ANNOUNCEMENT

Please follow the continuing blog adventures of Jenny (that’s me!) here: http://www.mywriteangle.wordpress.com – thanks!

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A myth…

There is a myth about stay at home moms that I would like to clear up. It goes something like, “If you are a stay at home mom, you have to do it right.” “Right” in this myth means a certain way. It means you have to have cute crafts and educational activities for your children to do every moment of the day, it means you drive them to 15 activities a week, keep up on the housework, make nutritious and fun meals three times a day, and play Mozart while your children nap at 9 and 3.

It’s not true, ladies. Its okay that you didn’t make those cute ladybug sandwiches for lunch like the woman on Pinterest did. Don’t feel guilty that your kids are still in pajamas at 11 or that they had chocolate Poptarts for breakfast. Go ahead and let them watch TV.

The fact is, Moms post that creative stuff because they are so happy that they got to do something like that. I mean, who’s going to post, “Look at these cute dinosaur chicken nuggets I fed my kid for lunch today!” or “Wow, Happy Meals three days in a row!” Just do the best you can and love your kids. That’s what matters, that’s what they’ll remember.

Whether you are helping them make their own Halloween costumes, taking them out for ice cream, or washing the clothes together in the bathtub, they will remember love.

I am very blessed to have to opportunity to be a stay at home mom. Many women are not afforded the chance to do so. For all those moms out in the work force, I want to let you know, that being a stay at home mom is not the only way to show your children you love them. We can all do things that will let our children remember love. We are all just doing our best and loving our children, and that, again, is what matters.

When I grow up…

This is a difficult subject for me to write about, but it is one I have been thinking about a lot lately, and I really feel the need to write it.    I am all for women’s rights. Women should get to choose their career just as men have a choice to do so. They should be able to do so without criticism from the outside world. Women have come a long way in this, in fact we have come so far that it seems we have started to go backwards.

The career I have chosen gets criticism more now than ever before. I choose to stay at home with my daughter. Now, before you stop reading, thinking “oh no, not another blog entry about being a stay at home mom” – hear me out. I understand that there are many women out there in the work force who would like nothing better than to get to stay home with their children. There are many circumstances which prevent women that want to stay home from doing so. That knowledge just makes me more grateful that I am able to do so.

If I can really choose whatever I want to be when I grow up, if I really have the freedom of choice over my life, then I choose this. I want to stay home with my daughter. This is the path that I want to live.  This is my dream job.

 

Indulge me for …

Indulge me for a moment. My daughter just finished 1st grade. To me, that is a big deal. Inevitably, someone will now be saying, “Wait until she’s getting married!” Granted, turning seven is still far off from turning 27 or even 17. But, I am a new mom (relatively speaking) and seven is as old as my daughter was gotten so far.

I watched her walk off with her friend on the last day of school. They were chatting as they headed off to class. I could see her then, talking with her friends as she walked into the highschool. So many pressures that lay before her. So many hard choices. Am I preparing her? Will she be ready?

I wish, as many a parent must, there was a way for me to instill in her that she is beautiful and wonderful, that she is a precious daughter of God. I wish there was a way to make her realize how wonderful she is. Undoubtedly, there will be times when she will doubt herself, it seems to be starting earlier and earlier in life.

How can I help her get through those years that can be so difficult? I can try my very best to help her gain her own testimony of Christ.  I pray for her to be able to have the faith to know that even when her tears are hitting her pillow at night (which, unfortunately, I can’t stop from happening) that things will be alright. That she has a Father in Heaven who loves her and knows her heart.

I don’t know exactly how to accomplish this, but I am doing my best. Because, no, I can’t stop those tears. I can’t stop people from being mean, boys from breaking her heart, or regrets in her own decisions. I can’t stop any of those things. I suppose, though I hate to admit it, its a good thing that I cannot stop all those things. Because I would. I would race out there and step in front of each and every boulder that came in her path, but what good would that do her? We all must climb our own boulders, but that doesn’t mean we have to do it alone.

My little one (and she will always be my little one, no matter how old she gets) will always have someone to help her. Even when her mom can’t be around to smash those boulders to pieces, or to hold her hand, she will always have prayer to turn to the Lord. Someone will always be on her side, and that comforts this “new” mom like nothing else.

My continuing journey…

Eight years ago I began a journey. I began a journey to become a parent. It didn’t take long. After only seven months (it seemed like much longer to me) of trying, I was staring at a positive pregnancy test. I didn’t do anything cute or romantic to tell my husband that we were going to be parents. I walked from the bathroom to the bedroom with the test and stared at it as the result came up.  It soon became clear, and to my own astonishment, I said, “There are two pink lines on this thing.” To which, my husband replied, “What?” And I answered, ever so eloquent, “There are two pink lines on this thing.”

Thus began my journey. My first pregnancy was not easy. But I have heard of many harder ones. Our daughter was born 2 1/2 weeks early, and despite having the cord wrapped around her throat, was perfectly healthy besides some low blood sugar and jaundice.

When our daughter was about one year old, my husband and I decided that it was time to try for another baby. We both grew up in large families with children fairly close together. As we began to try again, another leg of my journey, our journey began.

It was a year and a half before I got pregnant again. I didn’t know I was pregnant until the day I was taken in for emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The result of that pregnancy was that I had 50 percent less chance of getting pregnant than I had before and a 15 percent increased chance of having another ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies (or tubal pregnancies) don’t always rupture, when caught early enough, but they don’t work out, either.

About a year and a half later (again) I got my positive pregnancy test. I was nervous, but I had never gotten a positive test with the ectopic, so this pregnancy seemed more like my first. I tried to keep it a secret from most people until the three month grace period was over, but I didn’t last that long. I told more people than I intended to.

Because of my past history, I had early sonograms. I went in for my eight week sonogram and I knew what they were going to say before they told me. It is policy for the hospital to send you back to your doctor for the news. I suppose there is a reason for this, but to me it seemed almost cruel to make my husband and I get back in the car and drive across the street, to wait in a waiting room again, for them to tell me that my baby and passed away.

The next day I had a D&C which I’d never heard of before. So many ways people must be suffering that I know nothing about.

Two years later, my husband got new insurance and I got a new doctor. This doctor suggested a laperoscopy (something else I’d never heard of and still can’t spell) to determine whether I had endmetriosis. (You guessed it, I never heard of that, either). The surgery discovered that I do have endmetriosis. A disease that is painful and makes it harder to get pregnant and makes ectopic pregnancies more likely than in woman without the disease. They informed me that the next 3 to 6 months would be the length that the surgery would be effective. In other words, “that’s how long you have to get pregnant.”

It has been nine months since my surgery and I have began another step. Fertility drugs. I have been taking them for two months now. Last month my pregnancy test was negative. I have seen a lot of those in the past six years. It is scary and frustrating and hard. But I have also been very blessed throughout this journey.

I know God gives us only what he knows we can handle (with His help, of course). I believe that is why I got my daughter before all of this began. She is my dream come true. I have a husband who supports and takes care of me. I have extended family all around and friends who understand. Even those that can’t understand are great at listening. Yes, I have been blessed. My life has been saved. My heart has been comforted by Priesthood blessings as my heart broke for my lost child. I have found solace in scripture and in love and in hope.

As hard as it is sometimes, I know that my Heavenly Father knows my name. He knows the name of the little one I didn’t get to hold, and He watches over us both and over my husband and daughter. I pray for His strength and peace as I continue my journey through life.

 

Life is a gift – my brush with death part 2

I felt the arrow from death’s fatal quiver, come so close it actually grazed me. I bled the blood and I felt the cold shiver. God only knows how He saved me. There’s two dates of time that they’ll carve on your stone, everyone knows what they mean. What’s more important is the time that is known in that little dash there in between.” –Garth Brooks

“All I wanted to do today was put up the Christmas tree,” I thought as I was lying waiting for the surgery I hadn’t known I’d needed an hour before. Many seemingly random thoughts passed through my head in the 20 minutes I had from the time I found out I needed surgery until the time I was under via anesthetic. “All I wanted to do was put up the Christmas tree…I never finished my book…my husband doesn’t know how our daughter likes her toast…she won’t even remember me.”

In movies, people facing death always have brilliant things to say. Things that usually make those around them feel better. At the time I waited for my surgery, I didn’t really know how close to death I was, unless only subconsciously. But I have a sister with Cerebral Palsy, and I know how long surgeries usually take to schedule. I knew enough of what “you’re having surgery in 20 minutes” could mean.

But I didn’t have anything wise, or lovely, or even clever to say to my husband as he sat by my hospital bed. I didn’t tell him he was a good dad or even that I loved him, although I thought them both. No, all I could get out in that crucial moment was, “I’m scared.”

He gave me a blessing. I know it was the only thing that calmed my nerves. I am so grateful that he was able to live his life in the way that he was worthy and able to do it.

It was at a post op appointment a few days after my surgery that I really found out how close I was to not being on earth anymore. It was then that I found out that I had already lost about a liter of blood internally and that if I’d waited a couple more hours to come in, it would have been too late.

Its a strange feeling knowing that your life could have ended so suddenly. I was 26 years old at the time. I had been married 4 years and had a 2 year old daughter. The week before my surgery we had taken a trip with extended family to Florida. I had gotten upset with my husband the last day of the trip for a silly little reason, and I wasted precious moments on a family trip that may have been my last.

Sometimes when I look through our family albums, I am overcome by the amount of pictures that are past that day in November. So many things I would’ve missed if my time had been done. My daughter starting kindergarten, her first school play, nieces and nephews being born, learning about the 50 states with my sister, going to the temple with my husband for our fifth anniversary, when my daughter’s pet fish died.

It is easy to forget how fleeting life can be. It’s only been four years since mine nearly ended, and already the every dayness of life makes me forget how precious it is at times. But you can’t think about life ending all the time, either, because that is no way to live. I guess the point I’m trying to make is: live. Tell your husband he is a good dad, and that you love him. Make as many memories for your kids as you can. Finish your book. Because you never know when you’ll run out of time.

I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the knowledge that even if my life had ended that day, I still would’ve been with my husband and daughter again. And I am so thankful for the gift He gave me of extra time with them here.

Sometimes blessings have very good disguises…my brush with death part 1

Four years ago, my life nearly ended. It wasn’t a car accident, but it was just as sudden. I was in pain, then I was in the emergency room, then I was being rushed into surgery. It turns out that I had an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured. They told me that if I would have waited a couple more hours to come in, because of the internal bleeding, I would’ve been dead.

There is a lot to this story, of course. But today I am focusing on all the blessings that came to me as a result.

My mother had told me to call the advice nurse. If she hadn’t, I probably would have suffered for those next couple of hours I had left. She saved my life. The advice nurse who told me to go to the hospital because my symptoms were strange, saved my life. The radiologist who did the sonogram, and called in a specialist, saved my life. The specialist, Dr. Henderson, who confirmed my diagnosis from the radiologist and did my emergency surgery, saved my life. Inspiration from God to all of them, saved my life.

It took me quite awhile to come out of the anesthesia. I was in and out. The first time a became conscious was only for a moment. I saw my husband at the foot of my hospital bed. My husband is a strong man, tough and sturdy by all accounts. My rock when I am weak. I have never seen him scared except in that moment, looking at me from the end of my bed, and not knowing I could see him. If he knew I was conscious, I’m sure he would have been strong for me, my rock to lean on. But, just then, the frightened look in his eyes gave me more strength than anything else could have. In that I saw his great love for me, and that gave me the strength I needed.

When I returned home, I was too weak to climb the stairs to my bedroom. So, for about a week I had to sleep downstairs. At this time my husband and I slept on a futon that had a reclining chair section on the end of it. Many times our two year old daughter would come in from her room and sleep there.

The night I was able to make the climb, our daughter slept on the chair. At one point, she rolled over and hugged on to my foot. She had never done that before. Her touch made me tear up. I was so glad to have my beautiful daughter in my life, and to be alive to be with her.

Obvious Blessings…

This morning my daughter’s forehead was pressed against mine as we said our morning prayers. I teared up as I was thanking my Heavenly Father for my family. I do this everyday, but today I felt it. How could I ever wish for anything more than I already have?

God is not dead

I was reading the newspaper this morning. I read four stories from the front page. So much tragedy, so many horrible things people have done, so many lives lost. Right across the page of  a story I was reading about a teen driver who killed everyone including himself in a car accident, allegedly on purpose, there was an ad for a Christmas sale.

For a split second, I thought “how ironic.” How can we be celebrating Christmas with all this hate and tragedy and sadness in the world? Then tears filled my eyes as words from my favorite Christmas Hymn came to my mind, “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.”

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day: Text: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – Music: John Baptiste Calkin

I heard the bells on Christmas day, 

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat of,

“Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.”

I thought how as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom,

Had rolled along the unbroken song of,

“Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.”

Then in dispair I bowed my head,

“There is no peace on Earth,” I said.

“For hate is strong and mocks the song,

of ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.'”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,

“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep,

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men!”

Consider the Lilies…

One of my most favorite things in this world is flowers. They make me sneeze like crazy, but I still love them.

I love flowers because they remind me of God’s love for us. Sounds a little strange, I know, but hear me out. Although flowers do carry a certain practical purpose in the life and survival of plants, there are many flowers whose sole purpose is to look beautiful.

God put flowers on this Earth, not only as a source of life, but as a source of beauty – in sight and smell (even if they do make one sneeze). To me, they are like the finishing touch on a world already beautiful. A world not created randomly, but designed by a loving Father to His Children.

“…The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” Alma 30:44 Book of Mormon