Welcome Baby Cruze!

Now that Cruze is 6 weeks old, I figure I better get around to updating this ol’ blog of mine. Cruze has been the perfect addition to our family, and as many of our friends and family know–we’ve been waiting a very long time for him!

I’d like to share our story and the beautiful adoption experience we had with this precious child and his brave, wonderful birth mother. It’s going to be long, but it’s “our story” from the beginning, so I can’t stand to leave anything out! (*names have been changed)

Cameron, Courtney and Cruze Michael Lewis: Our Story

Cam and I were married in the summer of 2009 in Dallas, Texas. We had been married about a year and a half when we decided we were ready to start growing our family. Months of trying led to a year of failed efforts and saddened hearts, then we finally saw a fertility specialist at the end of 2012 who confirmed our worst fear—I had a condition known as diminished ovarian reserve and the doctor put a miniscule chance of us being able to conceive without assisted reproductive technology, plus even in the best of circumstances, we had an estimated 1-3 year window before my egg supply totally depleted. Yikes!

To make a long story short, from that disheartening diagnosis in 2012 came a series of events, including several rounds of Clomid, the decision to begin our adoption journey, one failed adoption, one failed IVF attempt, another failed adoption and a pregnancy that miscarried at 10 weeks.

Looking back, it’s kind of amazing to think that all of that happened in a 2 year window, between 2012-2014. It’s also amazing to see how many integral people were involved in our life during each of those specific events; people who could relate to us and our situation. We received an outpouring of love, moral support, prayers and advice from friends, family and even complete strangers who just happened to say the right thing at the right time.

Even with wonderful people surrounding us, these particular events were still trials in our life. The failed adoptions were very different scenarios, one involved a birth mom who had selected us telling us at one week before her due date that she had been in a car accident and the baby had died. We will never know if that was the case really, or if she just was scared to place, but either way, it didn’t work out and we mourned the loss of a child we imagined would be our first baby. The second failed adoption didn’t work out because of our own inspiration and feelings toward the situation. In that scenario, the birth mom made it clear she would place with us so long as we supported her family financially for the next 7 months (all living expenses for her family of five). We were willing to do that financially, but then when we went to visit her and meet face to face, we just didn’t feel good about the situation and after much prayer, came to the conclusion that God didn’t want us to pursue that scenario.

In between those two failed adoptions, we were contacted by phone or by e-mail by no less than two dozen birth moms and adoption agencies. It became cumbersome to sift through all the e-mails to find those with real intent and love for their child.

Because we wanted to go a private adoption route (meaning we uploaded profiles to several adoption websites so a birth mom could find us directly, and not be connected to us through an agency), we opened ourselves up to lots of greedy scammers who saw us as prey. We were desperate for a child, so we were contacted by agencies who charged upwards of $40,000, and by birth moms in other countries who had a list of questionable steps we needed to follow to adopt their son, who’s adorable picture was attached to the e-mail. Then we were contacted by birth moms in rehab who were required to place their baby for adoption. It just became a very heart-wrenching process that exhausted us both.

After a year, our home study expired and I was in no rush to renew it. In fact, I was so disappointed with our experience that I pulled our profiles off of every adoption website, except for one. We determined that we would only adopt if the perfect scenario came up. We were looking for a birth mom of our faith, who wanted her child raised in the faith, who wasn’t on any type of drugs or addictive substances, and who was making the decision to place her baby for one reason—love. Even though our home study had expired, meaning we were not legally prepared to adopt, our profile remained on the LDS family services adoption website just in case the perfect scenario arose.

And that’s where our birth mom, I’ll call her “Janie”, found us.

Janie is one of the sweetest young women I have ever met, and definitely the bravest. She is a Latter-day Saint from Mexico and came to visit her older siblings who were living in Utah attending college. While she and her mom came to visit for Christmas 2014, the idea of adoption was proposed and her family was supportive of Janie’s decision to begin the adoption process as a birth mom.

Janie met Marianne, a counselor at LDS family services, who introduced her to the LDS family services adoption website where thousands of profiles are listed. From that website, Janie read through many profiles and eventually decided on two families she wanted to get to know better.

We were one of them!

Marianne called us during the last few days of the year 2014 to tell us this exciting news. She told us about Janie, explaining all of the above information and that she was approximately 6 months pregnant and that she wanted to skype with us to get to know us better, if we were interested.

We didn’t take long to decide this was definitely worth pursuing. We prayed about it and felt that the Lord wanted us to move forward with faith.

We skyped with Janie and her family a few days later and the conversation went very well! She even asked us in that initial call why she felt so good about us! We had to answer that we didn’t know, but felt similarly good about her, when we’ve been so hesitant about adoption over the last year or two.

We asked Janie what was the most important thing to her for her baby (which, we found out during this conversation was a boy) and she said the most important thing was that her son was raised in a gospel-centered home. Apparently the birth father wasn’t ready to be a dad and Janie wanted this boy to have a mother and father who would love him and raise him to have a testimony of the Savior.

She had a couple of other questions though that had us wondering if we she would even think twice about us. She asked us how open we wanted to be and also how we would keep Latin culture alive in her son’s life. Unfortunately, our answers weren’t ideal, as the idea of open adoption was a scary thought at the time and Cam and I are as white as copy paper. So, we were honest and told her our feelings about openness and that we would love to have a semi-open relationship with pictures and some skype conversations, but visits scared us. And when it came to Latin culture, well, Cam speaks a tiny bit of Spanish and I teach Zumba, but that’s about it.

Despite the fact that those two questions about our willingness to be open and our ability to keep Latin culture alive kind of caught us off-guard, we felt the conversation with Janie couldn’t have gone better, and the next night, she skyped to us to tell us she had chosen us!


Now the work was to begin. She was due in 10 weeks and Cam and I needed to get our home study updated plus begin working with either an attorney or agency in Utah to facilitate the adoption in Utah. Marianne from LDS family services recommended one attorney and one agency to me and told me both could be of assistance. I called both referrals and got what I considered reasonable quotes from both (they came out to be within just a couple hundred dollars of each other), but ultimately Cam and I decided to go forward with the agency because they offered the best post-placement services to Janie, who we were beginning to deeply care about and want the best for.

Forever Bound was the name of the agency we were referred to, and I can’t even describe what a blessing and privilege it was to work with them. Steve Sunday, the founder, is the most honest businessman I have ever dealt with. And I hesitate to say even say businessman because he doesn’t treat his job like his career, but more like his calling in life. Cam and I felt like we were in safe hands that cared about us and Janie the whole time.

So Steve and his team at Forever Bound (consisting of a counselor for Janie named Shannon and a counselor for us named Natalie) began preparing for the adoption in Utah and we were undergoing the home study update process in NM while simultaneously preparing a nursery and trying to keep our excited lips shut because we didn’t want to prematurely announce this miracle and jinx it!

We also continued to skype every Sunday night and enjoyed our weekly conversations with our ideal birth mom. In late January, she invited us to come visit her in Utah, so we came up for a weekend and had the opportunity to go out to lunch and spend some time together face-to-face.

It was actually funny, when we came to Salt Lake to pick her up for our lunch date, we knocked on the door at the exact time we said we’d be there, but no one answered. We rang the bell. We stood outside for what felt like forever and felt our shoulders lowering along with our spirits. Had she changed her mind about everything?

We left and began to drive away, then I decided to text her siblings and one of her roommates who I’d talked with once before. We were at the wrong apartment! We quickly turned around, made it to the right apartment door and began our lunch date with Janie and her brother. After lunch, we met up with Marianne from LDS family services and had a discussion about a few topics, including what the baby’s name would be, what the delivery day would look like and what our future openness plan would be.

All three of those topics were awkward to talk about, not going to lie. Marianne was funny, claiming that she loves the awkward conversations because the whole adoption scenario can be awkward and will be full of uncomfortable conversations in the future so may as well get them started now!

Thankfully after that day, Forever Bound stepped in and acted as a wonderful intermediary between us and Janie so we didn’t feel awkward any more. Perhaps Marianne is right and there still may be awkward conversations to come, but Forever Bound’s counselors had a way of getting Janie to open up and explain what she really wanted without having what “most birth moms prefer” spoken as her opinion.

Natalie Roe-Johnson was our advocate, but because she is also trained in representing birth moms, she was sensitive to Janie’s needs. We really appreciated the way she would explain things to us for our benefit and occasionally from Janie’s point of view so we could see a broader picture.

Skyping every Sunday became something we looked forward to all week. That’s something I never thought I would say, because remember, open adoptions scared me, but we grew to love Janie. We would talk about what we did that week to prepare for the baby, what her favorite shows are, just about anything and everything. It was perfect.

Our home study update (complete with our criminal background checks) was finally completed in mid-February. Which was a huge blessing because on Thursday, Feb. 26, I got a text from Janie’s brother who told me Janie was going into labor! What?! 15 days early?!

We began racing to hospital and I contacted Natalie to let her know the exciting news. We were on the road for 14 hours because we got caught in a snow storm that slowed us down. And funny side note, we got pulled over at 1 a.m. Friday in Moab, Utah, for speeding (74 in a 65 mph zone), but when I told the officer we were adopting our first baby and trying to rush to the LDS hospital in Salt Lake he just said, “Well, I’m not going to be the one to slow you down. Get going but just be careful!” and turned and let us go on our merry way.

That story makes me tear up every time I think about it, I wish I’d gotten that officer’s name.

As we were driving, Janie delivered our beautiful baby boy. He was 5 lbs, 14.5 oz, born at 7:51 p.m. to the most humble, kind, selfless, beautiful birth mom who delivered him totally naturally with no drugs whatsoever (can you say wonder woman?). Her brother texted me pictures of the newborn babe and I would flash them at Cam as he drove then continue to stare at them for hours myself in the passenger seat.

This is where we were on the road at 7:51 p.m., the moment Cruze was born. We were stuck in a snowstorm just outside of Farmington, NM.

This is where we were on the road at 7:51 p.m., the moment Cruze was born. We were stuck in a snowstorm just outside of Farmington, NM.

We finally arrived in Spanish Fork to spend the night with Cam’s parents at 4:15 a.m. Friday.

We slept in that next morning then were invited to go visit Janie and our baby at the hospital Friday afternoon. We brought her a goodie bag with all of her favorite snack foods and had the opportunity to hear about the delivery in person and hold our baby for the first time.

Our first family picture, meeting and holding our son for the first time!

Our first family picture, meeting and holding our son for the first time!

Carley and I got to talk in the lobby after we left Janie's room. She brought us Cruze's first build a bear and some darling outfits and diapers. Such a thoughtful sister!

Carley and I got to talk in the lobby after we left Janie’s room. She brought us Cruze’s first build a bear and some darling outfits and diapers. Such a thoughtful sister!

While we were there, my sister Carley came down from Logan, Utah, to surprise us in the hospital. Carley didn’t know this, but having adoptive couple’s family visit the hospital is “generally” not a good idea, because those first 48 hours with the baby are supposed to be all about the birth mom, not about the adoptive couple. So when Carley came up to the room (which she wasn’t planning on doing, but she barely missed us in the lobby and when she came up to the delivery floor the nurse ushered her into Janie’s room), I just looked at her and said (as tears welled up in my eyes because I was so happy to see her, but I knew it wasn’t the right moment) “you CAN’T be here!” Poor Carley faked a smile and said “okay” as she slowly backed away with her balloon and flowers in hand.

When we left Janie’s room, the nurse caught us on the way out and said, “your sister brought these flowers for Janie.” So we turned around and brought the vase of flowers back to Janie from Carley, and she seemed very grateful, but we were apologetic the whole time for what we considered an uncomfortable situation. Janie assured us it was just fine, but of course, Cam and I were worried.

The next day was placement day! Words can’t express our anxiety, but Natalie called us that morning to go over some details, then we met up at the hospital later that night to sign the paperwork.

We were so anxious Saturday morning! This was us before we left Cam's parent's house to drive to Salt Lake!

We were so anxious Saturday morning! This was us before we left Cam’s parent’s house to drive to Salt Lake!

As we met, I was surprised to see Steve show up at our placement! We were so touched to have him there. Between Steve and Natalie, they kept Cam and I calm and feeling confident that everything would go well.

Us with Natalie and Steve. Right before we entered the room for placement!

Us with Natalie and Steve. Right before we entered the room for placement!

Then Shannon, Janie’s counselor, and Marianne, Janie’s original counselor from LDS family services, came in and saw us all meeting . Marianne put my heart at ease about the previous day’s visit because she walked right up to us and said, “I met with Janie yesterday and the first thing she told me was that your sister surprised you and she loved it!” I was shocked to hear that my sister’s visit made Janie happy, so I asked Marianne to explain more. “Janie said you were so caught off guard by it, and she could tell you were happy but also frustrated, it reminded her of her own relationship with her sister. Plus, she loved the flowers your sister brought her and was showing them off to me. Courtney, your sister visiting is the best thing that could have happened.”

I felt instantly better about the previous day and any damage I thought might have been done and I’m grateful my sister was inspired to come to the hospital. I just hope my shewing her away didn’t cause too much damage on her psyche.

Shannon and Marianne went their way to visit with Janie, and Steve and Natalie took us to a private room to read us the fine print of the adoption paperwork.

a (2)

We’re signing the contract saying we’re ready to be parents! This is so amazing!

They took this responsibility very seriously and did an excellent job explaining to us the specifics and also the broad picture of how the next hour would look during placement, the next 6 months before finalization, and also a glimpse into the rest of our future with our soon-to-be son. It was surreal sitting in that room, anxiously awaiting a text from Shannon that Janie had signed the relinquishment papers.

Then the text came. She signed the papers! We were invited into room 404 where we would be handed our baby.

Entering the room just before placement!

Entering the room just before placement!

We made the walk down the hall, and Natalie took my phone so she could photograph the series of events that would follow. Steve made a command decision to wait in the hall because Janie hadn’t met with him personally and he didn’t want to intrude (although we would have loved for him to be there in the room with us because he was integral in this whole process, Janie just didn’t know that). We knocked on the door, and entered the room where Janie was standing in the front of the room, glowing. She was holding the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. Cam and I walked up to her and she just said, with glistening eyes, “So, Cam and Courtney, are you ready for your son?”

I instantly started crying and Cam and I both said in unison, “of course!” She handed perfect baby Cruze to me and the tears fell for all in the room.

Lewis adoption

This was the most magical moment we’ve ever experienced.

It was a surreal moment. I don’t think either of us had expected it to be so emotional or so spiritual. We all said a few words and perhaps the comments that stick out the most to me were Janie’s sister’s comment that, “Janie only could do this because in the hard moments, she would just think about you. She called you her perfect couple. She couldn’t have done this for anyone else.” And then Cam reminded everyone of a comment Janie’s brother had said when we came to visit earlier that month. “Perhaps we all knew each other in the pre-earth life, and we made a deal that we would all work together to do this very thing when we came to earth.”

We whole-heartedly believe there was some heavenly arrangement we all made before any of us came to earth. Janie was meant to be a birth mom for our son, Cruze Michael Lewis. She is quite simply an angel who has given us the most perfect gift that has ever been given. And Forever Bound adoption and the counselors therein are our miracle workers who made everything possible. I used to think adoption was too messy of a process, a process that required too much of my heart, a process that hurt too badly when it didn’t work. But that was when Cam and I were trying to go it alone. What we didn’t realize is that if you go about it the right way, with your own advocates, working with people who treat their job to assist you like it’s their personal duty, adoption isn’t messy at all. It’s just beautiful.

We're a family! We brought Cruze back "home" to Cam's parent's house and began our life as a family!

We’re a family! We brought Cruze back “home” to Cam’s parent’s house and began our life as a family!

















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Getting on Stage for The Price is Right

This is a post that goes into detail about my Price is Right experience with my mom. We had the time of our lives at the end of August 2013 when we took a girls trip to Los Angeles (read the “setting the stage” post prior to this one for the reasoning behind our trip)!

Before I go any further, I recommend that EVERYONE go and enjoy this show as an audience member at some point in their lives. It is so incredible to be in a live audience, and hey, if you have the chance to COME ON DOWN, doesn’t it make it all the more exciting? Here goes!

Monday, Aug. 26, 2013

This is the hotel you need to stay at if you go to the Price is Right. We LOVED it. And it was literally 30 feet from the entrance to CBS studios

This is the hotel you need to stay at if you go to the Price is Right. We LOVED it. And it was literally 30 feet from the entrance to CBS studios

I call Online Camera Audiences (OCA) to confirm our tickets for Price is Right for Tuesday at 12 noon and Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. The rep on the phone invites me and Mom to also come to the 8:30 a.m. taping on Tuesday morning. We decide to reserve general admission tickets (on a first-come-first-served basis, with the understanding we have to be there by 8:30 a.m.) We knew our flight would land at 7:30 a.m. California time, and surely we could get to our hotel in less than an hour, then walk across the street to CBS studio by 8:30 a.m. Surely.

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013:

4-10 a.m. Getting to Los Angeles, so bizarre

We woke up at 4 a.m. so we could make our 6:30 a.m. flight. We get to the airport, and our flight is delayed 45 minutes. 45 minutes turns into an hour and we don’t arrive at LAX until 8:45 a.m. Boo. And can I just say, I have never felt so out-of-place in my life as I did flying from Dallas to Los Angeles? It was a very interesting crowd. Didn’t help that we were flying Spirit airlines, which basically runs out of the “portables section” of the DFW airport, but hey, the tickets were dirt cheap, so who am I to complain.

Well, because the flight was delayed we knew we missed the morning taping, or so we thought, but at least we still had priority tickets for the afternoon taping. We decided to catch a shuttle to our hotel, rather than ride the metro bus (we knew we didn’t want to pay for a taxi or rental car—ridiculous pricing, and the metro bus seemed like it’d be a cheap, although time-consuming experience). But mom says “Let’s just take the shuttle” after we talk to the oblivious old gal working the LAX information desk. (Funny side story: she didn’t know what the Price is Right was when we asked the best way to get there, then she said she never talked to anyone but her cats…ummmm…don’t you work at the LAX information desk???) By the time our shuttle bus hits the highway it’s about 9 a.m. and I turn on my phone to find a new e-mail from OCA, the ticketing company that is in charge of filling the studio for PIR. The e-mail says: as long as you’re here by 9:30 a.m., we still have room for you so Come on Down. NO WAY! We just keep praying our shuttle drives a little faster. 9:10, 9:15, 9:25, 9:30…still not at our hotel.

This is a full shot of the hotel, directly across the street is CBS studios

This is a full shot of the hotel, directly across the street is CBS studios

We pull up to our hotel at 9:45 a.m., run in and drop our bags with the hotel concierge and grab our red matching shirts for day 1. We run across the street, and lo and behold, there are still a few seats left! We take the tickets at the entry gate then make our way a few steps toward the studio. I turn around and ask the OCA official if we should just wait and come back for the next taping, since we have “priority tickets” as opposed to “general admission” tickets. He recommends we stay for the morning taping. We made it in!

Tuesday: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

We wait in line, are assigned numbers and make friends with those around us. The Online Camera Crew takes our picture in front of a green screen and then we go into the “interview” portion of the show.

You can see the numbers we were assigned in this picture, we were at the back of the group. There are probably only 300 people per recording

You can see the numbers we were assigned in this picture, we were at the back of the group. There are probably only 300 people per recording

The interview process was crazy. Stan, the producer of the show, conducts the interviews. He takes folks in groups of about 40, then goes individually down the line and asks questions, a different question for each person. But he starts with one question when you all walk up…

“Who wants to win a NEW CAR?!”

Of course, that gets everyone riled up, and he begins the interview. Everyone hears your interview, so it’s a little nerve-racking, okay, A LOT nerve-racking.

“What do you do?” “Where are you from” those are his main first two questions. Then he follows-up with appropriate second questions based on your answers. Can I just say, I loved Stan?  He was so neat and what a cool job he had!

Mom and I were the last two people in our group, which was the second to last group to undergo interviews. Totally worked to our advantage, I think.

Mom went first, and Stan really liked Mom! He asked her what she did, and I think he didn’t quite understand “faux finishing” so he moved onto me pretty quickly.

Stan: “What do you do?”

Me: “I’m a marketing specialist!”

Stan: “So do you work for a company?”

Me: “Yes, I work for an agency.”

Stan: “What’s the name of the agency?” (I feel like he was trying to catch me in a lie or something)

Me: “Red Rocket Media in (mumbled) New Mexico…” (I started to trail off because my shirt pushed the “Texas-gal” angle and I didn’t want to talk about NM, no offense, but the Lone Star State trumps “land of enchantment,” and we only just barely moved here)

Stan: “Great! Thanks for coming” he starts to walk away.

Me: “I LIKE, I TWEET, I FOLLOW Price is Right!!!!!”

Stan: Whipping around…”What’s your favorite game!?”

Me: “Half off!”

Stan: “Why?”

Me: “Because you need skill on pricing small products and you can WIN A NEW CAR!!!!”

Stan: “What do you want to win?”

Me: “A Honda CRV!” (Don’t know why that car popped into my head, I guess because we’d been looking at different mid-size SUVs lately).

Whew. I skipped off, feeling so pumped. I knew no one else in our group got as much one-on-one attention as I did. But I wasn’t confident I would get called up, after all there were like 8 groups he’d interviewed, and perhaps there were other individuals that had better interviews before us.

We entered the studio, which by the way is absolutely darling! My mom and I had made buddies with the OCA staff while we were in line, so our new friend Matt ushered us to awesome seats on the left, a few rows behind George Gray, the announcer. I was on the end.

Here is the poster board with my name on it on the headboard of the bed in our hotel room. It wasn't very big, so I didn't even see it when they held it up on stage. Good thing Mom heard my name and saw it being held. I never would have known!

Here is the poster board with my name on it on the headboard of the bed in our hotel room. It wasn’t very big, so I didn’t even see it when they held it up on stage. Good thing Mom heard my name and saw it being held. I never would have known!

The studio is quite small, but the environment was INSANE, like a pep rally on steroids. George and Drew get everyone pumped up and they introduce the production crew. Everyone is so hyped up, then they announce they are going to begin the show. They ask everyone to stay sitting down until all the first four contestants have been called, so that way the camera doesn’t scan to the wrong person. Then, you can remain standing/cheering for the remainder of the show. George also explains that in addition to saying a name over the microphone, a crew member will hold a poster with your name down on stage. Good thing they do that, because nobody can hear anything over the crazed audience.

Everything from here on out I COULDN’T TELL ANYONE after the taping. I think I signed a confidentiality statement? I signed a few papers and was told so many rules about prizes, I was a little paranoid my prizes would be taken away if I spilled the beans.

Come on Down!

Texas gals like the Price is Right! We went for another taping on day 2 just so we could get to wear these shirts

Texas gals like the Price is Right! We went for another taping on day 2 just so we could get to wear these shirts

First person gets called down. He’s a guy, going crazy dancing down the aisles. Then they call the second person and we’re all cheering…suddenly, mom is grabbing both of my shoulders, shaking me “It’s YOU! It’s YOU!”

No. Freaking. Way.

I run down, my heart beating out of my chest. I am one of the first four contestants on the Price is Right. I couldn’t believe it. (As you can tell by my ridiculous, “I’m about to faint” facial expressions)

First item up for bid. Six digital underwater cameras. I look at my mom, who urges me to bid $600, I ignore her and bid $1,000. Everyone else also bids high. We all overbid. We bid again, my bid was $800. Once again, we ALL OVERBID. Third time, I win with a bid of $500. Who’d have thunk? Actual retain price was $509

These are the friends we made in line the second day, we took pics outside the studio gates because you can't bring cameras  inside. And you have to check your cellphones immediately. But this is Brent and Trey (Walter). You might recognize Trey from MTV's "The Real World" and Brent is a professional life coach and public speaker who travels the US speaking on anti-bullying and overcoming obstacles. We had such great conversations with these fellas.

These are the friends we made in line the second day, we took pics outside the studio gates because you can’t bring cameras inside. And you have to check your cellphones immediately. But this is Brent and Trey (Walter). You might recognize Trey from MTV’s “The Real World” and Brent is a professional life coach and public speaker who travels the US speaking on anti-bullying and overcoming obstacles. We had such great conversations with these fellas.

Whoa. I’m on stage. With Drew Carey. I’m totally out of breath, he asks me where I’m from, and I tell him Texas originally but now I live in NM with my husband. I’m so out of breath he asks if I ran all the way to CBS studios.

Then, I have a chance to WIN A NEW…..Wave Runner. It’s a Yamaha 3-seater wave runner. So gorgeous. Before I even know what game it is, I turn to mom to see her reaction, she’s holding up two hands fingers fully spread, so I assume it’s a $10,000 prize.

Then they announce the game is Squeeze Play. I have 6 numbers and I have to squeeze one of the middle four numbers OUT.


I look at Mom again, and sure enough, she’s telling me to squeeze out the 5, which I agree with. “Get rid of the 5 DREW!” I shout.

And now the price reads $10,684. They flip down the flap revealing the ARP, and it’s a match. I’ve won a $10k WAVERUNNER?!?! NO WAY!

I sprint off stage and some crew member named Kim attempts to calm me down. “You have GOT to calm down, breathe,” she urges me.

I totally forget that I still have to spin the wheel. I watch the remaining two contestants get on stage and play their games, although you could hardly say I was watching. I couldn’t pay attention at all.

Wheel time. First guy spins and goes over. My turn, I spin as hard as I can and then begin saying my Emmy award acceptance speech. I promised my sister Carley if I got on stage I’d give a call out to her first. But once I got to the studio, I realized the show wouldn’t air until mid-October, and I knew Dallas would be on his mission by then, too! I have to shout out to CARLEY and DALLAS. So, when Drew asked if there was anyone I’d like to say “Hi” to, I of course began my monologue.

“My brother and sister who are serving missions for our church and won’t be able to see this episode for 2 years, my mom it’s her birthday and she brought me here and my husband.”

But, by the time I got to “my mom it’s her…” the crowd is GOING CRAZY!!! Drew is cutting me off and I see red out of the corner of my left eye. But I have to say hi to Cam! So I continue talking until he makes me turn around and acknowledge that…I JUST SPUN 100 on the BIG WHEEL.

You’ve got to be kidding me. I just won $1,000 and I stood off to the side while the next guy spins twice and goes over. Oh my gosh, I’m going to be in the showcase showdown. What?!

Then Drew reminds me, I spin again. Hallelujah! I wasn’t so excited about spinning again, but  I just needed to continue my speech, I hadn’t even said hi to sweet Cassidy or Dad. So I had just enough time.

I don’t even know what I spun the second time. I didn’t care, I got all of my “hello’s” out of the way and now I could leave the show an insanely happy person.

The showcase showdown was awesome. I went against a sweet old lady named Jeune. I was first, so I had the chance to bid or pass on two motorcycles and a trip to Amsterdam. I passed, of course–I’m no biker chick–adding that “My husband would want me to bid, but I’ll pass.” She bids $22,000. Then I get my showcase, it’s a pair of tablets, a trip to Cypress and a VW Golf.

Now, I knew the tablets couldn’t be more than $1000, they weren’t Apple. And I knew the price of the Golf was around $17,000 (I’d been studying car prices), but Cypress….where the heck is that? I’d been warned NOT TO GO OVER by their staff. Apparently, they’ve had a real issue with people having double over-bids lately, and I guess when that happens, viewership goes down. “So be cautious,” the crew reminded us. I bid 26,500. I was under by 7,000. Jeune was under by $157…she was a DOUBLE SHOWCASE WINNER!

It was so incredible. I was in an episode with a double showcase winner. No, I wasn’t the winner, but I was part of the miracle, and my experience was a miracle.  And I am so happy for Jeune, I loved her. Sweetest lady EVER.

In total, I won $12,000+ worth of prizes. I am so blown away, so happy, so blessed.

Cam and I believe this is a “missionary” blessing, a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father because we have 3 siblings serving missions right now. My sister Carley, my brother Dallas and Cam’s brother McKay. They are all serving full-time missions in foreign lands, serving the Lord’s people and preaching His restored gospel.

I don’t think it’s ironic that the value of my prizes comes out to be the exact cost of an IVF procedure (minus the medications) or the cost of an adoption.

As silly as it may seem, and as childish of a hope it was to get to be on the Price is Right, I feel like it was a blessing and a sign from Heavenly Father that He does love me and that He wants me and Cam to keep trying to grow our family, to not give up. My exciting experience came as a result of a wonderful mother who knew how to lift my spirits, and by the missionary service of faithful, righteous family members. I’m not just saying that to sound cliché. I know that to be true.

I’ll collect my prizes within 90 days of the air date, so we can expect prizes by Jan. 16, 2014. And if you’re in the market for a WaveRunner, let me know. Price can be negotiated, or I’m also willing to trade for your baby. Just kidding. ;)

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Setting the Stage for the Price is Right

Setting the Stage: Why my Experience was Priceless!

Growing up, I was like most kids—I’d watch the Price is Right in the summertime or on the days when I stayed home from school sick. I loved Bob Barker and I loved the thrill of guessing prices—no, KNOWING all the prices as an expert 10-year-old gal munching on my cereal in my PJs.

I thought I would never have time to actually fulfill this life dream!

I thought I would never have time to actually fulfill this life dream!

My mom and I would always joke we would go to the Price is Right one day. It was a pipe dream, and we really had no plan to get there. But we still would watch PIR regularly and mention, “We’ve GOT to go there someday,” fully aware “someday” would never really happen. In the words of my online sensation friend Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.”

Well, as many family members and friends know, the last 3 years have been rough, as my husband and I have struggled with infertility. Our trials have unfortunately seemed to climax in the last year months as we faced the tragedy of a failed adoption when our baby girl died in the 39th week of pregnancy (mom was in a car accident—mom was fine, thankfully, but our baby girl didn’t make it and was delivered stillborn). Following that experience, we got right back on the “family pursuit train” and decided to pursue IVF.  Very long story short, it didn’t work and we were devastated.

Now, I’m not trying to be a Debby Downer, but I’m just trying to explain WHY my Price is Right experience was extremely meaningful and the answer to a prayer, in addition to the most exciting moment of my life (yes, marrying Cam was still the highlight and most happy moment of my life, but PIR takes the cake on most exciting).

When my mom found out IVF didn’t work, of course she tried to console me. But as I’ve told her before, she is a wonderful counselor, friend and the person you definitely want to talk to when you are happy about something or angry about something, but she isn’t the best conversationalist when you want someone to cry with. She doesn’t do sad conversations or goodbyes very well. And God bless her, I love her for that. She can’t handle seeing someone, especially a family member, unhappy and when someone is sad, her “fix-it” mentality kicks in.

This is us with our baby Lady at 13 weeks. We adore her!

This is us with our baby Lady at 13 weeks. We adore her!

In my case, her “fix-it” solution was two-fold. First, she found a darling collie puppy for me (we’d been looking for puppies prior to our adoption and IVF experiences, and hadn’t returned to the puppy pursuit since we’d been absorbed in the family growth campaign). Second, she had my dad reserve us tickets on the Price is Right.

I smiled on the phone when she told me, but I wasn’t as ecstatic as I should have been.  I wasn’t quite ready to jump for joy at that point, but those two things—a puppy and Price is Right—were perhaps the only things that could have brought a smile to my face. She knew EXACTLY what would be a quick fix to temporary happiness. And that temporary happiness is what kept me optimistic enough to remember I have access to a deeper happiness through my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. Because He has a perfect plan of happiness for each of us, and so I realized quickly that this was just part of a bigger plan.

There. I’ve set the stage. Here’s where it gets a bit more exciting.

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IVF: Positive Experience, Negative Results

It’s been a full month now since we finished our IVF procedure. As you can assume from the title of this blog, we aren’t pregnant.

I could go on for days explaining each little aspect of how I felt during each step of the way, but I’ll try to be brief:

Getting a Loan: We were so grateful we were able to obtain a loan for nearly $15,000 THE DAY BEFORE we had to pay for our IVF procedure. Yeah, we were cutting it close. Before I explain anything else, let me be clear in saying, even thought IVF didn’t work for us this time, Heavenly Father wanted us to have this experience. I haven’t quite understood yet why we needed to try something if it was just going to fail and break our hearts, however, I know it was supposed to be this way. We’ll learn why at some point, and if we don’t figure it out in this life, you know what my first question will be in Heaven. But back to the loan, Heavenly Father provided a way for us to pay for the entire cost of the procedure, and a portion of the cost of the medications. It was a miracle!

Pre-IVF Cycle Medications: I took 3 pills a day for 1.5 months just to “cleanse” my body and be healthy: Levora/birth control, DHEA, and folic acid.

I took these pills for about 1.5 months before the hard core meds came into play

I took these pills for about 1.5 months before the hard core meds came into play

IVF Cycle Meds: 10 days of “big boy” meds/pills and stomach shots of Bravelle (the most expensive drug ever…$50/mL and I took 6 mL/day). Bravelle is a fertility boosting drug that helps follicles develop. Follicles are the pre-cursors to eggs.

These are all the drugs I took during June.

These are all the drugs I took during June.

These are the 6 vials of Bravelle I took with 1 mL of Sodium Chloride for 12 days, to the tune of $300/day just for these vials.

These are the 6 vials of Bravelle I took with 1 mL of Sodium Chloride for 12 days, to the tune of $300/day just for these vials.

Yummy, right? Daily doses of pills.

Yummy, right? Daily doses of pills.

Check-ups/Sonograms: 3 or 4 times a week for 2 weeks, we drove to Dr. Noble’s office in El Paso, Texas, for sonograms to check the progress of my little follicles. Some appointments we left in tears, others we left happier than we’d ever been! For someone my age, Dr. Noble said he would have liked to have seen 15-20 follicles at our first sonogram. The more follicles you start with on that Day 1 sonogram, the more likely you are to have extra eggs after retrieval and embryo transfer, so you can freeze some embryos (cryo-preservation). Well, I had 7 follicles at my Day 1 sono–unimpressive. By the Day 4 sonogram, I had 4 follicles. The doctor told us to pray about stopping IVF, because he absolutely would not continue if by the next sonogram I had less than 3 follicles. So we prayed, alright. We named my follicles Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Mo and we just hoped and prayed the Bravelle medication, and the Lord, would help our 4 follies grow healthfully. By the Day 6 sonogram, I still had 4 follicles, but one wasn’t developing. We cried a lot, then prayed a lot, then cried and prayed some more. We knew at this point the chances for freezing were minimal to nonexistent, but we just wanted to have enough eggs to complete this IVF cycle. The doctor explained alternatives to IVF that we could transition to, but we felt we needed to continue with IVF. We didn’t want the sloppy seconds to IVF (one of which was an Intra Uterine Insemination, or IUI). By the Day 8 sono, we had 5 follicles! We were so ecstatic! Day 10 came and all 5 follicles were growing, but they extended my medications by 2 additional days so I continued taking Bravelle to help those follicles develop. By Day 12, the follicles were ready, and the doctor gave us the go-ahead to come in the following day for the anesthesia and egg retrieval. Hopefully of those 5 follicles, there was at least 1 healthy egg.

Anesthesia and Retrieval of the Eggs: We went in for the procedure, and my sweet nurse Ana gave me a little gift of bath salts and body lotion. She made me feel all pampered and special. Those little things mean the world to sappy folks like me. We were in and out in less than an hour, they retrieved 3 eggs and Dr. Noble was so happy to have retrieved that many. I was initially sad, because I hoped for 5 eggs–one egg from each follicle, but it just doesn’t work that way. The embryologist Lyla immediately began examining the eggs under a microscope and she described them as BEAUTIFUL. Music to our ears! It’s her job to take my eggs and combine them with Cam’s sperm to create our little petri-dish babies/embryos. She said she would call us the following morning with word on how our embryos were developing/what “grade” they were assigned.

Time to go under and get my eggs retrieved!

Time to go under and get my eggs retrieved!

Developing the Embryos: Lyla graded our embryos as 4-, 4-, 3+. Basically, that’s like getting two A-s and a B+. They were healthy embryos and she recommended that Dr. Noble transfer ALL 3 embryos. WHAT?! We were shocked! From the beginning, Dr. Noble only wanted to transfer 1 embryo, because he said I was a healthy young female. So we were sure he would tell Lyla “No way!” But he listened to her advice, because she said based on her experience, these brother/sister embryos needed to stay together because they would help the strongest to survive in the womb, and freezing wasn’t an option if any of the embryos weren’t used–they would just be medically discarded, I guess. Dr. Noble and Lyla were fairly certain I wouldn’t have become pregnant with triplets, but they did disclose it as a potential “risk” and boy, were we okay with that risk. Side note: Lyla is a big believer in fertility symbols and including religious/fertility objects in the embryo transfer room. She said she assumed we were Mormon because she learned we had attended Utah State for our bachelor’s degrees, and she had received her Master’s degree from USU (no, she isn’t LDS), but in an effort to create a Mormon fertility symbol, she printed a picture of a temple spire and put it next to our petri-dish. I am crying as I remember and type this experience. It was so thoughtful and I couldn’t picture anything that would have meant more to me. I mean, this stranger made sure my babies entered the world, greeted by the LDS religious symbol for eternity.

Sperm + Egg = Embryo

Sperm + Egg = Embryo

Transfer Day and Bed Rest: We went in for our embryo transfer on Tuesday, June 18. I stayed on bed rest in our hotel in El Paso for 3 days, then continued bed rest for 2 more days in Carlsbad. Cam was the absolute sweetest caretaker ever; he made me breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed every day, put movies on for me, called my mom and updated her on my status (I wasn’t allowed to use/hold electronics at all–no cell phone, no laptop, no life). I spent a ton of time reading scriptures and books and playing board games with Cam.

Aunt Mindy gave me fertility beads from Hawaii, so I wore them to the embryo transfer.

Aunt Mindy gave me fertility beads from Hawaii, so I wore them to the embryo transfer.

This is a picture of the embryos after being inserted with a catheter

This is a picture of the embryos after being inserted with a catheter

4 year anniversary dinner. Cam made this for me, turkey burger, cauliflower and green beans.

4 year anniversary dinner. Cam made this for me, turkey burger, cauliflower and green beans, since I was on bed rest on June 20 in our hotel.


Negative Results: On June 27, I had instructions to go to a lab and get a blood draw to test my HCG levels and have the results faxed to Dr. Noble’s office. I had my blood drawn at 7 a.m., and by 2 p.m. it was confirmed we weren’t pregnant. I was at work when I got the news. I was mentally checked-out for the rest of the day, as you can imagine. Truth be told, I’ve been mentally and emotionally checked-out for the last few weeks, so I apologize if I’ve seemed a bit “off” around any of you. I’m doing much better now, though.

Kindness: There have been several acts of kindness that have meant the world to me over the last couple months. I can’t list them all, but here are a few.

  • One of my best friends texted me a joke every day for a month because she knew humor and lifted spirits were specific instructions from my doctor.
  • My sweet friend from church brought me and Cam delicious dinners more than once and removed that pressure of cooking on the days that we had 6 hours of round trip travel to and from El Paso for sonograms and the retrieval.
  • The girls I work with brought me a thoughtful card and special gift while I was on bed rest–activity books, funny jokes and a yummy candle.
  • Within 24 hours of finding out we weren’t pregnant, I got the most sensitive card from the sweetest person on the face of this earth. Prior to opening her card, I found myself angry with God and upset about our newly acquired $20,000 in debt. How could a caring Father in Heaven allow this to happen? We opened the mail and there was a note from a past ward member of ours. She and her husband had undergone IVF years ago, so she felt for us. They had written us a check for an incredibly generous amount–the exact amount we needed to pay off the medications we’d paid for with our 20% APR credit card. Yeah, we didn’t want to continue paying 20% interest on that amount for several months in addition to our large monthly loan payment. Let’s just say this family is heaven sent and one day, I’d like to be just like them.
  • And one last act of kindness was from my mommy. She bought us a collie puppy. :) So, for now, we’re putting a halt to the baby pursuit and we’re going to share our love with our new puppy, as soon as she joins our family in August.

All in all, I am grateful for IVF. Now we can say we’ve done it. The medications didn’t kill me, and in fact, I prefer the way I felt while on the assortment of meds for IVF than I felt on Clomid, the anti-Christ drug. Shutter, uggh. And I grew closer to Cam through all of this as well. I also learned to accept service and kindness from others like I’ve never experienced before. Perhaps down the road, we’ll pursue IVF again. Right now, we still have adoption profiles up on a few different websites, but we aren’t paying for premium placement and we aren’t actively pursuing seeking out birth moms. In time, we’ll return to our pursuit of family, but we are taking a break for a while as we recover physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially.

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What ivf?

Nope, that’s not a typo. Inquiring minds have led me to want to explain a little bit about what’s going on in our lives right now. If you’ve been keeping up with us lately, you know Cam and I have been anxiously trying to grow our family for more than 2 years. And as many already know, we just recently experienced a failed adoption in late February. It was devastating, and while we still hope to adopt, we haven’t been pursuing it as aggressively lately. In April, my fertility doctor urged us to begin In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, as quickly as possible, because he noticed something new—in addition to my diagnosis of “diminished ovarian reserve” (meaning I have an egg supply similar to that of a 50-year-old woman…like, for example, my mom…as of this month…sorry mom) I apparently also have one poor ovary that resembles the ovaries of a woman in her late 30s. Boo.

So, we worked super hard to save money and we scrambled to obtain our first loan to help with the remaining costs (okay…so by the remainder I mean pretty much all of the medical costs). Sheesh, this is more expensive than I could have imagined. Not quite $20,000, but pretty dang close.

In spite of the financial pinch (understatement of the year) we find ourselves in, WE ARE SO EXCITED! We’re set to begin IVF this summer. I’ll explain the process now, but I don’t necessarily want to share the exact dates of when I’m actually taking meds and going to appointments because in the event that it doesn’t work, I don’t know if I can handle people following up with me too soon. But at the same time, we would LOVE the prayers of friends and family members. Specifically, we ask that you pray for safe travels to and from our doctor’s office 3 hours away and that the medications will work.

So here’s how IVF works:

For one month, I take a birth control pill to basically ensure that I’m not pregnant, plus folic acid and another pill called DHEA. (Sprinkle in a few antibiotics and one intense drug called cytotec)

Then, the real stuff kicks in and I have multiple trips to El Paso, close to 10 in one month. That’s a 3 hour drive each way, and yes, that’s the closest fertility clinic and is the clinic our last doctor recommended.

I have a “test-drive” appointment where the doctor inserts air into me to make sure that on the day of the embryo transfer, there aren’t any unexpected “things” ??? (yeah, I’ve gotten to the point where I stop asking questions…like, what could possibly get in the way that they haven’t already seen a million times in all of my diagnostic sonograms?) Any way, after the month of prep pills, I have a baseline sonogram to measure all future sonos by.

The day after my baseline sonogram, my injections start, and I pull out the “big gun” medications (5 pills every morning). And at night, I give myself a shot in the stomach after mixing 6 vials of a powder with 1 vial of liquid. Shots in the booty will come later and I’ll need Cam’s assistance with that needle—that I swear could be used on an elephant—to inject more meds. Quivvvverrrrr.

After 10 days, yes ONLY 10 days, of the 5 pills each morning/injection at night routine, they’ll retrieve my eggs! And it’s during the day/days surrounding retrieval that I’ll get those elephant needle shots. The doctor will remove every last egg and “grade” them based on health. The healthiest eggs will be paired with Cam’s “contribution” in a petri-dish where they will have a date for 5 days and become an embryo. We’re hoping for at least 15 eggs so they can freeze some of the embryos for future IVF cycles.

Then comes the exciting day…embryo transfer! I will be on bed rest for 3-4 days during this time and it’s recommended that I either hire a comedian—yes, that’s actually something I read in an IVF study—or watch funny movies, because hormones released during laughter can somehow increase your odds for becoming pregnant. Go figure. This is why I asked for funny movie recommendations on facebook. Ahh, you see?

I know I have a tendency to over-explain and probably to be far too open, but this is my only method of journaling, so don’t be offended, but I’m actually doing this for myself primarily, and I’m sorry if I delve too deep.

I really have struggled with whether or not to even tell anyone, but as mentioned in the first paragraph, I’ve gotten lots of questions from my dear friends and family members about how the adoption search is coming. As hard as it was to answer questions about “where’s your baby?” after the failed adoption, I worry that “how did IVF go?” will be just as heart wrenching.  BUT, on the other hand, how can I call down the blessings of Heaven and ask my friends and family to pray for me if they don’t know what’s going on? So..after much thought and prayer, I’ve decided to open up a little and I ask any that might read this blog to please, please spare a prayer. And what ivf (haha) we become pregnant? I know it’ll be because of the prayers of a righteous host of angels on earth and the power of massive prayers.

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The Value of Words

I feel like a 14-year-old version of myself right now; like I should begin this blog post as I would my sporadic journal from the early 2000’s…”Sorry it’s been like forever since I’ve written.” But seriously, it  has been.

Looking back on my last blog, it reminds me of a soap opera (or what I can only imagine a soap opera would sound like). I hate to be a negative Nelly, dwelling on the trials of my life, so today I just want to take a moment to express some of the vital lessons I’ve learned over the last month or so. I think these are lessons that can be applied to a trial from anyone’s situation, but are based on my current struggle–that of infertility meshed with an adoption that fell through due to the death of my baby in the 39th week of pregnancy.

So, here goes, Lessons Learned on the Value of Words:

Value of Words

1) Some people say the right thing at just the right time. In fact, many of those people might be among the five or six people that read this blog. Their comments came at times of dire need, and to be honest, weren’t always solicited and didn’t make me feel immediately better, but have settled in my heart and I cherish their wise words.

One of the comments I most appreciate came from an angel in my mom’s church the Sunday following the baby’s death (we went to visit my family that week any way, just so I could clear my head and my husband Cam ended up needing to travel for work, so it was great timing).

Mandy is the Relief Society President and my mom had told her of our situation–she could totally empathize with me, since she’d been through similar trials of infertility, but now has two beautiful children through the miracle of adoption. I had heard through my mom Mandy and her husband had a long struggle of waiting for their family to grow, so when she approached me Sunday to hug me and tell me she was praying for me, I listened keenly to her words, praying for some bit of advice or a story that would ease my pain, while at the same time squirming uncomfortably because the topic was still too tender to talk about.

She asked me how I was doing and I couldn’t help but verbalize some of the bitterness I felt about the situation and the fact that today was yet another monthly fast Sunday at church. “I’m so tired of fasting and attending the temple every month, praying day and night–and even over our meal prayers–for the same thing for more than 2 years to no avail.” She looked at me with a sweetness in her eyes and then came the best thing she could have said (and she doesn’t even know it since I haven’t seen her since). I wish I could remember exactly how she said it, but I know how my soul heard it. She prefaced this comment with her own story and experience, then said something along the lines of “You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you pray for and expect a baby every day, just put it into the Lord’s hands and trust Him to work it out. You don’t need to stress over this.” I’ve heard this concept no less than 1,000 times “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding,” but hearing it that Sunday from someone who had literally walked the same path I’m trudging through now really struck me. It took several hours, or even days, of letting her comments churn in my soul, but it’s made a world of difference for my perspective. Since then, I really mean it now when I say my prayers, “Heavenly Father, please help our family to grow, however and whenever it’s time. We’ll continue moving forward with all we can do through adoption agencies and our fertility clinic, but this is in your hands because I can’t take the pressure any more.”

I love this video on trusting our Father in Heaven Cameron and I watched on Monday.

2) Some people say the absolute wrong thing, at the worst time. I’m a sensitive person by nature. Growing up with a house full of girls, my ears were constantly perked, listening to the tone, underlying meaning and specific wording used by those around me, meanwhile my eyes scanned the body language of the speaker to confirm whatever was said. Girls…sheesh. My mom and sisters were easy to read when they were frustrated with me, but on the flip side, they were the most thoughtful beings on the planet and taught me how to be sensitive to the needs of others. So, in an already sensitive situation like this, I’m sure you can imagine how an unkind word would really kill me emotionally and even a border-line comment would wound me for an afternoon. I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say this: none of my closest friends and family members said ANYTHING offensive. The comments that stung came from people I usually don’t talk to often at all. Comments from Joe Shmo about “Well, so-and-so adopted and their kids are just, well, weird…maybe you should adopt internationally so you don’t have to worry about the drug babies.” Or when a recent acquaintance stops by because she heard the news and wanted to check on me (while I’m makeup-less in sweats 2 days after the tragedy) and, after looking at a framed family picture from 6 months ago states, “WOW! Isn’t it interesting how some people look so different in photos than in person?” Ouch, that one was a real zinger, especially as she continued, clarifying that I didn’t misinterpret. “I have a friend with a daughter like you. She has two daughters, one is gorgeous but doesn’t take good pictures, the other daughter, well…she isn’t very cute but takes AMAZING pictures.” Yeah, dagger to the heart. You can leave now.

3) Some people don’t know what to say, and so they say exactly that. I LOVE these people. I want to BE one of these people for someone some day. They don’t try and come up with some story to tell me when they have no idea what I’m going through, they just shoot me a text, facebook message, bouquet of flowers (seriously! I have the most thoughtful employer and cousins!) and say “thinking of you” or “I’m sorry, and I don’t know what to say” or “if you need to talk, I’m here for you.” Probably the majority of people fall into this category, and for you, I praise my Father in Heaven because you are the answers to many of my prayers.

Obviously, I’ve learned many more lessons than these over the past several weeks, however, interacting with each group of people who have different words to say (or sometimes say nothing at all) has just reminded me how much my Father in Heaven loves all of us and knows each of us individually. We all have our own trials, and I know I’ve been the person who, in an attempt to be considerate, says something stupid or in forgetting who I’m talking to and their situation, says something that could be entirely offensive. I now pray that I can show more empathy to those I can relate to and shut my mouth and quiet the part of me that is a chronic over-explainer and just say “I’m here for you” when I have no idea what to say.

And the most valuable lesson of all, of course, is that our Savior has complete empathy and love for us because He atoned for us. His words, scripture and latter-day revelation are of the most eternal value and, similarly to those spoken by our friends and family, may sometimes take time to sink in or may come at an inconvenient time. But I know now, as I’ve known before and perhaps temporarily forgotten, if we stay close to our Savior and our Father in Heathen and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we’ll know what to say and when to say it, if we are to be instruments in His hands.

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Adoption Update

On Monday, Feb. 18, I posted this on Facebook:

FBupdateLet’s just say I wouldn’t write this post again today. The last 24 hours have been quite a let down, to put it lightly.

Many of our friends and extended family members don’t know this, but about a month ago, we were contacted by a birth mom in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It’s a long story for how she got our contact information (a story of what I thought were little miracles all along the way).

Any way, to make a very long story short(er), we’ve been in contact with this birth mom, who I’ll call Allison, for a few weeks now. Barely an hour went by that she and I weren’t texting or talking to one another. She had been searching for the “right family” for nearly 8 months and it seemed like a miracle that we entered the adoption process at just the right moment for her to be put in contact with us. (She found us through a mutual friend, one of many “angels” in my life, if you will)

Well, we met her two Saturdays ago. We had a wonderful evening going to dinner with her and her children (from a different father–that’s part of the reason she was placing her daughter for adoption). We spent nearly 3 hours just talking and spending time together at a pizza arcade restaurant. She told us on Saturday night that she would have an answer for us as to whether or not we were “the couple” within the next day or so. I locked in on the “next day” portion, and Cam heard the “or so” part. We anxiously waited by the phone for what seemed like weeks waiting for the call. Then, on Monday night came this text…

selection textWe went on texting each other through the remainder of the night. It was the best night of our lives! Two years of trying to conceive our first child had come to an end. But, I had heard horror stories about adoptions gone wrong, so I didn’t want to announce to the world just yet, nor did I want to start thinking about names or decorating a nursery. We wanted to be patient–despite the fact that she was due within the next two weeks, Feb. 28, to be exact.

After she told us she chose us, we prepared a "go bag" so we could leave on a moment's notice

After she told us she chose us, we prepared a “go bag” so we could leave on a moment’s notice

The Sunday following her selection of us, I felt very inspired at church and through my own daily scripture study, that I needed to put more faith in my Heavenly Father. I felt so bad that I had doubted His goodness and that I had tried to keep my miracle story to myself, when I should be shouting from the roof tops “We’re expecting a BABY! It’s been 2 years coming, and it’s finally happening!”

So, after feeling prompted, we decided it was time to start doing all the fun stuff–choosing a name, telling our families our name ideas, getting their input, shopping for all the essentials we’ll need, and yes, announcing to even more friends and family that we were expecting…in 10 days.

On Monday, exactly a week after we found out we had been selected by Allison, I announced to all of my extended family (on my mom’s side–100+ family members) that we were expecting a baby girl. I called/e-mailed a few friends and gave them the news as well. I was putting my trust in the Lord that if I jumped in with both feet, He’d keep me afloat and help this delivery process to go smoothly. That’s why I posted on Facebook that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I believed our prayer had been answered, and I was excited to post a picture of us with our new baby within the next 10 days to surprise everyone else. Unfortunately, we won’t be posting any pictures of our first baby any time soon.

I feel like such a fool for announcing to so many people our wonderful news prematurely. On Tuesday (yesterday, 8 days after her selection of us), Allison texted me that she hadn’t felt the baby move and she was worried. I, of course, was extremely concerned and immediately got on the horn and told my mom and Cam’s mom. Both of them reassured me that this happens often toward the end of pregnancies, as the baby doesn’t have as much room to move, or the baby is just sleeping. I felt better for a while, that is, until I didn’t hear from her after she went to the doctor. I called and texted from noon to 8 p.m. and got no response. Cam also texted her. We were dying, just dying.

I had to do something to keep my mind from imagining the worst. So making custom bows seemed like the only option.

I had to do something to keep my mind from imagining the worst. So making custom bows seemed like the only option.

Finally, at 9 p.m., I got a text from Allison’s mother. She told us that Allison needed to get her rest after the long day and that she had left her phone in the car. Apparently, Allison had asked her mom to text us and tell us that. I was completely rattled. Why wasn’t Allison texting us? Something must really be wrong, I thought. And I knew that her mom was against Allison placing her baby for adoption, so I wanted to talk directly to Allison! I texted her, “Allison’s mom, could you please just give me a brief update on Allison and the baby? We have been so worried all day.” She replied with a 3 page message telling us that Allison wanted to text us, but couldn’t bring herself to do it. At the doctor’s appointment, the doctor couldn’t find the heart beat. Allison was devastated, and she knew we would be too, so she didn’t want to tell us.

We found this out while we were at our church’s volleyball night. We just had to get out of the house, we had been waiting impatiently by our cell phones all afternoon. I read the text between points and I ran out of the gym crying. Cam joined me in the hall and we both left the church, tears streaming. We got home and after experiencing the gamut of emotions (anger, hurt, abandonment, fear, sadness), we hugged and cried some more, then got in bed and stared at the ceiling in silence for an hour before we decided we needed some background noise. We watched Mulan to try and get our minds off things. And no, it didn’t work, our minds stayed on the tragic news we’d just heard.

We knew that Allison had been in a car accident last week, she actually got in the accident on the way to her scheduled doctor’s appointment. She never ended up making it to her appointment, despite our urging. Apparently, the doctor said the accident may have been the trigger. I hate to say this, but I am sort of wondering if Allison/Allison’s mom are even telling us the truth. I know she told us she was in a fender bender, but since I wasn’t at the doctor’s appointment with her and I didn’t actually hear the doctor pronounce the baby dead, there is a small part of me that wonders if her mom was telling the truth, or if they are both trying to come up with a story that will hurt us less than if they told us Allison had decided at the last-minute to keep the baby. I’m split between these two alternatives. I don’t know whether to believe the baby didn’t have a heart beat or if Allison’s mom just convinced her to keep the baby and, because she likes us so much, Allison didn’t want to tell us the truth. I just don’t know. I do know I’ve never heard of someone losing their baby in the 39th week. Or if they did, surely the doctor wouldn’t just let her walk out of the office with a dead baby still in her stomach. That sounds so morbid and heartless, doesn’t it?

***As of Thursday, Feb. 21, I am convinced that Allison’s/our baby did die. She texted me today (two days after the death I wasn’t sure had or hadn’t occurred) and invited us to a little memorial for the baby next week. She told me the doctor did take the baby on Tuesday and she offered to text me the picture she took of the stillborn babe. This may sound completely morbid, but I accepted her offer because I knew it would give me the closure I needed. It did.

Either way, this baby isn’t ours. And it is just killing me because now I’m questioning every bit of what I considered “inspiration” during this process. From the beginning, the first day Allison called us, I told Cam “this opportunity is either here to help motivate us to move super fast on the adoption papers for another baby, or perhaps it’s a miracle and we’ll be able to adopt this little girl. Allison is either in our lives to burn a fire under us to get us going, or we are meant to be the parents of her baby.” We were positive we were meant to be her baby’s parents. I guess we were wrong.

Up until this point, we felt like we were in a race, racing the clock: delivery date versus background check clearances. We needed the home study process completed before we could become parents so we did all in our power to rush through all the paperwork, physical exams and fingerprinting (and more). Now, we feel like we’re in a waiting game. Just waiting for the Lord to bless us with a baby in His due time. And yes, we’re still hoping to adopt and we’re going to do everything we can to make this happen, but there is only so much we can do.


I hate waiting, but I just have to have faith. And I have to say, the only reason I am dwindling in faith right now is because of all the angels He has placed in our lives. Without them even knowing about the terrible news I’d just received, I received three of the most thoughtful texts on Tuesday night from my friends Erin, Denise and my mom. I couldn’t believe their timing. Here I was at an all time emotional low, and I get heartfelt messages reminding me that someone loves me. Between them and my wonderful husband, they were my angels Tuesday night.

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