bishop is especially busy with members whose needs are more urgent than ours (rent money, food, child care, etc.). I don't want to bother him yet again with something I could research on my own. Does anyone know where I could find these guidelines?
During the time we've been thinking and praying about this whole donor sperm thing, I know that there's something a bit lopsided and potentially unfair about us having a baby that is biologically 1/2 mine and possibly 1/2 a stranger's. But at the same time, I think (though having never had a child, I don't have a whole lot of perspective) that the experience of pregnancy and childbirth are fundamentally different for men and women. I think that for women, motherhood and that special bond begin at the moment she learns she's pregnant. I think that throughout the pregnancy, and subsequent childbirth and breastfeeding, that bond only intensifies. But I don't think it's the same for men--they don't feel anything inside of them growing, don't actually give birth, and don't breastfeed. So for them, I think until the baby has arrived, their job is more passive, and they're more responsible for sympathy and support. So what difference is there, really, for them if you have a baby naturally (who is one or both of yours biologically) or adopt a baby (who is, biologically, neither of yours)? Not a whole lot, other than not dealing with a pregnant or laboring wife. But for a woman, even though the end result is similar, you're missing out on a lot more.
I don't want to offend anyone who has adopted. I think adoption is truly inspired, and is a beautiful blessing for both the adoptive couple and the child. I think that the most important thing is that they're an eternal family, and how they came to be an eternal family is much less important. It's definitely something we've thought about, and if we exhaust our medical options, we will definitely be pursuing it. But I'm just not ready to give up on my dream of being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding. And if our options are either using donor sperm or adopting a baby (rather than spending money on IVF) I think I want to at least try using donor sperm. Again, we're nowhere near a decision on this, I'm just putting my thoughts out there a soliciting everyone else's thoughts.
Posted by Hillary at 11:33 AM
With my last IUI failing, my doctor put me on the lowest dose Clomid and on Friday I went in for my day 12 ultrasound. We found that my left ovary isn't even ovulating and my right ovary has 4 eggs, he thought that one might not make it. The dr. scheduled me to come in on Sunday July 27 (yesterday) for number 3!
This month was done a little differently because my OB has had me come in 2 days after my ovulation test is positive. I can always feel when im ovualting so i don't take the test. But when they checked on the day 12 (Friday) i was almost ready to release the eggs. Friday night i began to feel that i was ovulating. Maybe this month were getting to the eggs earlier, who knows. Anywho, i hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!
Posted by Sherydon at 10:02 AM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I am not really sure that I belong on this blog as I have been blessed with a beautiful nine month old daughter and another baby on the way. But, I have several reasons why I find this blog to be special and a great resource.
I personally can't relate to the inability to conceive - my problem is I have a difficult time staying pregnant. I have lost 3 babies to miscarriages, and beautiful tiny son born at 20 weeks and lived for 10 minutes. My 4th pregnancy resulted in a beautiful little girl born a month early and I am currently on my 5th pregnancy with another little girl due in September. With these last two pregnancies I have spent 60% of them on full bed rest, thousands of dollars in medical bills, and over 40 hospitalizations due to insulin dependent diabetes, pre-clamsia, and pre-term labor. Today at the dr.'s we were told that they will deliver this baby in 3 weeks in order to make sure she makes it here and to stop further problems with of health. The doctor also informed us that we shouldn't have another baby because of the major health issues that arise when I am pregnant. It's a huge blow, that I know many of you know all to well - when you realize that the family you always imagined isn't to be. I am indeed grateful to have the two babies that I have - but I always pictured a bigger family.
Anyhow enough of that - but another reason I find this blog to be so helpful is that I have a sister and a sister in law who have not been able to conceive at all. It makes it so very difficult to be the pregnant sister to these beautiful women - as I don't know what to say to them when I get pregnant, I don't feel that I can complain about the problems I face when I am pregnant, in many ways I feel that I can't be real with them. I miss my sisters and wish that I could call and confide to them, but I know that it just hurts them.
Infertility not only affects those who are trying to have a baby, but all of those around them. As family members or friends we feel like we are walking on egg shells when it comes to announcing a baby, or planning that shower, or milestones that happen. We feel like jerks if we say anything, yet we feel like jerks if we don't include them - it really is a lose lose situation for all. Any suggestions from the group on how to handle these awkward situations?
Lastly, I should mention that I am therapist and that for a couple of years I worked with LDS family services. I have specifically worked with birth mothers and fathers. The process of adoption and selecting adoptive families is truly a spiritual one. Adoption is a gift from heaven for all parties involved.
Anyhow, I hope you don't mind me sharing - Thanks.
Posted by Rachel Doyle at 9:51 PM
Im going to vent! Being gone with out my husband and having to buck up during camp and not be able to feel, i kind of shut myself off and blocked out the hurt that im feeling. Over the weekend, i found out that my cousin is pregnant with her 4th, my best friend from school just had her baby, my sister in law had her first ultra sound yesterday, got to hear her baby's heart beat for the first time, a girl in the next office is pregnant and she goes out to have a cigarette every hour. Right now i can't help but feel sorry for myself. Im at a point where im so sick of the longing and empty arms. Scared of the unknown. I feel so empty and scared that i'll have to endure this trial forver. I don't know how those of you have dealt with this for years have done it. Today i have been wondering..."Does Nick secretly resent me?", "Does the fact that my body isn't working like a "normal" womans body make him disgusted with me?", "Does he sit and think about the girls that he used to date and wonder if his life would have been easier?" Im feeling more and more inadiquate. My positivity has been hucked right out the window. Im so scared and i just want to hide in my bedroom and be alone. Not have any responsibilites. I know that i would go crazy. Sorry for the dark post, but i figure you understand so its all good!!:) Thanks girls!!
Posted by Sherydon at 2:39 PM
So Brian and I went in today for our day 12 ultrasound, and received some mixed news.
--The appointment was with OUR doctor, not the beasty woman doctor who I had last time...she was horrid!
--He wasn't concerned about the possible endometriosis the other doctor thought she saw. He said it was likely a cyst on my left ovary, but because that ovary was clearly producing eggs, he didn't see any reason to worry or think about anything more invasive, like surgery, yet.
--The Clomid is working great, even on the lowest dose...maybe even too great. I had 4 good eggs this time plus 1 so-so, and my uterine lining was thicker than last time (apparently it was a bit too thin last time, but the other doctor failed to tell me). Because there were 4 good quality eggs, he said our risk of having 3 or more babies is about 3%, which is low, but if we were worried, next time I could take a 1/2 dose. Yeah right, aside from medical complications, I'd be on cloud 9 if I had 3 babies!
--Because everything seems to be in order, we don't need to do any more day 12 ultrasounds unless we decide to do IVF/ICSI. Yay! That's a $200 savings each time!
--Brian's sperm quality is not improving...in fact, it looks even worse. He put our odds of pregnancy at about 7% per cycle, compared with 20% for a normal couple either conceiving naturally or through IUI. While Brian tried to remind me that that it's just down 13% from normal couples, I still think: "if you told a cancer patient they had a 7% chance of living,would he or she be excited? Um, no!"
--If I don't get pregnant within the next 2 cycles, our doctor wants us to pick between either a mix of Brian's sperm with donor sperm, or IVF with ICSI. What an agonizing decision! On one hand, using donor sperm makes it likely that the baby wouldn't be Brian's, which is really hard for him, and the odds would be 20% at best. But it's also much cheaper than IVF. On the other hand, with IVF/ISCI, the odds are 60% and we'd use Brian's sperm, but it's $12,000. And our insurance covers zilch.
--If we have to go with 1 of those 2 options, we have to decide relatively quickly, since both of them take about 6 weeks from decision to procedure. Oh, and either way we have to pay for lots more tests and crap like that.
--If I don't get pregnant within the next 2 cycles, our doctor says he might then be concerned about egg quality...which means we'd have to do laparascopic surgery to see if taking care of the endometriosis improves their quality. But at least for now, especially since my right ovary looks good, he thinks my egg quality is probably fine.
So, anyway, I know this is probably much more information than anyone wanted. But in a way it's therapeutic for me to organize my thoughts like this. I think that for the first time today, when I saw how difficult this news was for Brian, I realized that I've been kind of selfish throughout this whole infertility thing. For the most part, I've only thought about how this makes ME feel, how much I want a baby, how hard this is for ME, how sick I am of waiting, etc. While we're both facing the possibility that we might never have children, Brian's facing an increasing likelihood that if we do have children, he won't be biologically involved. We've talked a lot about how many adoptive couples we know have said that they worried about this too, and in the end it really doesn't matter because the baby is yours and you love him/her so much, regardless of biology. But I still think there's something innately difficult about facing the fact that your body isn't capable of doing what it was meant to do. I've made a big deal about any potentially negative results or information I've gotten about my own body, when in reality things with me are mostly okay. With Brian, it seems that he just gets one piece of bad news after the other. I really need to work on being less selfish and more sensitive to his feelings. And as for whether to use donor sperm, of course we'll pray about it and I'll offer advice, but ultimately I want the decision to be his. I want and need him to feel good about whatever choice we make (and obviously me too).
Anyway, hopefully something will work out for us before we have to face all these difficult decisions. Either way, we're off tomorrow morning to Jackson Hole with my fam to get away. Happy early weekend to everyone!
P.S. I decided to go to the shower, but if I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I'm leaving early. :)
Posted by Hillary at 2:05 PM
Monday, July 21, 2008
So, I have a question for you ladies out there: how do you feel about baby showers? Have you ever purposely declined an invitation because you just couldn't face attending yet another one? Or do you think it's silly and petty to poop out on a friend or family member's celebration?
I tend to feel guilty really easily, so I've only stayed home once--and it was a friend from high school, held at the home of someone I didn't know, I had just started my period yet again, and I just didn't want to deal with tons of people I hadn't seen since high school, especially when I didn't look or feel my best. But faced with yet another shower invitation, I am nearing the end of my rapidly fraying rope as far as tolerance for these things!
This particular shower is tomorrow, and it's for my cousin...who hasn't been married as long as I have, has an unfortunately shaky marriage, is unemployed, has a husband who is also unemployed, and yet purposely planned this pregnancy (and got pregnant on her first month of trying). Oh, and she's having a girl, which somehow makes it harder for me (I think it's because I'm dying to have a baby girl to dress up). While on one hand I know I should be thrilled for someone else's blessings, especially since her fertility has no bearing on mine, but another part of me feels like it would be disingenuous to sit and smile and hand over gifts celebrating a life choice that I think is absolutely ridiculous and irresponsible.
I know my attitude definitely needs adjusting, and that this shower is not meant to slight me. Maybe, as my husband says, I'll look back on this and feel guilty for not going. But if I can't force myself to plaster on a fake smile, would it be better for me to just stay home? Especially if the shower is on the same day as a doctor's appointment that could possibly give us some bad news (more on that later)?
What do you girls think?
Posted by Hillary at 2:27 PM
Ive been gone to girls camp and while i was gone, found out that i am not pregnant. AGAIN. My doctor put me on the lowest dose of Clomid and im on day 3. Im not really all that excited about going back again. It seems like everyone I know is pregnant, but me. Im trying so hard to fight back negative feelings and bitterness, but right now, i just don't care. UUUhhh. Hillary, i know how you feel!!!
Posted by Sherydon at 10:45 AM
Friday, July 18, 2008
Just wanted to send out anohter invite to anyone who would like to be a publisher on this blog. Leave me your e-mail if you are interested. We invite readers as well if you don't feel like posting. I am so happy that so many people have found this blog!
Posted by Jon & Kim at 10:09 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Okay so I am so sick of it. My mom calls me tonight as she says to break some bad news to me so I know someone is pregnant so I just make it simple for her and say who is pregnant this time and she tells me it is my cousin that just graduated from high school in May. Really what the heck I just cant handle it anymore I mean I have a lot of faith and I feel like I always choose the right but yet why can I not get pregnant. Me and my husband could give a child such a good life I am just so sick of it. Just so this makes more sense in April my sister let me know she was pregnant as well again unmarried and just graduated in May and I didnt talk to her or my family for about a month. Not that I mad at my mom or dad just need time to breath(I know I sound selfish) I know that me and gabe adopting is what we are meant to do this time around but I just dont get why these people can get pregnant like that and have to be in my family. AHHHH! I am so upset and it really just is UNFAIR. Thanks ladies for letting me vent. It just feels good to get it out. My mom is great but sometimes just doesnt really get it.
Posted by gabeandstef at 8:33 PM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Believe me, when Kim started this blog I never thought I would post to it even though I thought it was such an awesome idea. Well last night we had a visit from our EQ president Dan and he admitted to leaving comments on the SOS blog. For some reason I felt impressed that maybe I should leave a small portion of my testimony/experience on the SOS. Not sure why and I will keep it short so here goes.
Our first few years of marriage we did everything possible infertility wise to get pregnant excpet for invitro. Nothing worked and noone could tell us exactly what was wrong and why it wasn't working. As you all know it is such a rollercoaster with mostly downs, an up occasionally followed by a huge downer. I had sister-in-laws getting pregnant all the time and one was told after her first kid that it was medically impossible for her to get pregnant, well it seemed any time my brother looked at her she was pregnant and even though we were happy for them we really struggled to understand why they were always pregnant and we weren't. In the beginning I was very optimistic that we would get pregnant and the hardest thing for me was seeing Shannon struggle so much as it is always much harder both physically and emotionally for the woman as she is the one getting poked and prodded all the time.
After a couple of years though it all really began to wear me down. We had talked about adoption alot and my brother had adopted and we saw how happy they were and we knew how much we all loved our adopted neice but I could not let go of my pride. You see in my Patriarchal Blessing it states clear as day that "sons and daughters will be yours, you will be given stewardhip over them....." and so on and I could not get over that statement. I found my testimony beginnging to waiver some and I found myself feeling alot of resentment and anger. My pride of wanting Trent Jr. was getting in the way of my understanding and spirituality.
Finally in the summer of 03' we were attending the temple wedding of one of my friends in SLC. That afternoon as we were leaving SLC on the freeway after being in the temple and hearing the sealer talk about my friend and his wife having this wonderful family my mind was racing and all these emotions were running through my head. I kept thinking about my Patriarchal Blessing and what it said and really trying to come to terms with adopting. At that moment a thought entered my head as clear as if someone had been sitting in the car next to me that said:
"I said that you would have children but I never said how"!
I was dumbfounded. All my pride melted away at that instant and I looked at Shannon right then and said let's get our adoption papers in. Almost 9 months later we were picking up Parker at the hospital. I have no doubt in my mind that the adoption program is a direct revelation from Heavenly Father and that his hand is in each and every adoption. He knows us more than we know ourselves, he knows our struggles and he is ever aware of each and every one of us - especially you women. Having a daughter now I have no doubt that our Heavenly Father holds a very big soft spot for all you women.
One last thing before I leave. Just to add to what Shannon posted earlier. When I heard that our second invitro attempt was successful I wondered if I would feel any different about her as I do our boys. I got my answer literally the second she was born. I was standing there (borderline fainting) and when she came out I had this overwhelming feeling that my two boys were every bit my children and meant for me as she was. It was almost as if the whole birthing process was just another mode of transportation to get from one side of the veil to the other and it didn't really matter which way they got here as long as they just, well, got here. I don't want to take anything away from the miracle of child birth or pregnancy but I have such a strong testimony that each of our children came to us in the exact time, place, and way that Heavenly Father had planned for us and that it took me getting over my selfish pride, humbling myself and accepting God's will and understanding that he loves me more than I could possibly know and that if I will just get out of his way and let him - he will bless us.
Anyway this is probably my first and last post. I have such a deep respect for each of you. You are all so strong. Keep it up.
Posted by Shannon at 7:15 AM
Monday, July 14, 2008
I just wanted to quickly thank everyone for their kind words and encouragement. This blog is fantastic! If you're wondering, we did end up going to the cabin this weekend. However, my husband offered to pull each of his siblings aside, let them know what's going on, and asked them to please not bother me about it unless I brought it up. It ended up being a fun, if loud (picture 15 kids under the age of 7 in a 4 bedroom cabin), weekend.
As far as our IUI future is concerned, after lots of prayers and fitful nights of sleep, we've decided to do the best we can without canceling our vacations. I spoke to our RE's nurse, and she was very understanding. She recommended that we do everything we did last month, except instead of the IUI, we'll do the LH kits and timed intercourse. We're still going to do Clomid with the HCG injection both months, and I have an ultrasound scheduled right before we leave. Although I know this is less effective than IUI's, I feel like it's a way for us to still be making a good effort to get pregnant, but at the same time not letting it overtake our lives.
Posted by Hillary at 10:27 AM