A few days ago, I went to my new doctor here in Ohio. The day before I made the appointment I had received my records from my previous OB in the mail. So, the night before I went in to see the new OB I decided to go through the paperwork to make sure everything was there and ready.

I started through the packet and was taken back a year ago to when we first started meeting with the doctor in Missouri. My first appointment was an ultrasound to check that all was well in my uterus and that there was no tissue left from my recent miscarriage. Suddenly, the feelings of that time last year raced back to me. I literally held my breath as I remembered the loss, the stress, the disappointment and feelings of depression. I even started feeling a little woozy.

I continued to scan the paperwork and was brought through somewhat of a clinical journey of our recovery from the miscarriage, and beginning the process of trying to conceive once again, onto progesterone supplements and ovulation tracking and Metformin.

Then, finally, I came upon the note of the call to the doctor about a positive pregnancy test...and I started sobbing. Why? When I looked at my journey on paper, printed lab notes with garble about hormone levels and scribbled over in doctor's handwriting, it all seemed to go by so quickly. Yet, I knew that the journey to conceive is not just a medical one. Mine definitely wasn't, and it did not go by quickly. The doctor didn't scribble about the days that I had to mentally push myself out of bed and take a shower. There were no lab tests to check my levels of heartache. No prescriptions to help with the pain of loss and longing.

As I sit here and type this I realize...My doctor appointment this week was on the 10th...I went through those papers on the night of September 9th, 2009...Exactly one year to the day from the loss of our third pregnancy. It may seem somewhat lame to you that all these dates coincide and that they are so important to me, but it is only because I am reminded of the importance of timing and remembering things like this...It seems like a way to help me remember the literal and spiritual blessings that came from our journey.

There was a time at the beginning of my pregnancy that I was feeling a LARGE amount of anxiety. This was due to stress at my job, stress with unsure changes with my husband's job, and of course trying to take it easy during a very busy time in our lives so that this pregnancy would not result in loss.

One night, Connel asked if I would like to have a blessing. There were some very significant things that were said and felt in that blessing, but one particular thing that I will always remember from that blessing is this...When the pioneers were crossing the plains, there were hard times when they were lifted and carried, through that which they thought they could not bear, by angels. Just as the pioneers were carried by angels, angels have been and are carrying me.

In Sunday School this past Sunday, we discussed the Handcart Pioneers, namely the Martin and Willie handcart companies. Toward the end of the lesson this quote was shared. I have heard this quote one or two time before and before the teacher arrived at the end of it, I was sobbing. Not only because of the conviction with which this testimony is shared. But, because of it's own significant tie to my blessing and how it can be related to all of our trials, and in our lives, particularly the trial of miscarriage and infertility.

A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.”

Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 6: Faith in Every Footstep, Preparing to Leave Nauvoo

Lately, I have had a few experiences with good friends who are struggling with infertility and miscarriage. As I learn of their struggles, I again find myself remembering the grief and longing that comes through these struggles. I find myself in tears for my friends as they go through loss, medical procedures, pain (physical and emotional), grief, longing, embarrassment and many more of the feelings that inevitably come with these trials. I hope with all my heart that their pain with not be the same. However, I know that it will. They will feel all the same emotions that I did. And it sucks. The good thing is that I know something else. I know that when they are struggling, there will be someone there to lift them, to push their cart, if you will.

They did mine.


Brianna and Rusty Tuckett said...

Thank you Laura! You are so right. I know that I have felt the influence of heavenly beings in my life. I think that angels can also come in the form of those around us. For me, you have helped me to bear my burden and "push my handcart." thank you for being an example and an angel to me. I have so much yet to learn.

MindySue said...

beautiful post. made me cry.

Ashley said...

love this. prayers.

Josh and Krystal said...

Hi Laura. I don't know if you remember us, but we were in your married student ward at BYU-I. It seems like forever ago.

I stumbled across your blog and wanted to let you know that I love it. Thanks for your thoughts. It is always a comfort and a blessing to find someone who can relate. Thank you.

Cynthia said...

What a beautiful post! Congratulations on the pregancy. I popped over from the MMB.

My journey through infertility ended a decade ago (I can't believe our twins are 9 now!) and yet you never really forget what it was like. I think it's a good thing- I've had such great opportunities to help other women as a result of this trial.

The Blake's said...

I've never met you, my name is Melissa - I found your blog through a friend, but I can relate to so many things you have posted about concerning your journey to motherhood.

You are courageous - like you I have suffered many losses. My husband and I have lost 5 precious angels, the first was at 12 weeks (our little one only made it to 9 weeks old), our second was 6 weeks - our third pregnancy resulted in my sweet little boy who just turned 3. Just when we thought those trials were behind us, I miscarried a third little one when my son was 10 months old - that little one was 6 weeks along. I then miscarried again at 8.5 weeks (back to back with my last m/c). Tired yet - i was, but the story does not end there, we miscarried again 6 months later. I thought I might die with that little baby, but I had to keep living, keep hoping, well then 6 months later we got pregnant with our second son who will be 5 months old on Thursday.

Congrats on your expectant baby girl. I don't tell me story for pity - I just want you to know you are not alone. You are courageous - hang in there, I know with having had previous losses it can be hard to enjoy pregnancy, but try - it is so magical.

best wishes, our Heavenly Father knows us, he knows our trials, he knows our children, and I have learned that it is ALL up to him!

Harris said...

I love you so much laura! I am glad that the lord sent you back to ohio. I never thought that I would be so blessed with so many angels. You are one of them. You have made me feel like there is someone else that really understands! And it wasn't too long ago either. i am so happy for you, and I know that the lord has a plan for each of us, and as that quote said that through our extremities we become more acquainted with God. I know that our heavenly father loves each of us and knows the larger picture. i also know that our savior has felt ever ounce of our grief, and knowing that pushes me along.
I am so glad that you are here and that we were able to meet and become friends!!! Thanks for everything!!
pS. I am sorry if I talk about my experiences too much. For some reason it is always on my mind. Hopefully soon it won't be.

Trapper and Suzy said...

This touched my heart. I don't know you...yet. Trapper, my husband, knows Connel from work and gave me your blog address. We'll actually be in your ward soon. You ARE strong. I admire your strength of heart in being to share this with others. I wish I could mourn and cry with you as you look back on those hard days.
Thanks for sharing this.

Christine Dallimore said...

Hmmmm- I think this is my favorite post of yours yet!! It is exactly what I have been thinking and feeling lately. Thank You for putting it so beautifully. As always, you are an inspiration!!!