Tuesday, October 27, 2015


We had a rainy morning this week and decided to hit the cheap theater. As we turned into the parking lot S asked for popcorn. She has talked about Inside Out since we saw it in June. Since it was finally at the cheap theater we decided to hit it up again :)

our dark theater selfie

One morning this week S put on her backpack and requested to go to school. We did a letter page and a Halloween craft. It was the perfect amount of time for her to satisfy herself for.

My mom sent an invitation for a Halloween party the end of last week S didn't see it until this week. I put the invitation on the fridge after she had gone to bed one evening and she started singing and dancing when she saw it. One night she brought both of these to us and insisted we put on our "party hats". We had to take a picture and send it to grandma. 

S kept going to the invitation during the week, pointing at the words and "reading" something along these lines, "S go to grandma's house to have a Halloween party!" We called my mom on her lunch one day and S sang her a song about her Halloween party. It really reminded me of the movie Elf

We spent several hours Friday morning with a few friends at Cornbelly's. I love that they're the perfect age to go and not have to pay for them :) Between slides, corn pit, horse swings, dress ups, they stayed happy and busy for a few hours. I love how much fun they have together!

Friday afternoon we headed up to my parents for our Halloween party. Lately we have been singing the second verse of I Love to See the Temple to S. She loves it. Ever since she was born we have told her her adoption story, including going to the temple and being sealed together as a family forever. She gets so excited when we sing the second verse that she screams that part, "Where we are sealed together...a family is forever!" We were sealed in the Brigham City temple and we stopped there before going to my parents. It was fun to watch her there and hear what she had to say.

We have so much fun getting together with all of the kids! We have 11 grandkids on my side that are 7 and under. My mom arranged such fun food for the kids to have. The adult kids took care of the different entertainment for them. 

I had to grab a picture of those who were willing to sit. Obviously only about half of them in this picture. What a fun group of kids!

wrap a mummy

story time with Aunt Ashley

Halloween bingo with Ben and Holly

We opted to have a fun family morning at Cornbelly's again Saturday. We wanted to get good used out of our passes...plus we had lots of free activity passes that we needed to use too. We had one pass to play essentially in a nerf gun area for a period of time. 

Brett and S ready to play!

We discovered they had human billards. It was pretty fun to have a "pool table" to walk on and kick balls into the pockets. 


The morning we were there they had a monkey show there. There was a pretty big crowd. S loved watching from Dad's shoulders and had some really good laughs. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Infertility and Adoption

I have thought a lot about writing this post. Trying to decide how much we wanted to put out there. Trying to know how brave I could be about this whole journey. Ultimately I decided that if this can help someone else at all who is going through the same things, then it is worth it. That being said, this is our story.

We struggled for the first several years of our marriage through the trial of infertility, and wondering what the best road was to get through it. We saw specialists, I was on fertility meds, and neither of them did anything. We did several rounds of IUI (inter uterine insemination) that didn’t work. Shortly after that we decided to adopt.

Amidst all of this there were few things that helped. It was a very lonely road and one that I never could have traveled by myself. Brett was a great help and support to me. I strengthened my faith and relied more on my Savior. I read words of living apostles. They brought me much comfort and strength through many months and years. Some of those messages are: HopeYou Know We Had a Hard TimeAn HighPriest of Good Things to Come, Missionary Work and the Atonement, and ORemember, Remember…just to name a few.

We chose to adopt through LDSFS because of the fees being much lower than most private agencies and being based off of a percentage of your household income. It was a very grueling process with loads of paperwork, family histories, doctor visits, infertility report, referrals from friends or family, appointments with caseworkers, a home study….the list goes on and on. It was really hard to have to wait so long on someone else and them getting things done when they got around to it. We would have our part done and have to wait weeks for our caseworker to do her part. We had to have psychological interviews, including really hard questions about infertility and “are you okay with the fact that you will never have biological children?” That was one of the hardest things for me. I didn’t want to rule out forever and “give up”, but if we wanted to adopt through LDSFS that was part of being able to qualify…so  I had to come to a point that I was okay with that. That dream I had had since I was a girl I now had to completely give up on. To say that was hard would be an understatement. It was completely devastating.

All of the work and waiting with adoption was very quickly made worth it. Our profile was listed the second week October. That same week we had a contact from a birth-mom. She was about 4 months along and knew she couldn’t parent. She asked us fairly quickly if we would adopt her child. We spent a few weeks getting to know her via email. As the relationship progressed things became sketchy. We forwarded things to our caseworker, and she became concerned. Long story short, we had over 20 pages worth of communication from this birth-mom and were totally scammed. It went on for over a month and was completely devastating. We were crushed. We had waited so long for this opportunity and the first person who contacted us wasn’t even legitimate at all.

The week after Thanksgiving I had a parent of a former preschool student contact me. She had a foster daughter who was pregnant, fairly far along, and interested in placing her child for adoption. We went over the next night to meet her and answer any questions that she had about us. Things went really well. We got our families together that week to meet her too, and she asked us that night if we would adopt her baby. We were able to go to doctor visits with her to see ultrasounds.

The first week of January she sent us a text when she thought she was going into labor, and we headed to the hospital immediately. S (our daughter) came via c-section, and was struggling after delivery. I was given the bracelet and her birth mom had the other. I was able to go to the NICU shortly after delivery. She had swallowed meconium and had the cord wrapped around her neck twice. She struggle for about the first 6 hours of life and was on a CPAP machine the whole time. We were grateful the next morning when she was released from NICU and got to be in the nursery, close to her birth-mom and us. We spent every day and late into every evening with her at the hospital. She didn’t have any other family that was there with her (her foster family had moved 6 hours away and she had been visiting family), so we really felt like she needed a support system. We made it very clear to her and talked to her openly about our being there, holding the baby, feeding her…we never wanted her to feel like we didn’t care about her wants or desires. The birth-dad was there for the birth, but they were not on good terms…and her automatically hated us. He had no desire to place his child for adoption. He said that there was no way he would sign the papers. One evening his parents came to the hospital with him and it was a very hostile environment. They felt like we were stealing their grandchild…despite the fact that they had adopted all 6 of their children. That whole week was rough. It was like a never ending roller coaster ride…and not the good kind! Things were on and off all week. We ended up signing the relinquishment papers on Thursday evening, and her birth-dad had a complete change of heart and chose to sign them too.

Fast forward a year and we found ourselves starting this process again. We went to LDSFS again. We were approved and listed by May. In July LDSFS announced that they would no longer be in the business of adoptions, but would finish out the year. We didn’t have any contacts. At all. It was really hard to have had S placed with us so quickly, and this time to have nothing.

At the beginning of the New Year through different experiences Brett and I both felt strongly that we should pursue IVF. We had a “this is how we do things” appointment at the end of January. We decided this was something we definitely felt inspire to do (not to be confused with something we wanted to do). With calendaring and lining out dates and medications we would be working our way through this process over the next two months. It was a very long, hard, and at times very painful process. There were times that I didn’t feel like I could do it…and in fact didn’t want to go through the pain anymore. The only thing that kept me going were the different inspirational moments we had both had as well as priesthood blessings we had received. There were 5 injections daily for over two weeks that I had to endure as well as oral medications. I went in for 10 days in a row for blood draws and ultrasounds to watch hormone levels and the development of the eggs…which meant lots of people to watch our cute daughter. They were able to retrieve 8 eggs. By day three there were only 4 that were still growing. We had scheduled to do the embryo transfer on day five.

one of the many, many blood draws

nightly shots

morning shots

"trigger shot"

I know you're wondering what that many shots looks like

major vein blowout after one blood draw

On the day of the embryo transfer we only had one egg left, but our doctor said it was the best looking on we could have hoped for. 

on our way to the transfer

Now it was time for the waiting game. We had to wait 10 days to be able to take a pregnancy test because I had to take a massive HCG shot to release the eggs. From the time they harvested my eggs until the embryo transfer I was not allowed to lift anything over 20 pounds, and I also had 2 days of bedrest to help ensure that everything went well. Now, I know that doesn’t sound super hard, but when you have a 2 year old that weighs 25 pounds and she’s used to being picked up, snuggled, put into her crib, in and out of the car….it made life hard. Add to that the number of babysitters (mostly my mother in law—she’s amazing!) she had while I had appointments she was having major attachment issues. It broke my heart to see. It was SO hard to be doing what we felt inspired to do, and see how hard it was for this little kiddo.

The first week of April we got positive results back. We were ecstatic! We have been married for 9 years, and were only given a 5% chance by doctors to ever conceive. We felt so blessed. We felt like our fasting and prayers for so many years had finally paid off. We celebrated our 9th anniversary earlier that week, and this was just the icing on the cake for us. 

celebrating our anniversary and pregnancy

A few days later I started experiencing light spotting and called the clinic. They had me come in for a blood test. My HGC levels were still rising. They said despite the spotting that things looked ok. A few days after that the bleeding got worse and cramping started as well. I was put on total bedrest on a Wednesday and went in for a blood draw on Thursday. We went in first thing in the morning and didn’t hear back until after 5. It was a day spent on pins and needles. My parents came down to be moral support. They were a good distraction, and I was grateful for the way they chose to help. We got a phone call telling us that my numbers were dropping and I was loosing the baby. I sat there completely dumbfounded. How was this happening? We felt inspired to do this. We had had numerous priesthood blessings that were so positive about our situation. We were sure this was going to happen. What did this mean? Less than 5 minutes later we got another phone call that there was a possibility that this could still be a viable pregnancy. Brett spoke to the person this time, and I was told that I had to stay on bedrest until Monday morning. The levels on Monday would tell us more conclusively. Now we got to wait again…praying the whole time that things would improve and this would be viable. Despite it all, it wasn’t.

We are truly blessed to have seen the hand of God, and angels ministering to us through this very hard time because of friends and family who were inspired to stop by, call, text, bring dinner, flowers, chocolate, listen, or just offer help. They made those few days following the brutal blow much more tolerable.

The weeks and months since then have been really hard. There were tears on a daily basis. There have been a few friends who have had IVF work for them. I wonder why them and not me. I have had lots of questioning moments and trying to figure things out. We have been grasping at straws and trying to figure out where to go from here. Do we adopt privately, foster, try IVF again? We just want to do what we are supposed to to be able to grow our family.

The months that have followed have been hard. We have had our homestudy updated. We have taken foster classes (32 hours total for each of us). We have talked to some different people with foster to adopt situations, and nothing has panned out. We know that things will work out how they are supposed to, but it really doesn’t help to have everyone else tell you that as well. We remain hopeful, but realistic at the same time.

As I reread what I have written I can’t help but be grateful. I have a fantastic husband and daughter. We have had an amazing support team (mostly family) who have helped us more times that we can count. Things have been hard, but they have helped us to learn, grow, and be better people for it. My closing thought I want to be one that has helped me through countless trials, not the least of which being this. “Don’t you give up…Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust in God and believe in good things to come.” – Jeffery R Holland

Sunday, October 18, 2015


*warning...lots of pictures this week...

We have done all sorts of fun fall activities together this week! One day we had 3 different places to be and do things. It was a bit crazy, but she is loving all of this Halloween. I have spent a good chunk of time getting her Halloween costume made for her. She has been SOOO funny about it. Anything we see that is Halloween related, "Mom, looks it's for my kitty cat for my Halloween." So, thanks to everyone who has decorations out for my daughter for her Halloween. You've made her month!

"helping" cut out her costume

We spent some time Monday with Nana and Papa taking care of a broken sprinkler head. Brett has been pretty swamped at work. I'll be honest and say that I was pretty proud of myself for fixing a sprinkler correctly in a system I knew nothing about.  

mid fixing :)

For family night we had a 2 yr old sized lesson followed by this little activity. She thought these pumpkin finger puppets were pretty great, and played with them most days this week. 

I got her up from her nap one day with her costume half done. She was SO excited to try it on. She hates loud noises, but was happy to sit by me at the sewing machine while I worked on her costume. 

her "kitty cat"

We went to a pumpkin patch party put on by a mortgage company. They did little washable tattoos (she had to get a kitty cat), donuts, hot chocolate, pictures, and pumpkins. 

On Thursday I met my sister and her family and as part of their Christmas gift I took photos of their family. I shot a few of S while I was at it. She is such a cutie! We went to Gardner Village to take them. It was fun to see all of the witches out with their Halloween decor there :)


We had a friend move away a little while ago and we went to meet up with them at a park after we had seen my sister and family. 

S had never done a tire swing before. The giggles that came out of her from this experience were awesome! We'll have to see if we can't find one locally to do!

I finished her cat costume during nap time one day this week. This was the response I got. Followed by, "Mom, feel it. I'm a kitty cat. I'm so soft!" She sat there touching any part of my skin she could find showing me how soft it was. 

We do a bedtime routine together every night. We read 3 books. sing 3 songs, say prayers, then I leave and dad sits with her in the rocker for a bit. One night this week I heard over the monitor, "Mom, thank you!....Mom, thank you!" Unsure of what she was talking about and not wanting to interrupt things I didn't do anything. Then my cell phone rings. It's Brett calling me from his, 
"S wanted to tell you something. (enter S) Mom, thank you for making my kitty cat." 
Me, "S, do you want me to bring the bring your kitty cat up for dad to see to?" 
S, "Yes!" 
She's such a sweet little soul.

We bought season passes to Cornbelly's (local fall/Halloween activities place) when they were half off. We only have to go twice to make it worth it, and we've already hit that. They have tons of fun activities for kids to participate in. 

duck races where kids pump the water

Noah's arc playground area

minions, "Mom, I say hi to them!" No fear this time!

riding a school bus

This was likely her favorite part! It is a huge white tent filled with corn (like the animal feed kind). She rolled around in it, pretended to swim in it, had dad bury her in it. So. Much. Fun! I will say that I was finding corn for days. It was kind of crazy. 

We had our neighborhood fall carnival on Friday (thus the need to get the costume done). They had tons of fun games/activities to do together. 

"candy walk"

"don't snitch from the witch" aka don't eat pete

kitty cat

 I love how these two love to read books together. This is a "new to us" Mercer Mayer that we got. I believe it's called The Wizard. The illustrations in it are fantastic!

Saturday we had a fun family day together...S's favorite was probably this trip to the park. I think this kid would live at parks if she could.