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In March last year I found myself 8 months pregnant with a kidney stone. If you’ve never had a kidney stone I would strongly recommend against it. They are no fun. I’ve gone through childbirth 5 times without an epidural and the kidney stones are worse than childbirth – and instead of a cute baby you just get a stupid piece of gravel out of the ordeal.

The kidney stone was the icing on the cake after a long hard pregnancy. Nothing earth shatteringly bad, but a lot of normal pregnancy stuff. My back is terrible when I’m pregnant so I’d hardly been able to walk the whole time. I had pregnancy induced tachycardia – which meant that my heart would race for long stretches of time for no good reason. Think of the way that your heart feels after you finish running a race, except you are just sitting around doing nothing, and it won’t go back down with rest. Heartburn was a given constant regardless of how bland I kept my diet – you have to really watch out for that spicy oatmeal! My morning sickness wasn’t terrible but not fun either. I had Braxton Hicks contractions pretty constantly as well – which aren’t really painful but they are exhausting. It’s kind of like having an involuntary ab workout – even if the muscles are strong, they get tired after awhile.

On top of all of that, pregnancy means that at least twice I’m going to have to deal with needles – which I hate. I think I’m pretty tough when it comes to pain but I deal with vasovagal syncope which means that my body freaks out with needles and I tend to pass out HARD. I used to say that I was afraid of needles, but it’s less of a fear than almost an allergic reaction. I dread those needles more than I dread labor.

My postpartum recovery was actually pretty straightforward this time around – however that kidney stone never made its way out as far as I could tell. I assumed that it had just seen its way out undramatically while my attention was more focused on all the other unpleasantries of post partum recovery. Until…

The day after Christmas I found myself in downtown Salt Lake City, with just my 6 year old and 8 month old when that kidney stone reared its ugly head again. I drove myself to a place where I could charge our car and sat there writhing in pain. At one point I handed my 8 month old to my 6 year old so that I could find an empty grocery bag to throw up in. It was certainly a low point to feel surrounded by people in the middle of a city, but so very very alone at the same time and in agony, needing help. Fortunately my amazing husband raced back down the mountain to rescue me and spent that evening in the ER with me while they loaded me up with meds and fluids.

One round of Flomax and antibiotics later and… I still seem to have that kidney stone. It hasn’t been bothering me but every so often I’ll get a little stab of pain and I can tell – it’s still there just biding its time. It’s been another couple months and I’m realizing that I never got a call from the imaging department at the hospital about the CT scan the urologist ordered. I’m sure that I have surgery in my future which is not my idea of a good time. But I know that if I leave that stupid tiny piece of gravel in its place then its likely to cause an infection and I’ll be back to inordinate amounts of pain.

One night shortly after my ER adventure my husband was walking around with our son and pretending to talk on his behalf. He was being a little silly and voiced for the baby, “Mom, look how cute I am, aren’t I the cutest? I’m worth having a kidney stone for, right?” I matched the silly mood and immediately replied, “Of course you are, you’re adorable!”

He was being silly but the exchange stopped me a little abruptly. A lot of what happens to me as a result of pregnancy isn’t fun – but at the same time, I knew what was likely to happen and this baby was not a surprise. I had chosen to go through all of that for a baby that I didn’t even know yet. Pregnancy amnesia is real and there were definitely points along the way where I felt like “why did I choose to do this again?? This is the worst!”

But now my husband was asking me if I would go through all of that again for this baby that I *do* know. Only a little bit, I’ve only had him for 10 months, but knowing him like I do now, would I go through all the struggles of pregnancy, childbirth AND even kidney stones again to have him?

Photo Credit: Mad Marie Photo & Video

The answer was unequivocally – YES! Of course! There isn’t even a question in my mind that all that I endured for him was worth it. I cannot express emphatically enough how I would go through all of those things again for this cute baby. He really is the cutest, but more importantly, he’s mine and I love him beyond words.

Which then got me thinking – was there anything that I wouldn’t go through for him? I tried to think of a single thing that I would not suffer through for my baby. Cancer, loss of limbs, torture – none of it seemed worse than the idea of not having my baby. He is precious to me beyond anything I can count. While my love for him has never been (and hopefully never will be) tested to the limits, at least in the hypothetical I can’t think of a situation where I wouldn’t be willing to suffer through anything in order for him to have his life.

As I thought about that my mind turned to our Savior. I have often wondered and marveled at His sacrifice for each of us. Not just in giving up His life, but at the idea of Him suffering through all of the pains of each individual person’s life to save us. How could He possibly bear to go through all of that?

But then in my mind I pictured my Heavenly Father taking me in his arms, showing me to Christ and speaking on my behalf. “Jesus, look how cute I am, aren’t I the cutest? I’m worth atoning for, right?” I can see Jesus, who has known me for a lot longer than 10 months and who has love beyond that of a mortal mother, looking at me, smiling and saying, “Of course you are Brittny, you’re adorable.”

And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.

(2 Nephi 9:21)

Clearly I’m nowhere near the Savior, but for a moment I could understand in some small way how Jesus could do what He did. I can imagine each one of us being presented to Him and having the same question asked of Him – “What about me? Am I worth atoning for?” If the answer was no He would not have to suffer for us, but He also would have an eternity ahead without us. As a mother I can think of nothing that would be worse than facing an eternity without my children and knowing that I could have done something that would have saved them. Perhaps that’s the way Jesus feels about us too.

In Isaiah 49:15-16 Christ says, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;” As a mother the idea of being able to forget one of my children and not care about them seems so ludicrous. But Jesus says that even as remote as that possibility may seem, it could happen to us. But not to Him. Whenever He sees His hands He remembers us.

There’s a book by Max Lucado that I haven’t read yet but I’ve seen this quote from it as a meme and it struck me to my core – “He knew the price of those sins was death. He knew the source of those sins was you, and since he couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails.” Somehow it just hits different when you think of the atonement as being that personal. Not just some cosmic collective moment, but a sacrifice that was indescribably individual. Not something that happened to Jesus, but a choice that he made deliberately. A choice that He made for YOU.

I want to bear testimony that YOU were worth it. You are worth it. Every day Jesus is reaching out to you, trying to remind you of His love for you. You are valuable to Him beyond price, and hopefully you never forget it.