The Upside of Down: Prologue

Natalie sat with her arms folded and head bowed on the green and gold upholstered chair they’d purchased from Deseret Industries a few weeks earlier. Her husband’s hands rested atop her head, and she silently repeated his inspired words.

She focused on a sentence in the blessing: “Soon Heavenly Father will send you a spirit to begin your family, one of many.” Spence con­cluded the blessing, and a soft reassurance wrapped itself around Nata­lie as the Spirit witnessed the truthfulness of the promised blessings. She drew in a breath and reveled in the peace that filled their one-bed­room  apartment near Brigham Young University.

Spence leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. She stood and embraced him. “I feel better now. Thank you.”

“We’ll have children. We need to be a little more patient,” he said in a tender voice. He pushed a wisp of her dark brown hair from her face.

She held the gaze of his pale blue eyes. “I know. I’m eager, that’s all. I want to raise a bunch of kids and teach them the gospel. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Everyone in our ward either has a baby or they’re expect­ing one . . . except us.” She brushed a tear from her cheek.

“We don’t know Heavenly Father’s timetable or His reasons, so we need to have faith it will all work out. I’m confident we’ll have the chil­dren Heavenly Father intends to send us when the time is right.” He ran his fingers along her cheek.

She nodded. “I needed that blessing.”

Spence smiled and it made her heart skip a beat, the same way it had the first time she had seen him on the dance floor at Ricks College. His reddish-blond hair, strong jaw line, and vibrant smile had caught her eye, and when he’d asked her to dance, she wasn’t sure her legs would comply. From that moment, her attraction had grown into a deep and mature love.

Spence broke into her thoughts. “While I was pronouncing the blessing, I saw—”

Natalie cut in, almost afraid to mention what she’d seen. “A baby?”

Spence’s eyes widened. “Yes. A girl.”

“With big, round blue eyes?” The dazzling color and clarity of the child’s eyes stood out in her mind.

Spence nodded. “And blonde hair.”

Natalie’s skin pricked while a tingling sensation traveled up her spine to the top of her head. “Our first baby?” Joy enveloped her as she imagined holding a baby in her long-empty arms.

“Maybe. I saw her so clearly.”

“Did you see any others?”

Spence shook his head. “Only a baby girl.”

Natalie’s insides warmed at the thought of realizing her dream to be a mother. “She must be coming to our family.” Anticipation wound itself around her heart.

That night Natalie lay in bed as other words and phrases from the blessing circled her mind. After two miscarriages and three long years of watching every woman around her give birth, it seemed as though the time was now right for her and the baby she’d seen would soon come to her home. She focused on remembering every detail of the child’s face so she would recognize her. Excitement surged through her body.

At long last, it would be her turn.

Though she’d recently graduated from BYU with a degree in psychol­ogy, she had no interest in pursuing it. She’d finished her degree to appease her parents, but her goal was to start a family. She wanted to raise a righteous brood, hold family home evening each week, have daily family prayer and scripture study, and attend church together—something she hadn’t been able to do with her parents. An eternal family was her first, and only, priority.