Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Birth Story {Before the OR picture collage}

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have done a post. We have been very busy getting ready for new carpet. We live in a wonderful old house with ugly green carpet. When we bought the house (almost a year ago!) part of the contract was the previous owner buying new carpet for the house. We had a lot we wanted to do before the carpet like put in new baseboard and make sure all the flooring was in good condition which seemed like a daunting task and I was sicker than I had ever been before with our new pregnancy so we decided to put it off until I felt better. As I have mentioned before I started feeling normal a week before we found out our journey through our pregnancy with Joy would be really different and decided that we didn't want to worry about all the craziness so that we could spend less stressful time with her and have life be simple. I am so glad we did!! We ended up repainting  and adding new trim. Makes it feel like "our" home.
Another exciting tidbit, we finally found all of our pictures!! One of our SD cards had been missing and we were so unbelievably happy when someone found it!! There is nothing quite the same as reliving an experience through pictures so that is what I wanted to post today. I really wanted to give something to my daughter so Merry Christmas Joy and to all of you. Love our family!!

 Being a total dork, but it is my last show off belly shot :)

looking for my hooks and my nurse Cathy and I. Cathy works for Angel Watch and has been with us for a long time and helped us a lot!!
Lots and Lots of paper work
 My dad and I. He didn't leave my side all morning
mom white, my brother Eric, Jenston, Jaxon, Jace, Granny Nona, Jaden my mom

 Justin's brother Bryant who ran our video during Joy's birth

Jenston loves papa Ted

NILMDTS photographer Amber, Justin sister JoAnna, L&D manager Georgette, Justin sister Caryn

Time to start getting ready for the OR

Justin sister Dianna and husband Lance

Meeting the Anesthesiologist 

playing rock paper scissors

just need a little comfort

Justin's sisters Shiree and Dianna

time to go

It seemed like a long hallway, but we were all excited to get to finally meet our sweet angel. Joy you have changed my life in so many ways. I continue to feel so blessed to be your mother. Thank you again for choosing our family to spend eternity with. 
I love you with all my heart.
Merry Christmas little miss.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I won't give up

A few months ago... ok more like five months ago, I heard a song on the radio that I loved. I had heard it before but I wanted to see if Justin had heard it so I looked it up on the computer. This time when I listened to it I was alone and had a chance to really listen to the lyrics. I just bawled. I felt like it applied to me in so many different ways. I felt like it was applicable to Joy because we had just decided that no matter what the odds were against us that we wanted to keep her with us as long as she would stay and I wouldn't give up on her. I felt just like the first paragraph of the song when I looked into her eyes. I also felt like it was applicable to Justin and I as we were growing together through this trial. Now as I read the words I still feel like it says a lot of what I am going through. Even though some days may be so different than what I ever thought I would experience, I am going to do the very best I can to find JOY in life every day. I love music. Even though the song may not be taken as the artist intended it, it can touch people a lot of different ways. Grab a tissue :) I still cry every time I read them. 
Here are the lyrics the song is called "I won't give up" by Jason Mraz   If you want to listen to the song here is the link to the music video.

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well there's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts
We got yeah we got a lot at stake
And in the end,
You're still my friend at least we didn't tend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn, how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I got, and what I'm not
And who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up
I'm still looking up

I won't give up on us
God knows I'm tough, he knows
We got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also"

Today when Jaxon brought in the mail I saw a magazine I have been waiting for. The November Ensign. I immediately opened it and turned to an article I was excited to read. I love having a paper copy of the ensign to write on and mark. This specific issue of the Ensign will stay by my bedside for a long time I am sure. 
I wanted to share with you the talk "Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also" by Elder Shayne M. Bowen. It is a wonderful comforting talk about infant death. One that I hope touches you as much as it has touched me. I tried to pick and choose parts but ended up almost having the entire talk highlighted and it is better in it's entirety anyway :) I love how at the end joy is used frequently. My daughter truly brings JOY to my journey.

While serving as young missionaries in Chile, my companion and I met a family of seven in the branch. The mother attended every week with her children. We assumed that they were longtime members of the Church. After several weeks we learned that they had not been baptized.
We immediately contacted the family and asked if we could come to their home and teach them. The father was not interested in learning about the gospel but had no objection to our teaching his family.
Sister Ramirez advanced rapidly through the lessons. She was anxious to learn all the doctrine that we taught. One evening as we were discussing infant baptism, we taught that little children are innocent and have no need for baptism. We invited her to read in the book of Moroni:
“Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
“And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!”1
After reading this scripture, Sister Ramirez began sobbing. My companion and I were confused. I asked, “Sister Ramirez, have we said or done something that has offended you?”
She said, “Oh, no, Elder, you haven’t done anything wrong. Six years ago I had a baby boy. He died before we could have him baptized. Our priest told us that because he had not been baptized, he would be in limbo for all eternity. For six years I have carried that pain and guilt. After reading this scripture, I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. I have felt a great weight taken off of me, and these are tears of joy.”
I was reminded of the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who taught this comforting doctrine: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.”2
After she suffered almost unbearable grief and pain for six years, the true doctrine, revealed by a loving Father in Heaven through a living prophet, brought sweet peace to this tormented woman. Needless to say, Sister Ramirez and her children who were eight years and older were baptized.
I remember writing to my family, expressing the gratitude that I felt in my heart for the knowledge of this and so many other plain and precious truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I never dreamed how this wonderful true principle would come back to me in future years and prove to be my balm of Gilead.
I would like to speak to those who have lost a child and have asked the question, “Why me?” or maybe even questioned your own faith in a loving Father in Heaven. It is my prayer that by the power of the Holy Ghost, I may bring some measure of hope, of peace, and of understanding. It is my desire to be an instrument in bringing about a restoration of your faith in our loving Father in Heaven, who knows all things and allows us to experience trials so that we can come to know and love Him and understand that without Him we have nothing.
On February 4 of 1990, our third son and sixth child was born. We named him Tyson. He was a beautiful little boy, and the family greeted him with open hearts and open arms. His brothers and sisters were so proud of him. We all thought he was the most perfect little boy who had ever been born.
When Tyson was eight months old, he aspirated a piece of chalk that he had found on the carpet. The chalk lodged in Tyson’s throat, and he quit breathing. His older brother brought Tyson upstairs, frantically calling, “The baby won’t breathe. The baby won’t breathe.” We began to administer CPR and called 911.
The paramedics arrived and rushed Tyson to the hospital. In the waiting room we continued in fervent prayer as we pled to God for a miracle. After what seemed a lifetime, the doctor came into the room and said, “I am so sorry. There is nothing more we can do. Take all the time you need.” She then left.
As we entered the room where Tyson lay, we saw our lifeless little bundle of JOY. It seemed as though he had a celestial glow around his little body. He was so radiant and pure.
At that moment it felt as if our world had come to an end. How could we return to the other children and somehow try to explain that Tyson wasn’t coming home?
I will speak in the singular as I relate the rest of this experience. My angel wife and I experienced this trial together, but I am inadequate in expressing the feelings of a mother and would not even try to do so.
It is impossible to describe the mixture of feelings that I had at that point in my life. Most of the time I felt as if I were in a bad dream and that I would soon wake up and this terrible nightmare would be over. For many nights I didn’t sleep. I often wandered in the night from one room to the other, making sure that our other children were all safe.
Feelings of guilt racked my soul. I felt so guilty. I felt dirty. I was his father; I should have done more to protect him. If only I would have done this or that. Sometimes even today, 22 years later, those feelings begin to creep into my heart, and I need to get rid of them quickly because they can be destructive.
About a month after Tyson died, I had an interview with Elder Dean L. Larsen. He took the time to listen to me, and I will always be grateful for his counsel and love. He said, “I don’t think the Lord would want you to punish yourself for the death of your little boy.” I felt the love of my Heavenly Father through one of his chosen vessels.
However, tormenting thoughts continued to plague me, and I soon began to feel anger. “This isn’t fair! How could God do this to me? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” I even felt myself get angry with people who were just trying to comfort us. I remember friends saying, “I know how you feel.” I would think to myself, “You have no idea how I feel. Just leave me alone.” I soon found that self-pity can also be very debilitating. I was ashamed of myself for having unkind thoughts about dear friends who were only trying to help.
As I felt the guilt, anger, and self-pity trying to consume me, I prayed that my heart could change. Through very personal sacred experiences, the Lord gave me a new heart, and even though it was still lonely and painful, my whole outlook changed. I was given to know that I had not been robbed but rather that there was a great blessing awaiting me if I would prove faithful.
My life started to change, and I was able to look forward with hope, rather than look backward with despair. I testify that this life is not the end. The spirit world is real. The teachings of the prophets regarding life after death are true. This life is but a transitory step forward on our journey back to our Heavenly Father.
Tyson has remained a very integral part of our family. Through the years it has been wonderful to see the mercy and kindness of a loving Father in Heaven, who has allowed our family to feel in very tangible ways the influence of Tyson. I testify that the veil is thin. The same feelings of loyalty, love, and family unity don’t end as our loved ones pass to the other side; instead, those feelings are intensified.
Sometimes people will ask, “How long did it take you to get over it?” The truth is, you will never completely get over it until you are together once again with your departed loved ones. I will never have a fulness of JOY until we are reunited in the morning of the First Resurrection.
“For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of JOY;
“And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of JOY.”3
But in the meantime, as the Savior taught, we can continue with good cheer.4
I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort that comes through His plan; His Son, Jesus Christ; and His Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost.
What a glorious blessing this is in our lives. Wouldn’t it be tragic if we didn’t feel great sorrow when we lose a child? How grateful I am to my Father in Heaven that He allows us to love deeply and love eternally. How grateful I am for eternal families. How grateful I am that He has revealed once again through His living prophets the glorious plan of redemption.
Remember as you attended the funeral of your loved one the feelings in your heart as you drove away from the cemetery and looked back to see that solitary casket—wondering if your heart would break.
I testify that because of Him, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fulness of JOY. I testify that we can depend on Him and when He said:
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”5
I testify that, as stated in Preach My Gospel, “as we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trials, sicknesses, and pain. We can be filled with JOY, peace, and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”6
I testify that on that bright, glorious morning of the First Resurrection, your loved ones and mine will come forth from the grave as promised by the Lord Himself and we will have a fulness of JOY. Because He lives, they and we shall live also. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

There is JOY in Cache Valley and Texas :)

I hope that if you have bought a shirt that you will send me a picture! I love having record of the joy that is spreading and I am sorry if I embarrass you by posting on the blog. This is the best way for us to have record :) Here we have (left to right) Brandon, Lacy, Stephanie and Candice (who was the person who thought up the Joy shirts and really helped a lot getting everything going with them!) Thank you Candice!!
I was thinking the other day that facebook can really be a neat thing. I really have never been a huge fan but last year reconnected with a lot of high school classmates because of our 10 yr reunion (Justin and I graduated together) and when they all found out about Joy I was floored by everyones support. People who I haven't really connected with for over 10 years were showing their support and their love. As with any High School class we had some crazies but I think that we really had one of the best classes and surrounding classes :)  I am so grateful for the lifelong friendships that we have rekindled from the amazing people we associated with there, and the amazing people that we have met because of Joy, and of course every day I am so grateful for all of the support we have received from family and close friends who have been there for us through it all. I have been amazed when I talk to people and they tell me that they received their shirts. People from our boys classes and so many people we don't know. It is amazing!!
I was asked to share my testimony a couple weeks back during a class and mentioned it to one of my friends. She has a very busy calling but took the time to come and show her support for me by sneaking in to listen. I just about burst into tears of gratitude when I saw her for the wonderful friend that she is and I realized again how blessed I am to have the privilege of knowing so many amazing and wonderful people.
Thank you all so much for your love and support and I cannot wait to post more pictures of Joy's shirts ;) hint hint

Monday, November 12, 2012

Temple and rings

Justin and I have had the opportunity to visit the temple a few times the past couple weeks. I love going there to feel the peace that the temple provides and feel the spirit that is there. Knowing that our daughter is sealed to us for time and for all eternity is an incredible feeling. One that brought me to tears several time while I heard the words being spoken there. I felt so warm and close to her. Almost as if she had her arms wrapped around me. I believe that Joys spirit is that of a young woman. When I feel her I don't feel like she is a child. It feel's like she is someone I have known forever, one of my best friends and someone I am extremely close to. As I sat and looked at Justin my heart melted. Here is this amazing person who has been through so much with me and been so strong through it all. My love for him has grown so much and I am so grateful for his testimony that I have to lean on. I didn't think I could love him anymore than the first time we were there in the temple together but I was wrong :-) As I held Justin's hand we both noticed that our rings were touching. Not our wedding bands but a special ring that we were given by a friend named Amber (yes I know a few amazing ones :-) ) these rings have her name engraved on them and we were also able to have a special engraving on the inside. The really special thing is that Joy has one as well. It is the ring that she had on the chain around her neck for those of you who were able to see her at the viewing. The ring was really close to her actual size and we did put it on her finger a couple of times, but it was sweet to have it around her neck. The story of the rings is a very neat one and I know my friend was inspired in many ways. To have something that Justin and I both have that Joy has as well that we can all wear is a very special thing. Amber went in to a local Jeweler called SE Needhams and told them what she wanted and told them Joys story. They were able to complete them incredibly fast and not only that but they COVERED the cost! They donated all of the materials and the labor for our sweet Joy. What an amazing thing for them to do for complete strangers. Thank you Amber

Monday, November 5, 2012

Joy in Utah

I think it is very fitting to have the first picture of Joy shirts be on the family that spearheaded the whole thing. I know that there are so many people who helped and I cannot thank you enough, but Lindsey is fantastic at making things happen and she has the know how! Thank you Smith family for making a dream like this come true. To see our Joy touching people all over is an amazing feeling!
Love you guys!!
Love, The Jteam
Justin, Breanne, Jaden, Jaxon, Jace, Jenston, and Joy 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Birth Story {before the OR}

When we arrived to check in somehow it had slipped through the cracks that I needed to preregister. Whoops :-) I could have been told five times and still not remembered but the lady at the counter was super nice and patient with me. It took us about 10 minutes to register then we went to the nurses station to find Cathy. She took us to our room down at the end of a hall with all the adjacent rooms empty. It even had a nice seating area just outside the room when we needed some alone time. I changed into a hospital gown and Cathy hooked me up to the monitors. Joy was always really active whenever I laid on my back so it was especially fun to hear her so active right before birth. Just what I had hoped for.

I really wanted the boys to have a chance to hear and see her move around in my belly right before she was born incase she wasn't able to breathe. Cathy told us that there was a poor girl who had been in labor and not progressing all night and that they might bump our csection back to let her go first. I was totally happy to have the extra time. At this point things were really setting in that I could not hold on to my sweet baby any longer. Like I said in past posts, I would have carried her longer if I could have. I had dreams during my pregnancy that in my mind she would be able to live if I just carried her longer. It was really hard for me to come to terms that it was her time to progress. And she deserved to have the spotlight on her, not my belly :-)
In the hurry to get to the hospital I grabbed her unfinished hat and forgot the hooks so we called my parents and they had already left so we just had them pick up some on their way. For a funny side note I could not keep track of my hooks the last couple weeks. I kept losing them. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. A few days after the funeral Justin found all of them :-) So now I have three sets of three different sized hooks. Ha ha My grandparents arrived at the hospital first. I am so blessed to have the most amazing grandparents ever! I lost my other grandparents years ago and I still miss them terribly but I like to believe they were there too. I can't imagine my grandma not being there to take Joy home. I had a beautiful little cousin pass away. My grandma always took care of her headstone and I remember shopping with her one time while she was looking for a butterfly decoration for Chantel. I know how much she loved her and how much she loves my Joy.

 poor Jenston was so tired, good thing he had Grandma Nona

 We talked with my papa Ted and grandma Nona for a little bit and them Justins parents arrived with Jaden and Jenston. Jaden did not want to wear his long pants and long sleeves shirt so he wore his short sleeves shirt and shorts underneath his clothes :-) ha ha what would I do without my children?

We didn't make a big deal about it, just had a good laugh. I didn't blame him, I am much more comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt too! The first thing Jaden said when he came in with a big grin on his face was "where's Joy?" He was so excited for her to come!! My brother and parents were next to arrive then it seemed like our room filled up pretty fast. We had so much support from our family. I know that throughout the day we had all of our siblings and their spouses there except for Jordan who is on a LDS mission. I know he was praying for us though. Justin has seven siblings and I have three so that says a lot that all of them were there. What an amazing family we have!!

 Our boys are so amazing. I continue to be in awe at their strength. They knew what was happening but were so very excited to see her. We dont have cable at our house so we flipped on the tv and tried to find them a show. The clock was not working so I don't know what time it was but I was happy to have my family around and have my hooks to give my hands and mind something to do besides dwell on the inevitable. I was only able to get one side of tassels braided before the doctors started coming in and things started moving. They brought booties in for the boys to start getting dressed and clothes for Justin and all others coming in the OR.

 The other girl was not going to have a csection and it was time to go. My anesthesiologist was very kind and I think everyone was letting me take my time. I was asked if I wanted to walk or be wheeled down to the OR. I chose to walk. I remember laughing and being excited but I was just holding onto every moment trying not to break. I was on auto pilot but I know there was someone there comforting me and helping me feel at peace.

Reliving this experience as I type is just another reminder of how truly blessed we were and continue to be. We had the most amazing experience with our daughter. Oh how much I miss her every day, but I cannot shake the feeling of a loving Father who blessed me with such a life changing experience. How blessed I am to learn all of these lessons at such a young age and to have the opportunity to teach my children, and the opportunity that they have to have a sister who I know cares deeply for them, watching them from the other side of the veil. I am sure she is busy doing missionary work but there are times when she just seems to be here in our home and our family still feels complete. What a blessing to still have that feeling. One that I thought would leave after she was born. Love you Joy