A Cure

Monday, March 12, 2018

This year I scheduled William's 4 month appointment on March 12, 2018. I didn't even realize the date until a few weeks later I was looking at my calendar and realized I had scheduled his appointment on my 6 year anniversary of my accident. S I X  Y E A R S. Normally on the anniversary of my accident I take the day off and spend it outside filled with gratitude. But this year we changed his doctor appointment and I spent my morning in the middle of motherhood. And on top of that Monday's are my laundry day and happened to be my grocery pick up day too. After Will's nap we spent hours playing outside with Cooper & welcoming this Utah spring weather. 

These past 6 years have been filled with so much growth and learning. Even after 6 years I'm still learning new lessons and be retaught old lessons I thought I'd already learned. I'm in the process of writing a much more detailed account of my accident and all the specific experiences and lessons I've had these past 6 years. But it's a lot so it's going to take awhile.

One lesson I've learned is that God is still a God of miracles. Early on after my accident I was given many blessings and prayers of healing - many specifically spoke of walking. At the time I thought that healing and walking meant that I would be back to normal walking and maybe, just maybe, one day I'd be running.

With the passing of time and increased understanding, I realize that although this is not the walking I expected, it is walking nonetheless. I guess I needed to be more explicit with God about what I meant by walking - just kidding :) As difficult and painful as every step may be - THEY ARE STEPS. Although I may need my arm crutches to walk, I'm on my own two feet feeling weight push through my legs. But most importantly I'm alive. I know people don't typically fall 80-100 feet and survive. Every day past March 12, 2012 is a blessing and such a gift because I know my life could very well have ended this day 6 years ago.

At times it has been difficult to comprehend how God is a God a miracles and has the ability to heal me completely, but hasn't done so. My personal relationship with my Heavenly Father has deepened these past 6 years and I've come to learn more about the nature of God.  I've come to have the faith in knowing that God could heal me, but He has not. Instead he has gone on and taught me how to have the faith not to be healed, strengthened me physically and spiritually to carry my burdens, as well as helping me learn patience and how to endure joyfully. 

Early on after my accident there was so much research and information coming at us, as we tried to understand the diagnosis I was facing. Over the years through research and meeting countless patients I have not read about or met one person that has been completely "healed" - or back to normal after a true spinal cord injury of a serious and traumatic nature. Even the most recent, studies of epidural stimulators do not reverse the damage and effects of paralysis. Right now the facts are rather simple in the medical world. 

Although there are many advancements and great progress, there is no cure for paralysis here on earth,  but there is a cure.

As I listened to the talk And There Shall Be No More Death, given in an LDS General Conference (another one coming up Easter weekend on LDS.org), I was reminded of something that has brought so much peace into my life. 

"The miracle of resurrection, the ultimate cure is beyond the power of modern medicine. But it is not beyond the power of God."

This man's daughter faced cancer in this life that eventually took her life. But before she passed she wrote: "...but there is a cure, so I'm not scared. Jesus has already cured my cancer and yours... I will be better."

How comforting it is to know that Christ has already cured my spinal cord injury. He has already cured my paralysis. It is so beautiful to me to know that there is a cure. Regardless of the illness or injury you may face the is a cure. Whether that be cancer, cystic fibrosis, ALS, or other incurable diseases that exist here on earth. It brings tears of hope and joy to my eyes knowing that after this earthly life I will be cured. Paralysis will no longer rule my body and it is because of Christ and his atonement and resurrection that makes that all possible. He truly is the Master Healer and the Great Physician. Modern medicine may not have a cure for spinal cord injuries and paralysis, but Christ does.

How truly grateful I am for this knowledge and the hope that pours into my soul because I know that "resurrection makes it possible for a person's spirit and body to be united again, only this time that body will be immortal and perfect - not subject to pain, disease or other problems."

I know that God is still a God of miracles. He has the ability to heal all ailments and injustices in life. He is also a just and merciful God. He sent us here to earth to learn and grow and my paralysis has given me opportunities to develop and learn more than I could have in any other way. I have experienced the healing power of Christ's atonement to heal me emotionally, spiritually and physically. And I know that because of that same atonement there is a cure for every illness in life.

We happened to be down in St. George for my brother's wedding last weekend. While on our way to the luncheon, I realized we'd passed Cougar Cliff - where my accident happened. On our way out of town Trevor & I decided to stop by and pay our respects. Will was already asleep so we took him out in his car seat to show him the place. 

As we stood there I offered a prayer of gratitude and it only confirmed that everything good in my life now has come since my accident. My little family of Cooper, Will & Trevor all happened after my accident. But more than anything the cliff just felt like a cliff. Ever since my 4 year anniversary rappel (if you'd like to read more about that you can click ( herehere or hereI really felt like I'd claimed my accident and that experience and that it no longer ruled my life. I took ownership of my circumstances and trials & determine my destiny day by day as I choose to live a joyful life. My life was definitely headed in a different direction before my accident happened - it wasn't a bad direction just very different. Through my accident God was able to redirect my path that led me to meeting Trevor. 

My accident has brought me two of the biggest blessings that life can hold: marriage and motherhood. 

This morning as I spent time playing and taking care of Will I knew that he is one of the reasons my life didn't end 6 years ago at the bottom of the cliff. I know that I was saved and preserved because I still had a mission to accomplish and more work to do and motherhood is an essential part of the work that I was saved to do. 

Paraplegia, Pregnancy & Child Birth

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

I think I've taken about 5 naps since William was born. I just feel like I'm constantly running circles & trying to be productive all the while soak in every minute of this new stage in life. The last 3 weeks (now almost 3 months since I started writing this haha) have flown by and the holidays haven't helped slow down time. But I wanted to take time to write down some information about spinal cord injuries and pregnancy/child birth. This is a bit out of my comfort zone and I never wanted to write my "birth story", but I want to put information out there to help clarify misconceptions and provide information for others.

It wasn't until well into my third trimester that my pregnancy really started to set in. And around 36 weeks all the sudden I was stressed. I felt like I knew nothing and had nothing ready and what if he came early?! I didn't even have a car seat to take him home from the hospital. All the sudden at 36 weeks I began to really think about how I was going to handle a baby - especially as an incomplete t12 paraplegic. I started googling and searching for videos, blogs and just about any of any tips & tricks that could help me out. But really there weren't many resources out there - especially not for someone who uses a walker & wheelchair.

My phone crashed & burned right before baby came and it wasn't backed up so I lost most of my pictures from the summer & fall. We already didn't take many pictures while I was pregnant and then I lost the few that we had taken. This one was taken near the end about 38 weeks. 

The months and even years after my accident, back in March 2012, were filled with grief and loss. I not only grieved the loss of my legs, walking and running. But I also grieved events and opportunities that would never be or would be different. For some reason one specific opportunity I grieved was carrying my children on my hip in the kitchen & dancing around. Although I knew motherhood was a possibility,  I still mourned the loss of normal motherhood and my future.

If you want to read more about my accident you can read here. Every spinal cord injury is different, even if you are both incomplete t12 paraplegics your function, sensation and abilities vary so drastically. So it's really hard to find someone in the same situation/function. Being an incomplete t12 paraplegic for me means that I have some muscle strength and most of the sensation return to my legs.  From what I remember the sensation in my legs is back to what I'd say is pretty normal. I can't regulate the temperature from my knees down and my circulation isn't great there either. As for my motor function I'm pretty limited it's pretty hit and miss and there is a lot missing. Whenever I'm assessed my PT students they are always amazed that I walk as well as I do based on their strength testing. But nevertheless, I walk with arm crutches, a walker and a wheelchair. I'm much more stable in a walker and can sit down while I'm doing things around the apartment. And I use my arm crutches when I go out in public, getting in and out of the car and have to do stairs etc. At first I was completely paralyzed (both sensation & strength), but with time some nerves regenerated and reconnected I regained sensation and improved my strength through the grace of God and years of physical therapy.

Now most people just assume I can't have a "natural birth". To be honest, I wasn't all too sure of that myself until I did some research & talked with my doctor. C-section was always an option, but natural childbirth was completely possible as well. I always kept C-section as a viable option because the idea of child birth really freaked me out. But the exercise restrictions after a C-section was the only thing keeping me away. Many asked if this was a  high risk pregnancy and it was not. Just being a paraplegic doesn't make you high risk.

Now my due date was originally November 8th and then got switched to the 14th. But based on William's measurements and birth weight/complications I really think my due date was the 8th. At my 39 week appointment my dr. recommended I get induced based on his size & felt like it was better to get him out now while he was still healthy.

On Saturday, November 11, we showed up at the hospital ready for action at

6 AM: Arrived at the hospital and got all checked in and starting my IV with pitocin.

9 AM: My doctor stopped by to break my water. The nurses all warned me that the contractions would increase in severity once my water was broken, but the contractions up until that point really weren't bad so I thought I was okay.

Boy were they right, my contractions got real intense real fast. As a SCI my leg spasms increase in response to pain. So my contractions caused my leg spasms to be worse than ever before Trevor taught my nurses how to control and stretch though the spasms. But it was definitely a learning experience for everyone. *My recommendation for any SCI would be to get your epidural ASAP because contraction pain & spasms don't go well together. 

10 AM-ish: The anesthesiologist were called into an emergency C-section so they weren't available when I decided I was ready - another reason I won't wait for the epidural next time. The other main concern for SCI is autonomic dysreflexia. I personally have never had issues with this so it wasn't a major concern for me, but still had to be aware.  I learned another lesson that had me terrified for a minute. The doctor had a more difficult time with the epidural due to my scar tissue from my fusion at T11-L1. My leg spasms were the first thing to calm down, but I wasn't getting any relief from the actual contractions. The doctor continued to administer more medication through the epidural - still no relief from the contractions. We were at the point where he didn't want to give me any more medication and I could see the concern on his face. He attributed the issues with the epidural to my scar tissue on my spine. Seeing the concern on his face made me more concerned. I felt tears welling up in my eyes, I was not planning on doing an unmedicated birth and so my mind went back to c-section. We decided to give it some more time and tilt me back to help the medication drain upwards. Luckily with more time the epidural started to work and I began to feel relief. The epidural almost didn't work and took a little longer than typical due to the scar tissue, but that's something else to be aware of if you have a fusion near T11-L3.

4 PM: The nurses had been checking on me through out the day and I had been progressing pretty slow so the estimated 10 PM. But when they came in at 4,  I was ready. After letting our parents know & calling the doctor we did a couple practice pushes and around 4:30 it was time to start. When the nurses left the room I had a minor freak out and didn't want to do it - as in child birth haha like there was any other choice. It was barely a half hour of pushing & William had arrived at 5:14. Now for SCI it really doesn't matter how much function you have because your body knows what to do and will take over. I was able to actually push, but regardless of your injury or function your body will get that baby out even if you can't push.

I remember during my inpatient stay after my accident my physical therapists would ask me to move muscles that I knew didn't work, but I was still able to "think" about it any try to "connect" and move those muscles. And I would say pushing would be the same - even just thinking about pushing is helpful. I hate that I'm writing this and am weirded out by saying the word push publicly. But I really wish I could have read a SCI birth experience so I'm doing it anyway.

We had about an hour together before they whisked William away to the NICU. We didn't take many pictures during that time and just soaked in those first moments. But I guess they knew all along he had blood sugar issues, but I'm grateful they gave us that hour (which seemed liked 10 minutes).

Quick summary the NICU because of Will's low blood sugar  he was just really sleepy/lethargic and we had a hard time getting him to wake up to eat and eat very much. Between IVs and G tube it was sad to see all the tubes and chords attached to him, but we knew they were there to help us get home. Every time he'd start hitting his feeding goals they'd raise the mL requirements and he had to eat the required mL for 24 hours, without any G tube help and off of the IV which took 4 days,  then we could finally go home on the 5th day there.

Overall pregnancy was surprisingly pretty easy for me, even as a paraplegic. I was told that I'd have difficulty getting pregnant due to complications that were not SCI related. But it all came together pretty quickly and now I wouldn't want it any other way. I had so many concerns before hand with walking, loading my wheelchair, medications etc. But really they all worked themselves out.  I wrote a little more about this in my post here, I was able to stay on baclofen for my leg spasms & I didn't get very big so I was able to load my wheelchair up until the very end.  Regardless of disability or complications know that it will work out.

I am so grateful for how smoothly this pregnancy went, but being pregnant felt very foreign to me and I was afraid I wouldn't bond when he arrived. But once he came it was as if I had always loved & known him. It wasn't an overwhelming or intense love, but it was familiar. And now I don't want to leave him alone even when he's asleep - haha. So I guess you could say that I'm a little attached now.

This is just my personal experience and I know every SCI is so different. But I hope there is some information especially that is helpful to others and to dispel the myths of SCI being high risk and not able to have natural birth.

Being Still in 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Between a new baby and the holidays these past few months have been quite the whirlwind. It's taken me a little longer to figure out my yearly theme. I kept trying to find time to reflect on 2017 and look ahead to the new year. But my reflection time kept getting interrupted by just life. And time and time again, as I tried to get things done & take time to reflect, I felt prompted to just be still and to just listen and be present. I've had a word for the past 9 years and this is year 10 - how crazy it that? A decade of themes.

BEING BOLD in 2009
RECKLESS in 2010
SIMPLIFY in 2017

and now BEING STILL in 2018

The world has enough busyness and distractions. With my sweet new baby, I've felt the need to slow down and find more quiet moments to be still and present. Being still doesn't mean lack of action. In fact it takes CONSCIOUS effort to be still and slow down to be fully present in the moment. 

I still believe there is power in writing down goals. But instead of writing out a long list of goals for the new year I've decided to try and make it a little more manageable by setting weekly and monthly goals that will evolve with the year because life with a newborn is crazy and I'm sure life is going to change with each stage and season. That way I can take time to be still each day and month and refocus to see how I'm doing and maybe what areas may need some help. This month I'm mainly focusing on being present with my little guy. Everyone tells me how quickly this time goes & so I want to soak in all the snuggles & smiles. 

The biggest thing I'm learning this month is that BEING PRESENT IS BEING PRODUCTIVE. I've written about my problem with trying to be over productive & restless before over here and had already been learning to focus on being still last year. I thought I'd learned this lesson already after my accident, but having a new baby made me realize we continue to relearn lessons as our lives & circumstances change.

Now for my smaller monthly goals my focus for January is being present with William.  I loved THIS talk where he says to choose one thing stop each day & one thing to start. I loved how simple that was and its so easy to implement at any time. And then my other goals for the month was to incorporate more "spiritual food" in my day as well as physical exercise/movement. With the new year I'm also trying to write more and putting out more videos, tips & insight into my life as an incomplete paraplegic mom - not so people can comment and say how amazing we are, but so somehow someday someone who was looking for resources (like I was) on "paraparenting" can find help and ideas. I use a wheelchair, walker, crutches and actually a lot of crawling. 

I share to give hope. Hope for others with disabilities or injuries who wonder what their future holds. Hope for the mother whose child was born with a disability and  wonder what their future will look like. Hope to those who may be facing challenges, illness and setbacks. Hope that one day all will be made right and all that is broken may be whole again because there is a Savior who atoned for all our sins, pains, sickness and injustices. Hope for a bright future regardless of our trials and circumstances.

With the passing of our dear prophet, Thomas S. Monson and Russel M. Nelson being called in his passing, I've started listening to talks and words of counsel they've each given. There are too many to list them all, but here's just one from each that would be worth a listen. 


Growing a Human

Friday, October 13, 2017

We aren't the best photographers and more often than not we forget to take pictures, unless they are of Cooper. So this is my best attempt of documenting this season of life. Good thing I don't have to know too much to grow a human - just eat. And I'd say I've been doing a pretty good job of that. 

Overall this whole pregnancy ordeal has gone WAY better than I ever imagined. I always thought I wouldn't be able to walk after my abs split (because I compensate so much with core muscles to help me walk). And loading a wheelchair was difficult enough as a paraplegic and I thought being a pregnant paraplegic would be nearly impossible to go or do anything by myself. But I have been substitute teaching, getting groceries, mountain boarding and all my other normal activities - with relatively minor difficulty.  One of my biggest concerns was my medications, but I found out that I could stay on my medication for my spasms which has been such a blessing - like huge huge huge. It's hard to function even with medication so thinking about life without my medication for 3+ months was so scary. After consulting with numerous doctors though we decided the benefit outweighed any risk and that there wasn't risk. It's been quite the pleasant surprise and I am so grateful. 


Phuket was the last stop on our trip & I was 22 weeks then. I really hadn't felt or looked pregnant up until this point. And even then I just felt pudgy in a swimsuit. But now with some perspective (being huge now) I look back at this picture and can see a little "bump"- but my lordosis & lack of glut muscles also make it so my back arches making my stomach look bigger anyway.  


I really am pretty terrible at documenting this whole human growing process. But honestly the whole idea of a mini human in me freaks me out. So I really try not to think about it too much. I take care of my body & am definitely not in denial anymore, but still tell myself that the kicks are just my organs digesting food. This lil nugget weighed in about 4.5 lbs around 31 weeks so I'm kind of hoping he comes a little early so he's not sooooo BIG at 40 weeks. 


My dad was in town & my mom demanded he take a picture so I ended up having "weekly" pictures for a two week streak. Also I finally got some maternity leggings and workout top so I started wearing more official "maternity" clothes. 


This is the first real maternity dress I've worn in public that was more form fitting. When I'm in my wheelchair and sitting I guess my giant stomach tucks away and people still hesitantly ask if I'm pregnant - it's pretty funny. But now at about 35 weeks people are finally confident enough that I'm pregnant that they'll ask. I'm not really one to shout it from the roof tops and share that I'm pregnant, but at almost 35 weeks it's getting undeniable and I really only have a few weeks left.  Standing & walking are getting pretty difficult without my normal abdominal muscles, but I'm still going strong loading my wheelchair, walking, teaching, mountain boarding and daily life. Except now the hills I mountain board are pretty tame - like the slightest up hill is quite the struggle. 

I'll tell you right now though - I am planning on cutting my hair. Not super short mom bob, but a long bob I think. Call it a mom hair cut or whatever you want. I've wanted to cut my hair since March/April. But I've held off to see if grows extra long or thick during pregnancy. Honestly, I haven't noticed much of a difference. 

Cooper has been extra needy ... I mean Cooper is always needy so who am I kidding. 


Stillness & Spiritual WiFi

Monday, September 25, 2017

In college was when I was at my peak of what I might call my "restless" phase. I didn't mind silence, but I hated sitting still. Sitting in class was a MAJOR struggle.  I'd paint my nails, color my notes or tie friendship bracelets to keep my hands busy. Sitting and watching a moving was almost unbearable. Most of the time if I was watching movies with a group of friends I would go for a run and be back before the credits started rolling. Even sitting in church my hands were busy tying bracelets, writing or coloring; I wasn't trying to be disrespectful, I just could focus and listen best when my hands were active. And all the sitting around you do a lot in college that people call "hanging out" made me anxious and all I could think about was going to DO something.

Running from Stillness
For years I had struggled with being still. My life was nonstop, but that's the way I enjoyed it. I found my moments of peace while I ran. The most "stillness" I had in life was when I was out running for an hour or so in the mountains. That is where I found my quiet, that  is where I found my peace - in running. After my accident stillness became my worst enemy. Nights were the worst; those hours of supposed stillness and rest were some of my most painful times. Nerve pain raged through my body, I was left alone for a couple hours at a time and my mind ran rampant. Then the CNA's would come in to turn and reposition my body and the nerve pain would rage on.

They did their best to keep me busy in the hospital, which was perfect for me. From 7 AM to 5 PM my schedule was filled with hourly fitness classes, physical therapy, occupational therapy, educational classes and much more. But due to all the broken bones in my lower body there were a lot of extra restrictions. Really what my body needed was healing and rest - or in other words stillness.

The weeks and months that follow my time in the hospital were filled with finishing up my spring semester classes, attending more physical therapy in the clinic and at home and even starting to walk. As I went back to school a month later I once again kept my schedule so busy attending school, student teaching & driving 3 hours 3 days a week for 2 hour physical therapy sessions helped me avoid the stillness that I was so afraid of. I kept pushing ahead, refusing to slow down or face the stillness.

For years I had literally been running from stillness and now even with a paralyzed body I was still trying to run from stillness. I started swimming and that brought an aspect of stillness into my life, like running had, but it was the kind of stillness I could handle - we'll call it exercise stillness. It was stillness on my terms.

Finding Stillness
But after I graduated, as I was trying to figure out my next steps I was faced with stillness. It was so awkward and uncomfortable for me. It made me face what I'd been running from for years, but especially all I'd been running from the past year since my accident. I didn't know how to handle the stillness until Cooper came around.

Before I'd wake up on a Sunday morning and go exercise in nature because I needed to be productive and didn't want to sit still with myself and my thoughts. But after Cooper I was able to just lay in bed for a little longer and pet Cooper. I was able to just sit outside and just sit with my thoughts in the stillness. Right now as I'm writing this Cooper is laying still at my feel - probably asleep, but still :)

Stillness brought me to my breaking point and made me face everything I'd been running from, but it also brought healing and peace into my life. Those moments of stillness helped me find answers and peace. It wasn't easy for me at first and it was extremely uncomfortable even painful at times. But being still has brought so much physical, emotional and spiritual healing into my life.

Being paralyzed hasn't made stillness easier. It still takes conscious effort to stop and find rest and peace. It's just not in my nature to want to sit still, even when my legs don't work like they used to. But stillness is so necessary for all of us to stop and look where we are going, where we've been, and maybe what we may be running from so we can truly find peace, healing and answers.

Spiritual WiFi

We live in a society now where stillness does not come about naturally. In fact it's almost praised to be so busy we don't take time to find stillness. Between balancing our daily lives of work, school, exercise, daily chores, different duties and responsibilities it's hard to make time for stillness. And then on top of that we are surrounded by social media and technology that tries to suck away any moments of stillness we may find in our day.

But here's the thing. I think when we avoid stillness and fill those moments with too much technology or social media - I think Satan is winning. He's not getting us to do anything terrible, but he's keeping us from being still, from finding peace and from connecting with our Heavenly Father. Now I'm not talking about just connecting and communicating through prayer. I'm talking about moments of stillness when an answers may come in the form of a small thought or feeling.

If Satan is able to take away our stillness he's successfully blocking us from our Heavenly Father. I almost think of it as those times when your cell reception or WiFi connection is minimal to none and you can't receive text messages of calls. When we shun or ignore stillness Satan is blocking our spiritual wifi or signal to receive messages from God.

As I think about my spiritual WiFi, I wonder how many messages never got through because my spiritual wifi was down or distracted by other things in life. I want to always be available to receive messages from God whether they be a big long text and realization or just a short simple text. I hope that you can find ways to seek out stillness in your life. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, but as we practice stillness in our lives I know our spiritual WiFi signals can strengthen and we will can receive text messages and even phone calls with messages, peace and even answers we may be seeking.

This weekend as General Conference approaches there is an opportunity to hear messages from about about God.  I want to strengthen my spiritual WiFi signal before, after and always so I can be ready to listen and receive spiritual text messages. Click HERE to find out more or visit LDS.org


Friday, August 4, 2017

We'll incase you missed the announcement: 
Cooper is getting a little brother coming November 2017

In other words I'm pregnant, I rarely say that out loud, but I've been trying to make it feel more real by at least typing it. (But seriously, how cute is this onesie we found with a mini Cooper/golden-doodle on the front?!)

I've been in denial for about the first half of this pregnancy. Part of it was I just didn't expect this all to happen so soon. I had complications that we planned on being in this journey for the long haul. After many trips to the ER over the past few years & finally some answers and a surgery last May, I felt at peace about it all and just told myself that with faith and God's timing it will come together when it's supposed to. Well someone upstairs thinks he's funny or knows what he is doing because either way this lil nugget is making his debut the beginning of November whether we're ready or not. 

February and March: The Cheeseburger Months. I don't really eat red meat at all, but for some reason I was constantly craving cheeseburgers - not a huge 1/4 pounder, just a simple kids burger.  Before I knew I was pregnant I just thought I deficient in some nutrient found in red meat. So during February and March we made lots of burger stops, which Trevor had no complaints about. Also I can't believe I had the energy for it but somewhere between the napping and eating I kept up on my mountain boarding and "ran" the Salt Lake City Marathon in March. Braden was able to ride as my "support team" and it's always fun to see such dear friends. 

Around mile 10 Trevor was waiting for me with Cooper. Cooper was so needy and right when I stopped he started crawling up on my lap. What a goofball. 

March & April: The Napping Months. There was excessive napping and fatigue which made April & March a bit of a drag.  I would teach all day and come home nap, eat, try to exercise and early to bed. Life was really exciting, as you might imagine. Trevor was in the midst of CPA exams so his study schedule was quite rigorous. He'd study late and I'd fall asleep by 9/9:30 PM. 

In March, right around when we figured out I was pregnant, I was in the midst of job interviews for a new school district. I was offered the job the same day I did one phone interview and after driving down and meeting with the staff I immediately felt like it was a good fit. But I had just found out I was pregnant a couple weeks before and struggling with what to do. I found myself confiding in a complete stranger, the principal, as I tried to weigh my options. Originally the job offer was for a full-time teaching position. Then she offered me a part-time job teaching position, as well as numerous other options. But in the end I realized that there was so much uncertainty and learning ahead of me. Just learning to balance my life between wheelchair, walker and crutches has taken me almost 4 years and so I can only imagine my learning curve for motherhood. 

May & June: Finally May came and I felt like I'd normalized. I didn't need constant naps and burgers and Trevor finished his masters & two more CPA exams. After our first ultrasound appointment I finally believed I was pregnant, but right after the appointment was done I went back into "denial". 

But with everyone coming into town for  Trevor's graduation I knew we needed to tell our families. All of the Masters programs at USU had their graduation ceremony on May 5th - Cinco De Mayo. So we decided  the best way to surprise our families would be with a little piñata surprise at Trevor's graduation BBQ. I need to find and take a picture of the creepy plastic babies Trevor wanted to fill the piñata with because they are absolutely ridiculous. The piñata was stuffed with these plastic babies, baby confetti, pink and blue rattles along with some candy and of course - the ultrasound pictures. At the beginning of June I finished up my first year teaching 2nd grade. We took the summer off between summer speaking engagements, moving, travel and just enjoying being together with a little break from CPA studies we kept plenty busy and the summer has flown by. 

#MaccDaddy was our favorite hashtag of the day

The past 6 months have been a whirlwind. I'll post about our trip during June and July in another post because SE Asia in a wheelchair is quite the adventure. Finally around 22 weeks I've hit the point were this whole pregnancy dealio started to become real. Especially on our flight back from Thailand, it started to become more difficult for me to sit up. Overall though, time has flown by and I've been in denial up until the last few weeks. We're not very good at documenting, but maybe when I have a real bump we'll try and take a few more. I'm finally starting to "show" if that's what you'd call this picture:

24 weeks (I'm pretty terrible at documenting so this is my best effort)

At week 28 I'll begin to taper off my medication for my muscle spasms. This was my biggest concern about being pregnant and now with only 3 weeks left, I'm realizing that it will be here before I know it. So all prayers and positive thoughts that I can handle my crazy spastic legs without medication would be much appreciated. I haven't been able to manage my muscle spasms on my own since I was injured in 2012. And the last time I tried to go off this particular medication I went through withdrawals and even CRAZIER spasms. But either way I start tapering off in 3 weeks.  I still journal plenty but I wanted to put together a little post to help document life. I have a whole little bit on motherhood, but I think I'll save that for a separate post, since I'm trying to keep these posts short and simple.

I Didn't Think Motherhood Was For Me

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I never grew up dreaming of being a mother. Of course when I was younger I assumed marriage and family would come with time, but it was never something I dreamed of or really desired. One of my concerns while dating Trevor the first time was that I knew he wanted to get married and eventually start a family. At the time that was something I didn't want at all; I wasn't in a place where I could even imagine motherhood and I really didn't even want that to be apart of my future. 

Being a part of a religion and culture that focused on family and marriage, I felt out of place. But I didn't let it weigh on me because I was so focused on recovery and healing in my own life and just getting a grip on the "new" me and my "new" life. It was while I was nearing the end of my counseling and I really felt like we had worked through a lot of ISH in my life. But during one session I remember sharing my disinterest in motherhood and marriage and trying to figure out what was wrong with me and why I've always felt different in that regaurd. We talked a length, but I didn't leave with a solution or new perspective.

Over the last few years, God found ways to soften my heart towards marriage and family. Not only did I become more open to these roles, but I realized that those roles as a wife and mother are a part of MY eternal and divine identity. With time and through study and prayer I began to learn more. I even started to share what I'd been learning at different speaking engagements; which only reconfirmed what I felt Heavenly Father had been teaching me. 

It always amazes me that over the past 5 years and my "talks" are always changing. I never use the same talk when I speak, I use lots of the same quotes, but the focus always seems to be changing. The last few years I've been learning that I am not defined by my my physical attributes, but by the spiritual attributes. But lately my study and learning has brought me to a deeper understanding of who I am. One of my favorite quotes has helped reinforce what I felt like I was being taught at the time.
"Female roles did not begin on earth and they do not end here...by developing a mother heart, each girl and woman prepares for her divine eternal mission of motherhood."
That first sentence is where it's at - "and they do not end here". Motherhood, even before I was pregnant, brought more peace and hope into my life - knowing that motherhood has always been a part of my divine nature, purpose and identity. Sometimes the thoughts of motherhood in a wheelchair/crutches/walker brings doubts and concerns into my mind. I'm still so unsure how I will accomplish tasks that are so simple for other women. I've grieved thinking about the moments I won't get to fully enjoy with an able body - running around with my children in the yard, standing and rocking a baby in my arms, hold a toddler on my hip while I stand and walk around. 

The reminder that female roles did not being here and they do not end here, helps reconfirm that I will one day have those opportunities because these females roles as wives, daughters, sisters and mothers are divine AND eternal. 

I know I will have these opportunities with my limited body on earth, but also eternally with a HEALED and WHOLE body - because of Christ's Atonement and the plan of salvation these opportunities "do not end here". 

Although I don't feel like the typical excited mother-to-be, I know if I love Cooper as my dog-child this much, I will definitely have more than enough of love for this lil nugget. And I take comfort in knowing that this role is apart of my divine identity and nature. So regardless of how I may be feeling from day to day, I know that it will all turn out alright because mothering is in my divine nature. I know it will still come with hard work and big learning curve, but that's what this life is all about. God has already softened and changed my heart over the years and I know that with his help I'll be able to handle motherhood regardless of my physical abilities.