Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Comforter

I relate the following true story today because I need to hear it. I need to remember it. I need to be comforted in its message.  It is an experience I had years ago that taught me a valuable lesson. 

Also, yes you can use any of the stuff I put on my blog for your personal use. The stories, feel free to print them out and read them to your kids, or tell them to your kids. Any parts may be used for lessons or sent to friends or linked to or quoted in your blogs. 

I am all for sharing the love and the lessons. There is only one thing I ask no one to do. Please do not take anything off this blog and publish it to be distributed for profit. Other than that, you can feel free to use it as you please.  Thanks. Now on to the story.

The Comforter

In January of 2000, I was pregnant expecting my first child. I was about 10 weeks pregnant when I started cramping and bleeding. After a week of this, I was resting and watching a movie one Saturday night with my husband. The bleeding kept getting worse. By 10 p.m. that night, I was in so much pain and was bleeding so heavily that I was close to fainting. My husband took me to the ER.

At the ER, we were told to sit and wait. Long Beach Memorial has its fair share of gun shot wounds and other more serious emergencies to address. After a few minutes, I was bleeding through my clothes and not able to sit upright without feeling faint. 

I started to lay down on the floor in the waiting room. The nurse at the desk saw me and told me they had a gurney in the hall that I could lay on while I waited. I appreciated this and took her up on the offer. My husband held me up and walked me to the gurney. 

After about 20 more minutes, I was wheeled into a room for an exam. During the exam, the doctor noted I wasn't breathing very well. I have asthma and it gets worse when I am pregnant. He prescribed a breathing treatment, and told me to do it while I waited for an ultrasound.

One thing I hate about asthma treatments is how they affect my nervous system. They make me jittery. My regular inhaler does this a little bit. I had never had a breathing treatment before, but I would learn that night that their effect is 100 times that of my inhaler. After the treatment, I could breath. That was good. But, the side effects set in and my whole body started to shake uncontrollably. 

They did an ultrasound next. By the time the doctor came back to talk to us after the ultrasound it was close to 2 a.m. He told us my OBGYN was on his way. I had an ectopic pregnancy (it was stuck in my fallopian tube.) And I would have to have emergency surgery to remove the pregnancy before it destroyed my fallopian tube.

I had never even had stitches before. I had never been to the ER. I had never broken a bone. Now here I was going into emergency surgery? This was all a very new experience for me. 

We signed all the forms and headed off to the operating room. Operating rooms are cold. I think they keep them purposely cold to help prevent bacteria from growing or something. But they are cold. I had to lay down naked on a cold steel operating table in this very cold room while they prepped me for surgery. I had to stretch my arms out wide so they could also lay on cold steel.

I was already shaking uncontrollably from the asthma medication. This cold room, cold table, and lack of clothing did not help. I was now shivering and shaking. My teeth were chattering audibly and I could do nothing to stop them. 

The anesthesiologist started giving me the drugs to put me out. Then just before I lost consciousness, the nurse by my head came over and brought some blankets. She laid them on my arms and across my chest. They were so warm. They felt like they had just come out of an oven. My body immediately felt warmer and my shivering ceased. It was still cold and I was still shaky but these blankets felt like they were ... heaven sent.

I looked up at the nurse and the the last thing I remember was saying to her, "Thank you so much. I know I don't know you but right now, I LOVE YOU!" Her laughter in response was the last thing I remember before slipping into unconsciousness. 

We all have to go through cold rooms in life. Some are colder and more complicated than others. But they are just a part of life. They are uncomfortable, they can be very painful, they can cause us great anxiety. We cannot avoid all the cold, uncomfortable, pain inducing rooms of life. God will not keep us from them. He will not take the cold out of the room. The cold is essential for our health and safety.

However, we do have the assurance of the Holy Ghost to be the warm blankets to cover us in those cold rooms of trial. If we live worthy of this most scared gift, we will always have the peace that only the Comforter can bring. He is the warm blanket to comfort us in the cold rooms of our lives.

I am thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. When all else around me seems to be tumbling down I cling to the peace he brings to pull me through another day. May we all feel the warmth of the comforters peace today.

*As a side note, the doctors were wrong and this wasn't really an ectopic pregnancy. It was a miscarriage. I had a D and C two days later.


Jennie said...

It's interesting that you pointed out that God will not "take the cold out of the room." I was just reading in Mosiah last night about the people of Alma. They had many heavy burdens placed on them. God could have taken the burdens from them, but instead, He helped them bear their burdens, and lightened their loads.He comforted them. Thank you for your beautiful analogy, of what I am sure was an extremely difficult experience. Your words always inspire me and give me strength.

Amberly said...

that was a lovely analogy. I recently went through surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy and had a very similar experience. I appreciated you likening it to the gospel- in both cases, the warmth is so very appreciated!

Marleen said...

There have been many times I have felt the small embraces of the Spirit but there have only been a few times where He has encompassed my being. When this has happened, I almost didn't want to move or talk so I wouldn't disturb what was happening. It is so essential to remember those moments and to be grateful that we have the "cold room", to compare and recognize when He does embrace us. How sweet is His love and devotion to us!

The Waite Family said...

I hope you don't mind me making a comment on your blog, but I felt the need to. I came across your blog (I don't even know how i did!) and I began to read and you truly are an inspiration. I'm a recent convert to the LDS church. Your strengh and words have touched my heart. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your love for Heavenly Father.
Bryanna WAITE, Show Low, Arizona
I'm a Waite to!!

janalee said...

Having a lot of experience w/the cold operating rooms, and the warm blankets, I can really relate to your analogy here. Thank you for the stories you share :)

Kathryn said...

Thank you so much for your beautiful blog. Your testimony has strengthened mine. I have been reading for almost an hour.

Amber said...

I found your blog through a friends blog, so I hope you don't mind me commenting. Today is my 24th birthday and it made me sad to read that Camille only had 1 birthday on this earth to enjoy. On all of the birthdays that I can remember I worried about gifts and what I would get. I have spent most of my day at work reading your story and today I am not worrying about that. Today I am grateful! I am grateful for my husband, family, my friends, my job, my house and a million other things. But most importantly I am grateful for the gospel that we share. I am grateful to know that I am loved by my Heavenly Father and that I can return to him. I am grateful to have been taught why things happen, why people die and what happens to them after they die. My husband and I have been trying to decide whether we should start our family or wait. After reading your story and seeing Camille's smile I know that we need to have a sweet spirit in our home like Camille. So today I am also grateful for you! Thank you for sharing your story and your daughter with me!

Jonathan & Bree said...

One of my friends told me about your blog and how amazing you are. I have read your blog for about a month now and cannot get enough. Every time my husband sees me on your blog he says "you are obsessed with that blog" I always tell him if he read it he would be too. Anyway thank you so much for your example, you have touched more lives than you will ever know. I actually did a recent post on my blog about you because you are so inspiring to me, so now I have all my friends addicted to your blog as well. I have one little girl she is actually one month younger then Camille would be. You have made me appreciate her so much more, thank you for helping me become a better mother.

Maine Mom said...

Thank you for the permission to share your stories and lessons because they are worth sharing. :-) I learn so much from you.

Heidi said...

Holy smokes, Jennie! I read the same chapter in Mosiah yesterday.

What I thought was interesting was that God said they were given trials so they could witness that God had delivered His people from bondage.

So, even if you're righteous, you may have trials so that you can witness to others that God delivered you from them.

I had a profound experience at church where the Comforter healed me after my recent miscarriage.

(And Stephanie--I hope the doctors didn't have to perform the full surgery before they realized their mistake!)

Melissa-Mc said...

What a wonderful analogy of the Comforter.

I just found your blog today through a link on a friends. Thank you for your amazing strength and example. Camille is continuing to bless our lives through you.

I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child through a mothers perspective. But at 13 I lost a baby sister. 24 years later, she is still blessing in my life. I feel her presence often. I have had blessings that told me she is with me most of the time. I named my first child after her. I felt her many times on my mission, at my marriage, at the birth of my children, etc. Camille will be a great blessing to your other children throughout their lives. Your family is in my prayers.

By the way, my sister died on June 15, 1984. I'm sure those 2 angels are up there working together.

susette said...

Thanks so much for this post today. I read everyday and enjoy your testimony and stories and thoughts. I have to give a talk this Sunday and also play the piano while the YW sing in Sacrament Meeting. I feel like this will definately be one of those 'anxiety' days for me. I really struggle with speaking and performing in public but also realize I shouldn't hide my talents under a bushel. I love the analogy of the warm blanket being a comforter. I will be asking Heavenly Father for some extra 'blankets' this Sunday to get me through an adrenaline pumping afternoon.

Heather said...

thank- you for the words today... my grandma is dying right now of pancreatic cancer. i read this to my mom & it toched her so much!!!
thanks again.


~K~ said...

Thank you for you words of wisdom. They were truly a comfort to me today as I am on a journey that is chilling me to the bone. Your right, I need to turn to the only ONE that can comfort in me in HIS perfection.

Blessings & Hugs,

Cairen said...

I really enjoyed your last few posts. Thanks!

Tami said...

Don't you think the comforter also comes in the form of friends and family and all of those that love us in our times of need? I have felt this blanket too and I know that we couldn't do it without it. Much love.

Paul and Ines said...

I'm familiar with the cold room..I, too had my nurse with warm blankets. Although, she was a bit nutty:) Heavenly Father just knows what we need & from who.
My middle son had a lesson on 'The Comforter' & received a small piece of fleece. He was 2 years old & now 6 still sleeps with his "Holy Ghost Blanket".

Also, I'm very familiar with Long Beach Memorial. I used to live down Orange & Artesia. It's a hard part of the city. Small world...

Ines Patterson :)

cori said...

Hi there. My friend told me about your blog, and had to read it. My kids were napping while I was glued to your blog, and I promised myself that I would be a better mother to my two boys that more than sometimes drive me crazy. You have a beautiful gift in writing. You make it so easy to read and easy to relate to. Thanks for opening up and sharing your feelings with the world. My shirt was soaked with tears and hoped they would dry before a church meeting ...and I just really admire you and I have no clue who you are :) I look forward to more of your experiences. I too am a member of the church, and am very grateful for the knowledge we have about "the plan". Our families will be forever! Until then.. we will be working on getting there.. I do sometimes feel like my life should be perfect and my house should be in order, and its just not realistic. All that "stuff" isn't going to matter in the big picture. My almost 4 year old had a screaming tantrum at Kohl's today and at the time I was really embarassed. "What are people thinking of me?", was my thought. Then I read your stories and thought you know what who cares.. go ahead stare at my screamin' kid. I am trying to not make a big deal out of the small things anymore. Thanks for your inspiration. You make me want to be a better person! Thanks

Amy said...

I found your blog through Amberly & find myself coming back for more & more. Thanks for providing such a pure perspective to clear out the haze that sometimes clouds my mind while I clean up the split milk for the millionth time! I liked your earlier post about seeing your 2 year old through Camille's eyes & what a difference that made. I frequently find myself praying to see myself, husband, child through Heavenly Father's eyes & it is amazing the immediate difference in my countenance.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm listening & learning.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie - Today I spent the first part of my day in an operating room watching as new little spirits take their first breath upon entering into this life. The other part of my day was taking care of older patients who, after a long life, were preparing to take their last breath and return home to their Heavenly Father. It was a very spiritual day for me, and I became profoundly aware of how blessed I was to know where one was coming from and where one was going. This morning as I watched a sweet new life take his first breaths I said a silent prayer of gratitude for the gospel and being able to look at life with an eternal perspective. I felt that warm blanket wrap around me, and I so badly wanted to rejoice in my knowledge.
Tonight I find it difficult to articulate the experience of my day. Maybe I don't have to be articulate - maybe simplicity will say it best. Today I was wrapped in a blanket of warmth.
your anonymous friend.

munyer jerk chicken said...

I love this story. You told it once in our Long Beach ward. I've used it many times since then. Thank you for sharing it again.

Holly said...

Stephanie -

A friend of mine (who also doesn't know you) posted a link to your blog on her blog. Once I started reading, I could stop. I've read your entire blog in the course of a few hours while my son naps (The dishes and laundry can wait, right?)

I am not a very religious person...I have faith and beliefs, but, have never been very strong in following it. Reading your blogs is shoving me to know that I need to take the steps to cement my faith. Without faith I don't know if I could get through what you have gone through.

I have a 22 month old son, the light of my life. He is amazing, but, as a stay-at-home Mom, I have recently been fighting with the decision to go back to work. My days with my son sometimes seem endless and I feel I lose my patience with him way too often. After reading your story, I know I cannot do anything else but stay home with my son. I'm hoping to gain more patience with him using you for inspiration.

I live in Colorado, and I know you're blog has been international, but I want you to know that by your sharing your precious daughter and her story you have inspired at least me to be better. Camille has inspired me to hug my son a little tighter, and give him a few more kisses.

Your family is beautiful, and I hope you know that you will be in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Your awesome! I have to share my good news. Tonight I receive my temple recommend and full membership in the church again. I went down a long hard road about a year ago. I have spent the last months repenting, crying, studying, pondering, praying and proving to my Heavenly Father I want to return to him as 'clean' as possible. I grew up in the church and have never not had the benefits of being a member until last year. It is a bitter sweet feeling. I created myself and my family a lot of pain and suffering. I am so sorry for that. But, today I KNOW I want to be a member and have my family with me for eternity. I KNOW I am not going down that wrong path again. And I KNOW I am going to work hard to keep the spirit in my life and enjoy the peace and comfort he provides. Im excited to be clean again.