I’ve been horrible at journaling since I got pregnant, which is really a shame. This pregnancy has thus far been the easiest, and most joyful of the three, and I want to remember the highs and lows. I want to record the story of my son, and all the impressions I’ve had along the way.
In May 2012, we all went to a birthday party at Pump It Up. Adam, of course, is just a boy in a man’s body, so he was right in the center of the party, having fun with all the kids. At one point, I watched an interaction between Adam and one of the party guests, a boy we didn’t know, who was about eleven or twelve years old. I don’t know what it was about watching Adam and this young boy making a connection. Perhaps it was the fact that the boy looked like he belonged with us, but for some reason, something was born inside me that had never existed before: the strong, desperate desire to give Adam a son. Actual tears sprang to my eyes, and I started crying, the desire was so strong.
Fast forward about a year to May 2013, a time when we were seriously considering getting pregnant. I stopped taking the birth control pill, and started getting extremely excited to expand our family. I had baby on the brain, and if you ask anyone who surrounded me, it was all I could talk about. But suddenly something happened to halt my plans, and throw me into the deep anxiety and depression that I am so prone to.
My friend, Rachel, lost her sweet baby, Louie, at just two days old. The anxiety and despair I felt over this news rendered me completely dysfunctional for nearly a week, and during the course of that week, I decided I couldn’t have another child. I should just be grateful for the two beautiful, wonderful children that I’d already been blessed with. I can’t say I felt peace at this decision, but it was almost like a relief during a very dark and scary moment.
Fortunately I decided to attend the funeral, because it changed my life. I do not hesitate to say, it was one of the most spiritual moments I’ve ever had. I felt the presence of angels attending that funeral. I’ll never forget the sound of the funeral. As it began, there were reverent, broken hearted sobs and sniffles. I don’t think there was a person in that room that felt whole. By the time it was over, I couldn’t help but note the absence of tears. Not because the room wasn’t still brokenhearted, but because everyone had been touched by the spirit, and by Louie’s presence. From that moment on, my testimony was eternally altered, and cemented in the plan of salvation. Not that I wavered before, but I felt the windows of heaven had opened and the spirit couldn’t be denied. I began to have long conversations with my Heavenly Father that day, and I haven’t stopped since. In nearly each of these conversations, I end by saying, “I trust thee.”
I’ll never forget Louie, or his mother, because of the spirit that was present that day. Nor will I forget her quiet strength that I observed in the weeks and months to follow. I knew during the funeral that having another baby was part of Heavenly Father’s plan for our family, and that I didn’t need to fear, because no matter what, everything was according to His plan, His timing, and no matter what, everything was going to be alright. Even if I wouldn’t be alright in the moment, should anything happen to my children.
My desire for a son never faltered, and in these private pleadings with Heavenly Father, I began to beg for a son. My prayers were sort of schizophrenic. I wanted to ask for a son, but somehow it felt greedy. I am so aware of close friends and others who are desperate for a child, any child, and here I was with two beautiful daughters, and I’m sending in requests for a son? It didn’t feel right. It felt spoiled. So when I’d pray I’d say, “Heavenly Father, the desire of my heart is to have a child. A son. If it be thy will, please allow me to have a son. If it is not thy will, please send me a healthy baby, and if that is not thy will, please send me the child you intend for our family…but I really, REALLY do want a son.”
At the beginning of July, I went to the temple by myself. I prayed the entire way there for a son, and the entire way back, and every moment in between. I remember saying, “If thou will give me a son, I promise I will do everything in my power to raise him in faith and righteousness. I will do whatever it takes to raise a righteous man, who will serve a mission, hold the priesthood, and minister to thy people.” Over and over again I promised God that if He would give me a son, I’d do everything I could to get my boy back to his Father.
This prayer continued, and even spilled out to our family. Even Hannah began to pray for a little brother. As we prayed, I felt a different spirit in our home. I felt the spirit of my yet to be conceived son in my home.
One day in September, when the two little lines on the pregnancy test finally appeared, I stopped praying for a son. I knew that I had a baby growing within me, and that my prayer had been answered. I didn’t know yet if my answer was yes, or no, but I knew it was time to just trust the Heavenly Father had a plan for our family, and that the time for asking was over, the time to trust had begun.
The pregnancy started off like the first two. The unbridled elation, followed by the debilitating sickness. The sickness was different, however. It started at around four weeks gestation (rather than six or seven) and continued until only about nine weeks. From nine weeks to about thirteen weeks I was still nauseous and exhausted, but it was totally manageable, and I only threw up a handful of times.
I had the opportunity at thirteen weeks to have a free 3D ultrasound. I had high hopes that they’d be able to tell the gender, but there were two technicians and one suspected a girl, while the other guessed a boy. Even though it was the more experienced tech that suggested it was a boy, I tried to preserve my heart and convince myself that it wasn’t for sure, even though I held on to the hope that it was a boy. Around this same time, I had a dream that I had a sweet baby daughter, and I was sure that Heavenly Father was trying to prepare me for another girl.
Finally, on December 16th, 2013 I had an ultrasound to confirm the gender. I was only sixteen weeks along, but I couldn’t wait any longer! I needed to know! We went together as a family to Miracle in Progress. I’ve never been so nervous to find out the gender in my life. I was sweating like crazy. The ultrasound tech said she would look at the baby from a few different angles, and once she was 100% sure, she would tell us what the baby was.
After several minutes of anxious silence, she said, “Okay, I know what your baby is.” Turning to Hannah she asked, “Would you like to know first, and then you can tell Mommy and Daddy?” Hannah nodded shyly, and walked over to her. The tech whispered in Hannah’s ear, and a big smile spread across Hannah’s face, but she wouldn’t tell us what we were having! She suddenly became shy and wouldn’t say anything! After trying to coax it out of Hannah, Paige said, “You can tell me!” So the tech whispered it in Paige’s ear. Paige walked over to me and said, casually, “It’s a sister.”
I tried to remain upbeat and positive (though Adam said my face just crumbled into disappointment) and said something like, “Oh, wow! A sister!” But I noticed Hannah’s expression crinkle up as she looked at Adam and she was shaking her head no. “It’s not a sister,” she said quietly. The tech said, “Um, yeah, it’s not a girl, it’s a boy.”
I couldn’t stop the sobs. I was crying and crying and crying and she actually had to stop the ultrasound because I was convulsing so much.
I couldn’t articulate it in the moment, but it was defining for me. Not only because I was going to have the son I so desperately wanted, but because my will had been in line with God’s will, and he was allowing me the desire of my heart.
So many times we pray, and the answer we receive is different from what we had envisioned it to be, but occasionally, the answer we receive is yes. And even though I felt I was asking something that sounded so spoiled or greedy, when I’d been blessed so generously already, somehow the answer was “yes.” I know the reason why the answer was yes this time, when so many other times it’s “No,” or even, “Not yet, be patient,” is simply because I asked with tremendous faith, and it just happened to be in accordance with Heavenly Father’s will. I would have been thrilled to have a daughter, and someday I’d even love another daughter if it’s in Heavenly Father’s plan for us, but I believe my desire was inspired by God, and the blessing of my son was his way of teaching me to ask in faith, and trust in Him.
Less than a week later, we were in the Brigham City temple in Utah with my sister Megan as she received her Endowment. It was an incredibly beautiful day, and like many other days over the period of about seven months, I felt the spirit of my son with me, very strongly. I know that he’s been preparing to come into our home, just as we’ve been planning and preparing for him. Being in the temple is always a very beautiful experience, but it was especially special to be there with my siblings and their spouses and my parents. We all made it. The feelings I felt must have been similar to how we might feel, should we endure to the end, obeying all God’s commandments and finally entering the Celestial Kingdom together.
After we were all in the celestial room, each couple seemed to naturally find a corner and stick together, talking about our feelings and what we’ve learned. I could tell Adam had something he wanted to tell me, so we sat down and he talked about how he’d felt impressed by the name Samuel. Samuel had been on my short list. I loved the name Sam, and I thought Sammy was a sweet nickname. He got out the bible, and we started reading. Suddenly I remembered the story of Samuel, and I realized that I’d prayed in faith for my son, just as Hannah had prayed for hers, and like Hannah, I made a promise to God that I would do everything I could as a mother to essentially “give” my son to the Lord.
I felt extremely emotional, and I felt the spirit testify to me that Samuel should be his name, but I wasn’t quite ready to share that with anyone. In fact, once I felt that prompting, I spent a lot of time pondering the name in my heart.
It would be two months before we’d talk about Samuel’s name again. Over those two months I questioned the name, pondered it, and kept it close to my heart, sharing it with only my friends Rosalie and Stacey as “possible baby names.” On Valentine’s Day, my mom called me up to tell me that she had an experience with my baby and wanted to share it. She said, that during her couple prayers with my dad, he was blessing the baby and simply said, “Please bless baby boy Turney.” As soon as he said that, my mom heard the words, “I’m Samuel.” She called to tell me she knew what we were going to name our son, but didn’t want to say anything because she didn’t want to influence us. I wanted to ask her, “Is it Samuel?” but I didn’t want to influence her answer, so I finally got her to fess up, and indeed, the name that came to her was Samuel.
Samuel means “God has heard,” and I feel he is my little miracle. I know that not every prayer is answered in the way that we want, but I believe that in this instance, the desires of my heart aligned with the will of God, and all the pleadings and petitions were answered in my favor. “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him 1 Samuel: 27.”
As far as pregnancy goes, this one was by far my easiest (though by no means was it easy). My sickness only lasted a short while (up until about 12-13 weeks but really by week 10 it was pretty manageable), and all through my second trimester I enjoyed good health and activity. I started getting uncomfortable around week 31 and by week 34 I was SO DONE BEING PREGNANT!!! I had major back aches and MAJOR heart burn. I was told at 36 weeks that I was dialated to a 2 and that Sammy was measuring at 7lbs 8 oz. I figured his birth was right around the corner.
On May 27th, I had my membranes stripped, and Dr. Tabassi said she expected that I might be back that evening. I was dialated to a “good 3” and I was 70% effaced. I was exactly 39 weeks pregnant, and she said if I wasn’t back by that evening to deliver a baby it would CERTAINLY be before the weekend. My mom was on her way down, and I just knew by weeks end I’d have Sammy in my arms.
Well, Sammy had other plans. I tried everything I could think of to induce labor. Everything. I ate two pineapples by myself, I tried Clary Sage oil, I walked a million miles which did nothing but give me inconsistent contractions, I pumped breast milk which did the most, but again, I’d have consistant contractions then they’d stop after I stopped pumping. Finally, on Friday night, feeling discouraged, I called my doctor to ask what she thought of an induction.
I was against having an induction from the very beginning. My induction with Paige wasn’t awesome, so I didn’t want to be induced, but I was about to be 40 weeks, and my mom had to leave by Friday morning, so I needed to get that baby out of me.
My induction was scheduled for Monday June 2nd. Adam and I arrived at the hospital at 6:00AM. It was a beautiful, warm morning, and there were hot air balloons departing from the parking lot of the hospital. Even though I initially resisted the induction, I was feeling really good about it. I was having contractions all through the morning, and when they got me hooked up at the hospital, Adam had fun tracking them. The nurse checked me, and I was dialated to a 4, and 80 percent effaced.
A random memory I will have, is when we got into the room, the nurse made Adam sit out, and she said she had my gown. She followed me into the bathroom and immediately asked if I was safe, and if I felt comfortable having my husband there, as if he were abusive. I tell you what, I’m always super grateful for my traditional lifestyle when I’m in a hospital and they are asking me questions, like, am I married, is my husband the father, do I have other children with the father or multiple fathers, etc.
The nurse started the Pitocin at 8:30 AM and within just a few minutes things were happening. Because of what happened with Paige (getting stuck at a 4 all day long until they broke my water—my body stopped progressing after the epidural) I decided I didn’t want to have the epidural until I was at least a 6 or 7.
At 10:00AM, the nurse came in and told me that the anesthesiologist was leaving until 11:30AM so I only had a few minute window to get an epidural. I told her I was handling the pain really well, and I didn’t feel like I needed one. I told her I wanted to wait because I didn’t want to stall labor. She said that was fine, and that she’d check back later.
Just fifteen minutes later, she came in to let me know that Dr. Tabassi wanted the doctor at the hospital to break my water. I said that was fine, but inwardly I was freaking out. It was my experience, that as soon as my water broke, things started going faster. The doctor came in to check me…I was at a 6! I could have gotten the epidural exactly when I wanted it! But it was too late, and once he broke my bag of waters things started getting REALLY painful. In 15 minutes I went from a 6 to a 7. I could barely breathe!
My mom got to the hospital around 11:30AM (Stacey had the girls) and it was a comfort to have her there. Adam confessed later that he’d wanted me to get the epidural when I was offered it, but he was very supportive of my decision. While my mom tried to comfort me through my contractions, Adam tried to get me to fill out my menu for the following day at the hospital. It was kind of hilarious, being between the two most influential people in my life, one who tended to be overly excited and the other who barely shows emotions. I needed them both there for different reasons.
Finally, I did receive my epidural, and things were still pretty painful for about 20 more minutes. She checked me again and I was at a 9 (around noon). Once the epidural set in, though, I was feeling pretty good, which is a relief, because the doctor took about another hour to get there.
Another one of Dr. Tabassi’s patients was progressing right along with me, and it was going to be a race to get our babies out. Dr. Tabassi said she was trying to figure out who was farther along and I said, “I am…” so she decided to let me go first.
Adam spoke up and told them I wanted a mirror, which I was grateful for, because I almost forgot… and then it was time to push. Adam held my left leg, and the nurse my right. I supposed that it would only take a few pushes because that’s how it was with Paige, but my epidural was stronger with Sam, and I couldn’t feel the need to push, let alone if I was pushing at all.
I sort of zoned out as I focused on Sam. I watched his head crown, and I pushed and pushed and pushed. It felt like it took forever, but Adam said I only had to push through about four contractions, which were right on top of each other. Dr. Tabassi mentioned he must be a big boy, because as he was crowning, my stomach wasn’t going down. “He still looks like he’s up in your throat,” she said.
Finally, he was out, and he was placed on my belly…for about two seconds. I got to touch him for the first time, as he cried, then they whisked him away to clean him up and weigh him. He was gone for me for what seemed like forever, they brought him back to me. He cried, until he got back to me, and I started speaking to him. Then he just looked in my eyes and stopped crying as if he were saying, “I know you!” I was sobbing as he came out, I was sobbing as I met him. It was perfection. Samuel was finally here.
We named him Samuel Timothy, after his grandpa of course, because we couldn't think of a better man to name him after. Our hope, is that Samuel will be a strong, righteous man, like the Samuel's in the scriptures, and like his grandfather, my dad.