In 1987, I was gardening very early one morning, not thinking about much of anything, when I heard a voice say, “Your Heavenly Father loves you for your willingness to have another baby.” Now this voice didn’t come out of the sky or anything, but was spoken in my mind quietly. It caught me by surprise as I didn’t know where the thought had come from and I said to myself, “Yeah, I am willing … maybe in a couple of years.” It seemed even more odd because I hadn’t yet discussed with David that is what I thought we should do. The sentiment I had last expressed to him was that I didn’t think I could cope with any more children. I don’t think I had consciously made a new decision yet.
I forgot about it. The next morning I was gardening in the same place about the same time, not thinking about anything in particular, when it came again, only louder and stronger.
“Your Heavenly Father loves you for your willingness to have another baby!” This time I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of love as though someone was wrapping a blanket or loving arms around me. I then felt a sudden sense of panic when I recognized these promptings as the Holy Ghost. “He can’t mean now,” I thought.
In a couple of weeks I began to feel sick in the morning and told David I thought I was pregnant. His response was, “How can that be?” I related to him my experience in the garden.
I felt a strange urgency to go immediately to the doctor and called to make an appointment. The nurse told me I should wait until I missed two cycles, but I followed my prompting and insisted that I come in. Still, even with the feeling of urgency that I had, I thought I was coming in for a routine check-up and to confirm my pregnancy. The doctor had not examined me for long when he said, “You have thyroid cancer.”
Needless to say it was shocking news. I had not had any discernable symptoms related to the cancer – at least nothing that would have sent me to a doctor.
The first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh, you dear little baby – you may have just saved my life.”
Still, it came as a surprise to me that I was not afraid of dying. On the way home in the car, I prayed out loud. I had an unusual experience that is difficult to put into words. It was as though for a few moments all of my life experiences were stripped away and I felt who I was prior to this earth life. I particularly remember that I was not a fearful soul (as I had somehow come to think of myself). I also knew that what I had to accomplish in this life was important. Not that it was more important than anyone else’s life, but rather, important to specific individuals I would have an effect on – my children, grandchildren and others. There were things that if I did not do them would not get done.
I recalled a part in my patriarchal blessing that says: “You shall live a long, happy and useful life. You will not be cut short.” I came home, went to my room and fell to my knees, asking Heavenly Father if I had been worthy enough for my blessing to still be in effect. I received an immediate assurance that I would be fine, that it would take some time, and I must be patient and long-suffering.
As soon as I was far enough along in my pregnancy to operate safely without undue harm to the baby, both of my thyroid glands were removed. After a difficult pregnancy, both physically and emotionally, Hayley was born February 16, 1988. Two months later, successful radiation therapy completed my treatment.
God uses experiences like this to build trust in His children – trust in Him. He knew I would need such trust on a journey I had yet to discover I had embarked on. At age 5, after relentless effort and much difficulty, my daughter was finally diagnosed — correctly — with autism.
My precious Hayley, who indeed saved my life all those years ago, in turn needed me to “save” hers in ways I had yet to learn. That personal growth was the greater gift. The woman she saved is not the woman I have become. Someday I will look her in the eyes and she will knowingly smile and say, “You’re Welcome”.