Sunday, February 3, 2019

Just a Glimpse

Today is Sunday, and it is the second Sunday that our little family is not attending The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints.  No one is sick.  No one has died, although it feels like that some days.  For the past 36 years of my life I have faithfully attended church, and loved it.  I have prayed daily.  Read my scriptures daily.  Feasted upon the words of church leaders from General Conference.  I attended the temple.  My kids and I listened to the Book of Mormon on the way to school every day.  I served with love and dedication in any position I was asked to hold.  I did these things not because I felt as though I had to, not because of obligation, not because it’s just what I had always done and know, not to just go through the motions.  I did these things because I was truly converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I had a strong testimony that I carried in my heart through all of life’s experiences.  (I do not mention this to say….look at me I’m so great, rather to let you know, I was “Holding to the rod”  I was not commiting sin, I was doing all I was told to protect my testimony).  Today that testimony is dead. Part of the reason I felt compelled to write this is to help those who still believe and are active in the church understand in some small degree what this is like. I had someone say to me "the fact this is is hard for us should be evidenced the church is true. Most people do not have a hard time when they leave the church." I think this is a common misconception. I have learned from everyone I had talked with the decision to leave the church is beyond hard.
(Side note please do not be afraid to continue reading if you are an active believing member of the church.  I am in no way going to try and dissuade you from your beliefs.  Nor will I be sharing specific information that has caused the death of my testimony to occur.  PLEASE DO continue to read so you can have a tiny glimpse into what this is like, to lose your foundation.)
A couple months ago, at a Relief Society Presidency meeting one of the councilors recommended the book recently published by the Church called “Saints”.  I love to read and have enjoyed church history so I started reading.  (You can read this free in your Gospel Library App or by following the link above).  As I read, I learned things about my church’s history I had never heard before.  By time I had finished I had an uncomfortable feeling.  I sat with this for a while before sharing this with my husband.  One night as we were getting ready for bed I said to him, “I finished reading the Saints book.  It was not a faith building experience.”  We sat and talked for quite some time.  We decided we just needed to do a little more research.  Surly there were good explanations, that would put these things into a better light.
I went to the Gospel Topic Essays on   I read them obsessively.  I have never spent as much time in my Gospel Library App, on and studying church history.  I followed every footnote.  I read from the footnotes before and after what was actually referenced to try and get as much context as possible.  The footnotes include minutes from meetings, journals from early members of the church and other relevant documents from that time.  Many of them can be found on the church produced website, The Church Historian’s Press, this includes the Joseph Smith Papers.  As I read I was shocked.  The history presented in these essays were not what I had been taught my entire life.  I began to pray as hard as I ever have in my life.  I prayed to know the truth.  I prayed to find something, anything that would make these things ok. With each essay I read, each new truth revealed to me, by the church, on it’s own website, each paragraph made me feel more and more uneasy.  I finally found the courage to say to my husband the thought I had been avoiding.  “What if the church isn’t true?”  Oh how those words made my heart ache.  Yet still, with all this new information I continued to pray, please let it be true.  I still held out hope for anything to hold onto, as literally every thing I had been taught crumbled and was disappearing.
I asked family to please pray for us.  We attended the tempe, and although the recent changes made my feminist heart happy it only added to the confusion, increased our doubts and added yet more questions.  I left not having found the peace, solace and comfort I was seeking.

We had a General Authority, Steven E. Snow, who is the Church Historian, (the perfect person to discuss these things with) coming to our stake conference.  With every tattered thread of hope I had left I reached out to the stake president to see if my husband and I might be able to meet with him.  I prayed so hard, I pled with the Lord, “Please let us be able to meet him so he can answer our questions and calm my troubled heart.”  I also enlisted a few family members to pray for us to be able to meet with him.  Despite our pleadings to God we were not able to meet and discuss our concerns with Elder Snow.  We did get to chat with him for a few minutes after a meeting.  He said exactly what I had prayed and hoped he wouldn’t,  “We have to remember Joseph Smith was an imperfect man and have faith.”  Those words He left us with his card to reach out in an email.  Which I did.  His email response did not provide any answers or comfort.
We made an appointment with our Bishop desperate for any answers, even though at that point I knew in my heart there were none.  The things I learned by reading on and in the Gospel Library App were the truth about the foundation church, the Book of Mormon and the man I could no longer believe was a prophet, Joseph Smith.
I feel like my most intimate friend has died although I have never had a friend as intertwined in my life as the church is.  In the morning I wake up and for a small moment I just wake, but then like a tidal wave of grief it hits me, everything I have learned, and I am devastated.  I feel in denial, hoping that the new truth I know could somehow disappear, but it remains, documented in history. It remains because unlike what I was taught my entire life, this new information is true.
Devastated, heartbroken, everything has crumbled.  Left knowing nothing other than God loves me and my husband and I will be ok. I thank God every day that we are going through this together.  His love and support are helping me make it through one of, if not the hardest thing I’ve experienced thus far in my life.
We were able to meet with our good and kind Bishop.  I poured out my aching soul to him.  I sobbed in his office as as shared what we had learned.  I told him I didn’t go looking for this information, I was looking to strengthen my testimony.  I wasn’t tired of all the rules and looking for an easy out.  I wasn’t committing major sins and too lazy to repent.  The thought of not wearing my garments broke my heart.  Thinking about drinking coffee or alcohol made me sick to my stomach.  I was not excited to not have to pay tithing.  I was devastated!!!  I was absolutely crushed.  This poor good man, also had no answers beyond just have faith.  With tears streaming down my face I asked to be released from my calling.  
The next day I felt so much peace.  My heart had been in complete turmoil as I desperately searched for anything to hold onto.  As I tried to find anything to make what I had learned ok.  After so much prayer and fasting, reading of scripture and attending the temple we decided to leave the church and had conveyed that to our Bishop.  After that my heart felt peace.  It is still broken, I am still saddened to my core but I have peace, and after joining a support group I now also have hope.
Prior to this experience I don’t think I’d given much thought as to why people leave the church.  I had mostly assumed they were tired of the rules, not willing to sacrifice for the truth.  Unrighteous and fooled by Satan because they were not doing all that they should.  None of those were my experience.  As I reached out to friends who have already left the church I heard over and over how sorry they were, because this has been the hardest thing they have ever experienced.  I’ve heard over and over how devastated people have been by learning the truth.  I’ve heard over and over people express tremendous grief.  I’ve cried as I’ve listen to people describe being abandoned by their families and friends.
The reason I felt compelled to write this is to help those who still believe understand a little what this is like.  Also to plea with our family and friends, please do not abandon us (this does not mean please try and save us and convince us of our mistake)!  We are still the same people we have always been.  Our children are still the beautiful amazing souls that love your children.  We have talked to them about not sharing this information with others because it could make them sad, just like it has made us sad.  At this time when our foundation has been shattered and our faith that was woven through every aspect of our lives is gone, we need your love and support now more than ever.  We do not have to talk about church, although we are open to answering questions.  I felt so much love and support when my brother passed away, and this feels equal in the depth of pain and loss.  Part of that is because it is in my nature to be open and vulnerable and reach out.  I know so many people quietly leave the church but I have to be able to reach out during this heartbreak.  I have to be able to express myself honestly through this process of rediscovering our faith and rebuilding our foundation.  So please, please do not abandon us because we have learned things that make it impossible for us to continue the life of Mormonism.  We still love.  We still need you.  
Our plea is the same as so many who are in the same situation as us, for the same reasons.  We will respect and honor you and your beliefs please do the same for us.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pierce's Peaceful Hypnobabies Birth

After Maizy’s Hypnobabies birth went so well we had to use Hypnobabies again for another natural birth. I’m so glad we did.  I wish I could tell every woman in the world that it’s possible for birth to be this peaceful and beautiful. A couple months ago I started listening to my Hypnobabies tracks and Brent and I started doing the scripts to prepare for Pierce’s birth. (Hypnobabies uses some different terminology, pressure waves are contractions, and labor is birthing time)  Using self-hypnosis for childbirth has been some of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

On February 6th I thought my water broke.  I was lying in bed when something gooshed out.  I checked and it was watery and didn’t really have a scent to it.  With Croix’s birth labor started with my water breaking, and Maizy was born 30 minutes after my water broke.  There hadn’t been a gush, just a little leek. So I thought this was the same as that time.  I had been having pressure waves throughout the night.  I thought it was time.   We called Corinne and headed to the hospital.  After being there all morning we found out my water hadn’t broken after all.  Apparently you can have very watery cervical discharge, and lots of it.  Pressure waves were coming every two and a half minutes but I wasn’t dilating at all so we went home.  It was a little disappointing but I was only 37 weeks so it was fine.  I did feel a little stupid, third time Mom and we were at the hospital for false labor.  Sigh.  Oh well.
On Monday February 15th I was having some regular pressure waves, they were a little stronger than they had been.  That night as Brent and I were folding laundry I said to him, “well they have been coming stronger and longer and fairly consistently but who knows if that means anything.  I feel like we should try having sex to see if it gets them going, but If it doesn’t then I’ll just be up all night with pressure waves for no reason again.”  (They had been waking me up at night for weeks, and annoying me during the day for weeks).  We ended up just going to sleep, figuring if it was going to happen it would happen on its own.  I woke up at midnight to go to the bathroom.  While I’m sitting on the toilet going pee I thought my water broke, a little.  But who can be sure, I was going pee!  I sat on the toilet a bit longer I thought again that some water came out but I wasn’t 100% certain.  After a false alarm previously I wasn’t about to go to the hospital again unless I was sure!  When we had been in the hospital the week before the nurses had said you could have a smaller tear higher up, which would cause a leek, but not a gush.  But if that happens if you push up on the sack/baby more would gush out.  So I woke Brent up and told him he had to check and see, apologizing all the same breath if it hadn’t really broken.  Brent being the amazing husband that he is agreed to check.  (I’d already made him check my cervix before this so he knew what he was doing, or at least where to be checking.  My cervix had been very VERY posterior so I couldn’t even find it myself).  We folded up a towel, and he checked.  He said he could feel Pierce’s head and when he moved a bit there it was, the big gush.  I’ll never forget the way Brent jumped back like there was a snake coming out of my vagina or something.  LOL! It was hilarious!  We called Corinne we threw some toiletries in the bag.  By time she got there pressure waves were coming stronger.  As we were driving to the hospital I was putting on some makeup (because we had a birth photographer coming and I’m vaine like thatJ) and I hadn’t entered hypnosis yet. We were driving and a pressure wave came and said to Brent “I really need to start using my hypnosis!” because it was a STRONG one.  So I used my finger drop technique and entered self-hypnosis.

We got to the hospital at 12:30 checked in and they sent us up to triage at 12:45.  They monitored me for a while confirmed I truly was in labor and got a room ready for us.  When they checked me the nurse said, “you’re at a 3 ½.”  I made a frowny face, that’s what I had been at when we were there a week earlier for false labor.  I thought for sure with all the pressure waves I’d been having I would have been dilated a little bit more.  With Croix and Maizy when we got to the hospital I was at a 5. One of the things I had read about having a very posterior cervix was that it can cause labor to be longer because the baby’s head isn’t directly putting pressure on the cervix.  So it can take a little longer for it to dilate.  That combined with the face that I was not even dilated to a 4 I thought, this could take a while.
My midwife Ramona is awesome and was going to come in to be at our birth even if she wasn’t on call, but we all lucked out and she was already on call and working that night!  I was so so very happy about that.  She was the one I’d wanted at Maizy’s birth, but she didn’t make it (No one made it actually).  I love Ramona, she’s such a great midwife.

We got into our room at 1:25 and they started filling the tub.  They had me hooked up to monitors while the tub was filling.  The pressure waves were coming pretty strong.  I was having a little bit of a difficult time staying relaxed because my legs were shivery.  I asked Brent to come rub my legs and that helped.  I drank some juice trying to keep my blood sugar up.  Both Croix and Maizy had low blood sugar after being born and needed a little formula.  I wanted to avoid that this time. 
The nurse finally told me I could get in the tub after five more minutes of monitoring.  After the next pressure wave is jokingly said, “It’s been five minutes right?”  I just wanted to get in the tub, it had been so helpful with staying relaxed with Maizy.  Finally around 2 they let me off the monitors and I could get in the tub…..ahhh it was delightful! 
The nurse said she’d be back in about 30 minutes to check baby’s heart.  Being in the tub helped with the shivering which helped me to stay relaxed.  I thought these pressure waves are STRONG!  I was able to use my hypnosis to stay relaxed, even through the strong pressure waves.  I would just close my eyes and relax and let my body do what it was made to do.  I wondering if the pressure waves were doing anything.  So I reached down to check and I could feel Pierce’s head right there.  I could only feel just a little lip of cervix.  I thought, hummm I bet he’s going to come soon.  I had been laying in the tub but felt like squatting at the edge would be good.
  As soon as I did that I felt a LOT of pressure and maybe little urge to push, but nothing like I have to push now!  I felt my body tensing up and I closed my eyes told myself peace and felt my body relax.  It was amazing I could feel everything relax except my uterus. This was at about 2:23. With Maizy it took a few pushes to get her out.  I thought I had some time.  I asked the nurse to go get Ramona.  She asked, Do you feel like you have to push?  I said I don’t know.  Do you feel like you’re going to have the baby?  No, I don’t think so.  At that point I didn’t really.  I thought I had time for Ramona to come and check and see where I was.  The nurse left to get Ramona and then the urge to push took over.  At about 2:24 I told Brent, “GO GET RAMONA!” because it felt like a long time since the nurse had left to go get her! At some point I had gone from squatting to laying back in the tub.
 At this point Pierce was crowing.  Just like with Maizy, this part hurt, and I kept say oww, oww, oww.  Thankfully Ramona got there.  She first thing said let’s get you out of the tub…but I couldn’t.  There was no way I could move.  So I went from saying oww, oww, oww to I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, to pushing through another pressure wave.  I think I had my eyes closed at this whole point.  I don’t remember seeing anything.  At this point Brent used one of the Hypnobabies tools to help me relax, he put his hand on my forehead and gently told me peace, this helped me to relax. 
 photo e010_zpsnbwqgbbz.jpg

After that pressure wave passed Ramona tried again to get me to get out of the tub, but I couldn’t, another pressure wave came and she told me to pull my legs up into more of a squatting position, I couldn’t really even do that, she pulled my leg up for me, and took my hand.  I remember feeling the strength of her hand, then her calm voice “ok Terina breathe, take a deep breath”.  As I took a deep breath I was able to relax again.  Another pressure wave came, big push and his head was out, another push and we brought him up to my chest. 

Look at Brent's face!

Pierce was born at 2:27.  We had to work a bit to get him to cry because he was so calm and relaxed.  When he finally did cry it sounded like a little laugh, it was the sweetest thing.  He was just the sweetest thing.  

Oh how I love him!

They had me get out of the tub.  As I was holding Pierce and getting out I kept thinking, don’t fall, don’t fall.  I was wrapped up in towels as I got out of the tub and into the bed.  After the cord stopped pulsing Brent cut it.  

At 2:40 the placenta was delivered.  Ramona showed it to us, so crazy a person fit in that tiny spot.

They let us enjoy our baby, some skin to skin and each other.  Brent kissed me, told me what an amazing job I did. 

At three in the morning I commented that it was 3AM and I wasn’t even tired.  At 3:48 Pierce started nursing.  

At 4:23 the nurse came back and took Pierce for measurements.  He weighed in a 7lbs 6oz, 19 ¼ inches long his APGAR was 8/8.  

As the nurse was taking his measurements he grabbed onto her finger and wouldn’t let go. I loved sitting there watching Brent just admire our boy.  

One of the worst things about gestational diabetes is that they have to check the baby's blood sugar. so sad!  I was so thankful Pierce's blood sugar was good every time they checked it!

At 5:00 we were moved to the postpartum room and I was tired!  We tried to sleep but there are so many people coming and going it was impossible.  At 8:30 Croix, Maizy, and Grandma came for a quick visit before school.

Finally around 9:30 I was able to get a little nap. It was a long day of trying to nap but nursing, people checking on us, my uterus contracting, did not make for much sleep. Brent and the kids came back around 5 and brought Kneaders, a sampling of desserts.  I could only eat a bite of some of them….so much sweetness! It was great to see the kids and they just loved their brother.  It made me sad as they were leaving Maizy didn’t want to leave us.  She wanted Mommy and her baby to come home with them.  After they left I literally couldn’t see straight I was so tired, my vision was blurry.  Having a baby in the middle of the night is a rough way to start!  So much sleep deprivation!  Babies shouldn’t be allowed to come in the night, just during the day after Mom’s get a good night’s rest the night before. 
The next morning we had his newborn screen, hearing test, birth certificate, and all the stuff you have to get done.  We were finally discharged around noon.  It was great to come home and get into my own bed and actually get some sleep. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

End of school party

We had Croix's end of school ice cream party this morning. It was cute. Mrs. Becchetti gave all the kids a little certificate and a memory book. There is a page for autographs, Croix had fun getting autographs and a few numbers for playdates. Mrs. Becchetti came and said "I just want you to know Croix is doing so much better then the beginning of the year. Those first couple were rough but he is doing great now." He really has grown leaps and bounds over the school year.  I can't believe he'll be a first grader in a few short months!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Illuminating Imigination

I entered this photo in a photo contest with the Mesa Public Library in the reading/libraries category.  I was hoping to be a finalist.  Would have been ecstatic to be a finalist.  Then I got an email that said this;

Congratulations! Your Mesa Views Photography Contest entry, “Illuminating Imagination” was chosen as the 1st place winner in the Libraries & Reading category! We received many excellent submissions, and are excited to showcase yours as one of our winners.

Here’s what happens next:
·         Over the next few weeks, we will be working hard to get everyone’s photos printed and ready for display
·         Mark your calendars for the Mesa Views Photography: Opening Reception on Saturday, May 30th from 1-3 PM. Don’t forget to invite your friends and family
·         Your photography will be displayed at the Main Library branch through Friday, July 31st
Thank you for participating, and congratulations!

Mesa Public Library

 Here are some of the other photos I did that night.

I know some of the photographers that entered photos into this contest.  They are real, legitimate, photographers who have been doing photography for years, with well established businesses.  In other words way out of my league.  I was shocked that I won first place!  I still am shocked.   

(Future) Neighborhood Party

Our new neighborhood had a party. I love that they are having community events before anyone has even moved in. We had fun meeting new neighbors, eating yummy food and ice cream, participating in the games, getting faces painted, and playing on the bounce houses.  We're going to love living in the Mulberry neighborhood, only three more months!

Swim lessons

The kids have started swim lessons. Maizy screamed the whole time the first day. Today (second day) she was in the pool a few moments without tears and screaming. I feel bad because it makes me laugh a little. She's just so dramatic! Croix does great until he has to put his face in the water, then he freaks out. In their defense the water is cold since it hasn't been hot and has rained.

In related news I've been doing swim lessons for about a month. The city of Mesa is offering free adult swim lessons, so I'm taking advantage. I can flop around but if Croix or Maizy fell in they would drown before I could get to them. So I'm learning how to swim. It helps that I can say...My swim teacher tells me the same thing, or I'm learning that too it's hard isn't it. So there ya go, the advantage to not learning to swim as a child, increased empathy for your children when they are learning at the same time as you.
In the Phoenix area there were more adult drownings last year then children, most of them were an adult trying to save a child.