Words to Live and Write by

I am willing to fall Because I have learned how to rise.

I craft Love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure.

I am among the brave and brokenhearted, and I am rising strong.

(credit to Brene Brown)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Daring Greatly

I absolutely LOVE Brené Brown's work. It resonates with me so completely. I loved this talk of hers, especially because I consider myself to be a creator. I write, I blog, I "show up and am seen." I dare to be honest and bold in my writing and opinions; I show my true, messy, beautiful self. And, as she says, there is only one guarantee when you do that: "You will get your ass kicked." And yes, that's happened once or twice to me already. It will happen again. But the beautiful thing is, as she says, it is NOT the critics that count!!
I do what I do for me. I blog because it is therapeutic for me - more therapeutic than going to professional therapy. I also blog for others: to show the world and especially people who find themselves fighting the same kinds of battles I fight or have fought that they are not alone

I don't write for the critics. As she says, "If you're not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." I know you're there; I know who you are; I hear what you're saying; and I'm going to do this anyway.
I write for those who are in the arena with me, daring greatly.

"It's not the critic who counts. It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with blood and sweat and dust, and who, at the best, in the end knows the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, he fails daring greatly."  -Theodore Roosevelt

P.S. Read Her book "Daring Greatly" for more inspiration and revelation. This woman is amazing, her writing is conversational, and I guarantee you cannot read her book without learning something critical for your own personal life.

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Checking Out

This is what happens when you brush your teeth and you THINK your husband is 
checking email on his tablet. Nope, he's checking (out) something else. 
Love my husband! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"How Abortion Has Changed the Discussion of Miscarraige"

 Another post that is not my own. But it might as well be. These are my feelings, so strongly, except written a bit better. I am a big fan of this woman's writing. Please visit her blog and get to know her!

"How Abortion Has Changed the Discussion of Miscarriage" from Scissortail SILK

I was finally getting back to a normal routine. My miscarriage a few weeks earlier had taken more than just my baby. It had sapped my emotional reserves as well. I was exhausted, but began to force myself to continue the necessary day-to-day tasks.
I opened the growing pile of mail. A few bills and some unrequested catalogues were quickly set aside. But as I opened a letter from the hospital, I suddenly felt more than I had in days. I could feel my face turn red and my heart began to beat quickly.
The letter read something to the effect of:
“Dear Mrs. Thompson, Blah blah blah, your insurance company will not cover your elective abortion. Blah blah blah.”
It took a few times reading over the letter to understand that I needed to contact the hospital billing office. Surely there had been a mistake.
The conversation is still fuzzy in my mind, but basically, the hospital had “miscoded” my ER visit a few weeks before. While I had experienced what they considered a spontaneous abortion (my body had terminated the pregnancy on its own) the hospital had entered it as something similar to an elective abortion. (They said that I had made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.)
I had done everything in my power to keep my baby. Abortion was the word that described just the opposite.
It has taken me nearly 8 years to realize that abortion wasn’t just a word that was mistakenly used in place of my miscarriage; it is the word that has changed the discussion of miscarriage all together.
When I lost my baby, I was surrounded by family and friends who knew that we were expecting and wanted to support us during our time of loss. I was encouraged by those who knew for themselves the heartache we were experiencing…
But life just sort of… went on…
I joined some horrible unspoken club of women who have all had miscarriages yet no one really talks about the loss or acknowledges the baby.
There wasn’t a grave stone or a funeral or meals prepared for us for weeks. I wasn’t featured on the news or connected by the hospital to other mothers who had experienced similar heartache.
I was sent home to continue to live like my baby had never died – like there never was a baby.
But recently, I have realized that this response is an indicator of the state of our society.
After all, it is hard for a society to mourn the loss of WANTED unborn life when it is busy calling it “tissue” and discrediting its personhood.
It is hard for a society to embrace a mourning mother for her loss of tissue when it is busy defending another mother’s right to dispose of it.
But for a woman who prays ceaselessly for life to fill her womb,
For a woman who has tried for years to finally have children of her own.
For an expectant mother who suddenly finds herself frantically calling her OB after finding bright red blood…
The “material” in her tummy is anything but tissue.
It is life.
It is hopes and dreams and answered prayers. It is destiny and a future and a promise of another generation. It is bike riding and little league and ballet lessons and college and grandkids…
It is a baby.
But it can never be both. Society can never acknowledge that we lost a baby and with the same breath declare the rest to be tissue.
That is how abortion has changed the discussion of miscarriage – it has silenced it.
Even though miscarriage affects millions of men and women each year, it won’t be featured on the news.
There will be no memorials for all of the WANTED unborn babies. There will be no moments of silence or Today Show features for women who are organizing support groups.
Despite the huge number of families miscarriage impacts each year – it will not be discussed widely.
Because if they call ours babies…
Then all of the aborted ones… were babies too…
And the silence – more than anything – speaks the loudest.
It’s time to change the discussion of miscarriage – by starting one. It is time to acknowledge the loss of neonatal life as…life… It is time to stop expecting women and men who have experienced miscarriage to stay silent in their own pain.
They have lost a child.
They may not have ever held it in their arms, but they dreamt a lifetime for that baby in their hearts.
From my little corner of the internet, I dare to say that the silence has spread far enough. It is up to us to speak for the babies who have been lost and embrace the mothers and fathers who have endured the heartache of such tragedy.
Abortion has changed the discussion of miscarriage – but we can change it again.
Because though they try to silence the lives of the aborted, they should not be able to silence the lives of the wanted as well.
You can read my story of miscarriage, here.

For those who do not know me, or haven’t read any of the rest of my articles, I would like to clarify a few things.
Am I against abortion? Yes.
Am I against those who have had an abortion? No.
Until my very last breath, I will love others to the best of my ability. I will encourage and talk and pray and walk out life with women who have had an abortion just as I would with those who have not. I am tired of the “us” vs “them.” I’m tired of the lines that divide women from loving and encouraging one another. My heart aches for those who will believe that because I’m pro-life, I am anti-women who have chosen abortion. I think that the women who have had an abortion are just as loveable as those who have not… if they aren’t… then I need to work on who I think is worthy of love. But just as I love women who have had an abortion, I will continue to pray for an end to it. They cannot be both babies and tissue, and I will forever know in my heart that each little life is a child.

May God give us grace as we work to heal wounds and save lives, as we speak for the unborn, and as we champion the cause for the sanctity of life at any stage.

Please consider passing this along.


Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Indisposable Mama's "Why I Blog"

This was Beautiful. Not every reason I blog is the same, but so many are. Read, enjoy, perhaps understand.Visit Amanda's blog and enjoy her wonderful writing!

"Why I Blog" from www.indisposablemama.com.

Blogging is a strange endeavor.
We live in a society that values privacy.  We hoard it.  We hold it sacred.
And we value financial productivity.  We like to have some type of monetary or material reward when we put in vast amounts of time into some endeavor.
And we value the legitimizing force of authority — we like knowing our information was vetted by some content editor or copy writer.
And then there’s the blog.  We typically get very little in terms of monetary reward.  We stand on our own two feet without the weight of a publisher behind us.  And we forgo a certain amount of privacy in the areas we choose to write about.
We give of ourselves through our words.  We share our experiences, our thoughts, and a sometimes substantial part of ourselves.
So why would anyone do it?
I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me, I do it because it’s the only way I know to make sense out of the world.
We live in very fast times.  The vast majority of us have too much to do in too little time.  We can spend days and weeks and years being propelled forward through life by situations and events around us without ever really taking the time to stop and ask ourselves why.  Our lives become about doing rather than about being.
And blogging gives me a little opportunity to remedy that in my own life.  It gives me a space to contemplate.  Having readers holds me accountable.
I guess somewhere deep inside I have this fear that I’ll look back on my life fifty years from now and wonder where it all went, and even worse, wonder why I let it go the way that I did.  Writing allows me time to reflect on the direction it is going and why.
And then there are my girls.
Lord willing, they will have me in their lives for many years.  But no matter how many years we have, they won’t have a whole lot of lasting memories of who I was when they were little.  They might remember feelings and brief memories, but they won’t really know who I was when I was their everything.
And I want them to know me.
When they are sitting in their own living rooms with a screaming infant, I want them to know that I faced similar struggles. When they are cuddled up with their little ones reading books, feeling so much love they feel they are going to explode, I want them, I need them, to know that someone felt the same way about them.
And so I want them to know me, but not really in an effort to be known, but rather so they know that they are not alone and they aren’t the first and only when times get tough.  It’s a lonely world, and this is my feeble attempt to make it less lonely for them as they travel through it.
And I think most mom bloggers describe their blog as a love letter to their children, and so I guess I’ll just be redundant and supremely unoriginal as I say the same.
We give our kids everything we have.  Our time, our money, our attention, our affection.  We give them the best years of our lives.  And this is my way of giving them just a bit more — a piece of my soul.  I want them to be able to look back on these words and know just how special they are in my eyes.
The world is full of people who will line up to tell them what is wrong with them.  Who will hold a mirror up to their faults. Tear them down and refuse to build them back up.  And this is my small place to counter that.  To build them up.  To show them how precious they are in my eyes.  A permanent fixture to all that I believe them to be.
And I don’t need a blog to do all of this.  I’m sure there are other ways.
But a part of me just feels more alive when I’m writing.  It gives me joy.  It invigorates me.  It’s a high.  It gives me something to be excited about and to work towards.  And I guess perhaps there doesn’t really need to be any greater reason than that.
I blog because I like to.

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Saturday, May 17, 2014


I just got the SCARY drugs. Only a couple weeks before I must begin using them.

Week One's common side effects (not limited to): acne; dizziness; drowsiness; headaches; fluid retention; migraines; mild hair loss; nausea or vomiting; nervousness; sleeplessness; stomach cramps or bloating; weight gain or loss.

Week Two's common side effects (not limited to): back, leg, or arm pain; breast pain; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; hot flashes; flushing; increased sweating; indigestion; loss of appetite; mild swelling or fluid retention; nausea; night sweats; sleeplessness; stomach pain; tiredness; vomiting; weakness; weight gain or loss.

Weeks Three and Four come with their own complications.

Oh yes... this is going to be FUN!

Dear Friends,
  If you are willing and able, will you help me find strength and courage through this? I can think of a couple simple, quiet ways that I would REALLY appreciate.
  Could you pray for me, by name, and pray for whatever may come? I think the more God hears about this the better.

  Could you add my name to the temple prayer roll? I am struggling with Post Traumatic Stress symptoms from my last pregnancy, still, manifesting in physical, mental, and emotional ways; I need healing, and this is one way to ask God to get involved in healing me.
  Could you fast for me sometimes? Fast Sundays, especially when you can't think of a specific thing (I know we all do that sometimes), think of me, and just ask God to use your faith to bolster my faith and strength and courage.
  You don't have to do all these things or all the time. But they are ways you can help without ever having to come clean my house or take my toddler out for a play date or send gift cards for date nights or groceries (though if you want to do those things I won't turn you down). If you live far away, these things will shrink the distance to zero, because God can do that, I think.
  I need your aid, friends. I truly do. I appreciate every single act you do for me. And if you like, tell me about it, and I will write a "Thank you," so you know just how much it means to me.
Lots of Love,
Hannah & Family

P.S. Obviously these pictures are not of me. My stomach does NOT look anything like that - not after Lana! And that lady's "stressed" expression really just looks excited. But I am a little excited, too, so I guess I can live with the expression. It's not my face, though, so don't get confused. :)

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Friday, May 16, 2014

I Know The Lord Provides A Way

 On Sunday, Anthony and I subbed for a primary class where we taught about Nephi and his brothers retrieving the brass plates. The class enthusiastically sang "Nephi's Courage" with us, which was so inspiring to me: "The Lord commanded Nephi to go and get the plates from the wicked Laban inside the city gates. Laman and Lemuel were both afraid to try. Nephi was courageous, this was his reply: "I will go, I will do the thing the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way, He wants me to obey."

   The song is based on the scripture 1 Nephi 3:7 (found in the Book of Mormon, ask me if you want a copy of the book to read!), which says, "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for 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."

   This was precisely the lesson I needed. Those kids could not possibly have needed to hear that lesson as much as I did. As you know, we are courageously taking steps to obey God's prompting to have a second child - at risk of, well, everything. It's terrifying. And I need courage!

   Last night, feeling sick to my stomach and scared (nausea makes me panic after my last pregnancy) and unable to sleep, I was crying out to God for help. God and I talk rather bluntly with each other - it's how we do. This issue, and this lesson which was no coincidence, and this verse, were heavy on my mind. And I told God, "You said - YOU SAID!! - You would provide a way. Well, start providing!"

   And then this morning, at the moment I began having a breakdown because I just couldn't handle the pressure and stress and sleeplessness anymore - at that very moment - my brand new (as of this weekend) visiting teacher felt God tell her, "Get yourself dressed and get over to Hannah's this morning." And she did. In minutes. And she brought her child to play with Lana, and she did my dishes and washed my counters and vacuumed my floor and sent me to my room to rest. If that wasn't a very direct answer to my plea, I've never had an answer to anything.

   Here's the kicker, my visiting teacher, my angel today, Janet, was the very same woman assigned to visit teach me at the beginning of my last pregnancy with Lana. So she KNOWS. She was with me the whole way last time. And I couldn't ask for anyone sweeter or kinder or more loving to hold my hand again this time.

   God answers prayers. He does. Tears of so much gratitude and joy; I can't even tell you. God DOES provide.
Genesis 22:14

"Each life that touches ours for good reflects thine own great mercy, Lord. Thou sendest blessings from above through words and deeds of those who love." - LDS Hymn #293

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Birth Story?

  I've read quite a few birth stories lately. They're all different yet much the same, and all magical and freakin' miraculous that women can survive that sort of thing.  - Recently, a woman close to me, out of her own deep pain and without thinking, spat the venomous words at me, "You didn't give birth." -  And I've come to ask myself, "A birth story, a birth story - Do I even have a birth story?" And I answer myself, "You had a baby didn't you? That's sort of the definition of birth. Obviously you have a birth story, self." So I thought I'd take a shot at writing Lana's "birth story," if for no other reason than to convince myself that there is indeed such a story. (Maybe someday Lana will be interested. More likely, she'll just say, "Eww, gross!")

  Let's skip the pregnancy drama - at least everything that's not related to birth. That was some crazy stuff.

  I've noticed a lot of birth stories begin with the mother's realization, "Oh! These must be contractions! I must be in labor." Not my story. Nope. No labor contractions allowed for me. I had vasa previa, which meant if I had had real labor contractions, Lana's umbilical cord would have detached and she would have died.

  Let me clarify, lest you think I somehow magically skipped contractions altogether. At 19 weeks gestation - halfway done for those who don't count weeks - I had a laperoscopy. Following surgery, I began having Braxton Hicks contractions consistently. Oh fun. A Braxton Hicks contraction feels very much like flexing your abdominal muscles as tightly as you possibly can and then holding it for 30 seconds to two minutes (go ahead, try it guys; see how easy it is to breathe). Except that flex is unintentional, happens randomly - or, in my case, every three minutes or so - AND there's this large, moving someone inside those abs. Let's just say a timely kick during a contraction HURTS.

  So instead of a few hours or days of contractions, I had four months. I am not unique in having Braxton Hicks though, so save your jaw-dropping for later.

  I was hospitalized (again) at seven months - Thanksgiving Eve - for an ovariectomy. They sliced open my belly, reached around my four-pound baby, and cut out my right ovary. But the baby miraculously did fine. No birth yet. Next came the ICU for me until I could breathe again without support. No birth yet. Then came the explanation that it takes six weeks minimum to heal from that kind of surgery, but they had to do essentially the same thing in just four weeks to remove the baby (prematurely) so she didn't die. And they wanted to wait all four weeks, if at all possible, which it might not be, to give her the best chance for survival. No birth yet. I'd be living in a hospital room down the hall from the operating room for the next month - just in case.

  Get as cozy as possible. But that wasn't really possible at all. Every day have a hundred tests, checks, injections, pricks, monitors, drugs, etc., etc. Wonder whether to make conversation with the nurses as they inspect my urine or feign unconsciousness to escape the embarrassment. Stare at the hospital walls - a lot. Play "hospital bingo" on Tuesdays. "Sleep" as best as possible on that awfully uncomfortable hospital bed whilst nurses wake me up every four hours to check vitals and draw blood.

  MY labor took way longer than most.

  Oh, and I did have "real labor contractions," too. It's just that every time one happened, a nurse or several would rush in, force me to take drugs to cease contractions, physically rearrange me, and wait on stand-by for an emergency c-section until the contractions stopped. Whatever those enormous stop-contraction pills were had some unpleasant side effects.

  Let's skip ahead a month, shall we? I had a c-section planned since month four of pregnancy, since I had no other option available. I walked down the hall to the OR - which was an impressive feat in and of itself given my condition - my husband and nurse supporting me on each side, my hands holding up my enormous, awkward belly, trying to hold together the still-healing incision. Thank God today was finally the day we'd stop the madness! Anthony was dressed head-to-toe in white scrubs. I wore just an over-sized hospital gown.

  They made Anthony wait in the hall while they prepped me. Who knew it took SO many doctors and assistants to perform a c-section? Even more if the baby is premature. The room was ice cold - I've noticed all OR rooms always are. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal shot - no different from any other shot, except she told me I must lie down on the cold metal table immediately. I soon found out why: "Um, what just happened to everything below my upper ribs? It seems to have disappeared." I saw my scarred belly and jell-o legs for only a second before the blue tent-shield was up. Someone went to fetch Anthony. The anesthesiologist began giving me my highly-demanded "feel good and make me forget" drugs. A technician with a sharpie asked the perinatologist, "Should we mark her [where to cut]?" He just laughed and, I assume, pointed at the gruesome line from my recent surgery: "She's already marked."

  Anthony held my free hand tightly. Time to get the party started! In minutes I was going to be DONE! And the anesthesiologist had promised I could have a nice "nap" while they stitched me back up. (After eight months of hell, a nap sounded like heaven.)

  Unfortunately, instead of keeping her head down, where it had been a couple hours ago, Lana had twisted sideways: transverse. In case you didn't know, even in a c-section, the baby needs to come out head-first, so in cases like these the doctors push and lean and literally use ALL their weight to twist the tiny baby around. I'm a petite person. These doctors were not. That spinal, which numbs everything, couldn't suppress the suffocating pressure of being crushed by grown men. I truly thought they would break my bones. I cried and clutched Anthony's hand, which was probably in greater danger of being broken.

  Another unknown-to-me side effect of a spinal - you cannot take a deep breath. So trying to to slow down a panic attack - impossible. "More drugs here, please!"

  Finally, the perinatologist (who in my distressed mind had no right to be so happy) stepped to the left of the curtain and presented a tiny purple baby. "Look over here!" he cheered.

  I looked. Then I began to sob so uncontrollably that I couldn't see a single thing anymore. I don't even remember what I felt. Joy, I am sure. I was finally a mother, and miracle of miracles, my baby was ALIVE. Relief to be done - free at last! Every moment of panic and anxiety from the last eight months, and a whole lot of everything else. I'm pretty sure I felt ALL the emotions EVER, at ONCE, in that moment.

  So between my sobs, all I could say, over and over, was "It's too much! It's too much!" And I didn't mean the joy was too much. Don't judge me - I'd had a CRAZY eight months. I meant being awake for even a single moment longer was too much for me to handle, "So for the love of all that's holy put me to sleep already, anesthesiologist!!" As far as I remember, she did.

  Anthony left the room to help bathe and monitor Lana and I slept through being sewn up, moved to my room, and transferred into my hospital bed. When I awoke, Anthony held Lana, all cleaned and swaddled, and presented her to me for the first time. I couldn't feel my legs still, and I held her in trembling arms, marveling at all her hair.

  Eventually, I wiggled my toes, then moved my legs. Then my parents were allowed into the room and the nurses prepared to transfer me from my month-long birthing suite to a closet of a post-maternity room for the next four days. My parents got to coddle grandbaby #7 (their favorite, naturally). I was perfectly content to watch all the love and happiness and miracle of life from my usual spot in the hospital bed. When transfer-time came, I asked my mom to carry the baby - I still felt weak. "No! No! NO!" the nurses cried. "The safest place for her is with you!" Are you sure? I wondered. This bed is wobbly and so are my arms, and my mom's had experience, you know. But whatev. We made it to my closet-room, me fearfully clutching this tiny fragile person the whole way, until we arrived and I gladly handed her back to Anthony, my parents, and the nurses.

  Most mothers talk about this instant, instinctual bond they had with their baby. I think I missed that part. Because while I was glad my daughter was finally here (outside of me!) and healthy - glad beyond what words can express - I truly felt no need to be the one caring for her. She was in capable hands. And I needed rest.

  Now be fair to me. I had been through eight unbelievable long, torturous months of HELL. I was spent, exhausted, and had been pushed way, way, way beyond my limit. What I needed was REST.

  Because of my vertical incision, I couldn't even sit up, so I legitimately could not change the baby's diapers - Daddy learned how and quickly became the expert. I wasn't producing milk yet, and at 4 pounds 14 ounces, Lana needed serious nutrition, fast. We set an alarm for every 3 hours (later every 2, when she dropped to 4 pounds 5 ounces) to force her to take a tiny bit of formula from a bottle. Sleep was NOT happening for me. Pain was insane. I still had my morphine pump, and was mashing the button, and taking whatever other pain-killers they'd give me, but I was still ranging between an 8 and 11 on the pain scale. When they offered me a coveted spot for Lana in the nursery (spaces were limited), I said, "Yes please!! And can we get me some extra morphine and ambien and earplugs and anything else you can give me to just sleep?"

  It wasn't until the next morning, feeling rested, that they brought my baby in and I was desperate to hold her, feeling like a missing part of me had been returned at last. I took to her care (as much as I was able) with relish, and LIVED for skin-to-skin time before each 2-hour feeding (and many times in between), when for at least fifteen minutes I would hold her bare body against my bare chest beneath a blanket so my heartbeat and breathing would help regulate hers, and my body temperature would change to regulate hers - if she was cold, my body heated; if she was warm, my body cooled. The science behind this, sometimes called kangaroo care, is fascinating. It was the most beautiful, soothing thing I have EVER experienced.

  My bonding with my baby happened 24 hours after her birth, when I was rested and capable of experiencing that inexplicable mother's love. Before was a blur.

  It wasn't until Lana was almost two years old that I finally learned what really happened between "It's too much," wiggling my toes, and the morning after. (My anesthesiologist was GOOD!)

  This is the story from Anthony's perspective, though still in my words because I use more of them.

  When the doctor said, "Look over here!" holding a tiny, perplexed Lana, I broke down in tears, presumably of joy. They brought Lana to my face, where we had first skin-to-skin bonding. We clung to each other as best we could for as long as we were allowed. Then they took my precious baby, much to my protest, away with my husband for her to be washed, measured and tested.

  A quick bath by a skilled nurse, a warming bed and lamp, pictures of our newborn and lessons in swaddling. Then Daddy got his bonding time, holding a sweet (not crying) Lana while they waited for Mommy to reappear. Mommy, unable to move but awake, was rolled from one bed to another and hooked up to all the necessary IVs.

  When I was set up, I asked about the baby. The usual: Is she healthy? Fingers and toes? Who does she look like? And with Anthony's supporting arms, I got to know my daughter for two hours (I remember nothing) until grandparents were allowed in to visit. The rest is as I told it.

  Here is what is interesting to me. I MISSED my initial bonding with my baby. Oh, it came later and was as beautiful and strong, but I will never know that after-birth high that so many other mothers write of. I was too drugged. Judge me gently there, I needed to be drugged, but a part of me regrets all that I missed. I missed the entire normal pregnancy experience, and then I missed the entire normal delivery experience. What is my "birth story" but yet another anomaly? That by itself is sad to me.

  But here's the good part! My baby girl and I share a bond (and have since day 2) like none I've ever known. Granted, that could be because it's the only parental bond I've ever known, but work with me here. A few hours "missed" at the beginning of her life has in no way affected the years we've had together. My daughter is the joy, the very life of my soul. I knew her before her life began - my soul knew her soul long before this earth. I love her beyond description, beyond the capacity to feel.

  Every morning when I see her face, when I hear her voice, it is the same - and so much better - than the first time!

  So what if I needed a few hours rest before I could bond with my baby? That's sort of the story of my life (and why babysitters, especially volunteers, are such lifesavers!). The point is, no matter the process, no matter how "abnormal," I gave birth to my daughter. We have a birth story!

  And it is a love story that is reborn each and every day.


 Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What if We Share?

Found this beautiful post, "Before The Belly," through Glennon's Messy Beautiful Warrior Project. Read it and find a familiar story. Then she says something incredible::

"It makes me wonder: what if, instead of resisting our truth, we all told everyone we know? That we had a miscarriage, that it was devastating. That we’re struggling to get pregnant and wonder if we’ll ever be a mom. That we did fertility treatment to get our baby and we’re SO happy and proud. What if we took the silence out of struggle and loss? What if we took the shame and fear out of fertility treatment? Who could we help and what kind of community would it create?
"I envision an environment of self-acceptance and self-kindness. I see mothers being symbols of hope for not-yet mothers. I picture women caring for other women, long before the celebrations begin… and long after. Mostly I imagine that our honesty, transparency and openness would change the experience of waiting for motherhood for the better."

You all already know my own honest, transparent blog posts about these issues. But if you know someone who needs an introduction to this community, this environment, please feel free to share:

Infertility and miscarriage: http://wildtofu.blogspot.com/2013/05/to-my-friend-battling-infertility.html

Pregnancy difficulty: http://wildtofu.blogspot.com/2012/09/our-pregnancy-story-yes-i-know-its-late.html

Trying to conceive, again: http://wildtofu.blogspot.com/2013/12/hold-my-hand.html

Do you have something to share? Let me know! I'd love to create a conduit for this oh-so-important connection between women! Need somewhere to share? I'll give you guest space on my blog! (At over 10k views, you'd be sure to reach someone.)
Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I am lovely

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I'm just tired

Once again, I have the most amazing husband - more than I could have dreamed up!
Tonight (last night since it's 4:30 AM?) as I lay in bed, I cried, "I think I might be getting depressed again. I'm just SO tired! I can't stay awake, and I hurt all the time, and I don't have the energy to do ANYTHING. And I'm scared."
Anthony sat next to me and calmly reminded me, "Hannah, bodies need to rest to heal. You've had a cold or something for two weeks and are on antibiotics; you've had a slice cut out of your back and your body is trying to heal itself there; you're coming out of a year-and-a-half of depression, and that's healing, too. I don't think you're depressed, I think you're just tired."
And I sighed in tremendous relief. "You're right. I am tired."
"Would you like me to stay home from work tomorrow so you can rest?" he asked.
"Yes!" I cried again. "But I can't! You need to work. And I can keep moving; I have to keep going."
He just patted my leg and said, "We'll see in the morning. Go to sleep."
So I did. Until about half an hour ago, when I dreamed all too realistically that the doorbell rang and someone knocked on the door until Anthony got up and answered it (because of course I'm not answering the door in the middle of the night!), and a familiar, distressed voice tearfully asked if she could come in. I came out of my room to find out what was wrong and... everyone was asleep; no one was here. So now I'm awake. And a little worried about that friend.
But I digress. What an amazing husband!! I love him more than I could ever, ever say.
P.S. I am very tired, but thankfully, I think I am not depressed.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


"Who can probe a mother’s love? Who can comprehend in its entirety the lofty role of a mother? With perfect trust in God, she walks, her hand in his, into the valley of the shadow of death that you and I might come forth unto life...
"May each of us treasure this truth: one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one." - Thomas S. Monson


(Taken from http://motherhood.mormon.org/

It’s the highest, holiest service assumed by humankind. It’s the definition of selfless service. It’s both a daunting responsibility and a glorious opportunity. The divine role of motherhood is a gift from God, and key to His plan of happiness for all His children.
Who helped you tie your shoes or learn a new piece on the piano? When you forgot your science project was due the next day, who made a late-night run for poster board and glue? It was Mom.
Every Christmas, even though money was always tight, who consistently pulled off a miracle and made Christmas morning magical and memorable? It was Mom.
Now that you’re a parent, you may scratch your head wondering how she did it all. Each day is filled with toys to put away and noses to wipe, dinners to make and work to squeeze in. You can’t remember when—if ever—she took time for herself. But now you feel what your mom must have felt as you watch your toddler fall asleep and listen to his giggles in the other room.
You now understand better than ever that mothers are gifts from God. In fact, motherhood is the “highest, holiest service . . . given to mankind.”

You are a child of God who He entrusted to your mother’s care, her hands substituted for God’s as she bandaged a skinned knee or wiped away your tears. Her words of love and wisdom guided you through rough patches, instilling in you the confidence to succeed. The things she taught you became the lessons you now teach to your own children.
Being a mother is so much more than a biological process. It’s a heavenly job created by God before this life. In heaven, all of us who live now and all who have ever lived on earth lived with God as His spirit sons and daughters. God has a plan that allows all of us to come to earth, acquire physical bodies, and grow through life’s experiences, eventually returning to Him again after we die.

“There is no limit to what a mother can accomplish. Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so.”Julie B. Beck
God chose mothers to bear the responsibility of providing physical bodies for His children through the miraculous process of pregnancy and birth. Being a mother means participating in the miracle that is God’s greatest work. Thomas S. Monson, a modern-day prophet, said, “One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”
The divine role of motherhood is exhibited in all women, whether they’ve born children or not. It is important to remember that the call to nurture is not limited to our own flesh and blood. Whether it’s an aunt, a teacher, a friend, or a community leader, we are all deeply indebted to the moral, steadying influence of good women in our lives.

Mary had humbly listened to an angel tell her that she, a virgin, would carry and give birth to the long-awaited Messiah. How would she explain to her betrothed, Joseph, what God had asked her to do? Despite her unanswered questions, she had said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
All of the feelings of inadequacy that mothers sometimes feel must have rested on Mary, who knew that Jesus was meant to become something far greater than a mere carpenter. She watched her son confound older men in the temple and, later, turn water to wine. She heard firsthand His transcendental teachings and saw the outcome of His innumerable miracles—the blind seeing, the dead living, and the dumb speaking. She wondered at all of it.
But nothing—not scripture or miracles or prophecy—could have prepared her to watch her son die. Mary’s heart broke as Jesus was sentenced to the cruelest death imaginable. As Jesus hung from the cross, Mary looked up into her son’s tortured face and wept.
Jesus never forgot His mother, even as His crucified body trembled with indescribable pain.
From the cross, He saw His trusted disciple, and said to Mary, “Woman, behold thy son!”
And to the disciple, He said, “Behold thy mother!”
He never forgot, even in His anguish, the woman who cared for Him even before she could hold Him in her arms—the earthly mother who had prepared Him for a divine mission.

Most mothers know that whenever life is overwhelming, they can turn to God. Because motherhood is a divinely appointed calling, mothers are enabled by help from above in times of need. Through sleepless nights, dark days, and seemingly impossible and difficult circumstances, the prayers of righteous mothers have been a source of unparalleled divine power in homes, communities, and entire nations.

So this Mother’s Day, let your mom know she’s important. Write her a card, create a tribute, send some flowers—because when you think about it: who was the champion and cheerleader for nearly everything in life you cling to with all your heart?
It was Mom.

For Those With Empty Arms

I've been here, too, for many, many Mother's Days. This is a day for you, too.

Please read "Celebrate Nurturing" by Rosemary Thackeray, in the April 2014 Ensign, pages 62-65. I'll quote only parts of it here.

"As a single woman in her 40s who has never given birth to or reared children, I do not pretend to understand the experience of motherhood and the joys, pains, sorrows, and many emotions that accompany that calling. At the same time, it is possible that women who have the privilege of motherhood do not understand the heartache that comes from knowing that one of the greatest blessings that life has to offer will have to wait for eternity. Yet as sisters in the gospel, we should strive to be empathetic."

"We should consider speaking more frequently not only of motherhood but also of nurturing and its impact on our lives. We should celebrate nurturing as often as with as much jubilation as we do motherhood."

Sheri L. Dew has said, "While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord's language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve 'the mother of all living' [Moses 4:26] - and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born... Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature, and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us." see Ensign, Nov. 2001, 96.

And please, please, whether our arms are empty or overflowing, let us all show love and respect for each other this day and ALWAYS. We need each other. We belong to each other.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Where is that Mother?

 "Where is that Mother?" 

My response to this question that was asked, or perhaps accused, of me. A response I can never send or say, but needed to answer.

 Where is the woman who pleaded with God for years to give her a child? Her name is Hannah - in ancient times and today.

  Where is the woman who suffered and sacrificed so much to give that child life? She still bears the brutal physical, emotional, and mental scars of that sacrifice, and bears them as tangible proof of her love.

  Where is the woman holding her babe who "looked like she lassoed the moon?" She is still holding her child with that same incomprehensible love.

  What has changed? Nothing, really. She is a mother; she is tired; and she is fighting many hard battles. But she is the very same mother.

  She knows it. God knows it. Her daughter knows it.

  Why do you not see her as that woman anymore? I cannot read your mind and heart any more than you can read mine. All I know is you found offense where none was intended. My sincerest apologies for whatever I did to make you feel that way. You found fault in another's weakness. My deepest regrets that I caused you to question my motherhood.

  Does that make you any less the person who wept with this mother as she pled, suffered, and bled? No. Does it make you any less the person who felt joy in this mother's triumph? No.

  It makes you human. As I am human - imperfect, prone to make mistakes, destined to learn many things the hard way, to fight our personal battles in their myriad forms.
  We are put here to learn and grow, to develop compassion, empathy, and forgiveness, to strengthen the weak, lift hands that hang in sorrow and exhaustion, and above all else, to love.

  May we strive to love a little better. I am trying.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

What is Falling?

Goodnight Moon for Mommies

My version of the classic bedtime story, hastily written in five minutes, so forgive the bad poetry.
Dedicated to moms everywhere who have a hard time going to bed with all there is to see:

In mom's great messy house
There was a barbie doll
And cluttered halls
And a picture of -
Something colored on the wall.
And there were mountains of clothes
And a runny nose
And two mismatched socks
And unprepared talks
And crumbs on floors
And a husband who snores
And bows and a brush
And a bowl of something that looks like mush.
Goodnight house
Goodnight cluttered halls
Goodnight writing on the walls
Goodnight dirty clothes
And the runny nose
Goodnight socks
Goodnight talks
Goodnight floors
Goodnight snores
Goodnight sippy cups
And goodnight toy pups
Goodnight dirty dishes
And goodnight bedtime kisses
Goodnight bows
And goodnight brush
Goodnight everybody
Goodnight fuss
And goodnight to that something that looks like mush
Goodnight princesses
Goodnight bears
Goodnight diapers everywhere!

(Pictures of my own messy house to follow.. MAYBE - you know, to make an actual bedtime book.)