Friday, April 6, 2012

Letter to Milah

I really need to record my feelings.

First of all, it has been so wonderful to be pregnant with you my darling Milah! I love having you with me everywhere I go and thinking of you in every way I sit. I really feel the least fat of all right now, which is so funny because I am definitely the biggest, but the thought that you will come in just a few short days makes me cry just thinking about the change – you will not be inside of me anymore. I am not ready for this pregnancy to end. I love how much closer Danny and I have become. He takes care of me all the time now; he is really the provider, the protector when I am pregnant. He is so patient no matter what I complain about (though he always has been) and he has helped me through so much. When I used oregano therapy and would just be in so much pain I would collapse on the bed; it was funny that my reaction was to go limp and straight into hypnobirthing to relax. He would come rub my back and tell me things about how worth it all the pain was to have you here in my life. Through this trial of spending my entire time pregnant with either a UTI, yeast infection, or BV and trying to treat them for months in natural ways and then with drugs and then finding that even those wouldn’t make them better I had days where I would just wonder why I was supposed to still go through this? Then I got a blessing that explained why: “this is how you become like Me” I was told and also “this is how you learn to love as I love.” I was overwhelmed with an immense love for you and I know the spirit was so strong, one of the strongest moments in my entire life. I KNEW that I loved you in such a special way because of this long long trial (7 months at least). Because of this trial, I have been very aware of what drugs will harm you and what will be best; I have learned not to trust outside sources but to trust my feelings as the Lord can whisper to my mind solutions. Especially now with you being breech I am CONSTANTLY aware of your movement; how you are positioned, where your head is etc. Though you being breech is more dangerous I have to admit I have loved one little thing about it: I love being able to rub your little head whenever I please.
I have seen so many miracles throughout this process. The first one was when I got out all of my mercury fillings and I was terrified when I learned that this could give you learning disabilities (the mercury could get into your brain)! In a blessing we were promised that this would have no effect on you and I knew at that moment that you would be brilliant and that the Lord could completely protect you in any way He wanted to. After that, I had a big decision to make about the doctor/midwives but also especially about the blood thinners. I knew as we proposed our plan to the Lord that He would let me know if we should do something else. At the moment that I went in to meet with the midwife accepting that I would take the blood thinners and pay the immense cost ($4,000 a month) she said in the end the doctor would not prescribe me blood thinners. He is the only doctor who has said this at all and I know that this was for a reason; partially maybe just to let me not have to poke myself with a shot every day and have such risks with bleeding all the time. In retrospect, I think the Lord almost made this decision for us. Those are some of the health challenges and even more the decision-making challenges we have been faced with.
I love that Danny took time to come to the hypnobirthing class with me. This was a marvelous sacrifice for him because He was so busy with internships and school. I cannot believe all the time he has taken out of his life to talk with me and pray over you with earnest desire to do what is best for our little family this entire pregnancy. He has spent 12-1am trying to flip you over from the breech position even though he had to wake up so early and write a paper. He has done so many hours of dishes – it is unbelievable; and he has been patient with me that our house isn’t clean. He has encouraged me to eat because I need to sustain your life. That is one that I can’t imagine ever going back to – a normal stomach and an appetite where any food looks desirable. It is so funny that the thing that sounded really good to me throughout the pregnancy was top ramen! Of all things! I had better not make you a top ramen addict (we used to grow up eating it on Friday nights and you’ve eaten it in utero). Did you know your amniotic fluid tastes like the foods I’ve been eating?
I am sorry my dear for being stressed out so often. I know that has been hard on your growth and development. I know my work isn’t that important and your health would be better if I just made decisions and moved on rather than stressing. I am working on being constantly happy like your Dad. He amazes me! He comes home each day just so jazzed on life and happy to see me and even when I have something to tell him about how “my stomach hurts” or “I feel nauseous” or I always seem to live life in crisis mode, he is so happy and he just makes me laugh! I have to admit though, being pregnant with you I have already learned to avoid being late by packing the things I need ahead of time or actually planning time to grab myself lunch out of the fridge etc. I am determined to become even much more organized once you are here; I don’t want to be the mom who shows up late everywhere, instead I want to be the one who has her diaper bag perfectly arranged and everything I might need for you – a toy, a nursing cover etc.
Milah, I feel like you are my best little friend already. I can’t tell you how happy I was to get the ultrasound pictures of you at 33 weeks! I saw this beautiful face with long, dark eyelashes. I could see you swallow and your hair move inside my tummy! I think it is so funny how when they would do their ultrasounds you would move all around and they tried so hard to make you be still. I love the ultrasound pictures. They hang on our fridge (which is a very hallowed place as only two or three other things hang on our fridge) and I look at them so often thinking that you are the end goal of all of this – and you are alive and in me! Getting those pictures came at a close to breaking point with the yeast infection when I just felt like giving up.
The main moment I felt like giving up was last Friday when I took my last college final and didn’t pass! I failed! And I REALLY failed, with a 47%. Remember this if you ever fail a final. That has never happened before, but my blood sugar was low and I was in a hurry and I was just so flustered! That day I also had so many other little things happen – work took many hours on the exact day of my final with clients threatening not to close, I was going to Dan’s mission reunion, my back hurt so badly I had trouble sleeping, and though my yeast infection had been almost completely gone and I just felt a glimmer of hope for our intimate life, it just came back full force that night. I woke up late that night after having fallen asleep with the lights on I was so tired and I just started to cry out to the Lord “Heavenly Father, I think you have tested me all you can! This is the breaking point” I just kept thinking over and over “this is my breaking point” this is all I can possibly handle right now and I knew that I would feel sweet relief in the morning. Because in the morning was General Conference. I want to promise you when you go through an experience like this where you feel like you have been given all you can handle the Lord will come rescue you at the 11th hour, you will feel relief. There is a balm in Gilead. For me, the next day was one of the happiest. J It was beautiful and sunny and hot for the first time; Danny and I watched conference together and the first two talks especially were about family and children and I was so excited to have you here! Dan and I sat on the grass and each ate an awesome CafĂ© Rio salad (usually we share) and we just enjoyed talking and laughing together; we were back in time to start the next session and the spirit was so strong with us. We love each other so much Milah! I want you to know that you are coming to a family that loves you so much. We talk all the time about your schooling and your Daddy has even come to see that homeschooling will be best for you! Hurrah! He loves the idea of you being mentored by some of our most respected mentors. We make plans and he records all the ideas “to teach our kids.” It is one of our favorite pastimes and gives us so much joy to plan fun trips with you. Oh, next year we want to take you backpacking around Europe for a few weeks! Wouldn’t that be so fun? You are going to be a world traveler. Even in the first month of your life you will have driven coast to coast! You are going to be a trooper – you’d better be a trooper or we will have migraines from your tears and cries and my heart might just break.
I promise to listen to you and to understand as well as I can what you are trying to tell me. Sometimes it will be that you are cold, hungry etc. but what about if a rib popped out and hurt or what if you have headaches? You can’t tell me! I will try so hard to be patient when you cry.
I know I will be able to learn so much from you. I know that I will love looking into your “old eyes” and knowing that you have just been with Heavenly Father. What a gift you are to me! How precious is your sweet soul that always will desire righteousness? I know you are truly the Lord’s greatest gift to Danny and me. It is funny how much I feel this “mama bear” urge to protect you. I am so mixed in my feelings of wanting to share you with my family and friends and wanting to protect you from every germ. It is great to have such a desire to keep you safe and close to me. We are going to be such wonderful friends! I will spend each day helping you grow and develop while Danny is at work, providing for us. I am so grateful he is happy to have me stay home and take care of you for your whole life! He reads his patriarchal blessing and truly believes the part that says his greatest calling in life – the thing he devotes himself entirely to – is to help me acquire the skills and abilities I desire (this is paraphrased from his blessing). He takes this call seriously! He really thinks about it, asks me what skills and abilities I desire. This last time I told him that of being a mother is my greatest desire. A little while ago it was all about eating healthy and eating raw and in that way nurturing him and you. We just found out last night that your grandma (Dan’s mom) has breast cancer. She handles things so well! She isn’t sure what she will be able to do this summer because if she has chemotherapy she will be in really rough shape. Either way, they think they will operate next week as they know the cancer is already stage II. I think as I come to terms with the possibility of undergoing a major surgery (C-section) with you, the Lord has given me so many experiences of people who have also gone through hard things. President Bennett came yesterday and had just come out of surgery 8 or fewer hours before we saw him. He was such a trooper! And yet he had compassion on the breech situation and on the decisions we are facing right now. He told me that even if things seemed impossible, the Lord could do anything He wished. Let Him be in control. Who knows, if I have to have a C-section, maybe the doctor will join the church or something!  That was his positive attitude. He also knew me too well and knows that I stress so much and he looked at me with the greatest face and raised eyebrows and from deep within his heart came the wise words “Relax!” I am really trying to relax so hard for you Milah, otherwise you will not be able to turn over I know.
I wanted to say something funny that started happening…as I got bigger my tummy poked out (of course) and I started hitting it on doorframes etc. I just accidentally hit your head on the table where I am sitting as I readjusted my position J sorry about that one!
I am so grateful for blessings that I know you will come here safely and that the Lord wants you to be on this earth and part of our family – and that He told me so. I have had so many promises and I hold to them so strongly! I remember the words so well and keep trusting in the Lord to make them come true somehow!  I was promised at the beginning of the pregnancy, “if I desired I would be able to have a natural birth” (this was when I was debating getting an epidural or going without one). I really don’t see how that can happen at this point without me making choices that endanger your life or mine. I am debating right now whether I should get a “version” that turns you over and plan on bringing you into this life 2 weeks early by an epidural and being induced, or if I should let you come in your own sweet time. I would really love to wait! I have always vowed I would be the mother who wasn’t itching to have the baby get here because she was so uncomfortable for the last few weeks; that I would rather let your lungs and brain develop for those extra few days or weeks while still in utero. I am trying to come to terms with the idea of a C-section. I know that the Lord may have given me this experience so I would have to completely accept His will and then He could make you turn at the last moment. I pray that is the case! Last night we were with President and Sister Bennett (Dan’s mission presidents) and they told us that their daughter’s baby flipped right before the version. She was not going to be given an epidural for the version; my aunt Raylene wasn’t as well. I know that I wouldn’t like an epidural I would be happy to just have you flipped and then see when you come but that just poses risks to you. The doctor told me that occasionally all the manipulation of the version will upset something and that I could go home and even do kick counts to make sure you are moving but somehow babies just come back stillborn. As I am writing this, I know that you are not supposed to be stillborn (thank goodness that is not the Lord’s will) but I am also wondering if I should just be on the safe side with an epidural. The concern with an epidural is that I could get a blood clot; and also I worry because I will not be able to feel if my legs are cramping with a clot. That’s why I wanted to endure the pain of having you natural so badly. Also, I wanted this experience of birth to bring Danny and me so much closer. Each trial we have gone through has strengthened our marriage immensely and I am so grateful for each one. I know no matter what happens, birthing you will unify us!
A side note – sometimes you make me feel like superwoman! Like when I go to the gym as this huge pregnant belly lady and I just feel so awesome for even lifting little weights or really I can still do quite a lot of weight J It’s pretty fun! I love that you and I are so connected and that I sustain your life. It has taught me to take naps or really just to sleep in a little extra in the morning. It is really weird that no one has come up to me and randomly rubbed my tummy because you know that I of all people wouldn’t mind! I sometimes feel like offering to strangers to have them feel you move – it is so exciting every time you move! It is a miracle! I am so sure that you are alive inside of me.
Lately I have been crazy about driving – every bit of traffic where people’s taillights come on I just tense up. Your dad is a good driver so I feel badly for being tense – after the earlier car accident I just realized how you could have been so easily taken from us. But then I know that the Lord wants you and me to be preserved. I heard an amazing story from Jeff Wright my naturopathic doctor. He told me he delivered a baby whose cord was too short for her to come out of the womb! The cord actually broke and there was a slight placental abruption yet the mother and the baby were completely fine! That was one that should have been a C-section but the baby’s heartbeat never dropped and it all worked out. It is amazing the things the Lord will do to get you babies here safely so you can complete your foreordained role!
It is so fun to buy cute outfits and pink things for you. I know you won’t care that I dress you up so cute, but I have been sure that you will love all the soft outfits and blankets.
Milah, you are a delight. I am so excited to meet you though I am not ready for it to come so soon and in such an unknown way. I know all things are in the Lord’s hands and he protects us from so many unknowns. One of my favorite songs is called “Unwritten” and it says, “I am thankful for what’s not in black and white. For the roads I have not traveled, for the pain I never knew, for the places you kept me from, Father I thank you, for the days that were not wasted, for the years not spent in vain. I’m grateful for the stories that remain unwritten.” The Lord has kept me from blood clots I am sure, I don’t know all the things he has protected you or me from, but I am so grateful for His will. I know I can trust him and try to be “thankful for what’s not in black and white.” Right now that is hard, but I hope as I keep thinking about things I will find peace in however you come. I was talking to my grandma today and she said that with babies, you don’t have choices. You don’t choose the gender or the day and time when they come or even often how they come. I am learning submission.
Today as I was driving I heard another song whose words meant so much to me. It was the EFY song “Courage to Stand Strong.” The words that stood out and brought me to tears were “It takes courage to know” I have to make decisions at this point in your birth. I have to receive answers from the Lord and act on those with faith that I have received correct revelation. “It takes courage to lead and sometimes it takes faith to follow.” I am good at being a leader, but sometimes it is hard for me to follow and to be submissive. I have my own will and my own idea of how things should work. “It takes courage to wait when the battle is long.” I feel like this is so true about the infections that have continued for 7 months. We have to endure to the end!  “We will fight the fight and just keep holding on; it will take courage to stand strong.” This to me explains how I feel right now. I am just going to keep fighting and holding on; having faith and trust in the Lord that His will be done and that it will be the best for you and for me. I would be sad to never feel the pain of labor; I shouldn’t be preserved from this. In my mind this helped me become like Eve and others and develop a stronger bond with you and with your Daddy. But that may not be the Lord’s will; maybe that wouldn’t try me enough. Maybe I just need courage to face anything that happens with trust in the Lord.
I am so grateful to have you so close to coming Milah. I know that you are such a special spirit sent from Heavenly Father. You are so good, so determined. I have already felt this determination when the night we found out you were breech you struggled the most I have ever felt for over an hour. You were trying to turn yourself around! I know it! It broke my heart to see you struggle but you just couldn’t quite make it.
            Of all songs I love to describe your life this one is the favorite of mine. I especially love that you are coming down like gentle rain through darken skies with glory trailing from your feet as you come and endless promise in your eyes…stranger from the realm of light who have forgotten all the memory of your former life the purpose of your call and so you must learn why you’re here and who you really are” I am so excited to teach you who you are! To teach you about your heavenly home! You have been saved for these last days to “win the battle in the hearts of men” and you will not “bend with the wind or the change.” You will fight with love. I know you will have a special love and tenderness for all those around you!
            The other song I will love is “Old Eyes” by Kenneth Cope. “Down from safe mountain to valleys harsh and dry. You’ve come cross the canyon to help us through the night. Shine a little light. We’ve long since forgotten the homeland left behind but you and your newness remain its surest sign. Child sent from forever; baby, royal design…tell us your secrets, share your secrets – old eyes. It’s keeping us reaching forging holy ties. Trying to be like Him we pierce the hidden white. Child, fresh from forever. Baby, open our eyes. Remember your secrets treasured secrets old eyes.” The last part is my very favorite! You are a child sent from forever. Just barely you talked with Heavenly Father and He probably encouraged you in your long and scary journey to earth. If I am worried about a short birthing you, how worried you must have been to leave your Heavenly home and all you knew there. I love you so much my dear Milah. I love your name because it is the root word of “Charity.” It means “gentle” or “sweet” in Russian. You are going to be a daughter full of love for others with gentleness and charity and I am so excited to meet you!

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful Alyssa. I am so touched by all you've gone through and your love for your daughter. I would have never guessed that there was so much going on - you're always so smiley and happy at church! We'll be praying for you though. You are such a neat person, and you're going to be a wonderful mom!