Personal,  Why I Believe

Why I Believe: Healer

“Embrace your sacred memories. Believe them. Write them down”

Elder Neil L. Andersen, April 2020 General Conference

Throughout my pregnancy, the Lord encouraged me with His promise that even though I don’t understand how things will work out He will show us His power and mercy line upon line. I wanted to record these very sacred findings and experiences so that we would never forget how God has been in every step of our family’s life.  

Emotions or Revelation?

I went to take the garbage out and took my time on the way back to admire the beautiful clear day. The mountains were green and bathed in light, a soft breeze was settling under a couple of clouds and the freshly cut grass. All was quiet, and my heart was listening. “It doesn’t make sense,” I prayed, “How is this supposed to work out?” I had been feeling promptings to have another child, but I didn’t feel ready so I pushed the promptings aside. Surely God would not ask us to have another baby of our own, so I started looking up ways to become a foster parent and adoption costs. Our youngest had only just had his first birthday, and his birth was quite a miracle. A traumatic miracle. I went into labor before 30 weeks, stayed at the hospital on bedrest, had an unexpected emergency C-section, pumped and visited my baby in the NICU several times a day for over a month. When he came home, I returned to work and wrestled for the first time with postpartum depression. It surprised everyone including myself when I submitted my 2-weeks notice my first day back. I hadn’t found anyone to take care of my fragile newborn, working remotely was no longer possible, I was crying while pumping milk in the bathroom because I missed my baby, and my paycheck wouldn’t cover the cost of someone else to care for our children. The hospital said that my baby needed me, and I had to face the reality that my full-time job didn’t align with that anymore. We went into isolation for a year because RSV/cold/flu season was dangerous for our baby from his being born early. The one time I did go out in public, our baby ended up with 8 different viruses simultaneously and numerous trips to the hospital. I prayed so much in that year, and if we made it out “I will never do this again.”

We had our girl and our boy, and I was happy with things just the way they were. This desire for another baby was unlike me, just a silly passing thought—emotions after having recently cut my little boy’s hair so that he no longer looked like a baby. The passing thought turned into a persistent one with the familiar feeling of the spirit coming in slow quiet moments.

Transitioning from Working Mom to Stay-at-home Mom was difficult for me, and I wanted to go back to work as soon as possible. Having a baby would push all those ambitions back; it wasn’t one of those decisions I could undo if I was wrong, so I had to know if it was right. I waited until after I knew my answer to talk with my husband. I fasted and prayed about it, and now here I was conversing with the Lord privately outside. I continued in my slow walk not really expecting an answer right away, but it came clear as someone speaking with me face to face. Peace filled my soul, and the worry and confusion I felt melted away. “Have I been there for you through everything?” Yes, always. “Have I kept all my promises?” Yes, every promise. “Do you trust me?” Yes. “I promise that everything will be taken care of, and in this you will see the hand of God.” The words left, and I was overwhelmed with the warmth you feel from an embrace. I had the confidence to move forward with strength then. This was a special baby who needed to be born now. If I could just walk hand in hand with the Lord, I could be faithful.

Two Witnesses

I shared my heart and these experiences with my husband, and he looked at me with a smile. Apparently the spirit had also been working hard on him, and he had also felt the prompting to have another baby but was afraid to bring it up to me! For Jeremy, the quiet whisperings actually came when we bought our house shortly before F’s first birthday. Against all odds we were blessed to be able to buy our condo right before the market would have priced us out. As he was walking through the house after we moved in, he felt the spirit tell him that God had blessed us with this home, and it had an extra bedroom because we needed to have another baby…

Part of the Plan

We had a really cool experience with insurance of all things. With my husband’s teaching career, health insurance and getting enough coverage at this time was a challenge. We had to save up for 4 years on a good dual income to have F, and that still was almost not enough to get us through pregnancy, labor and delivery, over a month in the NICU, and a year of special equipment, immunizations, antiviral medications, and isolation.

I was told by our insurance as well as my doctor and his billing office that I would have to deliver the baby at a certain hospital network, and that their NICU was not adequate. In the worst case scenario, if the baby came early we would deliver at the in-network hospital and the baby would be flown to a different nearby out-of-network hospital (where F was born) and we would be separated while I recovered. We’d need to pay separate Out of Network costs for the baby’s stay. We tried to find options that would allow us to stay together since it would cost an additional $14K for the baby’s stay Out of Network—a total of over $20K just for the hospital, not including services and costs not covered by our insurance. There’s no way we could save that up beforehand or pay back that amount even afterwards on a teacher’s salary. We could be in debt for many years and in the most extreme case perhaps file for bankruptcy or lose the house. All this uncertainty and risk struck fear into my heart, and I poured out my concerns to God, pleading for help so that all would be taken care of, or at least for some reassurance that we were still doing the right thing. He reassured me that He would prepare a way.

At the end of January, I called my insurance looking for a solution. A representative with many years of experience there told me that the hospital of my choice was, in fact, In Network and did not appear anywhere because they asked not to be included in the online directory. There was hope! My doctor’s billing office insisted that the school district and our insurance company dropped the contracts with that hospital, so there was no way that representative was correct—until she had me read all the details of my Insurance Card. “You must be very special,” she said, “because no one in the whole school district has access to that hospital—except those that have this particular Medical Plan.” I cried because I knew it was God telling me that this was His work, that even though we had this insurance He gave us the one plan which would give us access to the NICU services our babies needed.  

Showing Me the Money

16 weeks of pregnancy rolled around, and it was finally time to get the miracle shot Progesterone. We were desperately trying to avoid an early delivery, and everything seemed to ride on the shots. Turned out it was a lot more complicated than we thought. After much back and forth with a particular pharmacy, my doctor’s office, and my insurance we found that even with pre-authorization and my doctor telling them this medication was required so they should cover it, our insurance refused and would not cover it. At $2,000/month, I was not sure how we would afford the treatments since it would cost $12,000 to see us through to the due date! There was nothing more I could do, so I asked God about it, and on the next phone call found out the high price was for the brand name drug, so they hooked us up with a generic brand for just $50/month.

As tax time came around I went through our finances and calculated how much we would need to get out of debt. The amount seemed staggering. Even if Jeremy worked every summer, I had no idea how we would pay all of that back let alone pay it back while adding more costs like diapers and formula which could not be avoided but were also outside our means. When we got our tax file back from our accountants, I added up the totals and burst into tears of gratitude. It was more money back to us than we had ever had before, so we didn’t expect it at all, and it was almost the exact amount we needed to get out of debt. I poured my heart out in thanks to God for watching over us and fulfilling His promise to me that everything would be taken care of.

Staying Pregnant

Every day that I stayed pregnant was exponentially saving my baby’s life. I faithfully took my medication and tried not to do too much or worry, but I could feel my body progressing towards labor. The first time I felt labor pains and went to the hospital I was only about 20 weeks and knew that the baby had a very small chance of surviving if I delivered. I had sobbed all the way on the drive there, telling God that He promised me, asking Him what all this was about, praying that my baby who I was completely in love with now would be okay. Thankfully they were able to stop my body, and give me medication to help. I had some very special experiences there on the hospital bed with God, and knew that everything would be all right. My doctor put me on bedrest at home. We had many close calls after, especially around 28 weeks when little F was playing with me as I lay in bed and ended up landing on my pregnant belly.

On Thursday, June 1st I started having some painful contractions. I had already tried medication and a warm bath, resting, changing positions, and I honestly contemplated running through the regime again before seeking help from the hospital since we had barely just paid the astronomical bill from weeks prior. I prayed about it because I really didn’t want to go back unnecessarily, and got the impression to go to the hospital immediately. Last time I came in, I was not dilated and the fetal fibernectin lab test came back negative giving us a 98% chance that our baby would not come in the next 2 weeks. This time, I was dilated at a 2 and was 80% effaced (there was only 20% thickness left in the cervix). The combination of changes meant there was only a slim chance we’d escape preterm labor. They kept me in the hospital for 2 days, giving me a steroid to help the baby’s lungs develop sooner and niphetipene every 4 hours to try to maintain the contractions. They ran another fetal fibernectin lab which again turned up negative, and so they let me go home with the hopes that taking the niphetipene and relaxing would prolong our pregnancy.

The day we were released from the hospital was F’s 2nd birthday. I missed him so much, and there was so much to do including helping him to the park on his new birthday present (a balance bike) and going everywhere from Thad and Julie’s to lunch at El Gallo Giro. I probably overdid it, even though I tried to just sit and not bend or lift anything.
Sunday night came around and the pain of contractions could not be subsided. Perhaps I went too long without a dose of niphetipene since the doctor cautioned me that taking it too often could cause it to become ineffective, and I was thinking of being on these pills long-term. I was scheduled for a follow-up on Monday or Tuesday but my gut told me I needed to be seen sooner to determine if the contractions over Sunday had created any cervical changes. The doctor said I looked great and everything was fine, until he checked my cervix. I was now dilated to a 4 and 90% effaced. He sent me to the hospital immediately and said to go straight there because they were waiting for me and had a room ready.

A Blessing of Healing

The doctors and nurses all huddled around me as they discussed my “placental attachment” complication. I had been seeing a specialist every week, and she did mention and show me that my uterus looked like it had melded with the placental wall, which sometimes happens from scar tissue after a C-section. They couldn’t determine until delivery, but it looked like it could be bad. They were being so serious about it, reminding me of the possibility of having to take my uterus as a life-saving procedure and needing to have blood for transfusion in the operating room at the ready.

I wasn’t worried until Jeremy showed up and the nurse explained to us why it was a big deal. Leaving the placenta undelivered was like having an open wound, and I could bleed out in a matter of minutes—it is the leading cause of death in laboring mothers, and removing the uterus would be the last resort and hopefully save my life. With the very real possibility that I could die soon or pass through trauma, Jeremy couldn’t stop looking at me with tears in his eyes. When we had a moment alone, my Jeremy love sang to me, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray; you’ll never know, dear, how much I love you; just please don’t take my sunshine away…” We held each other tightly and wept together. I laid in bed and reflected on the life I had which was decidedly a very good and joyful one. I wondered if God thought I was ready and if I had actually finished my work on Earth. I asked for forgiveness, and asked Him to help me because I was terrified of leaving my little family. I told Him I didn’t have the strength or courage to do what I might be asked to do—whether it was doing another round of delivery and the NICU, or saying goodbye.

And then our new home teacher and Elder’s quorum president showed up and gave me a powerful and very special blessing. The first thing he said was “Peace be unto thy soul.” It brought me immediate calm. He said the Lord was well pleased with me, and that all would go well without complications. My blessing said that my baby was very special and blessed me to teach him as he grows (I assumed I would need to be alive to be able to do that). I was blessed with “courage and strength” which was exactly what I told God I needed from Him. In the blessing there was also a part about testifying of His power and witnessing the miracles because Christ is the Lord of Healing. I knew that God heard my prayers, and loved me. He had been with me through everything. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, peace, and the comfort of His spirit and I credit that powerful priesthood blessing for getting me and baby W through. Jeremy also received a blessing of comfort, which he said he was so grateful for because it had been so long since he had received one.

I contracted and dilated through the night until my water broke. The epidural had just happened to run out at the moment it was time to go to surgery. They had the anesthesiologist come and give me a direct shot of morphine so I could make it through the pain that I was just breathing through. Everyone gowned up, and after being wheeled over to surgery it was time to push. I had forgotten how to push after almost 6 years. Little W made it! Jeremy lovingly stroked my face and told me how proud he was of me, how beautiful our boy was. I was so happy to see a real baby—my baby—that my adrenaline turned into cries of joy. The doctor announced I had no rips, tears, or anything to do surgery on and that the placenta came out clean—no complications. Such words filled me with relief. Every thing the blessing said came to pass.

I’m here to let you know that God still works miracles today because Christ is the Lord of Healing. He hears our prayers. He keeps His promises. He showed me this power to heal and bless through so many tender mercies in bringing W into the world. Our beloved baby boy is growing up, turning 3 years old in a few months. I thank God every day for my miracle babies!

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