October 13, 2011

Sharing a Miracle

You probably didn't know that the night before Ellie's baby blessing I had an emergency surgery and spent the night in the hospital. You probably didn't know this because we forged ahead and two hours after I was released from the hospital we were hosting a mass of people at my parent's house. You also probably didn't know this because the blessing turned out so beautifully that when I went to blog about it, I didn't want to mention this major hiccup and wind up with the emphasis on me. For this day was about a sweet baby girl and her good, good father. It was a day about family. And it wound up being a story filled with miracles.

We had planned on blessing Ellie on Sunday, July 24th because my entire family was going to be in town. BJ's parents made the trek up from California to be there also, and all seemed perfectly in place for this to happen. Little did I know that what started as a strange stomach ache on Friday night would turn in to a reason for surgery come Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon my Friday night stomach ache had not subsided. In fact, it had intensified to the point that my walking closely mirrored a senior citizen. BJ and I were meeting his parents for a quick lunch before my family's family reunion. Finally I realized the pain I was feeling wasn't normal, and probably wasn't good. I told BJ and he told his parents. BJ's dad perfectly diagnosed my symptoms because he had had appendicitis before and my symptoms were textbook. He knew I should get to a doctor.
 An urgent care center was located just two blocks away from where we were eating lunch. BJ, me, and Ellie quickly headed there. Again the diagnosis: textbook appendicitis.
This was the worst timing. If indeed this was appendicitis, I was going to miss not only my family reunion, but the baby blessing too. I was frustrated and in pain. 
From urgent care we were advised to go to Orem Community Hospital to have some formal testing done. Cat scan, blood work, urine sample, manipulation... the doctors ran the gammut. The cat scan showed major inflammation and finally the diagnosis was sure. I had appendicitis and I needed surgery soon. 
Again we transfered to another hospital with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew trailing behind for support. This time, the problem was going to be fixed, but it wasn't without a few drawbacks. Firstly, I wasn't going to be able to breastfeed for 24 hours, and Ellie was breastfeeding exclusively. This in and of itself was devastating to me. I was allowed to pump one last time, but I didn't have long. The doctor was there and ready to operate. Secondly, I was nervous to go under anesthesia. What if something went wrong? I was a brand new mother and the idea of something bad happening to me was sickening. I couldn't leave this baby behind. To be totally honest, even the idea of not having her with me that night wasn't thrilling. I had never, ever been apart from her like that. And last of all, the baby blessing actually happening was completely out of the picture by this point. It was all so inconvenient.
BJ and my brother gave me a blessing that left me feeling at peace. I was confident in my doctors, and I was promised that I would be ok and that Ellie would be taken care of.
I went into the operating room and the doctors were cordial. Looking back now, I'm again amazed at how quickly anesthesia works. Count back from ten... 10...9... gone. Waking up from anesthesia felt like I was stuck in a nightmare. I was moaning and fighting for my body to wake up and function. I cried and worried and dug my heels into the bed. I felt out of control and I hated it. I remember being wheeled through hallways into the room I would be sleeping in and vaguely seeing my mom, BJ, and Ellie. I heard my baby crying, and for the first time ever the idea to try and take care of her didn't even cross my mind. I was in a thick fog, completely incoherent.
BJ stayed with me that night. He slept on the tile floor with one sheet and a crappy pillow. The surgery had gone well, and the following morning I was a few hours away from being able to go home. While we waited for the time to pass BJ and I toyed with the idea of going on ahead with the blessing in spite of my barely recovering body. The family was there. BJ had been studying and praying about the blessing for weeks. My mom and I had already planned the menu and purchased all of the groceries for it. We were anxious about the situation as a whole, and decided to bite the bullet. The blessing had to go on!
Upon release from the hospital we made our way home, stopping briefly at RiteAid for some pain killers. BJ showered and got the baby ready, and I hobbled slowly around and managed to assemble my Sunday best and hide the grease in my unwashed hair.
The blessing went off without a hitch. In fact, I think it was the most beautiful baby blessing I have ever heard. It was heartfelt and thoughtful. It was personal and tender. It was an intimate moment with family we loved. I managed to make it through the set-up, the blessing, and the socializing afterward without horrible pain or limitation. I couldn't have been happier. (Aside from having three gaping flesh wounds on my post-delivery baby belly.)
The miracles were woven throughout the tapestry of that crazy weekend. In fact, they started a week before... keep reading... it's about to get good...
Miracle #1: About a week before my surgery, I had decided to start pumping and freezing my breastmilk. I didn't have any specific reason to be doing this. I had stocked up just enough milk to last Ellie the complete 24 hours before I could start feeding her again. My efforts to strictly breastfeed could continue to be successful- something I had prayed over and over again for. But like my Relief Society president said when I told her about this coincidence, "There's no such thing as luck." she said. I know I was prompted by the spirit to do this... not knowing beforehand what it was actually for.
Miracle #2: A couple weeks prior to this time Ellie had become a real mama's girl. She often would would fuss whenever BJ held her and would only let me be the one to do the consoling. On the night of my surgery Ellie suddenly changed her agenda. She wanted dad. When I was coming out of anesthesia BJ wanted to be by my side. My mom was holding Ellie and Ellie would have none of it. She needed to be consoled too, and her dad was the one she wanted for the job. This is when I heard her crying as I was waking up. Ellie was longing for her dad. He of course, was there to comfort her.
Miracle #3: JaLayne was in town and was able to take Ellie for the night so that my mom and dad could host the family reunion at their house. At this point, very few people would I have trusted with my baby overnight. Ellie was an angel for JaLayne, and JaLayne was an angel for us.
Miracle #4: My brother was there to perform a blessing of healing with BJ. What a joy it was to have the confidence and assurance that all would be well. I love my brother.
Miracle #5: Kim knew what was wrong and urged me to go to the hospital. If your appendix ruptures it can be lethal within 24 hrs. My appendix was very inflamed and I hadn't even considered going to the doctor until he suggested it.
Miracle #6: My surgery, overnight hospital stay, cat scan, blood tests, urgent care visit, etc. were all covered by my incredible insurance that I had from being a school teacher. Had this happened a week later, my benefits would have expired and we would have been paying for this out of pocket.
Miracle #7: I felt well enough to not only carry out the baby blessing the next morning, but to enjoy it.
Miracle #8: My sweet mom and sisters arranged the entire thing and made it happen. In spite of our family reunion being at my parent's house the night before, these four women had the entire house cleaned, the food and table prepared in the short amount of time that BJ and I allowed them after we decided we would continue on with the original plans. After their hard work, all I had to do was show up.
Miracle #9: In the midst of this all, I learned to feed my baby while lying down. Something that has proved to be incredibly useful on what would be sleepless nights.
Miracle #10: That overall, the Lord's hand was felt throughout the entire unfolding of this bizarre experience. It was another testimony of His love for me, of His watchful care over me and my small little family.


  1. Hey Ellery, I know I haven't seen or talked to you in years but I came across your blog a couple months ago and have loved reading about your adorable family. I read this post this morning on the metro and found myself tearing up as you talked about the miracles you saw before and after your surgery. I was really touched when you explained that Ellie only wanted to be consoled by her dad the night you had surgery and how that was unusual from what she's usually like. I'm grateful for your example and for sharing this experience on your blog. I hope you are doing well and know that I appreciate your stories and example of faith.

  2. I felt the same way about anesthesia. I hated that feeling where I couldn't control my body and who knows what the doctors did to me while I was in such a state. I still don't look forward to it, but at least I know what it feels like. Love seeing the miracles in your life!

  3. I thought I commented on your blog earlier. Elle, you are such a faithful lady. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh my goodness! What a crazy, scary, miraculous story. As I looked at the original blessing post, I thought, "Ellery always looks like a million bucks." I had NO idea that you were just hours out of surgery! Seriously, you amaze me!

    And the stripped shirts that my girls were wearing in that one post are from Target. I'm pretty sure 90% of their clothes are from Target. I love their baby/kid clothes. :)

  5. Hi Ellery,

    I don't know you, but I found your blog a couple months ago through a friend's blog, and I just love what you post. So uplifting and inspiring. Thank you for this post - I felt the spirit strongly while reading of your faith (and strength, and optimism). Your little lady is blessed to have you for a mother.