Thursday, March 31, 2011

My relationship with God

This is something that I haven't talked about at all, not even to my husband. I guess this is more of just a vent than anything else so bear with me. I guess I am just having one of those "reflection on your life kind of days".

When I was about 15 years old or so I think my faith of God and my religion was the strongest. I just remember feeling so close to him that I could almost touch him and it made me so happy. I read my scriptures everyday and thought about religion a lot.

I can say the lowest point of my faith was when Jayda was born early. You'd think that most people's faith would be stronger in a situation like that, especially with how much of a miracle it truely was that she even made it at all. It makes no sense really but thats just how I felt. I knew it was a miracle but was just angry at God for letting that happen to someone that I already loved so much. When my water broke early and I was on bedrest I read my scriptures everyday. I guess I thought that if I prayed hard enough and long enough and did the things I was "supposed" to do then God would spare us of this horrific experience of delivering a micropreemie. When she was still born early I guess I just lost all my faith.

There I was watching my 1lb 9oz daughter struggle for every breath and being poked and prodded over and over again when she hadn't even had her eyes unfused yet. When parents would complain about taking their newborns into the NICU for jaundice or to get immunized I just laughed inside. If only they knew the true torment of seeing their baby in true pain and be able to do nothing about it but watch. Not for a few minutes, but all day everyday.

I reacted by shutting myself from the outside world. Even going outside felt wrong, it felt like I was abandoning my daughter. I even shut out my family and friends. It felt wrong to laugh or to be happy. How could I when I didn't know if my daughter would come home in a box or a carseat? I HATED when people said they would keep us in their prayers because I was just so angry at God. What did they know, they had full term healthy babies? But I was careful. I didn't outright deny him, because I knew he was there, I was just mad at Him and wanted to ignore Him. I was afraid that if I did outright deny Him he would take Jayda away for good and that scared me to death.

So the only way I coped was to throw myself into the science of it all. In my mind the machines were doing the job of keeping her alive. I went to every rounds and listened to every number. I knew more about medical terms than any mom should ever have to know. Talking to the nurses everyday was like therapy. Now THEY were my angels.

I tried going to church when we were in the NICU. I sat in the back away from everyone and felt completely out of place. I refused to take off my hospital braclet because moms didn't have to take it off until they had their baby home so why should I be any different? I kept my braclet on for 3 months straight. As I was sitting in church I kept my head down low. I didn't want to see any sympathy looks or hear "we are praying for you guys" one more time. I just wanted out of there. Then I looked up to see a lady that was due 2 weeks after me, waddle her way in. A lump grew in my throat and I couldn't breathe. I felt like my body would explode from heat and my eyes couldn't hold it back anymore and I burst into tears. I didn't go back for awhile until that lady wasn't pregnant anymore.

When we FINALLY made it home things got worse. Yes worse. I had really bad post partum depression and I didn't want to even be around Jayda. She had really bad colic and reflux. She wouldn't even eat 2 oz before she would projectile vomit everywhere. I just hated being left alone with her and felt so guilty that that was my life. My marriage was crumbling around me because I felt like a crazy person and acted like one. I just wasn't happy and I wanted my life to end. I was at the end of my rope and couldn't climb up anymore. Jayda was admitted to the hospital 3 more times after we were discharged and she got a feeding tube because she stopped eating. It was like a never ending nightmare. I was so anxious over every little thing and thought she was going to die if she didn't eat every 3 hours.

I was still mad at God and didn't think I would ever like him again. In fact I ignored him for a good while. Probably until Jayda was about a year old. I won't act like I have the best relationship with Him now because I don't but I am still working my way back up. I won't act like I am this perfect little Mormon who learned exactly what I needed to learn because its a process. I just used to be so bitter and had such a hard heart in regards to God. I just couldn't understand why, why he would chose us and think we were capable of going through such a mess because I sure as heck didn't feel strong enough to do it. I think Chase felt the same way because we never prayed anymore. We just didn't talk about Him.

The other day at church Jayda was climbing on a chair and fell behind the chair and bonked her head on the floor so hard. You know those cries when their mouth is wide open but nothing comes out? You know that is when they are really hurting. It broke my heart and anxiety started to flood over me again. Luckily one of our primary nurses from the NICU is in our ward and was out in the hall and calmed me down and told me she would live. :) Its then that I began to think that is how God must feel when his children are hurting. He must feel awful but knows that in order to feel happiness you need to feel sadness and suffering. The one thing I could relate to was in the scriptures when Jesus was being crucified and God couldn't handle watching because it was too hard and He left Jesus. I bet Jesus felt completely alone and couldn't understand why he would leave him especially at such a hard time. It wasn't because he didn't love him, its because it was too hard to watch, but he knew it had to happen.

I have felt that hunger lately to get that happiness back and to feel his spirit like I used to on a daily basis. We have taken steps toward that. Chase and I are trying to have family prayers everynight. We are getting rid of our cable and trying to be more productive with our time together. We have gone to the temple the last couple of months. We are trying to have faith to put trying to concieve in His hands, when the time is right. We are going to all of chuch instead of using Jayda as an excuse to leave early. I guess its true when they say having a micropreemie is like going through the grieving process. I finally feel like I am to that acceptance stage. I'm not perfect and have times when I fall again, but I guess I am just happy because I FINALLY have that desire back to really have full faith in God. And THAT makes me smile.


  1. I'm glad you got this out. I have to say, I've tried in many ways, but I don't know that I've ever truly been able to put it into words. I have a strong faith in God, however I do admit and will say that I am STILL mad at Him for our experience. I know it's through Him that she is alive now, but that doesn't mean that I'm not angry at Him for putting me, and her, in that place. I think it is going to be a work in progress to get there, but He loves you anyway and He can handle your anger. That's what I tell myself. I still can't really pray but I'm trying. Hopefully this road will be a short one to travel and you will be back to where you want to be quickly.

  2. thanks you ash, for sharing this! it really touched me.

  3. You know, I feel very strongly that the Lord uses these situations for the better. We live in a sinful world and things happen they way they WERE NOT supposed to, but they have to now. So instead of letting the enemy win, God allows for these types of bad situations to be used by the Lord for good. That is, now you can be a support to someone else who may be going through the same as you did, either from the NICU experience or with other trials you face. Maybe He wants you to learn to trust Him in all things, and then at the end it will all work for good.

    He loves your little girl and he is watching out for her. He loves you too.

    Thank you for sharing. You know, when I lost my twin son Jeremiah, I was given a verse by God. In fact, I just knew that baby B was a "jeremiah" from very early on. It was like God named him. He gave me this verse, from J's name, Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." He intends just that, sometimes it's just hard to see it from our viewpoint.

    Lastly, I don't believe God left when Jesus suffered. I'm sure he wept. Praise Jesus for his sacrifice, we would be lost without it.

    Thanks for sharing and God Bless.

  4. Thank you for your honesty AShley! I don't pretend to have the slightest clue what you have been through but I do think you are such a strong woman!
    I wonder if this will help your perspective? I'm assuming you've heard of Ryan MacPherson and that he passed away last year? His wife is one of my best friend's and she believes that they chose to accept this trial in the pre-existance. Someone had to do it, so they volunteered. And it kind of does make sense to me. Of course I can say that freely because I have not experienced tragic trials like Ashley M. or you... but maybe you did agree to this before you came to earth. Obviously the Lord, and Jayda believe you ARE strong enough, and faithful enough to prevail :)

  5. Aww Ashley, thanks for sharing. You are so brave to put it all out there like that... And so brave to have gone through what you have. I'm sorry you guys have had to struggle so much. Jayda is so lucky to have you as parents.

  6. Wow, I have wanted to do a post like this for along time I just haven't known how to write it all out. Thanks for doing this for all of us that feel the exact same way!! I too have been angry at God for so many trails that I have been given in life. I am just now trying to get over my issues and come back to the realization that God has not abandoned me, that it was me that abandoned him. It is a long hard road on my part but I am slowly getting back on the right track and hopefully the road back wont be full of to many bends and potholes.

    As for how angry you feel about all that has happened to you and your sweet baby. Many of us has been there. I remember sitting at the side of my baby's bed, watching her heart beating through the gigantic hole in her chest and counting every breath that she took. Wondering why God would let a tiny innocent baby go through something like this. I wished so hard that I could be on that hospital bed instead of my tiny baby girl. I would have taken all of her pain if I could have. I am dreading Sydney's next open heart surgery. She is going to be so much more aware of the pain and what it going on. I hope and pray that my heart is in the right place when her surgery comes along so that I can depend on God and not be angry at him for what my little girl is going through.

    As your baby gets bigger and the fight you had to get her here is farther behind you, the feelings and memories that you had will be less painful and will hurt your a heart a little bit less and less. I hope you all the luck on your journey back and that when you do get pregnant again you will carry your baby and not feel the anger and pain from the first time around. Good luck and thanks again for keeping it real!