John and I are doing great! And Addie Lou is perfect. I still get paranoid often and the months between doctor visits feel SO long, but I've decided that choosing faith is better than choosing paranoia. :) (And some days that's easier than others.)
I feel like sharing an experience that started a while ago--about patience.
This is something I wrote early this year (before I got pregnant):
"Shortly after my second miscarriage, John gave me a priesthood blessing. [If you don't know what that is, see my second paragraph in this post.] In the blessing, he conferred upon me a gift that I did not want. It was the last thing that I desired. It was a gift that many people work a lifetime to acquire, and here Heavenly Father was giving it to me without much effort; I even despised it. It was the gift of patience.
After both of my miscarriages, there was nothing I wanted more than to be pregnant again. Having a child growing within me, then being empty inside without anything to show for it, left me with an incredible yearning to have another chance. I desired nothing else than to again have those feelings of joy and anticipation that come with welcoming one of God’s choice children to the earth. Just thinking of waiting a year or so before becoming pregnant again made my sorrow overwhelming. And I felt that if I had to wait five years or more, I would die. Not that I would physically harm myself, but that somehow I would cease to exist; I felt that physically, spiritually and emotionally, I could not handle that trial.
About a year after my first miscarriage, I was finally pregnant again. But during the first doctor’s appointment, we knew something was wrong. And now, after a second miscarriage, with all those emotions and feelings of yearning and sorrow, Heavenly Father wanted to bless me with patience. I felt that being patient meant that I would not be pregnant right away. I was angry. I was angry that of all the blessings Heavenly Father could bestow, that was the one He chose.
Having children is a righteous desire, and married couples are encouraged to “multiply and replenish the earth” and to find joy in having children (Gen. 1:28; Psalms 127:3; see the Proclamation to the World on the Family). My husband and I were trying our best to follow the commandments, to fulfill our callings, and to attend the temple. Why didn’t Heavenly Father bless us in our righteous desire of having children?
A miserable week followed the priesthood blessing while I refused to be patient. I was bitter, angry, and distraught. Finally, I decided that I needed God’s help to endure. I humbled myself and with a broken heart, I knelt down and prayed to God. I told Him that I was ready to accept His gift.
That was five years ago. [July 2005 to be exact.] Since then I've lived in a city full to the brim of young families. [Full. to. the. brim of people who have no problem getting pregnant. "Oops", "we weren't planning on this", "yes, it was a honeymoon baby", "yes, I'm only 18", "I cried when I saw the two lines because my kids will be so close together", blah blah blah. I added that so you get the point. ;)] I've watched cousins, siblings and friends experience the joys I continue to hope for. [We waited for a year for an adoption to come through--for someone to pick us to be parents.]
[From that paragraph, it may not sound like I had much patience! But I really did. It was an incredible gift that Heavenly Father bestowed upon me. I felt that I could survive, that I could continue to endure, that I could continue to grow and learn, and that my worth was not dependent upon being able to have children. I discovered that John and I could continue to strengthen our friendship and love in a way that few couples are able to. I finished my master's degree; I got a great job; I had time to cook and clean and do fun things. I had time to serve others and create new friendships.]
The stories of women in the scriptures give me so much strength. I read and re-read the stories of Hannah, Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, and realize that I have many more years to go before experiencing the level of patience they had to have (see Hebrews 6:12). Hannah might have waited about 10 years before giving birth to Samuel; Sarah could have waited as many as 50 years before she had Isaac. It is encouraging to know that the feelings I have are shared by some of the most important and great women in the history of this earth. And to know that these women remained faithful gives me courage to endure.
Many of God's servants have experienced similar times of patience. I often rely on this scripture in a revelation given to Joseph Smith amidst the persecution of the Saints in Missouri:
1 Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your heart be comforted; yea, rejoice, evermore, and in everything give thanks;
2 Waiting patiently upon the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament--the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3 Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord (D&C 98:1-3).
People often say that the purpose of trials is to become strong; or because in God's Plan, we must be tested in this life. But I have discovered that those things are only a part of the purpose of trials. I have learned that there is no other way--no other way--to truly know God and His Son than to experience trial, tribulation and suffering.
We come to know God through prayer, and in our trials, we pray as Christ did in Gethsemane: "And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44). Without struggle, we would never prayer in such a way. Without trial, we would never learn what it means to rely on the Savior, nor how marvelous the Atonement is. There is no other way to know God and His Son so perfectly than to rely on them during difficult times.
I have come to know for myself that Heavenly Father will bestow us with amazing gifts, such as patience, as we live the gospel. Most of the time, we have to ask for them. Sometimes we have to work for them; and sometimes they are merely given (see Moroni 10:8).
Heavenly Father will give us gifts that we ask for if we "ask not amiss" (James 4:3; 2 Nephi 4:35), for "he that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh" (D&C 46:30).
I know God loves me. I know God loves all of His children. I know that it is because of this love that we experience trial. There is no other way to return to Him than to develop faith and patience as He binds our broken hearts, lifts our "hands which hang down, and [strengthens our] feeble knees" (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18). Only then can we "run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrew 12:1) and see God's promises fulfilled to the faithful. For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). "Blessed are all they that wait for Him" (Isaiah 30:18).
[Back to the present:] Even though I'm incredibly blessed to be pregnant now, I haven't forgotten what it feels like to wait. I feel bad not being a part of that club anymore--almost like I have nothing to offer those who now struggle with infertility. But I know that my lessons in waiting and patience are not over; I will learn them in other ways in my life!
And for endurance, I can continue look to great women for examples, such as my friend Jill whose 2-year-old daughter, Erin, just finished her last round of chemotherapy (if you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself, read her blog).
Or my friend Emily who has a two year-old and newborn triplets, while living in Brooklyn on the second floor of an apartment (yes, second floor = stairs).
Or John's cousin whose husband is in Iraq for a year and her immediate family lives far away.
We are truly not alone here! This earth is full of men and women past, present and future, who have experienced, now experience, and will experience trial and deep emotion. And in our individual suffering, we can turn to the Savior who is the only one who knows exactly how we feel. I am so grateful for a Savior who had trial and suffering and who triumphed. He was perfectly obedient and He has perfect love.
Here are other scriptures that might help you along your journey of patience and faith:
How Firm a Foundation (LDS Hymn No. 85)