|The front of the sympathy card the hospital staff gave us|
The day I delivered Lydia, I remember lying in the hospital bed waiting for the contractions to start. Terrified, the only thing I could think to do was pray. I prayed for comfort and peace. I prayed for my husband-who had put on a brave face but was surely suffering inside. I prayed for Lydia, that God would accept her little spirit and keep her safe for us until we could be with her again. I prayed for my girls that they would be comforted. That they would somehow find a peaceful connection with this little sister that they would never really know in their earthly lifetime. I prayed that angels could be with me to help me do the most difficult thing I had yet to face in life.
I refused an epidural even though it was offered repeatedly. I labored for 9 hours without pain medication because I felt somehow like I owed it to her to feel all the pain that came with her birth. I just kept praying that I could handle the pain and that I could be strong for her. In the moments leading up to her birth, the pain was intense. Yet, the room was so calm. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
I have never felt closer to God than when I am delivering my children and Lydia’s birth was no different. I felt so much joy at having been able to be her mother – even for a short while. And holding her tiny, perfect body in the palm of my hands, I knew that she will be part of our family forever. I was sad, but I left the hospital feeling so much peace and hope for the future of my little family.
And even though the subsequent months were devastatingly difficult, we are happy again. I am so glad that I didn't leave my family when I thought I should. I'm so glad for my Bishop's inspiration to direct me to therapy. I am so grateful for the way the Atonement has healed our hearts. I have come to realize over the past year that the help I so desperately pleaded for, and received, that night was far more reaching than the delivery room. Angels have surrounded me and my family and helped us through the darkest times we have ever faced. Heavenly Father did not take away our pains, but instead has given us the strength and grace to take our tragedies, learn from them, come closer to Him and each other and build a new life.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught: “Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a ‘healing’ cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are ‘healed’ by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.” All that will come may be “clasped in the arms of Jesus.” All souls can be healed by His power. All pain can be soothed. In Him, we can “find rest unto [our] souls.” Our mortal circumstances may not immediately change, but our pain, worry, suffering, and fear can be swallowed up in His peace and healing balm." (excerpt from The Atonement Covers All Pain by Kent F. Richards)
My happiness today is a product of His healing balm. It is what gives me hope. It keeps me going on the rough days. It helps me to have faith that all of life's experiences are not wasted or even coincidental. We are given all we need in life to be the person that God knows we can be.
I sit here today on what could be a depressing reminder of a tragic circumstance in my life, but its not. Because I choose joy. I choose hope and I choose to allow the Atonement to take this experience to cleanse my soul and purify my life. And for this, I look back on Lydia's existence as a precious gift. Today is a beautiful day!