My pregnancy with Clayton was the first and only where I remembered to take my prenatal vitamins every day. I took them for months before he was even conceived. In hindsight, this is such a blessing. In all my guilt over the various ways I could have caused or contributed to Clayton’s cleft lip and palate I don’t have to wonder about this one. I didn’t smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs either.
On days like today when guilt is unavoidable – when I’m preparing to take my baby in to the hospital tomorrow morning and hand him over to have his bones broken, flesh cut up and sewn together – focusing on the things I did right helps.
Still, the guilt says it must be my fault. It certainly isn’t Clayton’s. I was responsible for building his little body. I messed up. I don’t feel like this most of the time. I feel like the cleft is part of my little boy, part of who he is. Part of what makes him unique and special. But if we’re going to get it fixed, then he must be broken. And that’s my fault.
If I didn’t believe in God I would believe the guilt. But I do. And that’s the only thing that helps this all make sense. The fact is, I didn’t create Clayton, God did. He created my baby perfectly; exactly the way he was meant to be. So I can only assume that all of the experiences that follow, including corrective surgeries, are part of Clayton’s plan. And part of my plan. And my family’s. This plan was designed by God for our good. This is good news because, like Nephi, “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” This is His plan, and as we follow it we are in good hands.
I am banking on His promises to me. Though from where I sit, the next 10 days look like an impossible nightmare, there is a way. He will make a way. We are not alone. I know because He said so in John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
I know that when I hand my baby over to his surgeon, who I trust with my whole heart, I will not be sending him alone. Just as the Nephite children were blessed (3 Nephi 17:24), “And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.” I know my Clayton will also be encircled about by angels and loved ones who will keep and bless him.
D&C 84:88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.