One Reason I Love Mormon Women

Me, Kate, Danielle, and Teresa
Me, Kate, Danielle, and Teresa

by Jessawhy

Yesterday I went to church with cramps. My husband had asked me about cramps the day before and I responded, “I haven’t had cramps since my IUD was placed a year ago.”  So, I attributed my next-day cramps to God’s humor or the power of Mark’s suggestion.

During church my pains worsened and I increasingly felt the need to double over. Picking up and carrying around my 20+ lb 15 mo was quite a challenge.

When we arrived at home, I spent a few hours laying in bed, eating a slice of pizza while prone and distracting myself with Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture for my book club this month. My pains felt unusual for cramps but between 2 pregnancies and breastfeeding for a combined 24 months, I’m not sure I remember what normal cramps feel like.

Mark tried to convince me to go to the urgent care, but I kept hoping the pain would go away on its own. Eventually I made my way across the house to the computer room to Google “abdominal pain” and see what the possibilities were (endless, I’m sure). But, I still don’t know because for some reason I walked into the bathroom and started to feel light-headed. I knew I was fainting, so I tried to talk myself out of it. When that didn’t work I called for Mark and felt really scared and really strange.  He came to help and just as I was heading into the twilight zone, suddenly I needed to use the toilet, and while thus perched, realized I needed to vomit and turned my Ikea stepstool upside down to use as a basin.

By then Mark was gone. I have no recollection of why, but after I got myself together, I staggered to the couch (this was a superhuman feat as I couldn’t walk alone for the next 12 hrs) as Mark made arrangements to have someone stay with the kids while he took me to the ER.

Apparently Jaxon, our 6 yo, agreed with my assessment that Mark was taking too long in his pursuit of childcare, so he took matters into his own hands. While we were obviously distracted, he hopped on his scooter and made his way across our neighborhood to our friend Kate’s house. She answered the door and he said, “You need to take care of me because my dad has to take my mom to the hospital.”  She asked where his brothers were and he replied, “They’re fine at home sleeping.” Then she ushered him in and called us. She was over in minutes, helping with our waking boys and picking up our cluttered house. I believe she even cleaned up the Ikea basin of vomit.

If that’s not an act of selfless service, I don’t know what is.

Mark took me to the ER where they did a few exams and determined I might have appendicitis. My pain was pretty intense, especially when I moved, and even while I was taking morphine.

While Mark went home to put the kids to bed, my sister Tacy showed up unexpectedly to keep me company. It was was really helpful because she’s just begun nursing school and I feel like she’s a good recourse for medical information, and she gave me a lot of comfort and an extremely needed stick of gum. Later, my dad and Mark gave me a blessing, which helped me feel peace and testified of their love for me.

So, despite the lack of evidence on the CT scan, the doctors suggested we operate anyway. Last night at about 11 PM, I had a laproscopic appendectomy. The surgeon said my appendix looked pretty good when he removed it, almost normal, but there were signs of infection near my fallopian tubes, so he’s encouraged me to seek the care of my OBGYN, and I have an appointment tomorrow. I’m also on three heavy-duty antibiotics.

Meanwhile, at home, my sister Cami and her fiance came to watch the kids after Mark put them to bed. Another friend in the ward, Danielle, called to offer dinner for us tonight (it was delicious, btw). Teresa called to offer babysitting and dinner tomorrow night. She said several other women were offering babysitting as well. My mom came over today while Mark was with me at the hospital. When we got home from the hospital, Cami, Cliff, Tacy, and my mom were all there, ready to help.

Then in conversations with my friends on the phone and computer I have really felt an outpouring of love and concern and a desire to serve.  Even the bishop’s wife was asking about me and offering to help in anyway she could.

Sometimes I overlook the amazing gift of the Relief Society. We really are trained well in service, and beyond that, so many wonderful women I know act on the teachings of Jesus Christ to care for the sick and afflicted.

I don’t remember the last time I have felt so blessed by the hands of my sisters.


  1. Oh my gosh, Jessawhy! I can’t believe you wrote a post in the middle of a health crisis, you never cease to amaze me. I’m glad you have been able to find a silver lining in all of this. It is a good reminder that so many things in our church work really well. So what can I do?

  2. Jess, you’re a trooper for getting this post up in the midst of surgeries, morphine, and antibiotics! I do hope you feel better soon, and that the doctors quickly figure out what was causing you all that pain. From the sound of it, I was thinking it was going to be kidney stones. (I’ve had experience with those – nightmare.)

    I’m so glad to hear all your RS friends are stepping up so wonderfully. I agree that that is one of the best things about the church.

  3. That Kate, she’s a winner! I’ll call to get a slot to have Asher and Finn for a playdate (sounds like they are in demand right now).

  4. First of all, that’s a really great picture of us. Can you email it to me?? And the only reason I cleaned out the IKEA basin is because, uh, Finn found it before I did. 🙂 So I had to scrub him pretty well too!
    You are the most thoughtful friend… and I kept thinking yesterday that if the same thing were to ever happen to me, you’d step in even bigger and better. I love you! Get well soon.

  5. Hey, Jessica. I am glad you are doing…okay(?)…now. I am Tacy’s friend and we were talking when she got the call to go to the hospital so you’ve been on my mind and prayers. Get better soon!

  6. This brought a lump to my throat.

    I’m glad you have support at such a crazy time.

    Get better soon, and I hope you get answers, too. It’s so frustrating to think something is wrong only to find it’s something else…or to not know yet what exactly is going on.

  7. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Just an update:
    My appt yesterday with my OBGYN went well. He did an exam and didn’t see signs of infection so I get to keep my IUD for now (yeah!).
    We’re waiting on the cultures and test results, but the fact that I’m feeling better after the appendectomy was an indicator that perhaps I was in the early stages of appendicitis and that I did need the surgery.
    I’ve been feeling better until last night. I’m on these horrible antibiotics that give me nausea. In fact, I haven’t been able to talk myself into taking my pills yet this morning.
    But, other than that, I’m doing well and have lots of help.
    I want to add that my (non-LDS) neighbor also brought me dinner last night, so it’s not just Mormon women who are full of service. I’m really very blessed with wonderful friends and family.
    Thanks to all of you for your kind words and help.

  8. Jessawhy,

    Thanks for sharing this. It reminds me of the merits of Relief Society.

    I hope you feel better and that even if it is hard, you have the determination to keep taking your antibiotics. It is important.

  9. Last update 🙂

    My doctor called back with the lab results.

    I had early acute appendicitis.

    So, they didn’t take out my appendix for no reason, and I did get to stop ALL my antibiotics (so horrible!) because I don’t have any other infection.


  10. Jessawhy, I’m so glad you’re feeling better and that you got some good results (or a simpler diagnosis). I’m glad your ordeal is coming to a close, but great thoughts of the real service women can provide to each other.

  11. Jessawhy, I’m so glad to hear you’re on the mend. I love the story of how your friends have rallied around to help you. I agree with m&m–I always find stories of service like this touching.

    Also, perhaps we need you to come give us ZDs a workshop on blogging consistently. As Caroline pointed out, here you are blogging from your sick bed, while we fail to blog even while in good health. 🙂

  12. Thanks, Alisa and Ziff.

    I blog more when I’m stuck at home, I guess we do it for different reasons.

    But, I’m still getting calls from people offering to come and help, it’s really remarkable. I’ve also seen a softer side of our new RS president, and that has warmed me to her. Really, this has been a good experience for me, overall.
    Funny how that works.

  13. Jessawhy. This post really touched me. And it made me wonder and think. I’ve been living in my new neighborhood and house for as long as I have been inactive. I’ve been to my ward this past year about the number of fingers that I have. I have told my VTs that I don’t want them and I have even turned away the sister missionaries.

    I wonder, I really wonder if I needed help, immediate help, who I would call. I don’t have many friends around here, but I guess my sister and roommate does, and they would probably help, but I have to say that the one thing I miss the most about the church is the sense of community that it gave me.

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