My name is Amber. I am 22 years old. I grew up in the LDS church as the second of ten children. I gave my blood, sweat, and tears to finish my degree at BYU this past August in Marriage, Family, and Human Development. Because I came from a big family, I sacrificed many things to pay my way through school. Through this, I learned how to work hard for the things that are important. I also learned to listen to the Spiritual guidance I received.
I love children. I love watching their minds find solutions to puzzling situations. I love watching them grow into young adults, then into adults. I love watching the process from the beginning.
I was married when I had about two years left of school. I had told my husband, frankly, that we would wait a year before trying to have kids so that I would be finished with school. However, within a month the Spirit was indicating a different direction. After prayer and fasting, I realized I needed to change my focus from what I thought was right for me to what Heavenly Father wanted for me. My husband had already expressed his desire to have children immediately, so when I came to him with a change in heart he was very excited.
I became pregnant a couple months later. The delightful pregnancy I had envisioned was not to be. I was so sick that I had to visit the emergency room of the hospital a couple times to receive IV hydration. Through all of this, I managed to stay on top of, or ahead of, my schoolwork. I managed to attend all my classes faithfully and subsequently did very well on all my exams. My faith in our decision remained steady. It was difficult, but everything was working out better than I could have imagined.
My husband gave me a few Priesthood blessings during this time. These blessings did not promise I would get better. In fact, one blessed me with strength to handle the difficulties ahead with my pregnancy.
Shortly before my 24th week mark, I began having horrible abdominal cramps. I could not walk very far without the pain becoming so intense that my husband would have to get the car and drive me home. I ignored them at first because I did not want to go to the ER again. That soon changed. One evening, they became unbearable. While I lay on my bed sobbing, wishing the pain to go away, my husband determined it was time to go to the ER. He practically carried me out to the car and sped to the hospital.
After hours of waiting, an ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI scan, they finally concluded the pain came from an inflamed appendix. I was to be rushed in for an emergency appendectomy. The surgery was necessary, but put me at risk for going into premature labor. They asked me the question, “if this baby was to come, do I want them to do all they could to keep her alive?” My husband and I told them absolutely. After a Priesthood blessing, I was calm and ready for the surgery. Despite the many risks, everything went perfectly.
The rest of the pregnancy continued without further incidents. I delivered a healthy baby girl a week before my due date. 2 weeks later my husband and I were back in school. Balancing school work and a newborn baby was extremely difficult. I often questioned whether we really had done the right thing. The Spirit continued to comfort me during my most difficult moments.
When I suspected I was pregnant again only 5 months later, I was very dismayed. I did not know how I could manage having two babies while in school! Heavenly Father once again provided comfort. During one Sacrament meeting, I felt the comforting arms of the Spirit wrapped around me. I knew everything would work out as it was supposed to. When the pregnancy test confirmed my suspicions a couple weeks later, I was delighted. With this news, my husband and I figured out a way for me to finish school before baby number two arrived.
As before, I became really sick. I began outpatient IV therapy to help me stay hydrated. Thankfully, my husband did not take classes during the next term. With his help, I was able to finish up my classes.
People will often raise their eyebrows when they find out how close our children will be. I hear the inevitable “You will be one busy momma,” “That is quite a load to handle,” and (sarcastically) “Good luck!” As tough as it may be, I have learned to follow the promptings of the Spirit. Even though I have graduated, I know having two babies will be quite stressful. At the same time, I am very happy to welcome a new baby into our family. Even with two babies in two years of marriage, we could not be more content.
As a Mormon woman, I have learned to value children. Jesus Christ often directed his followers to become like little children. The innocence of children allows them to follow with steadfast faith and without doubt. I still struggle to have such an undoubting heart, but each day I am with my daughter (and my little one who is on the way) I learn a little bit more.
I love that your husband was willing to suspend his academic pursuits so that you could continue going to school, and graduate. Your husband sets a good example of how faithful LDS men value family and their wives especially.
Thank you for sharing the support you felt from the Lord in doing hard things.
I loved learning more about you, Amber. I love that you continued, with the support of your husband, to pursue your education. You are a great example.
For what it’s worth, I had three children in three years. And while yes, it was a little crazy there for a while (three children in diapers was something else!), having them so close has been SO MUCH FUN. There is no One Right Way for a family to grow, but don’t let anyone tell you that what you have unfolding is not doable. It IS. And there are so many wonderful things about having them close. If you ever need a cheerleader for this adventure, consider me on your list. You go girl!
I always thought I’d be done with school when I got married, let alone had children. I also would never have envisioned joining the church on my 21st birthday. The Lord has a funny way of tweaking our plans because He knows what’s best for us.
Our daughter was born half way through what would have been my last semester. I finished in summer school and have stayed home with her ever since. We’re finally expecting our second to arrive two months after our daughter’s second birthday (we wanted them closer!), and our hearts are full because we’ve let the Lord help us choose when our children come to us.