Saturday, December 6, 2014

Just a little update!

Hi All! Happy December! I can't believe how fast time is flying, I feel like I can't keep up with how fast life goes! Sorry I have been MIA these last few months, Tyler and I have been so busy--especially with trying to adjust to our new life. I know a lot of you have been asking how we have been, and what we have been up to. Here is just a little glimpse of what has happened and has been going on in our life!

Tyler is still working hard, he is still working A LOT of hours, and still makes an effort to go to school, and be a great husband! He is getting through life the best he can, and is so patient with me. He is Scheduled to graduate around May of 2016! I know that is still a ways off.... but we are so excited! He has been working so hard, and its finally starting to pay off! I am so proud of him--it is so fun to be able to see him achieve his goals!

I am officially back to work (as of July), and I like it! It is a good thing for me to be able to get out of the house, and focus on other things. My IFA family has been so good to me, I love them all so much, and am so grateful for the friendships I have with them! Other than work, not much else is going on with me. I am trying my best to be a good wife, and a good friend. My calling in Relief Society also keeps me pretty busy, but I love it.

A couple of exciting things have happened, that I have been wanting to share--Back in October, Tyler and I were able to go to the cemetery and watch them install Brenna's headstone!!! It is so BEAUTIFUL! I absolutely love it! It is so nice to be able to go down to the cemetery and be able to have the headstone there.

This is what her headstone looks like! Tyler and I think it is absolutely PERFECT for our PERFECT angel! 

As we were deciding what we wanted her headstone to look like, we knew we wanted something special, and unique! We decided to have little copper hearts placed throughout the cement of her headstone. They look Beautiful!! 

It is our tradition, to go visit Brenna every holiday--we love to take her balloons, and release them into the sky. This was taken the day they installed the headstone. I LOVE this picture!

We still love and miss our baby girl every day. We think about her all the time, and long for the day that we get to be with her. As time has passed, we have started to heal--but the pain will never fully subside.  She will always be a part of our family, and we will always love and miss her. She has sent us multiple blessings from heaven. I know she is beyond happy, and doing the Lords work up above. She is watching out for me, and sends me little tender mercies when I need them most. She has given me strength and courage to reach out to others in need... She has sent me many missionary experiences, and chances to bear my testimony to others who are struggling. I know she is an incredible little spirit, and that she wants nothing more than for us to be happy! Being the mom of a sweet little angel is amazing and heart wrenching at the same time. She still tugs at my heartstrings! I love my Brenna more than anything in this world, she will always have my heart! 

"I will WALK BY FAITH even when i cannot see..."
2 Corinthians 5:7


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Count Your Blessings

I'm not going to lie and say that these last few weeks of our life have been a walk in the park; In fact, I'm going to be completely honest. We have good days, we have bad days, we have okay days, and we have terrible days. It has been a roller coaster!

 I often find myself sitting and pondering what happened--the more I dwell on it, the harder things seem to get. My mind won't shut off, and things spin out of control very quickly. I find myself asking questions as to why this had to happen...why us? It is incredibly easy to get upset over it, and the more I think about it, the more sad and angry I get. As I have talked with Tyler, my Mom, and numerous other family members I have realized that the more time and energy I put into being happy, the better I feel. It is okay to think about Brenna, and what we went through. I want her to be a part of our family-- It's okay to remember, and to feel different emotions. It is okay to talk about her, and remember her. I have learned that this experience will always be a part of me. I will have good days, and bad days regardless. But ultimately I am the one that will decide to be happy.

In trying to be happy, to accept my life, and where we are now, I decided to make a list of the things I consider blessings in my life. Before I start my list, I want to share some words of a hymn that has really helped me find the good in a not so great situation.

"So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."

"Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;
See what God hath done."

Count Your Blessings-verse 4 (LDS Hymn Book)

Blessing #1: Tyler
Tyler has been so good to me through everything. I'm sure at times he wants to strangle me, but he chooses to love me regardless. We have been through so much together. We have experienced things that most 22 year olds haven't. We have both struggled in ways that we never thought we would have to--but he is my rock, and he keeps me going when I want to give up. I am more and more amazed everyday at his strength. His testimony is incredible. He reminds me that our time here is precious, and that we should take advantage of every second--good and bad. He works so hard to provide for our family, and always makes sure our needs are met. I could not ask for a better husband!

Blessing #2: Family
I have never in my whole life felt as much love and support from our family as we have the last few weeks. I am completely amazed at how much support we have received! I can think of numerous times they have dropped whatever they were doing to come help us. I am so glad they are all so close and that we have such a close knit family. I want them all to know, that we really are so thankful for all that you have done for us--we honestly and truly have the BEST family around! We love you all so much!

Blessing #3: Prayer
Again, I have to be honest. Saying my prayers has been especially hard lately. All of us have heard the phrase "When it rains, it POURS"... This has been the case for us lately. Between everything going on with Brenna, wondering how in the world we are going to pay all of the medical bills, trips to the ER, and trying to make some pretty major decisions, I have questioned whether or not my prayers were being heard. It really takes a lot of effort to get on your knees and tell Heavenly Father that you trust him, and trust in his plan for you, when things seem to be falling apart left and right. I will admit, I have been angry. I have told him that I am angry. I have told him how hurt and upset I am. I honestly believe he knows. He knows everything. He knows how mad I am that he took my baby away. He understands. It has taken time for me to realize that he has never left me alone. There have been little miracles, tender mercies, and continuous love. I have been on my knees numerous times, asking for his forgivness for thinking that he left me alone, and for being so angry with him. Sometimes life seems so dark and dreary, you feel like you are alone, and that no one understands. We tend to focus on all of the bad things, forgetting about the small and simple blessings that we receive daily. As I have tried to focus on my blessings, things seem to go better. It puts things into perspective, things are really never as bad as they seem. There is always someone who has it worse than you do. I consider prayer to be one of my biggest blessings. It is a beautiful gift given to us by our Heavenly Father. I want to challenge each of you, struggling with something or not, to kneel down and say your prayers. When life gets hard, pray. When you don't want to pray, pray more. Open up your heart, and share your desires. They will be heard. I have learned that by sharing my feelings, my wants, and my needs, that I have indeed grown closer to the Lord. He knows me personally, and he knows what is best for me. I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without being able to say my prayers.

Blessing #4: The Temple
I believe that through the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father and my husband in the temple, that I have the opportunity to be with my family forever. I have found much comfort in this. I know that if Tyler and I strive to do our best, and continue to do the things we are supposed to, we will be blessed with eternal life, and be able to have Brenna again. We are more determined than ever to be our best selves, so we can be united in Heaven as an eternal family!

Blessing#5: Angels
This one may seem odd, but during this whole experience I have been blessed with many "angels". I have met numerous people who have helped me and touched my heart in ways that I didn't think were possible. There are people here on the earth who I consider angels, as well as angels up in Heaven who have blessed my life, and made me a better person. Not a day goes by that I don't think of those angels who have been a very big part of our life. There are no words to say how thankful I am for those special angels!

Blessing#6: Love
If there is one thing I have learned throughout this trial, I would say it was love. I have learned how to love with my whole heart and soul. Not just members of my family, not just Tyler, but everyone I come in contact with. My eyes have been opened--I want to share an experience that we had shortly after Brenna passed away.
Tyler and I had just said goodbye to Brenna. I sat down in my wheelchair, with tears streaming down my face. Our parents were waiting outside of Brenna's room for us to head back to my room at University of Utah Hospital. As we were walking back, I was suddenly very aware of my surroundings. My world had completely stopped... We passed numerous amounts of people on our way back to my room. All I could think of was "How can they just act like nothing has happened...? Can't they see I just lost my baby...? Why does everything seem to be going on like normal...?" In that moment, I had a thought. As we continued our walk back to the hospital, the questions changed... "why are they here at the hospital...? What trials are they facing in their life...? What are they having to deal with...?" In a split second I realized that yes, I just lost my baby, but I am not the only one who is going through a hard time. I realized that even though my world completely crashed down around me, there are others who have it a lot worse than I do. I realized that I have the ability to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart, and put them back together if I choose to do so. I can also help those around me. I have a new found respect for people. I have a new love for those around me. I have learned that it is so easy to judge, to put other people down. I promised myself, and my Heavenly Father that I would try harder to be more understanding of the people around me. To love them regardless of their flaws, their trials, their habits, their likes, or their dislikes. All of us are linked together--we are all children of our Heavenly Father. We should treat each other as Christ would treat us--with nothing but love and respect. I'm not saying we should go around giving hugs to everyone we see, but rather be more tolerant and understanding of the people we come in contact with. You never know what they are facing in their life, and we should all be more careful to not judge or overstep our boundaries. I am a firm believer that everyone that comes into our life, does so for a reason. They are here to teach us, and help us. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad. So, before you pass a judgment, take a step back. Ask yourself those questions. Try to look at that person as the Saviors would. I have nowhere near perfected this concept, but I have been trying a lot harder. It really helps me realize the unconditional love my Heavenly Father and my Savior have for me.

My list of blessings could go on and on, but right now these are the most important to me. These are the things that keep me going everyday--Knowing that I have so many wonderful blessings that for the longest time I have taken for granted. It is so easy to overlook the small daily blessings, but if I look for them, I can easily find them, and most of the time they end up being the most precious blessings I have ever received.

"Some blessings come soon, some come late,
and some don't come until Heaven;
But for those who embrace the gospel
of Jesus Christ, THEY COME."
-Jeffery R. Holland


Monday, June 9, 2014

Brenna's Story

 I have been avoiding this. I haven't wanted to post, because I have been scared to. I know that this post will bring back emotions and memories, good and bad, but I know I will have to do it and face it sometime--so why not now?

I'll start by giving you a little bit of a background on what has gone on in the last week.

On May 23rd, I made my move up to Salt lake--which wasn't too bad, Tyler was with me until the 26th. After he left, things got really hard and emotional. I hate being away from him-he is the one that keeps me calm. I stayed with my Aunt Melissa and her family (they were so kind and generous to offer me a place to stay. Thank you!). It was nice to be with family--they took good care of me! We even went on numerous walks, galloped around like horses, and rode scooters to try and put me into labor. No such luck! I was with them until that Wednesday, when I went to my doctors appointment-my mom came up to go with me, Tyler couldn't miss work. We got there, I was nervous--I wanted a plan, and I wanted Brenna OUT! My doctor could tell I was distraught. I was in tears, stressed out, in pain, and hating having to be away from Tyler. She checked me, I had improved, and she scheduled me for induction that night! We were so excited, I bawled for a few hours after my appointment. I couldn't believe it was actually happening!

That night (the 28th) we checked into the hospital--I was nervous, but more ready to meet our sweet girl. I had been contracting since Monday, and was still contracting pretty good on Wednesday, they gave me some medicine to help my body get ready for Brenna's arrival. Within minutes my contractions were so bad, I decided to get my epidural. It was a little piece of heaven! We TRIED to get some sleep, but didn't get much. I was exhausted, still in pain, and the contractions were getting worse. One of the doctors came in around 7am checked me, and told me they were going to break my water. They moved me to a different room, and checked me one last time. Brenna had moved, she was posterior... her hand was on top of her head, her face was trying to come out first. This was not ideal. There was a chance the cord could have gotten wrapped around her neck, and she wouldn't have been able to come out face first. They decided to wait to see if she would turn. Around 11am the doctor came back, and broke my water, he tried to move her hand. (He was a little shocked-Brenna had grabbed his finger, and sucked on it. He had to use his other fingers to pry her hand off of his finger. We knew then that she was going to be a very, VERY SWEET baby.) Her hand moved, but she still did not turn. From then on we played the waiting game. I was exhausted, frustrated, and in pain. Every doctor we talked to said something different. I was almost in tears, I just wanted Brenna here. FINALLY at 10 that night, they made the decision that Brenna probably wasn't going to turn. They took me for an emergency C-Section after 26 hours of labor.

Brenna McKensie was born at 10:42pm on May 29th. She weighed 6lbs 15oz and was 18.5 inches long. She was born with beautiful head of dark hair. She had Tyler's nose and eyes. I wasn't able to see her--she was having problems breathing, so they passed her through to the NICU. She was stable within minutes, and had all of her IV's and her lines in to help keep a valve in her heart open. Tyler was soon able to go back and see her. He took our parents back one by one, to see their new grandbaby. They sent me a couple of pictures through text (thank heavens for technology--I was dying to see my baby!) Finally, the moment came that I was able to see her for real. They wheeled her into my room in a large incubator, (about 10 feet long) they opened the side, and let me touch her hand and face. Time seemed to stop, there she was, my beautiful baby. I have never felt more love than I did in that moment. She was absolutely perfect to me--even battered and bruised after going through 26 excruciating hours of labor. She was a trooper, and the most beautiful little baby I had ever laid eyes on. I was brought to tears just looking at her. I reached for her hand, she turned her head and opened her eyes. I couldn't hold back any more. I sobbed... I blew her a kiss, and off she and Tyler went to Primary Children's Hospital.
She LOVES her Daddy!

Our pretty little baby, bruised from 26 hours of labor!

All of her DARK hair! 
Her TINY little toes--she got Tyler's feet! 
I was torn apart that I wasn't able to go with her. At about 4:30am I was finally moved into my room. I got a call from Tyler, saying that Brenna was doing great-they did some x-rays, and an echo-cardiogram. Tyler was even able to hold her for a few hours. I was so relieved! We both tried to get some sleep. I was so anxious to go see Brenna, but I wasn't able to until about 2:00 that afternoon. They had scheduled Brenna for a Cath surgery at 3. Tyler, my mom, and I rushed over to Primary Children's--and I was able to hold Brenna for the very first time!

I was only able to hold her for a half hour before they took her back to prep her for surgery. I kissed Brenna's head, told her I loved her an handed her back to the nurse. As we were leaving the room I blew her a kiss, and headed back to my room at the U of U hospital. We were anxiously waiting for a phone call telling us that she was done with her surgery. We sat there and waited, waited, and waited some more.

At about 10 that night we received a phone call telling us that the cath surgery didn't go as planned. They had accidentally punctured a hole in her pulmonary artery, which resulted in her losing a lot of blood, and blood pooling around her heart. They kept having to suction the blood from behind her heart. They tried to patch up the hole, and then decided that they had to take her into emergency surgery.

I remember sitting in my hospital room, with our parents there, all of us so shocked we couldn't speak. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought of our sweet baby, and what could possibly happen. Tyler got up and went over to Primary Children's to sign all of the consent forms. When he got back he sat at the side of my bed, put his face in his hands and sobbed. My heart was already beginning to break, but as I sat and watched my husband cry, it broke even more.

It was almost 4:30am before we received another phone call saying that Brenna was back in the Cardiac NICU. We immediately rushed over while Tyler was still on the phone with the surgeon. We learned that during the emergency surgery, they had decided to put her shunt in. We also learned that the hole in her pulmonary artery was still leaking, causing blood  and fluid to continue to pool around her heart. They did not realize it until it was almost too late. Her heart was working so hard to pump, that her liver and kidneys both shut down--she was without oxygen for over 4 minutes. They said that the chances of brain damage were high because of her not having oxygen. We were devastated... we didn't know what to do, or what to think... We got to her room, I immediately went to her bedside. She didn't look like herself-she was wrapped in so many wires, she had oxygen, and her incision was still open from surgery. I felt helpless. I would have traded her places in a heartbeat... I wanted so badly to take away her pain and suffering. We stood there for a while, when Tyler asked if he could give her a blessing. Tyler and our fathers laid their hands on her head, and gave her a priesthood blessing. In that blessing I remember Tyler saying that "your way home has been prepared". I remember thinking that meant we would take her home with us...

We got back to the hospital, our parents headed out, and we tried to get some sleep. We were exhausted. Around 8:30 that morning, Tyler's phone rang again. He jumped out of bed, put his shoes on, and told me he had to go over to see Brenna. He ran out of my hospital room. In that moment I knew something was wrong. There was a pit in my stomach. I felt so sick, I nearly passed out. I called for my nurse--she came running, and called over to Primary's to see what was going on. She passed me the phone and sat with me as I listened to the surgeon explain that Brenna's current condition had worsened over the last few hours, and she wasn't going to make it. My heart instantly shattered. I was shaking. It felt like a bad dream. I quickly hung up the phone, and called our parents. They arrived within minutes. I remember sitting on my bed when my parents arrived. My mom came over, sat down and hugged me as I cried. Tyler came back to get us. We all headed over to Primary Children's.  It seemed like the longest walk of my life. We arrived, and again I got up out of my wheelchair and went straight to her bedside. I grabbed her tiny little hand, and kissed it. I wanted to hold her... Heidi, Brenna's nurse, handed her to me- I sat in the rocking chair holding my precious little girl. The surgeon came in to talk to us. He said there were a couple of different options, one being additional surgery which could potentially prolong her life for a few hours. There were many risks with this option--especially in her already fragile condition. The second was to remove her IV's and wires and just let her be. Tyler and I felt that it wasn't fair to put her through any more. We requested they give her a last dose of pain medicine, to ensure she was comfortable. Tyler and our dad's again laid their hands on her head--this time to give her a name and a blessing. It was one of the most simple and beautiful blessings I have ever heard. I felt so much peace and love in that moment it was overwhelming. I will never forget that precious moment. I held Brenna in my arms as the nurses removed everything from her. I held her close, I wanted to be with her for as long as I could. Within 5 minutes of removing her IV's, Brenna passed away in my arms. It was at that moment when we knew we had made the right decision.

We sat there in silence, with swollen eyes, and tearstained cheeks. Heidi came to get Brenna so she could clean her up, dress her, and take some impressions of her hands and feet. She brought her back in one of the nightgowns I brought. She was wearing her BYU baby booties (in honor of Tyler, my dad, and my brother Josh), and was wrapped in a blanket. Heidi placed her in my arms, and I sobbed. My baby was gone. All I could do was hold her close and keep whispering that I loved her. We decided that it was time to say goodbye (or "see you in a little while"). One by one we passed Brenna around the room. It was such a humbling experience to see our parents with our sweet baby. We know how much they loved her and still love her. After everyone had the chance to love her one last time, we asked that they wait outside of Brenna's room so that we could have some time alone. I took Brenna in my arms--Tyler kneeled in front of the rocking chair, and offered up the most sincere and heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. He got up, sat next to me and told me it was time. I bawled. I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay there forever- I held her so tight, they had to pry her out of my arms. I kissed her one last time, and Heidi took her...

Within 36 hours our world had turned upside down. We never thought we would have to face this situation. We are still heartbroken... A piece of our family is missing, and will be until we are reunited in the next life. Although our separation is temporary, it doesn't take away all the pain. We know she is happy--She is now a Perfect Celestial Angel. She was too pure, and too special to live a life on this earth. All she needed to do was come here to gain a body. It is such a blessing and honor to me and Tyler, that we were able to create that body for her. We are so lucky we were able to have the time with her that we did. We are still amazed that such a perfect little girl chose us to be her parents. What a privilege it was to be able to be in her presence--it is not often that you hold an absolutely perfect being in your arms. She truly was our "miracle".

WE LOVE YOU ANGEL BABY BRENNA! You have touched the lives of so many, and I know you will continue to do so in Heaven. Thank you for allowing us to love you and hold you for the time that we could. We can't wait to see you again. Please watch over us, help us, and send us your love. You will always be daddy's "little miss" and my "sweet girl". We love and miss you more than you know.

Mom and Dad


"Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine."
-Disney's Dumbo

Monday, May 12, 2014


I can hardly believe I am only 2 weeks away from having a baby! I'm FREAKING out a little! (that is only 336 hours away, just in case you were wondering!) It feels like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind--some days pass so slow, but most fly by! I feel like it was just yesterday we found out we were expecting!

I feel as though I should write down my thoughts, and what we have been feeling and experiencing the last few weeks--especially with things getting down to the wire. When I think about the things we have faced, and what we have been through so far, the word that comes to my mind is THANKFUL. Yes, we are thankful for this trial that has been placed in our path--it might sound weird, but I honestly think that Tyler and I have grown together, as well as individually. I feel closer to him now, than I ever have. I am so THANKFUL for him, for his love, his example, and the Priesthood he holds. I know we have been so blessed because of it. He already loves our baby girl so much, and is so excited to be a dad. I know he will be incredible! I love him so much, and am so glad our family is FOREVER! 

I am beyond THANKFUL for my own testimony and knowledge of the gospel. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this would be without the knowledge I have. Even when times are hard, I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who is there to listen and guide me to where I need to be. Without knowing that, I would be a complete mess. I feel like my relationship with him has grown, and that I am coming to know myself better--along with his plan for our family. I trust him 100% and know that everything will be okay.

I am THANKFUL for my little brother Josh, and for his decision to serve a mission. He is a huge example to me--he has been a huge strength to me, and always knows just what to say when I am struggling. He is always concerned about us, and always tells us he loves us. He has an amazing testimony, and I know that he is working hard and having fun. Talking to him for Mother's Day was so great, he couldn't stop smiling. I am so glad he is happy. Brenna is going to LOVE him!

I am SO THANKFUL for my family. They are incredible. I can't imagine my life without them. I am so glad we are so closely knit, and that we live so close. They are always so willing to help us, and have been so understanding, loving, and patient. I am especially grateful for my mom, who is always willing to listen to me, even when I am a sobbing mess. My dad is always willing to give me advice, and he always tells me he loves me, even if we are on the phone. My sisters always make me smile, and are so fun. They will be so good to Brenna, and I am so glad! I love my extended family also. They are always wanting to help, and want the best for us. We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by amazing people.

I am THANKFUL for the opportunity I have to become a mother. I have never in my life felt more love for someone so small, who I haven't even met yet. I feel as though I already know her in some ways, and am so excited to get to meet her and know her more. I never thought I would say this, but I am THANKFUL for the pain and discomforts I have felt throughout being pregnant. It is a constant reminder to me of the sacrifice of my Savior, who endured so much for me. Even though what I have felt has no comparison to what he suffered, I know that he knows what I am going through, and will offer me peace and comfort. It is also a sweet reminder that I am about to become a mom to a beautiful little girl, and that everything will be worth it when I see and hold her for the first time.

We are so ready to meet Brenna, and help her on her journey through life. We are officially on the countdown, and get more and more anxious everyday! We will have a set induction date next Monday! We are so excited!!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quick Update

I just wanted to write a quick update on what has been happening lately. Nothing too exciting, but I feel like I should take a minute and write down what has gone on the last couple of weeks.

We have a big list of things that we need to do, and figure out before Brenna gets here. We have been working pretty hard, and trying to get as much done as possible-it is hard to find time, especially between work, and Tyler starting a new semester of school. We have gotten quite a bit accomplished, but we still have work to do!

We have been able to spend some time with our families lately, which has been so nice! It was so fun to see everyone Easter weekend, and catch up with them! We are so lucky we have such good family, so close to us! That is a HUGE blessing! They are so good to us!

My awesome Mother-In-Law Christine, and her sisters, put together a shower for Brenna and I. It was such a fun time! They are all so sweet, and definitely SPOILED Brenna! She got so many cute things! Thank you again, for a great time!

We got Brenna's quilt back from the quilter! It looks soooo good! She embroidered her name on the top of it, and also put "Believe In Miracles" on the bottom! All that we have left to finish on it is the binding, then we can finish the nursery!! I just can't believe it!

Time is such a weird thing. It seems as though the days drag on, but the weeks fly by! We are starting to get really anxious, as we getting down to the wire. It is hard to believe that we are so close to meeting our baby! It seems like just yesterday, we found out we were expecting!

My belly is getting bigger, and bigger everyday. It's hard to sleep, and I am uncomfortable almost all the time. My feet are swollen, my wedding ring doesn't fit, and my back aches almost constantly--But, I would do it all over again, because I know it will be worth it. Bringing Brenna into this world will undoubtedly be one of the most incredible, sacred, and happy times we will have in this life. There are no words to say how much we already love her, and I know that love will be multiplied by a million when we see her and hold her for the first time!

Reality is starting to set in that we are only a few weeks away from a very new, and semi-frightening journey. My anxiety has definitely kicked in, and I have been having some really rough days. I know that we are facing this for a reason, and that we are being tested and tried. All the bad thoughts I have been having aren't from my Heavenly Father. He isn't giving us this test to set us up for failure. He is giving us this test to become more like him. I know he wants us to be happy, and that he has been helping us the whole time. He is guiding us and directing us down the path, and in the darkest times he provides a loving light that gives us hope! I am beyond grateful that I can talk to him, pour out my heart and soul, share my worries, my defeats, and my accomplishments with someone who understands everything. Without Him, we could not face this.

Just a reminder, that we will be holding a fast for Brenna this coming fast Sunday (May 4th). We would love for all of you to participate if you are able. We know many great blessings have come and will continue to come through fasting and prayers. We also know that there is strength in numbers. We want to do everything we can to help Brenna, and I know that the prayers said in her behalf have already made a difference. Please, please, please, continue to pray for our family--especially Brenna. We are ready to meet her, and to help her in any way we can. We will do anything we have to, to get her healthy and home. Thank You to all of you, who have been so generous, and willing to help us. We love you all so much!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Primary Children's Part 3

Life is Crazy. We are beginning to realize how close we are to having Brenna--It is insane to think that she could be here in less than 7 weeks! We are trying to get things done around the house, but between work and everything else going on it has been hard to find the time (or energy) to get what needs to be done, done.

I'll be honest. I have had a couple of rough days this last week. Emotions have been running high, anxiety has kicked in, and working 8+ hours a day on my feet has about worn me out. But, between the swollen ankles, tears, stress, and anxiety, life is still good! I really shouldn't complain because I know how blessed we really are. Thank heavens for a good Mom, Dad, and Husband! They have been so much help to me-and are some of my biggest blessings.

Today we got to spend the better part of the day at Primary Children's and U of U Hospital. Overall, it was a very good visit, and I am so glad my Mom and Dad were able to go with Tyler and I. It was nice to have my Dad with us, since he hadn't been able to go to an appointment with us. He got to see and experience the "behind the scenes" stuff, instead of just hearing bits and pieces (of what we can remember and retain, it is SO  MUCH information--and a wee bit overwhelming.) of it from us. To start the morning off, Brenna had her Echo-Cardiogram. She was not behaving. She even gave the tech a couple of REALLY good strong kicks, and decided it would be funny to wiggle and squirm almost the entire time! (It was really funny and entertaining to watch the tech jump out of her chair every time Brenna would kick her!) It finally got to the point that the actual Cardiologist had to come in and finish the Echo-Cardiogram. Even though she didn't cooperate, and it took a while, I am so glad to know that she is strong, and likes to wiggle (she definitely likes to make her presence known)! It makes me feel so much better, and I LOVE when I can feel her move and kick! After we finished, we met with our team of doctors, and went over what they saw today--nothing really new, no major changes or worries, (which is GREAT!) and they even said they saw some good signs! They saw some blood flow in her Right Ventricle (the part of her heart that is REALLY underdeveloped, that they didn't think would even work) which gives them some hope that it could possibly keep developing and be able to function! We don't know that it will be able to for sure, but it is always good to hear something positive! (PLEASE, keep praying for the right side of her heart!)

I have a hard time going up to Primary Children's, in fact, I dread it. I am always terrified that they will find something else wrong, or something will have changed for the worse. Today I felt more comfortable than ever, and was so glad that the appointment went so well! I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders-I am so glad we are in such good hands! We do not have to go back up to Primary's until she is born, which is bitter-sweet. We have already formed friendships with the doctors, and our social workers--they are incredible! I know that we will for sure see them (soon), but it is hard when they already feel like our family.

We were able to tour the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) and also the NICU, where Brenna will be spending some time before, during, and after surgeries.  I was so nervous to do it, but am so glad I did it. It is kind of scary to see all of the different machines and things, but such a blessing to know that all of that technology is ready and available. It was a lot to take in, but it was a good experience.

I had a regular ultrasound at the U of U and met with my OB. Everything still looks great! Brenna is growing perfectly. She still has lots of hair, chubby cheeks, and apparently has rather large feet! She was weighing at about 4 1/2 pounds which is a little bit bigger than average, but is a good thing! At my next appointment, we will be scheduling Brenna's arrival! We can't quite wrap our minds around that, but we are excited!

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing our family with such a sweet miracle. Even though she hasn't made her appearance yet, she has definitely had a huge impact on us and our families. The love we feel for her already amazes me. I can't wait to meet this special little girl.

We would like to invite all of you to fast with us, this upcoming fast Sunday (May 4th) in Brenna's behalf. It will be the last fast we will hold before she is born. For those of you who have been praying for us, THANK YOU. Please continue to remember our family in your prayers--we have felt a difference! We truly feel the love and support that all of you have given and shown. We love you all!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Warning. This post contains random thoughts from a pregnant woman, who can't really seem to keep anything straight anymore. Feel free to read on, or stop here. 

My belly button is officially non-existent . No one told me it would disappear! I don't know why it freaks me out so much, but it does!

I've pretty much felt every emotion known to man these last few days and weeks. From being really happy, and energetic-to feeling down, upset, and exhausted...not to mention bursting into tears if someone even looks at me "the wrong way". Ah, the joys of being pregnant.

My favorite thing is feeling Brenna wiggle constantly. I love that she has dance parties, and practices her sweet karate moves in my tummy. Her favorite thing to do is stick her foot right under my right rib cage. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and painful, but I still love it. It reminds me of how lucky I am to get to have her. She is already spunky and full of life, I hope she stays that way!

Kidney Stones are the spawn of Satan. I have never experienced anything so painful. I have passed a lot of kidney stones, (which are terrible NOT pregnant, even when you can take medicine) but being pregnant and passing kidney stones is horrendous! NO pain meds but Tylenol...which DOES NOT do a dang thing! So basically you just have to wait it out. NOT FUN! 

I'm pretty sure Brenna is made out of Bacon Cheeseburgers, Cocoa Pebbles, Cheese, Spaghetti-o's (gross I know), and Play-dough Ice Cream. It seems like whatever I eat gives me Heartburn, so I should at least enjoy what I eat, right? I eat Tums like candy--and gag every time I chew and swallow. You would think they would make them a little more tasty, and a lot less chalky. Maybe I should go to work and find a not so disgusting way to treat heartburn--who knows, maybe I'd make millions!

Priesthood Blessings are Incredible. I have such a strong testimony of the priesthood--I am beyond grateful for the guidance and council that I have received from my Heavenly Father through worthy priesthood holders. A lot of questions have been answered, and I have felt peace as I have exercised my own faith and worked towards bettering myself. 

Who knew that trying to tie your shoes could quickly turn into a 20 minute workout? It's a good thing Tyler is willing to help me--and only laughs at me a little bit. 

Tyler and I are coming up on our 2 year anniversary (April 5th). It is so crazy to think that we were sealed 2 years ago--time flies! He has been my rock- he is so strong and willing to put up with anything that comes our way. He is a great example to me, and works so hard for our family. He is a trooper--he works 50-60 hour work weeks, and is also in school full time. I am so glad that he chose me to be his forever. He loves me unconditionally, (even when i drive him to the brink of insanity) and puts up with all of my crap. He knows how to make me laugh and smile, and always knows just what to say when I am having a hard day. I love that he still tucks me into bed at night, and doesn't get too mad when I pick all of the cookie dough chunks out of HIS ice cream--if that's not love, I don't know what is! ;)  Love You Babe! 

8 weeks. That's all we have until our sweet babe arrives. I wish I could press fast forward, but I still have so much to do to prepare for her arrival! I get anxiety every time I think about it--partly because of all the nerves, and partly because I can't believe we are this close to meeting our little miracle. 

Between all the laughs, smiles, tears, and disappointments, I would not change a thing. I am so grateful to be where I am today, to be able to be here, and experience trials and happiness. I love my life, and am looking forward to the future with a smile! 

"Those who look forward with a HAPPY SPIRIT will find that things ALWAYS work out."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SO MUCH Love & Service!

Oy. I don't even know where to start. I don't think I have ever cried so many good tears in my life. Tyler and I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support that we have been shown the last few weeks. We are so grateful for each and every one of you, and your generous acts in our behalf.

The thing that we have come to realize, and learn, (this last week especially) is that our Heavenly Father is looking out for us, even when we don't realize it. He has a plan for each and every one of us, and has given us amazing people to help us along our way.

Tyler and I have been struggling lately, mostly because of financial reasons. We have been stressing about hospital bills, and worrying about how we are going to be able to be able to pay for Brenna's other bills (she does not have insurance as of right now...long story--Tyler and I are both covered on our parents insurance until we are 26. We can get insurance through work, but it doesn't make sense to pay over $500 extra a month when we are both already covered, and pretty healthy.). The bills have already started flowing, and have been quite the eyeopener, considering we did not think we would be in this situation. (I know, I shouldn't worry about the bills--all that really matters is for Brenna to get here, safely, and as healthy as possible- we will pay any price we have to, to have her in our family, but it is always somewhere in the back of my mind.) We decided, that selling the bracelets would be a good opportunity for us to come together as a family to support each other--and Brenna, and be able to save up a little bit of extra money to help with the incoming bills. We ordered 200 bracelets, thinking that would be more than enough--but boy were we wrong! We had so many people contact us, and we sold all 200 bracelets, in just a couple of hours! We placed another bracelet order, because there are still so many people who want them!

There are no words to describe my feelings, toward all of you, who have contributed to our cause- many of you we know personally, but also those who we do not know. Over the last few days, we have received many anonymous donations, and contributions in our behalf. It is truly amazing to see and feel the love and concern of so many wonderful people. I wish I knew who you were, so I could thank you! It is overwhelming to think that there are so many good people, who want to help us, and are willing to do so.

We have never experienced anything like this, it is all new to us. I can't even to begin to describe the feelings we have felt being on the receiving end of so many wonderful and generous acts of kindness. You have all been an answer to our prayers. We have been so blessed, and we know there are many more blessings coming to us, and to each of you because of your willingness to help us in our time of need.

I have made a promise to myself, that I would try to be better in helping those around me. I want to give service to those in need, be a friend to those who need a friend, and be a listening ear to those who are facing hardships. I want to be a person that others can rely on. I may not be able to do much right now, but, I know that in the future, I am going to reach out and help others in any way that I can.

Heavenly Father has put us in this situation, knowing our full potential, and has placed angels along the way to help us. I have been inspired by so many of you and hope that I will be able to help and inspire others along the way. I want to be an influence for good, and return the favors that we have so generously been given.

One of our many callings in life, is to reach out to those around us, love them as the Savior would love them, and do everything we can to serve them. It really is a simple task--the Savior does not ask much of us. If we all try a little harder, we can do amazing and marvelous works. I have seen it, and have felt the spirit testify of the sweetness and miracles that occur because of service. I am working on being better, and will take advantage of any opportunity I can, to serve others to the best of my ability.

Once again, THANK YOU all, for your love, support, concern, and the examples that you have set for us. We can't possibly imagine facing this trial without so many wonderful people behind us, to help us, and strengthen us. We love you all--

"We are Children, holding hands around the world; like an army with the gospel flag unfurled. We are led by His light, and we love truth and right; WE are BUILDING the Kingdom of God."
-Holding Hands Around the World  (LDS Children's Songbook)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Our Second Primary Children's Visit

Wow. What a day! We left home at 9:30 this morning, and we are just getting home! It is now after 7pm.

We started off the day in the Cardiology unit at Primary Children's Hospital--for a routine Echo-cardiogram. Lynn, the same tech we had last time, did this echo as well. She is very nice and friendly, and she remembered us--probably because Brenna was so naughty last time! Anyways, we sat in the room while she did the scan. It was a surprise when she said we were done after only 40 minutes! (last time it took over two hours!) Brenna cooperated for the most part, and everything went well.

We met with Dr. Miller, and Dr. Polkchowski, as well as our two social workers, Kim & Lisa. The Echo-cardiogram showed the same thing as last time (which is a good thing) . No new worries or concerns, which we are grateful for! From the looks of things it looks like Brenna will more than likely have to have a shunt put in her heart, to take the blood to her lungs. They are still very hopeful, but it is still a very serious procedure. We were glad to not hear any more bad news!

I also got to go over to the University of Utah Hospital, to have an ultrasound, and meet my new OB. The ultrasound went great! Brenna looks very healthy, and is right on schedule with her measurements! She is full of personality, and wouldn't sit still-probably because she had been poked and prodded at all day! She weighs just over 2.5lbs, has chubby legs and cheeks, and already has lots of hair!! We were actually able to see her face, so we were thrilled! We can't wait to meet her, and see what she looks like for reals!

My new OB seems so great! Her name is Dr. Erin Clark. She delivers at the University Hospital--mostly High Risk Births. She was very sweet, full of energy, and was very reassuring. I'm glad I felt comfortable with her, I know we will get along, and that she will be amazing!

Overall, it was a good day! We are in such good hands, and I am so thankful to be able to have so much support and love. I am so thankful for modern technology, and the amazing things that are able to be done because of it--Brenna will be very well taken care of, and for that we are so thankful!

This is Brenna, our precious little babe. 
She is already so sweet, and we are SO EXCITED to meet her! 
(The white stuff on the back of her head is HAIR!) 

Once again, we appreciate all of you--your love and support mean the world to us, and to Brenna. We couldn't do this without you. Please keep praying for our family--especially Brenna! We LOVE you all, thanks for all you do! 

"Don't use your energy to worry. Use your energy to BELIEVE."


Monday, March 10, 2014

The Waiting Game

It seems as though the days pass SO SLOWLY, but the weeks usually pass a little bit quicker. I feel like the last 2 months of our life have dragged on and felt like an eternity. We have been waiting and waiting, to find out more information on what to expect, and what we need to do to prepare ourselves (mentally & physically) for Brenna's arrival.

On Friday, we will be going back up to Primary Children's Hospital for another echo-cardiogram, we will also be visiting the U of U hospital to meet with a few potential OB doctors, have an ultrasound, possibly meet with a surgeon, and tour the Newborn Heart Intensive Care Unit. I am really nervous, but at the same time, excited, and a little bit scared. I'm hoping that things have improved, and that we wont have to hear any more bad news. I am trying to prepare myself for what I will see and experience in the Heart NICU. I know it wont be easy, but I am hoping that going now, and seeing what things could potentially be like will help ease my mind, and help me prepare better to be able to help Brenna as much as I can. There is a possibility that we could be spending a lot of time there (we are hoping only to be there for a few days, but you never know.) and the more comfortable I feel, the better off I will be.

I am hoping that when i have my regular ultrasound, we will be able to actually see her face. We have not been able to see her face in any previous ultrasounds because she is a wiggle worm, and she hides her face! She likes to be a stinker, and not hold still long enough to get a good look at her. We are pretty sure, that she might come out looking like a monkey, both Tyler and I had loads of dark hair when we were born, and if the whole "having heartburn" really means you are going to have a hairy baby, then Brenna might look like Chewbacca! I am SOOO excited to meet her, and finally be able to see what she looks like! It is so crazy to think we are only 11 weeks away!

On a side note, Tyler and I decided that we wanted to do something special--just for her. We had custom  bracelets made, that we will be selling. Our motto throughout this whole experience has been "Believe In Miracles". We had that printed on the front of the bracelets, with her name printed on the back of them. The cost of the bracelets will be $3, we are trying to save a little bit of money--as the medical bills have already started coming, (and it doesn't really help that our little miss doesn't have insurance...) and they probably wont stop for quite some time. The picture below shows what they look like. (it shows the front and the back of the bracelet) They are adult sizes, and will fit a man's wrist! If you are interested, please contact me or my mom. Thanks for all you do, and for your love.


Sunday, March 2, 2014


With it being Fast Sunday, I have felt like I should write down and share some bits and pieces of my own Testimony--as well as some other experiences that have happened this last week.

On Friday morning, I had to opportunity to go to the Temple with my Mom, and Grandma & Grandpa Cowan. That morning, it seemed like nothing went right! (My alarm didn't go off, so I was running late, I cut myself shaving in the shower, I couldn't find my shoes, and then my keys went missing!) I was so excited to be able to go to the temple, but my thoughts and feelings quickly turned into down and discouraging ones with all of this happening. It was a rough morning! I definitely know that someone DID NOT want me to go to the temple, and that he would do anything he could to distract me and not let me get there. Even though we were a few minutes late, we did get to the Temple, and I am beyond grateful and happy that we did! The Temple is definitely the House of the Lord, and I truly feel like I am in his presence there. All of my earthly cares and worries wash away when I am there, and I am able to focus on the things that matter most to me--my savior, my family, my husband & sweet baby girl. While sitting in the Celestial Room, I was overcome with the spirit, and tears filled my eyes as I felt Brenna's special spirit. I know she was there. As I felt her spirit near me, she started moving inside me like I have never felt before! It was as if she was trying to say that she was there, and she wasn't going anywhere. She reassured me that everything would be ok. I am so grateful for the experiences and the peace felt in the temple. Many questions were answered, and much needed peace and comfort was felt as I was there. The temple is so important to me, and I am so glad that because of the covenants Tyler and I made in the temple, we get to be with our children, and each other, FOREVER.

I am beyond grateful for so many good examples in my life. I am surrounded by so many wonderful people who know who they are and what they stand for--even in a world full of filth and distractions, they stay strong, and find the good in everything. I have to admit, that I am terrified for my own kids. The world is getting to be such a negative influence--everything I believe as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is completely opposite of what the world now views as "correct" or "acceptable". Nothing is sacred anymore--there is so much hate and opposition that we all face on a daily basis. I hope and pray that I will be an influence for good, and that I might be able to help my own kids see and be the good in the world. I hope I will be able to teach them, and that they will always feel like they have somewhere to turn in times of trouble. I know I will never be able to shelter them from all of the evil in the world. Sadly there is no way to avoid it, but I will do everything I can to teach them, to help them develop their own testimonies, and have a desire to choose the right.

I am so thankful for the Priesthood. It has always been such a huge blessing to me, and has helped me in times of trouble. I am so blessed to have such righteous men in my life, who are worthy to hold the Priesthood, and use it to better the lives of those around them. My dad has always been an example to me, and I look up to him--he has always been there to give me a blessing whenever I need it. I am so thankful for Tyler, and for the blessings, advice, and council that he has given me. I am so glad my children will be able to grow up with the Priesthood in our home. I am also so grateful, that when Brenna does get here, that she will be able to have Priesthood blessings, that will hopefully help her through the trials she will face so early in life.

Prayer is one of the many things that I have really come to rely on throughout my life, especially when facing hardships. It is the only way I can communicate with my Heavenly Father, if I need something, or am looking for an answer to a question I might have, or even just to thank him for all he has given me. It has been such a help to me, to know that no matter where I am, or what I am doing, that I can pray and he will be listening. I know that prayer will bring me closer to my Heavenly Father, and that no matter what I am feeling, or going through, I can turn to him. Every time I pray, I know that he is there, and that our relationship is being strengthened and he is sending blessings my way.

Fasting goes hand in hand with prayer. I have had many experiences with fasting, and witnessed many miracles because of it--both in my own life, and in the lives of those who were struggling. I am so thankful to all of you, who have fasted in Brenna's behalf. We have seen miracles already, and I know that we are going to see more! It is so great to know, that all of you are concerned for her, and want to help. My mom told me last fast Sunday, that my sweet 8 year old cousin, fasted a FULL 24 hours just for Brenna. Fasting isn't easy, especially when you are so young (let's be honest, it is never easy no matter how old you are!). I am amazed everyday at the willingness of friends and family to fast and pray for us. There are no words express our gratitude.

My heart is so full today, thinking of the many blessings we have, and are still receiving. We are so lucky to have such good family, who have taught us, and loved us, and helped us in hard times. I am so grateful that Brenna will be surrounded by such good people, who already love her, and care for her. My testimony truly has been strengthened, and I hope it will continue to grow, as we continue on this journey. We  love you all! Thanks for all you do.

"Believe in Miracles"


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The last 2 weeks of my life have been a blur. I've had some really really good days, but also a couple of not so good days. The times I seem to struggle most, is when i am alone--or have too much time on my hands. I find that a lot of the time, when I have too much time to think, my thoughts wander--usually to Brenna. I tend to over think, and good thoughts quickly turn into the worst. I find myself almost constantly worried and scared over every little thing.

Tyler and I were talking the other night, about life. Work, school, bills, and of course our current situation. I expressed some of my concern to him, about what i was feeling, and how i had been struggling. I had been praying and praying for some sort of comfort, and finally received an answer to my prayers. Tyler didn't say much, but he did say something that struck me pretty hard. "Negative thoughts and feelings DO NOT come from our Heavenly Father." I had never thought of that before, its such a simple statement, but it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My Heavenly Father is a kind and just God. He knows me, and loves me. He has given us this trial to become better, and to become more like him. He isn't trying to drag me down, or instill negative hurtful thoughts in my mind. He is always there, and is ready and willing to help me. He wants me to succeed, and be happy!

If I have realized one thing the last few days, it is that Satan is real, his influence is real, and he wants nothing more than for me to fail. I have come to recognize his power and influence, especially in hard times. I have felt it more than i care to admit. Its hard to find light in a world full of darkness and despair. He attacks you at your weakest moment, he knows just where to hit you to make it sting. He is the master of all evil, misery, and lies. When i am down, or sad, or worried, he has more power over me, telling me that I cant succeed. That i will fail, that I cant possibly be happy.

I have been thinking about all of this, and came to the conclusion that yes Satan is real, but he only has power over me if I let him. HE IS NOT in control of my life, I make my own decisions, and determine my own happiness. If i let him in, he will take advantage and make my life miserable. If I exercise my faith, and try my hardest to do what is right, I know I will be victorious in this battle. I WILL overcome anything that is put in my path, and will do so trusting in my Heavenly Father's plan for me. It doesn't mean that it will be easy, but worth it. The blessings that I have been promised, if I endure to the end, are far GREATER than anything that i could physically obtain here on the earth.

It's never easy to face any sort of trial, we all have to do things we don't want to at some point in our lives. Sure, facing a difficulty is definitely not fun, or ideal, but I am looking forward to the future, and what it has in store for us. We are so excited (and a wee bit nervous) to meet our precious Brenna, and are ready and willing to do whatever we have to, to get her here, and healthy! It has been such a humbling experience, and blessing to know we get to be parents to a very, VERY special little girl. It is amazing to think that someone so special, and so strong, chose me and Tyler to be her parents. I am counting down the days, until she arrives, and gets to become a part of our family--FOREVER. (It's INSANE to think we are ONLY 13 weeks away from having a baby!! I'm freaking out a little!)

"My life is a gift, my life has a plan,
my life has a purpose, in Heaven it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on
earth, and seek for God's light to direct me from
(I will follow God's Plan- LDS Children's Hymnbook)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Find HAPPINESS in all of Life's CRAPINESS

Sometimes in life, when bad things happen, it seems like no matter what you do, you cant catch a break. This is how I have felt this past week. With everything going on lately, its hard to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Life is so unpredictable, and sometimes really REALLY hard. The last few days, its just one thing after another. I am so ready for something positive to happen.

In the last few weeks, I have found myself constantly on my knees asking my Heavenly Father for help and guidance. I know he is there, and I know he is listening, but sometimes I still struggle. My mom gets weekly emails from a few missionaries, and she wrote down a little blurb from one of them-- "When all else fails PRAY, and when that seems to fail, PRAY more." As different struggles have come and gone, prayer has been one of my only sources of peace. Even though I may not get an immediate answer to a prayer, I know it will come. Maybe not in the way I want, or the way I expect, but it will come!

One of the ONLY things that has helped me have a better attitude the last few days is a CD of Primary songs that are sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My mom bought it for me, and I am so grateful for it! I listen to it almost constantly, and it really helps me to calm down and focus on feeling the spirit. I have found that, when I do things I know I need to be doing, like praying, studying my scriptures, paying my tithing, and attending the temple, and trying to choose the right, I feel the spirit more constantly, and it helps me to focus on the good things I have in my life.

I have started a new gratitude journal, in which I write down 5 things every day that I am thankful for. This has helped me be able to see the many, MANY blessings that I receive daily, even when I think things couldn't get any worse. It helps me recognize my Heavenly Fathers hand in my life, and all of the tender mercies that we have experienced already in this journey.

I could never face this alone. I know I am not alone, even in my darkest times, when I cant seem to find a way out, or when I feel like everything is crashing down around me. I have a wonderful husband, amazing family, and a loving Savior who I can lean on in times of need. It still amazes me, to look around and see all of the love and support we have. There truly is strength in numbers. With help from family and friends, and trusting in my Heavenly Fathers plan for us, nothing is impossible. I have to remind myself of how lucky we really are. Things could be a lot worse, and there are others out there struggling just as we are. Thank you all for all you do, to help us, and for the love you give us!

" Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day.
Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray.
Faith is like a little seed:
If planted, it will grow.
Faith is a swelling within my heart.
When I do right, I know.
Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends on earth.
Faith is trust in God above;
In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow
Whenever I obey."


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Primary Children's Hospital

Yesterday, as most of you know, we went up to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. A nice lady named Lynn did an echo-cardiogram on Brenna, and we met with several Pediatric Cardiologists, a social worker, and the head nurse coordinator. All of them were very sweet, and inviting. I was a train wreck, i didn't know what to expect, and was terrified at what we could possibly be told.

Tyler and I, along with my mom, Marianne and my mother-in-law Christine, sat in the room as Lynn did the echo-cardiogram in complete and total silence. Brenna of course, was being naughty and WOULD NOT sit still. Lynn tried to get pictures and videos of her heart for an hour and forty-five minutes! (quite possibly the LONGEST minutues of my life!!) She kept moving and turning and kicking the ultrasound probe everytime Lynn would move it. Brenna calmed down (for a minute) and Lynn was able to get about 5 good minutes of pictures and video.

After the Echo-cardiogram, they took us into a large conference room, and sat us down, (TERRIFYING!!) and they proceeded to tell us what they had found. The name of the defect is Pulmonary Atresia (clarification for those of you who may be interested to find out more, there are 2 TYPES of this heart disease- our baby has two ventricles, and the septum is intact. The other is more serious.) It is considered congenital heart disease, so it is not hereditary. It just so happened that she is the 1% of babies whose heart has this certain defect.

Basically what this means, is that the main artery, that delivers blood to her lungs is sealed shut. Right now, while she is inside me, she is completely safe. The blood is flowing as it should, and is getting to where it needs to go. After she is born, there is a little valve (all babies have it) that closes within 24-48 hours after birth. Soon after she is born, they will start her on a special medicine, to keep that little valve open and her blood circulating to the right places. As soon as she is stable enough, they will take her and try to snake a catheter up through her right ventricle to the opening of the valve that is sealed. They will burn a small hole through the tissue to open the it, and then they will take a balloon and try to stretch it and make the opening wider. The right ventricle is what pumps the blood to and up through the artery, to the lungs. Since the opening to the artery is sealed, the right ventricle is working very hard to try and pump the blood, but it cant. It has a build up of tissue which could cause further issues. It is underdeveloped, but there is a chance that it can continue to grow and develop over the next few weeks. (for those of you praying, please remember to pray that the tiny little part of her heart (right ventricle) will develop more.)

All in all, they say that this is a step by step process, and cannot exactly determine what will have to be done just yet. It just depends on Brenna, and what her body tells them she needs, and what her body chooses to accept. Further surgeries could be necessary, but we wont know exactly what until she has her first procedure. They say that this will be a lifelong journey for all of us, and she will be seeing a cardiologist for the rest of her life. There is also a chance that she will live a healthy life, and be able to be active- her heart will never be 100%, but it can come very close to being normal. We already know she has a very beautiful, kind, and special heart full of love!

The doctors we met with were very sweet and very thorough. They are very blunt, and tell it like it is. Which i am so thankful for--They are so confident in what they can do to help us, and baby Brenna. They are so hopeful, and gave me so much confidence that her heart can be fixed! They are expecting her to be just fine, and told us that we could very well be taking our sweet baby girl home with us within 2-4 weeks after she is born.

What a sigh of relief, for me and Tyler to hear that there is hope for our precious baby. I am beyond grateful for the comfort, peace, and relief that i got in answer to many, MANY, prayers. I know my Heavenly Father is watching out for us, and that he will be a constant in my life if i choose to let him be. He loves me, and knows of my deepest desires and needs. He knows what is best, and has a plan for our little family. One of the things that has helped me most, is to look at my life, and realize all of the blessings that he has given me already, and to find one positive thing every day that has put a smile on my face, and helps me recognize his hand in my life. The gospel is such a blessing, and has offered me much joy and happiness, even through hard times. It makes me want to reach out to others, and share that same happiness that i know and feel.

I know we have a long road ahead of us, but through faith and prayer, and constantly doing what we know we need to, anything is possible. I also know there is strength in numbers. All of your prayers, love and concern were an answer to my prayers--you have truly given us strength and courage, and i know the burden will be lighter with each one of you by our side, helping us, and praying for us. Thank you all, for all that you have done, and continue to do for us. We love each and every one of you.

"God is a God of miracles, and thus he blesses his children for showing FAITH."
-Elder Tanner Smith


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blessings for Brenna

The last few days of my life have been full of smiles, tears, pain, joy, and love. Ah, the JOYS of pregnancy! I am coming to terms with accepting life as it is, and taking it for what it is worth. I feel like I have been put on a rollercoaster- one that jerks you around, shakes you up, making you want to throw up...but also one that is secure, one that knows its path, and one that also brings happiness and joy.

Although the last couple days have been hectic, I have also found many things in my life to be thankful for. Family, being the biggest blessing to me lately--My family is so supportive. I have never met people that are more loving and caring than they are. I had the chance to attend the temple with (most) of them tonight. What a blessing it is to be able to sit with them in the temple, and to feel their love, as well as our Heavenly Father's. They are so important to us, and I hope they know how much we love them!

I had been looking forward to being able to go to the temple ALL WEEK! All of the crazy emotions that we have experienced lately, disappeared as soon as we walked into the temple. My eyes were teary as I handed my recommend to the temple worker, and he welcomed me to the temple. It was as if all my earthly cares and fears faded away with each step I took. AMAZING things happen in the temple, whether you are attending for a special reason, or you are going just to feel the spirit. I had many moments tonight, that I will never forget. Our sweet baby girl was definitely there with us- Tyler and I felt her sweet spirit there with us almost the entire time, comforting us, and letting us know it will all be ok. I cant wait to meet her, to love her, and hug her for reals!

One thing that I have learned about this experience so far, is that a mothers love is unconditional, and never failing. I feel this love for our precious baby already. Its incredible that you can feel so much love for someone so tiny, and that you haven't really met yet. It also goes for all the women who are moms already. I have seen my own mom struggle through the last few days, she is so concerned about me, Tyler, and the babe. She has been such a strength to me in my time of need, and she always shows me how much she loves and cares for me through her actions, as well as through words. I've always been told, you never know how much your mother loves you, until you become a mother yourself. Now I know. I cant help but think of my Heavenly Mother, and how much love she has for ALL of us as well.

For those of you who don't know, Tyler and I decided it would be best to give our baby girl a name. This was a very cool experience for us both- We decided to name her Brenna McKensie Brown. We have always loved the name Brenna, and felt that it would fit her. The day after we decided on the name, I was with my mom. She asked me if I had looked up the meaning of her name- I hadn't, so I decided to take the time and do it. I looked up her name, and was thrilled at what I had found. *Brenna: One who looks forward to the future, shy and sensitive, one who has meaning in life.* At that moment, I knew, that we had made the right decision! It was a great experience, and even though it was small, it put a smile on my face! 

We LOVE you all, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all of your prayers in our behalf. Keep em' coming! They have really helped us in our time of need!

"Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but WHO holds the future."


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our Story

Hello There! Welcome to our blog. The purpose of this blog is to help me document small parts of our journey here in this crazy world--as well as keep you updated on our happenings, and on our beautiful baby girl.

I guess I should start with some sort of introduction, but most of you know me enough to know most of my story, so I will stick to the basics.

My name is McKensie Brown, I am 21 years old. I am married to my BEST FRIEND, Tyler. We were sealed in the Draper Utah LDS Temple on April 5, 2012. We are expecting our first baby (GIRL), on June 3, 2014. We both come from very large, supportive, and loving families. We both LOVE our BYU Cougars, spending time with family, and also spending time with each other as often as we can. We are both employed full time, and Tyler is also a full time student. Tyler is my rock, and keeps me sane most of the time. He is a huge blessing in my life, and I am so grateful I get to be with him forever.

On September 30, 2013 we found out that I was pregnant. We were SOOO EXCITED! We made our official announcement around Halloween. The weeks and months since have passed by rather quickly, and on December 19th we found out we were having a sweet baby girl.

Last week, I went in for my 20 week ultrasound. The doctor found some abnormalities in her tiny little heart, and suggested we see a perinatologist. This morning, I met with the doctor, and he confirmed that she does have a severe heart defect. She has a hole in her heart, as well as another defect that has to do with blood leaving her heart. This news was devastating, and as a young (soon-to-be) mom, I am of course scared, worried, and uneasy about the whole situation. Its never a good feeling to be told that your unborn child may or may not live a normal life. We were told that she will most likely have multiple surgeries within the first year of her life, and that we have a long road ahead of us. We are scheduled to see a pediatric cardiologist on February 4th, and we will have more concrete information then.

This is by far the biggest trial we have faced in our almost 2 years of married life, and I am so glad Tyler will be by my side through this whole thing. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such amazing family, and for giving us strength and courage to face this situation. I know without a doubt, that he is there for us in our time of need, and he wouldn't give us this trial if we couldn't overcome it. I know that our/her future is in his hands, and that everything will be ok--maybe not ok today, or in months to come, but it will all be ok in due time.

It is times like this, that I know I can grow closer to my husband, my family, and most importantly, my Savior. It is an overwhelming feeling to know that I can turn to my Savior, and he will take me by the hand and help me. He has felt the same feelings, sorrows, and pains that I feel. I have felt more love in the last week than I think I have ever felt, and I know it is because of the many prayers that were said in our behalf. It is incredible to know that so many people truly care for us, and want the best possible outcome for our little family.

We LOVE our sweet baby girl so much already, and want nothing but the best for her. We will do whatever we have to, to help her get through this. She is a very special spirit, and I know she is already so strong. She is such a blessing to us already, and I know, whatever the outcome, she is OURS--FOREVER.

I would like to personally thank all of you, who have prayed for us. We have felt an overwhelming sense of your love, and concern. I want to ask you to continue praying for us as we continue through this journey. We LOVE and appreciate all of you, thank you for your continuing support--we will (try) to keep everyone updated on our precious baby girl.

"Fear not, little flock...Look to Christ in every thought; Doubt not, Fear not..."  "...Ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands prepared for you;" Doctrine & Covenants 6:34,36; 78:17