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Living with Crohn’s Disease: My Story, Chapter 6

On December 3, 2004, I started the day in a beautiful guest room with all my best friends around me. My best friends, who on this day, were more than friends – they were my bridesmaids. As we ate breakfast from the display of fruits and pastries that only Tone (a friend of our family) could make so beautiful, I pondered how the next few hours of my life would unfold. With growing anticipation, I showered and did my hair before we left for the temple. It was my wedding day. I was about to marry my best friend. Finally.

I could barely contain my excitement. I don’t even think I was nervous… and if I was, I couldn’t tell because it was overrun by my anticipation. I loved being a bride. I loved everything about it. I loved the dress, and the shoes and the veil. I loved the promises we made, and the commitment we shared. Before the sealing, as my mom helped me get dressed, I thought, “everything is about to change.” And I loved it. She felt it too, I could see it in her eyes. I look back on those precious moments with her and I treasure them. My last moments as just her daughter, before I was also Tim’s wife. As the sealing began, I could feel our Heavenly Father’s love surrounding us. I knew we were in the right place. I was with the right man, and we were supposed to be together. As we looked at each other, and promised forever – I knew we would have an amazing life together.

Afterwards, I remember dancing around the bride’s room, just so excited to be married. And not just married, but married to Tim. Just like I knew I would be. We took pictures on the temple grounds with friends and family  and basked in the joy that was ours. As we headed for the reception, we stopped at Jack in the Box – in my wedding dress. Cuz that’s how I roll. I barely remember our reception. I know Tim and I were there, I think there were other people, but I didn’t really notice. I just know it was purple. Very purple. And that we were happy. Very happy.

We went on our little honeymoon to Whidbey Island and stayed in a Beach House. It was freezing of course, so we mostly stayed inside. Yeah… that’s why we stayed in… because it was cold. ;o)

When we arrived home to Utah as an officially married couple, and moved into our first apartment, we laughed on a daily basis about where we lived. We knew it was making for great memories. It was a teeny, tiny one bedroom apartment and barely even qualified as that. It was more like a closet. At night, we’d lay in bed and listen to the sounds of the apartment complex (we heard lots of sirens) … yeah it was bad. We didn’t stay there for very long.

Married life for us wasn’t always easy though, it was kinda like a rollercoaster. We were 2 people completely in love, and completely bull-headed. You want to talk about “knock-down drag-outs”? We’ve had our fair share. An embarrassingly large amount actually. Maybe someday, I’ll go more into detail about those… maybe in a post about marriage. But let’s just say, that it did not come easily for us. Love came easy. In fact, love came super easy. But compromise and communication? That was a different story. My parents got many a hysterical phone call from me because we were arguing over something stupid. Of course, there’s 2 sides to every coin, and on the other side of ours was a whole lot of laughter and good times. They were plentiful. When I look back at our early relationship, it feels almost bi-polar. We had a lot of love and even more to learn.

In July of 2005, we moved to Texas. Why, you ask? No idea. Looking back now, we can see it was definitely an inspired decision… but back then, we just thought it sounded like fun. And since all my family was there, it seemed like the reasonable thing to do. We moved into my parents house and lived with them for a year while we got on our feet. Tim went to work for Hub Cap Annie, and I worked for a real estate agent as a transaction coordinator.

We had been married almost 2 years when we decided we were ready to have a baby. I believe it was around August of 2006. It was a frightening concept. I never really felt like I had an overwhelming need to get pregnant. We knew we wanted kids and that I wanted to have them fairly early because I always enjoyed having young parents. Plus, we wanted a big family, so why not get started, right? We prayed about our decision and felt like it was time. We were excited. I remember this excited/nervous feeling in the air, like “Oh my gosh, are we actually gonna do this? What will our life be like with a baby?!” I couldn’t wait to feel that sweet baby inside my tummy. I couldn’t wait to rub my belly and know that I had a beautiful spirit who would have my curls and Tim’s blue eyes, growing inside me. We knew the reality of my health situation demanded that we investigate the medications I was on first. So we made an appointment with the doctor to discuss the possibility of getting pregnant, and found that Imuran was in fact, not safe. So I spent about a month, tapering off. And then for the next couple months, we just let it go naturally. With each and every passing month, I could feel the rock in the pit of my stomach growing. We were more and more disappointed every time we stared at a negative test, and I feared something bigger was going on.

One day, my younger sister called me from Utah where she was living with her new husband. After dispensing our normal pleasantries and small talk, she dropped the bomb. And she dropped it like it was hot. “I’m pregnant!” And for just a few seconds, my world stopped turning. Not because I wasn’t happy for her. Please don’t misunderstand me. You want to talk about complex emotions? Listen to your younger sister, who you love dearly, tell you that she is about to experience one of God’s most amazing gifts, and realize that what she’s also saying, is that she can do what you apparently can’t. Of course she didn’t mean it that way. I knew that. And my heart knew that. I was going to be an Aunt! And my heart knew that too. How can your emotions be torn in two completely opposite directions at the same time? How can so much joy for a sister and so much heartache for yourself be caused by one sentence? One beautiful sentence that – if life were fair – would never bring heartache to anyone. Ever.

I swallowed my pride, because that’s what you do when you’re a big sister. I swallowed the pride that ached in the knowledge that I would not give my parents their first grandchild. I swallowed the jealousy that threatened to rear its ugly head. I swallowed it all and I focused on the happiness that was inside me. The happiness for my little sister who was going to be a mom. The happiness for myself, who was going to be an aunt. And I truly felt it. I was honestly and sincerely overjoyed for her.

We talked and planned and plotted over the next few days of how to reveal the big news. It was to be a perfectly orchestrated surprise on Christmas Eve, during our Gift Exchange. We spent countless hours making sure we knew exactly what we were doing, so that this once in a lifetime moment would be absolutely perfect for our parents. And it was. Tears of joy flowed from nearly every eye in the room. And after the excitement died down, I found myself in the kitchen with my mom. She came in close and said, “Are you okay?” because she knew. She’s a woman, a mother, a sister and an intuitive friend, and she knew without asking. As tears began to silently roll down my cheeks, she gave me a hug. And I soaked it in. I took my selfish moment to mourn the loss I was feeling. I knew that was all it could be. Not only because, this day wasn’t about me… but also because it wouldn’t be fair, to let guilt creep into Lindsey’s special day. I would have never wanted her moment to be tainted by my pain. And so I smiled. And I prayed for a time when it would not hurt so badly.

Heavenly Father answered. He always answers. Despite the pain I felt upon first learning of Lindsey’s pregnancy, I felt much better after allowing myself to cry and mourn that loss. I began to accept that my path was different than I had initially anticipated. Isn’t it always? Is anyone living exactly the life they thought they would? Believe me when I tell you, I’m not. In a million years, I never could have imagined what my life had in store.  But I have learned, there is so much beauty in the unknown. So much beauty in those places where we least expect our life to go.

What has your life surprised you with? Where has your life taken you?

** Leah **

Share the Love & Love the Shares

If you’re new to my blog and haven’t caught the earlier chapters of my story, get them here:

Chapter 1 ~ Chapter 2 ~ Chapter 3 ~ Chapter 4 ~ Chapter 5

2 comments
2 comments… add one
  • Kayla September 8, 2016, 11:31 pm

    Oh my goodness we have more in common than I thought! My family also lives in Texas and I am currently working as a transaction coordinator at a real estate office in Provo! (I dropped out of BYU because of my health but have been ok working this job so far. :) I also cannot have children and will have to adopt but I was told it was because I had a liver transplant 4 years ago (the crohns gave me psc). I feel like we must have been good friends in another life. ;) So far I am loving your blog and will continue to read! Thank you for writing!!

    • Leah Sannar September 11, 2016, 11:54 pm

      Whoa! It’s like we’re long lost sisters. :o) I’m sorry to hear of your fertility issues. Adoption can be a wonderful journey though. Once you’ve mourned the loss of biological children and are ready, you should look forward to it! It’s quite an experience. Thanks so much for reading, and I look forward to hearing more from you. Stay in touch! :o)

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