A few months shy of twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in a doctor's office trying to keep my emotions under control. I had just been informed that I was expecting our third child, and things were going horribly wrong. I was told it was a combination of health issues: the fact that I was a Type 1 diabetic--which can cause all kinds of complications, and I had suffered through a miscarriage two months before. Still hemorrhaging from that heartbreaking adventure, it looked as though I would be facing a similar outcome this time as well. The specialist who had handled my previous two pregnancies smiled kindly and said, "It would be a blessing if you miscarried this child--he or she will never be normal. There will be severe birth defects and your life will be on the line." He went on to say that if I didn't miscarry, I should consider having an abortion since my life was at risk.
Understandably, my heart shattered over this verdict. I was sent home to think about the situation, and I'll admit, I cried during most of the trip back to Idaho. (The specialist was in Utah.) After prayerful consideration, my husband and I decided that regardless of the outcome, I would see this pregnancy through to the end. I had been given a priesthood blessing and I was promised that this child would be born healthy and strong, according to my faith. Wow . . . no pressure. ;)
The following months proved to be extremely challenging. I learned to take each day as it came, and did my best to keep blood sugar levels under control, something that is a challenge during any pregnancy. I saw the specialist nearly once a week for the next couple of months. Each time his opinion was grave--he was convinced I was a human Titanic, heading directly toward a massive iceberg. He made it a point to list every possible thing that he was convinced would go wrong with my baby, and me. We fought a battle of wills as I stubbornly held my ground and refused to budge. I would not terminate this child--by then I had received a strong spiritual witness that I needed to trust in the Lord and see this situation through.
I suspect we all face trials of this nature. The situations differ, the heartaches vary, but we are stretched beyond what we think we can survive. And just when we think we can't take one more thing, if we'll open our hearts, we can receive added strength from a heavenly source. I testify this is a real blessing that can come into our lives compliments of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We've all probably heard the story of the small child who desired a bicycle. He worked very hard and saved every penny earned, but he was only able to come up with a small portion of the actual cost. The story goes on to say that the father of this child made up the difference, making the purchase of the bicycle possible. So it is with the Atonement. Not only did the Savior suffer for our mistakes in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He also endured every pain and heartache we would face. (See Alma 7:11) As such, He knows best how to help us heal, and how to make up the difference when we have given all that we can, and still face an overwhelming cost.
I will stress that sometimes, despite our best efforts and heaven's help, the answer is simply "no." We are limited in knowing why that is on occasion, but we are promised that someday, all that was lost will be restored in a better setting. It is once again a test of faith and endurance, but we are never left alone to face those agonizing moments of growth. Even when the answer is "yes," it can be an uphill battle against challenging odds.
This past weekend, I tearfully sat through a graduation ceremony at BYU-Idaho as my third son accepted his diploma for a Bachelor degree in biology. He is planning on going onto medical school to become a physician. As he walked across the stage with his beautiful wife, Emily, who also received her bachelor degree that night, I marveled over the morning he was born, twenty-five years ago in April of 1988.
It had been an extremely rough pregnancy, just as my doctor predicted. I spent the final two weeks pretty much bed-ridden since my blood pressure plummeted each time I stood up. It dropped dangerously low just before the c-section, nearly taking my life. The operating table had to be tipped sideways for the c-section so that my blood flow wasn't hampered during the surgery. It was all very scary, but so worth it in the end. I'll never forget the look on my doctor's face when Devin was delivered and he held up my son for me to see. "He is healthy," he said repeatedly, the tears rolling down his face. "I don't know how this happened, but you have delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy!"
I knew how it had happened, and I've always known Who to thank for that miraculous outcome. Not only had this Titanic been carefully steered past the giant iceberg, but I had been drawn into a safe harbor, and given a precious gift I've always treasured--a wonderful son, and the knowledge that no matter what I face in this world, I will never do so alone.
Welcome to Crane-ium: thoughts, poetry, lyrics & photography of Cheri J. Crane
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