Ah, friends: panic and sheer terror are my constant companions of late.
Did you know our flesh has a memory all its own? Long after our minds have forgotten, erased, or changed the past, our bodies remember. Those scars: we may be used to seeing them, we may brag about them, we may even forget the minor ones are there. Our bodies don't.
My body sure hasn't forgotten. My mind and heart, changed by God's power, have altered the agony and pain of my last pregnancy to be part of the process of receiving my glorious girl. As C.S. Lewis aptly described, "That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory."
But my mortal flesh remembers. Lately, although I am not pregnant, I have felt the complete and total exhaustion that accompanies early pregnancy. I cannot stay awake, my energy is all but disappeared. And today especially—probably because I ate too many Christmas cookies—I have felt that gnawing nausea in my stomach. My pelvic floor muscle spasm has not yet ceased, so I have also felt a lot of pain. And my depression has flared up to be overwhelming most of the time. These were the things that dragged me down into a personal hell during pregnancy: pain, sickness, exhaustion, and that God-forsaken darkness.
This spring, God told us what to do. He told us to let another child come. He said it as clearly as anything. I was terrified, but I made room to obey. At first I was determined, "Fine, let's do this." Then I was excited, "Can you imagine having another adorable, sweet baby?" Now… Now I am back to terrified.
I am not exaggerating when I say my last pregnancy almost killed me. It literally nearly did. One interesting thing I learned about staring death in the face—for real—is that it's not at all scary; it's a kind of peaceful. Lying on an operating table, unable to move or breathe, I had only a moment of panic realizing my lungs did not work, and then I felt calm. Completely calm—death meant release, peace, freedom.
Obviously, I did not die. But my body remembers how close I came. And every pregnancy-like symptom I get throws me back into a panic-stricken "I'm going to die!" mindset. I can't escape it. I've tried. I even made an appointment with my OB to reinsert an IUD, just to stop the constant stress of it all. Conception (which includes infertility complications) and pregnancy (which includes miscarriage and a plethora of other complications) are too heavy a load for me to carry for long.
But an inspired conversation with a trusted friend directed me back to the Lord's commandment. Terrified as I am, I will stay the course, no matter the consequences. (My OB will think I'm the most fickle woman she knows.)
Last night I read this scripture: "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7) If that wasn't enough, two nights before I'd read this: "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." I think Someone is trying to tell me something.