Monday, February 24, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The last 2 weeks of my life have been a blur. I've had some really really good days, but also a couple of not so good days. The times I seem to struggle most, is when i am alone--or have too much time on my hands. I find that a lot of the time, when I have too much time to think, my thoughts wander--usually to Brenna. I tend to over think, and good thoughts quickly turn into the worst. I find myself almost constantly worried and scared over every little thing.

Tyler and I were talking the other night, about life. Work, school, bills, and of course our current situation. I expressed some of my concern to him, about what i was feeling, and how i had been struggling. I had been praying and praying for some sort of comfort, and finally received an answer to my prayers. Tyler didn't say much, but he did say something that struck me pretty hard. "Negative thoughts and feelings DO NOT come from our Heavenly Father." I had never thought of that before, its such a simple statement, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My Heavenly Father is a kind and just God. He knows me, and loves me. He has given us this trial to become better, and to become more like him. He isn't trying to drag me down, or instill negative hurtful thoughts in my mind. He is always there, and is ready and willing to help me. He wants me to succeed, and be happy!

If I have realized one thing the last few days, it is that Satan is real, his influence is real, and he wants nothing more than for me to fail. I have come to recognize his power and influence, especially in hard times. I have felt it more than i care to admit. Its hard to find light in a world full of darkness and despair. He attacks you at your weakest moment, he knows just where to hit you to make it sting. He is the master of all evil, misery, and lies. When i am down, or sad, or worried, he has more power over me, telling me that I cant succeed. That i will fail, that I cant possibly be happy.

I have been thinking about all of this, and came to the conclusion that yes Satan is real, but he only has power over me if I let him. HE IS NOT in control of my life, I make my own decisions, and determine my own happiness. If i let him in, he will take advantage and make my life miserable. If I exercise my faith, and try my hardest to do what is right, I know I will be victorious in this battle. I WILL overcome anything that is put in my path, and will do so trusting in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. It doesn't mean that it will be easy, but worth it. The blessings that I have been promised, if I endure to the end, are far GREATER than anything that i could physically obtain here on the earth.

It's never easy to face any sort of trial, we all have to do things we don't want to at some point in our lives. Sure, facing a difficulty is definitely not fun, or ideal, but I am looking forward to the future, and what it has in store for us. We are so excited (and a wee bit nervous) to meet our precious Brenna, and are ready and willing to do whatever we have to, to get her here, and healthy! It has been such a humbling experience, and blessing to know we get to be parents to a very, VERY special little girl. It is amazing to think that someone so special, and so strong, chose me and Tyler to be her parents. I am counting down the days, until she arrives, and gets to become a part of our family--FOREVER. (It's INSANE to think we are ONLY 13 weeks away from having a baby!! I'm freaking out a little!)

"My life is a gift, my life has a plan,
my life has a purpose, in Heaven it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on
earth, and seek for God's light to direct me from
(I will follow God's Plan- LDS Children's Hymnbook)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Find HAPPINESS in all of Life's CRAPINESS

Sometimes in life, when bad things happen, it seems like no matter what you do, you cant catch a break. This is how I have felt this past week. With everything going on lately, its hard to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Life is so unpredictable, and sometimes really REALLY hard. The last few days, its just one thing after another. I am so ready for something positive to happen.

In the last few weeks, I have found myself constantly on my knees asking my Heavenly Father for help and guidance. I know he is there, and I know he is listening, but sometimes I still struggle. My mom gets weekly emails from a few missionaries, and she wrote down a little blurb from one of them-- "When all else fails PRAY, and when that seems to fail, PRAY more." As different struggles have come and gone, prayer has been one of my only sources of peace. Even though I may not get an immediate answer to a prayer, I know it will come. Maybe not in the way I want, or the way I expect, but it will come!

One of the ONLY things that has helped me have a better attitude the last few days is a CD of Primary songs that are sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My mom bought it for me, and I am so grateful for it! I listen to it almost constantly, and it really helps me to calm down and focus on feeling the spirit. I have found that, when I do things I know I need to be doing, like praying, studying my scriptures, paying my tithing, and attending the temple, and trying to choose the right, I feel the spirit more constantly, and it helps me to focus on the good things I have in my life.

I have started a new gratitude journal, in which I write down 5 things every day that I am thankful for. This has helped me be able to see the many, MANY blessings that I receive daily, even when I think things couldn't get any worse. It helps me recognize my Heavenly Fathers hand in my life, and all of the tender mercies that we have experienced already in this journey.

I could never face this alone. I know I am not alone, even in my darkest times, when I cant seem to find a way out, or when I feel like everything is crashing down around me. I have a wonderful husband, amazing family, and a loving Savior who I can lean on in times of need. It still amazes me, to look around and see all of the love and support we have. There truly is strength in numbers. With help from family and friends, and trusting in my Heavenly Fathers plan for us, nothing is impossible. I have to remind myself of how lucky we really are. Things could be a lot worse, and there are others out there struggling just as we are. Thank you all for all you do, to help us, and for the love you give us!

" Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
Faith is like a little seed:
If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart.
When I do right, I know.
Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends on earth.
Faith is trust in God above;
In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow
Whenever I obey."


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Primary Children's Hospital

Yesterday, as most of you know, we went up to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. A nice lady named Lynn did an echo-cardiogram on Brenna, and we met with several Pediatric Cardiologists, a social worker, and the head nurse coordinator. All of them were very sweet, and inviting. I was a train wreck, i didn't know what to expect, and was terrified at what we could possibly be told.

Tyler and I, along with my mom, Marianne and my mother-in-law Christine, sat in the room as Lynn did the echo-cardiogram in complete and total silence. Brenna of course, was being naughty and WOULD NOT sit still. Lynn tried to get pictures and videos of her heart for an hour and forty-five minutes! (quite possibly the LONGEST minutues of my life!!) She kept moving and turning and kicking the ultrasound probe everytime Lynn would move it. Brenna calmed down (for a minute) and Lynn was able to get about 5 good minutes of pictures and video.

After the Echo-cardiogram, they took us into a large conference room, and sat us down, (TERRIFYING!!) and they proceeded to tell us what they had found. The name of the defect is Pulmonary Atresia (clarification for those of you who may be interested to find out more, there are 2 TYPES of this heart disease- our baby has two ventricles, and the septum is intact. The other is more serious.) It is considered congenital heart disease, so it is not hereditary. It just so happened that she is the 1% of babies whose heart has this certain defect.

Basically what this means, is that the main artery, that delivers blood to her lungs is sealed shut. Right now, while she is inside me, she is completely safe. The blood is flowing as it should, and is getting to where it needs to go. After she is born, there is a little valve (all babies have it) that closes within 24-48 hours after birth. Soon after she is born, they will start her on a special medicine, to keep that little valve open and her blood circulating to the right places. As soon as she is stable enough, they will take her and try to snake a catheter up through her right ventricle to the opening of the valve that is sealed. They will burn a small hole through the tissue to open the it, and then they will take a balloon and try to stretch it and make the opening wider. The right ventricle is what pumps the blood to and up through the artery, to the lungs. Since the opening to the artery is sealed, the right ventricle is working very hard to try and pump the blood, but it cant. It has a build up of tissue which could cause further issues. It is underdeveloped, but there is a chance that it can continue to grow and develop over the next few weeks. (for those of you praying, please remember to pray that the tiny little part of her heart (right ventricle) will develop more.)

All in all, they say that this is a step by step process, and cannot exactly determine what will have to be done just yet. It just depends on Brenna, and what her body tells them she needs, and what her body chooses to accept. Further surgeries could be necessary, but we wont know exactly what until she has her first procedure. They say that this will be a lifelong journey for all of us, and she will be seeing a cardiologist for the rest of her life. There is also a chance that she will live a healthy life, and be able to be active- her heart will never be 100%, but it can come very close to being normal. We already know she has a very beautiful, kind, and special heart full of love!

The doctors we met with were very sweet and very thorough. They are very blunt, and tell it like it is. Which i am so thankful for--They are so confident in what they can do to help us, and baby Brenna. They are so hopeful, and gave me so much confidence that her heart can be fixed! They are expecting her to be just fine, and told us that we could very well be taking our sweet baby girl home with us within 2-4 weeks after she is born.

What a sigh of relief, for me and Tyler to hear that there is hope for our precious baby. I am beyond grateful for the comfort, peace, and relief that i got in answer to many, MANY, prayers. I know my Heavenly Father is watching out for us, and that he will be a constant in my life if i choose to let him be. He loves me, and knows of my deepest desires and needs. He knows what is best, and has a plan for our little family. One of the things that has helped me most, is to look at my life, and realize all of the blessings that he has given me already, and to find one positive thing every day that has put a smile on my face, and helps me recognize his hand in my life. The gospel is such a blessing, and has offered me much joy and happiness, even through hard times. It makes me want to reach out to others, and share that same happiness that i know and feel.

I know we have a long road ahead of us, but through faith and prayer, and constantly doing what we know we need to, anything is possible. I also know there is strength in numbers. All of your prayers, love and concern were an answer to my prayers--you have truly given us strength and courage, and i know the burden will be lighter with each one of you by our side, helping us, and praying for us. Thank you all, for all that you have done, and continue to do for us. We love each and every one of you.

"God is a God of miracles, and thus he blesses his children for showing FAITH."
-Elder Tanner Smith


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blessings for Brenna

The last few days of my life have been full of smiles, tears, pain, joy, and love. Ah, the JOYS of pregnancy! I am coming to terms with accepting life as it is, and taking it for what it is worth. I feel like I have been put on a rollercoaster- one that jerks you around, shakes you up, making you want to throw up...but also one that is secure, one that knows its path, and one that also brings happiness and joy.

Although the last couple days have been hectic, I have also found many things in my life to be thankful for. Family, being the biggest blessing to me lately--My family is so supportive. I have never met people that are more loving and caring than they are. I had the chance to attend the temple with (most) of them tonight. What a blessing it is to be able to sit with them in the temple, and to feel their love, as well as our Heavenly Father's. They are so important to us, and I hope they know how much we love them!

I had been looking forward to being able to go to the temple ALL WEEK! All of the crazy emotions that we have experienced lately, disappeared as soon as we walked into the temple. My eyes were teary as I handed my recommend to the temple worker, and he welcomed me to the temple. It was as if all my earthly cares and fears faded away with each step I took. AMAZING things happen in the temple, whether you are attending for a special reason, or you are going just to feel the spirit. I had many moments tonight, that I will never forget. Our sweet baby girl was definitely there with us- Tyler and I felt her sweet spirit there with us almost the entire time, comforting us, and letting us know it will all be ok. I cant wait to meet her, to love her, and hug her for reals!

One thing that I have learned about this experience so far, is that a mothers love is unconditional, and never failing. I feel this love for our precious baby already. Its incredible that you can feel so much love for someone so tiny, and that you haven't really met yet. It also goes for all the women who are moms already. I have seen my own mom struggle through the last few days, she is so concerned about me, Tyler, and the babe. She has been such a strength to me in my time of need, and she always shows me how much she loves and cares for me through her actions, as well as through words. I've always been told, you never know how much your mother loves you, until you become a mother yourself. Now I know. I cant help but think of my Heavenly Mother, and how much love she has for ALL of us as well.

For those of you who don't know, Tyler and I decided it would be best to give our baby girl a name. This was a very cool experience for us both- We decided to name her Brenna McKensie Brown. We have always loved the name Brenna, and felt that it would fit her. The day after we decided on the name, I was with my mom. She asked me if I had looked up the meaning of her name- I hadn't, so I decided to take the time and do it. I looked up her name, and was thrilled at what I had found. *Brenna: One who looks forward to the future, shy and sensitive, one who has meaning in life.* At that moment, I knew, that we had made the right decision! It was a great experience, and even though it was small, it put a smile on my face! 

We LOVE you all, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all of your prayers in our behalf. Keep em' coming! They have really helped us in our time of need!

"Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but WHO holds the future."