Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have been wanting to write this experience down for a long time. A blogging pen pal of mine inspired me to finally write it down and I couldn't imagine a better day to do it than getting it typed out tonight.
I believe I have written before about the difficulty we had getting pregnant... and that it was the miracle of artificial insemination (A.I.) that finally gave us the blessing of a baby.
Well, 7 years ago TODAY, March 21 2005, was the very day that the artificial insemination took place. It was the day that they told it I was ready for the procedure to take place... the day when I was running around from one place to another... from Orem to Salt Lake to pick up an important medication that I needed, then back to Orem to bring that medication to the doctor so they could give me a shot, then back home to Lehi to wait for the shot to take affect, then back to the doctor in Orem with Aaron and his "sample" so that they could do the A.I. I was stressed, and excited, and scared, and so very hopeful. When we got there, they took the "sample" and said they were going to prepare it for the A.I. We had to wait for the doctor to be done delivering a baby at the hospital... so we waited in that waiting room for what seemed like an eternity. I was pacing back and forth, and watching the clock like a hawk... wondering if it would be too late by the time the doctor finally got there. It was past closing time and everyone had left except us and the nurse who had prepared the "sample". She could tell I was going out of my mind, so she finally let us come back to the room so that I could change and wait for the doctor and be ready for him to get there. I am sure she figured out why I was so worried because she asked me to come out into the hallway and asked if I wanted to look under the microscope at the prepared "sample". When I looked at it, I was so relieved that it looked fine and that it was not going to be too late. Anyway, the doctor finally got there and the A.I. was performed and when we left there, I had hope and faith that it would finally be our time to be parents.
They told us that day that we should wait until about the 6th of April before we took a pregnancy test so that we didn't take one prematurely and be let down by a negative test.
So, on the morning of April 6th, I went into the bathroom and took the pregnancy test. Aaron's mom had given me a cool one that will say the word PREGNANT or the words NOT PREGNANT on the little screen. As I waited, I kept forcing myself not to watch it, I didn't look until I was sure it would have an answer on it. When I looked at it, I cannot express the JOY and the gratitude I felt inside of my whole being as I read the word PREGNANT on the little screen. I went into where Aaron was sleeping and I woke him up to tell him the miraculous news. Then I went to call my parents and other family members who were waiting to hear.
The beginning of my pregnancy went pretty good, I got to hear the heartbeat a few weeks later and again I was overcome with JOY and gratitude. That little heartbeat was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard with my ears. I have never heard anything that made me so happy. I had the regular nausea and other pregnancy related things in that first trimester, but I could never complain because every moment of nausea was a reminder of the tiny little miracle growing inside. I cannot think of one word of complaint that I uttered during that whole pregnancy because if I ever even thought of something to complain about, I felt guilty because of how grateful I was to be having those pains and discomforts as more reminders that I was finally receiving the blessing I had been dreaming about and praying about for so long.
Well, at 13 1/2 weeks along, I thought things were going great... I had slept over at my parents house one night and woke up feeling a little strange. I didn't know what was wrong, but I went to stand up and as I stood up, I started to hemorrhage blood. The amount of blood that was coming out of me was so scary and I ran to the bathroom sobbing. My parents heard me crying and came and knocked on the door to ask what was wrong. I told them what was happening and I was freaking out. I have never ever been that scared in my whole life. I knew that the baby had to be gone... I just couldn't imagine a pregnancy surviving after losing that much blood. I will try to hold back from all of the details, but I will just say it was A LOT of blood.
When I came out of the bathroom, my mom was ready to run me to the emergency room, but first my Dad and my brother, who was also staying at my parents house, gave me a priesthood blessing. I should have written this all down back then (shame on me), but I believe in the blessing, I was told that everything was going to be okay... among other things. I felt more calm after the blessing as we went to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, they checked me in and did some tests and then took me down to the room where they do the ultrasounds. I was still so scared. All I cared about at that point was that the baby was fine and was still there. I just needed to know that. As the lady did the ultrasound, I was so overJOYed at what I saw. There was the little tiny baby... as active as could be. The ultrasound technician was impressed by how active the baby was and said that the baby was looking healthy and strong. That ultrasound was the most amazing one I had ever seen before... it was more clear than any I had before that or after... I could see the tiny hands and fingers and the perfect looking head and legs and feet. My mind was put at ease.
I wish my things were not all packed up from moving... I would love to put one of those ultrasound photos on this posting, but it would take hours to find it... so I will put it on here when I ever come across it... someday. There is one where he looks like he is waving at us. So perfect.
Once the doctor came in and was showing me on the ultrasound photos all of the things he was looking for, he seemed surprised that he could not find where the blood had come from. I don't remember the words he used, so I am only going by memory here about what he said about it all... but if memory serves, he said that usually when a pregnant woman was bleeding that much and if the baby was fine, he would usually be able to see pockets of empty space in the placenta or something... where blood may have been and then was released. But he couldn't find anywhere where the blood came from... and the only thoughts that go through my mind when I think of that is, of course...
A priesthood blessing was given to me...
and YES! a miracle had taken place...
and my baby was healthy, strong, and growing perfectly!
Oh the JOY!
A few months later, we found out we were having a little boy and then on December 1st, two weeks before the due date, our beautiful and healthy Aaron Jr was born. He has brought more JOY into my life than I could have ever imagined.
I cannot express the love I have for Aaron Jr.
He is a gift.
He is a gift.
He is a treasure.
He is a precious miracle.
I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for sending him to me.
* * *
Monday, March 19, 2012
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As I was sitting in church today during the Sacrament, I was flipping through my scriptures and came across the leaves in the photo above, like I so often do when I am flipping through my scriptures...
This time as I came across them, I had some thoughts go through my mind that really struck me today and I had to write them down tonight.
In November of 2010, I wrote a posting of something I was grateful for each day of that month until Thanksgiving. One of those days, I posted THIS posting... and every time I come across these leaves in my scriptures, I think about that posting because these leaves go along perfectly with that posting.
So, I will first tell you about those leaves...
When Aaron Jr was only about ONE and a half years old, which would have been the summer of 2007, I was doing laundry one day and I reached into the pocket of one of Aaron Jr's pairs of trousers... and I pulled out a little twig filled with leaves probably off of one of our own trees in our yard. I remember it being a JOYful experience for me. I LOVED finding those leaves in his pocket, it was just such a little boy thing to find in his pocket. I loved thinking about how Aaron Jr must have thought those leaves were something special for him to want to keep them and put them in his pocket. I don't think I had ever found anything in his pockets before, so to me it was a wonderful milestone of him becoming a little boy who loved the things around him. I immediately took that twig of leaves and put them into a book to press them so that I could keep them forever to remind me of that day and remind me of what was important and special to my little boy that day.
Those leaves in that pocket that day were evidence that I have a son and that I get to experience the JOY of having him here in my life. They have been in my scriptures ever since and they always bring a smile to my face and bring me back to that day... the first day I ever pulled outdoor treasures out of my son's pocket.
Well, today as I came across them again, I felt that JOY again, and let my mind wander again to the fact that I am grateful for any and all evidence of Aaron Jr's presence in my life...
...but this time, as my mind wandered to that, it didn't stop and settle on that blessing alone, my mind kept going and reached something even deeper today... something that I have really been needing to feel and 'hear'.
Just to catch up a bit, I have been struggling lately. Not all of the time lately, but just like always, I have been cycling through contentment, fear, loneliness, JOY, sorrow, etc... I feel like when I keep myself busy, I feel the contentment more often, but lately, I have been feeling alone... not alone in the world necessarily, but also feeling like heaven has been silent lately. I pray all the time to know what I should be doing, where I should be, what the Lord expects of me, and so on... but I am struggling to 'hear' or feel the answers that I am looking for. And since I know that heaven is never silent, I know it is me who needs to open my heart, open my mind, and open my ears and my eyes to what the Lord is trying to tell me... I know that it is the world around us that becomes too LOUD and that is what makes heaven SEEM silent to us. I know that our Father in Heaven is trying to answer our prayers even when we assume we are alone and that He has nothing to say to us. It is always our problem, and our problem alone, if we cannot hear the Spirit trying to tell us what we need to know. But even knowing that it is me who needs to figure out how to HEAR what the Lord is trying to tell me, I have still been struggling because I haven't been able to figure out what to do in order to HEAR it. Things have been seeming to go wrong instead of right lately and I have prayed time and time again for guidance and direction...
So, today, as I sat there thinking about those leaves and the evidence that they are of Aaron Jr's presence in my life... like I said, my mind kept going...
and it was brought to my mind and my heart today that just as those leaves and the other things of Aaron Jr's are evidence of his presence in my life... there are SO many things that are also evidences of the Lord's presence in my life and that I should be opening my eyes and heart to them and acknowledging them. Some of the evidences of the Lord's presence are very easy to see when we look outside of ourselves and simply look around us... but even if some of them are not as easy to see sometimes as leaves that I pull out of a pocket, or dirt I find in the sink, or shoes I trip over on the floor... the evidences of the Lord's presence in my life are ALWAYS there. BUT in order to 'see' even the ones that are not visible, I have to stop letting my trials or the LOUD things in my life overshadow those evidences of the Lord's presence in my life.
As these thoughts were flowing through my mind, I began to cry right there in church. I was feeling such JOY because I knew that it was 'quiet' enough in church, and my heart was open enough... that I was finally able to 'hear' and feel a message from the Spirit. Just as I am now as I type this, I was crying tears of gratitude and JOY as I felt the LOVE that my Father in Heaven has for me. I am sure He was so glad that I was finally 'hearing' Him and finally feeling His love for me. I am sure He wonders sometimes why it is so difficult to 'get through to me'. ;) I wonder the same thing about myself.
This experience did not mean that everything in my life was 'fixed' and it did not mean that the trials in my life that feel so overwhelming were gone... but what it did mean to me was that I am loved. It reminded me that heaven is not silent. It reminded me how close I need to stay to the Spirit in order to receive these precious answers to our prayers and to hear and feel the Lord's presence in my life. I need to be actively seeking it and making sure I am living in a way to allow to Spirit to be with me.
My eyes and my heart have been even more open today as I have reflected on the evidences of the Lord's presence in my life. The tender mercies of Him who loves us all, who suffered for us all, who walks with us all through our darkest hours and also our most JOYous moments.
Yes, I am grateful for the evidences of Aaron Jr's presence in my life... ALL of the evidences, good or bad.
And YES, I am grateful for the evidences of the Lord's presence in my life. I am trying really hard to be grateful for ALL of those ones, including the 'bad', but I am not perfect, so I fall short on this one more often than I like. The 'bad' ones, or the trials in our lives bring about blessings of spiritual growth and strength, and a closeness to the Savior that we would not find otherwise. We draw unto Him when we are being tried and tested, so in that way, I am grateful for even those evidences of His presence.
My testimony of the Savior has grown so much these past few years... the more I have had to depend on Him and let Him help to carry my burdens, the more I have felt the love that He has for me. He wants me to overcome, He wants me to understand, He wants me to be happy, He wants me to be the person that He knows I can be.
I have felt so much JOY today as I am reflected on those moments in church today. I felt like my cup was filled today and I hope to hold on to this feeling as tight as I can.
I am truly grateful for my Savior and the evidences of His presence in my life.
I am so blessed.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."
~ Hebrews 11:1
* * *
Monday, March 12, 2012
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I had to share a few of the things Aaron has said lately. I took a few of them from the list on my side bar, but there are a couple of new ones from this week that I had to get posted on here.
~ ~ ~
Aaron Jr: "At school, I thought Nick said that he wanted to cut the blue things on his arm. So I told him, 'don't cut your blood wires or the blood will leak out'."
~ ~ ~
Aaron Jr: "Mom, if you say a girl is cold, that means you don't like her...
but if you say a girl is hot, that means you like her."
Me: "Who told you the thing about a girl being cold?"
Aaron Jr: "I thought of it myself."
(who is teaching my son that girls are HOT?)
~ ~ ~
Aaron Jr: (he said something like...) "Hey Mom, look I'm Grandpa."
"You know, because of those things he uses to hold his pants up."
~ ~ ~
This is truly a conversation that came out of the blue as Aaron Jr was getting ready for bed.
Aaron Jr: "Hey Mom, say 'welcome to my world'."
Me: "Okay, ... welcome to my world."
Aaron Jr: then as he pointed to some red spots on his knee,
"Because now I have what you have on your face."
Me: as if I didn't know what he was talking about, "What's on my face?"
Aaron Jr: "The red dots."
I had to leave the room because I was about to die laughing...
Aaron Jr: then he followed me down the hall, " What are they called, Mom? Polka dots?"
Me: "Yes Aaron, they are called polka dots."
Aaron Jr: "Yes! I got it right!"
He has a lot to choose from on my face... freckles, sun spots, and other 'occasional spots'.
I thought this was so funny.
~ ~ ~
Me: "I hate my hair today."
Aaron Jr: "Why? Because its all carmeled up?
(as he used his finger to make a curly motion up by his head implying 'curly' hair)
Not sure why, but Aaron does not like curly hair. Every time his hair gets long enough to start to curl, that is when he is ready for me to cut his hair. He has talked about not liking curly hair in general... I wonder what he would do if I never straightened my hair again... maybe he would begin to like it? Hmmm...
~ ~ ~
Last, but not least, this was our conversation on the way home from church today...
we were talking about calling people on the phone and he asked
Aaron Jr: "Why don't you call Aaron Harkness?"
Me: "Because you don't have a phone."
Aaron Jr: "Then why don't you call BIG Aaron Harkness?"
Me: "Oh, you mean Daddy?"
Aaron Jr: "Yeah."
Aaron Jr: "When will Daddy come back down from heaven?"
Me: "Well what do you think heaven is?"
Aaron Jr: "Yellow, and white ish, and cloudy."
Me: "When do you think people go to heaven?"
Aaron Jr: "When they get hurt really bad."
Me: "What do you think they do there?"
Aaron Jr: "They get better."
Me: "And you think Daddy is getting better from his owies?"
Aaron Jr: "Yes, I think he has one more owie... or maybe two more."
Me: "So when Daddy is better from his owies, what do you think will happen?"
Aaron Jr: "He will come back down and live with us again."
We got home at that point and I didn't have the heart at that point to crush those hopes.
I know he will see his Daddy again, but he will not be coming back from heaven to live with us in this life.
For now, I had to leave it like this... until I know the best way to help him understand.
~ ~ ~
If you are wondering what on earth I would ever do without this little boy in my life...
well, my answer is... 'welcome to my world', because I ask myself that question all the time!
'Rain' or 'Shine'... he makes life worth living... every. single. day.
* * *
Friday, March 9, 2012
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We stopped by Steve and Christa's house for a few minutes and Aaron got to ride on Uncle Steve's long board. He loves riding on it.
We had the privilege of watching Emily perform in her recital.
She played and sang beautifully.
Ashton and Aaron
Ashton is my friend Lisa's son.
He and Aaron get along SO well.
They are great friends.
View of the sunset as we pulled out of the driveway one night.
My cousin Julie came up one Friday night and we had all of my nieces, ages 14 down to 6, come over for a 'late night' together. We played games, chatted, and watched a movie together. It sure was fun.
Aaron got to go over to my sister Lori's house to play with her son Michael for the evening.
back row: Me, Emily, Hannah, Lauren, Elise, Kristina, Caroline, Julia,
middle row: Sophie, Anna, Julie, Savannah,
front row: Lily, Stella, Allison
We got a little more snow in February, so we got another chance to go sledding.
It was such a beautiful and sunny day to be out on the snow.
We went with some of the Harkness family.
Sophia, Aaron, Pearl, Malia, Evan, Isaac, Grace, Eva
Aaron, Malia, Pearl
The three 2005 babies in this family. :)
Grandpa and Aaron
Grandma and Aaron
Sue, Sadie, Me
These photos of Aaron were taken on that beautiful day.
Before we just moved... this is a photo I took of a shelf I had decorated in our last place.
Sadie made the beautiful photo things that are hanging on it. I love them.
February was a full and busy month... full of sickness mostly.
We have Spring in our sights and we are excited for more beautiful weather.
My spirits sure need happier weather. :)
* * *
Thursday, March 1, 2012
I want to share another miracle in our lives for my birthday today...
When Aaron started school, I worried that the other kids would think he was older than them because he stands a head taller than even the next tallest kid. I didn't want him to be treated differently, so I kept hoping he would make friends easily and that the other kids would treat Aaron kindly.
This story is going to be detailed so that I can portray what a blessing and a miracle the end of the story truly is. :)
There was one boy named Aeden at the beginning of the year that Aaron would talk a bit about and I could tell that this boy was a very sweet and kind boy. I wanted that friendship to develop, but I didn't know how to help it along. After a few weeks, Aaron came home talking about another kid in his class. I will call him 'George' (name changed). Aaron would talk about playing with 'George' at recess and he kept calling this boy 'my buddy'. I was so glad that he had found a friend on his own and I was grateful. Aaron said that he now played with 'George' and his friends at recess. I was excited for him.
One day when I was volunteering in the computer lab, I was supposed to walk the kids to recess after... so I walked them out and then I was walking across the playground to go to my car. I walked slowly so I could watch who Aaron was playing with. I was saddened to see what I saw. My heart broke. Aaron was following this group of boys around trying to play with them and 'George' kept turning around and pushing Aaron away. It happened several times and as I stood there shocked and horrified at what I was witnessing, Aaron saw me and ran over to give me another hug. When I asked him why 'George' kept pushing him away, he said he didn't know and he said, "he keeps telling me I'm not his buddy". This broke my heart. I'm not gonna lie... my Mama Bear instincts were kicking in at that point and it was everything I could do not to go over and ... give that boy a stern talking to. :)
I wanted so badly to protect my baby.
From that point on, I kept trying to get Aaron to find different friends to play with, I would even suggest he play with Aeden... but for some reason, Aaron was drawn to 'George' and the other boys. I started asking Aaron every day after school how recess was and after a few weeks, Aaron let me know that 'George' was being nicer to him and he was playing with this group of boys at recess every day. In those next few months, 'George' seemed to be either hot or cold to Aaron at any given time and I worried for Aaron. I would try to suggest other kids to try to play with, but for some reason, he wanted to play with this little group. A couple of months later, when I asked how recess was, Aaron began telling me that 'George' was being mean to him again and trying to fight him at recess and he didn't know why. (again... Mama Bear :)... So, I went to the school the next day and just watched recess from afar so that I could see what was going on. Aaron was playing with the other boys in that little group and 'George' was no where near them. Then I saw 'George' come up to Aaron and started trying to wrestle Aaron and then all of a sudden, the wrestle was over and 'George' ran away. (did I mention Mama Bear ;) ... Later when I asked Aaron what happened at recess, he told me exactly what I had seen, except he also told me what was said. I guess the other boys in the group wanted to play with Aaron and 'George' kept trying to get them to come and play with him instead of Aaron, but they said they wanted to play with Aaron. I guess it didn't make 'George' happy.
I wondered several times through those months if I should talk to his teacher about this stuff, but decided I would let the kids try to work through it. I didn't know what to do.
Christmas break came soon after that, then after the break, that is when Aaron stopped wanting to go to school. He would beg and plead every day to be able to stay home... and it made me feel sad for him. No mother wants to hear that her child is struggling to 'fit in' or having issues with any kids. I think it was the very first day back from Christmas break, Aaron got in the car after school and told me that he was playing with other kids at recess and that 'George' had come from somewhere else and started to fight him. Well Aaron fought back this time and he hurt 'George'. (luckily, it must not have been too bad because the teacher never even caught wind of it that I know of). After he hurt him, Aaron said he tried the rest of the day to apologize to 'George' for hurting him and 'George' just kept saying "I don't care"... and would walk away. (MAMA BEAR!!!) ... That is the day that Aaron finally asked me if I would talk to his teacher about it. Aaron is not usually a tattle tale, so when he asked me to do this, I knew that it had to be affecting him a lot. It has been a foreign thing to Aaron to have a kid not be his friend. He just plain didn't understand. I knew I had to make sure he knew that I was on his side and that I would go to bat for him... so I told him that I would talk to her. I emailed her that day and she said she had never seen any issues in the class room, but it made her sad to hear this and she would talk to 'George' and talk to the kids again about bullying. I was grateful and thanked her. She is a great teacher.
(I have to mention that I don't know this other kid very well... so it is possible that he is a sweet boy most of the time... I just don't know what his issue is with Aaron. The other boys in his group are kind to Aaron... it has only ever been him. I am sure he is not a bad kid.)
Switching gears now to the other part of my story where the miracle all comes together.
A couple of years ago, I mentioned in a POSTING that I was worried about Aaron's stuttering. He stuttered a lot and seemed to be getting worse back then. I 'ignored' the problem in his presence so that he didn't feel different, but tried to do all I could to make sure I was looking at him and letting him know I was listening. He eventually began to slowly grow out of it, thank heavens. Miracle! But not the end of it...
All the while, he has also said the wrong sounds for certain sounds when he speaks. He has always used the F sound instead of the TH sound... for example, he would say 'toof' instead of 'tooth', etc. And also, when he says his S's or variations of S like SH or whatever, he has a little lisp and his tongue twists a strange way and his mouth distorts a bit because I can tell it is a difficult sound for him to form and to get out of his mouth. Again, these were things that I hoped he would grow out of, but still hasn't yet.
So, in December, I asked that he be evaluated by the speech therapist in the school. She did evaluate him and then when she found out he had just turned 6, she said that his issues and his age made him eligible for speech therapy. She didn't seem too worried and said that a lot of kids grow out of those types of issues, but that if I wanted him to have speech therapy, she would get him signed up. I figured it was better to try to get help as early as possible, so I told her yes.
When we met with Aaron's teacher, the school counselor, and the speech therapist one morning to go over the details, they informed us that Aaron would be going to speech therapy each time with a boy in his class... they would be going together. This was good news because I knew Aaron would enjoy it more if there was another kid there.
Well, the miracle in all of this is two-fold... 1- he is doing so great after only a few weeks of going to speech therapy so far, he is catching himself when he says words and repeating them the correct way. It has been fun doing the speech homework with him and watching him improving so greatly. ~ And 2- this boy that is going with Aaron to speech therapy is the boy in his class named Aeden. Aeden is the boy who has been kind to Aaron ever since the first day of school, so I am thrilled. Ever since day ONE of their speech therapy, Aaron has called Aeden his best friend. They have had play dates and they play at recess together. Aeden watches out for Aaron and Aaron has told me about times when he has had to watch out for Aeden on the playground.
In this situation, the speech thing is secondary for me at this point... to me it is a tender mercy that Aaron had to go to speech therapy so that he was finally able to connect with Aeden and see what they have in common and become great friends. I am so grateful that Aaron has a friend now who WANTS to be his friend... a friend who treats Aaron kindly and is an all around sweet boy.
Speech Therapy = Gain a Best Friend?...
...THAT is a miracle to me as his mom...
...a miracle straight from a loving Father in Heaven.
I am grateful.
This miracle story and this boy are the greatest gifts I could ask for today...
for my birthday.
* * *