Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dreams Come True in South Bend

This woman came to the race and shared with us the story of her miracle daughter they adopted a few years ago.  One of my favorite parts of this is the inspiration shared by others at PPP events. 

I have grown to love these two. They will be incredible parents.

Raffle time!

I have always had big dreams for PPP. One of those dreams was to host 5Ks outside of Utah.  So, when I was in the first mile of the South Bend race for baby Purcell, I couldn't hold back my tears.  My little 5K had made it to Indiana! There were people running here for infertility, running for baby Purcell, running because of my dream.

The emotions I felt were overwhelming.  I was so grateful for those who have helped me make this organization what it is, for the amazing people and new friends I've been able to meet and help in their journey to parenthood, for the lessons I've learned along the was all so humbling, so satisfying, and truly my dream come true. I can't wait to hop on more planes, meet more people, and run a whole heck of a lot more miles to help get these miracle babies here.  I consider myself one of the luckiest.

Thank you Indiana.
Thank you Matt and Stephanie.
Thank you to my incredible PPP team.
Much love, Jill

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Conception Day!

[Written July 19th 2012]

1 year ago today, Cameron and I completed our IVF cycle. We wouldn't find out we were pregnant for a couple more weeks, but this was the beginning of Nash and Gray's little lives. Cam surprised me with this video this morning:

The following is from my journal, July 19th 2011 Yesterday, the clinic asked me to take a pregnancy test to make sure the HCG Trigger shot was given correctly and that it was in my system. It was so weird to take a pregnancy test and know it would come up positive. I've never seen that little pink line before! Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have a real one.  

This morning at 6:30 we checked in for our egg retrieval. I was nervous that something would go wrong with my follicles or that some had ruptured or that my estrogen levels would continue to rise and we'd have to cancel the cycle or something, but it all went so smoothly. After this week, I was really looking forward to some medically induced sleep. It felt so good to just have a day to relax and not worry about anything. We went into the exam room we were in for the last ultrasound. It was nice to be in a familiar place. It didn't seem so cold to me and definitely helped me relax. 

On the table were all the vials and tubes for the treatment. There were 24 of them. It felt good to know the doctor had high hopes for my body! In all honesty, the hardest part of any medical procedure for me is getting the IV put in. Luckily, our anesthesiologist was an all star. I barely even felt the needle. I was really grateful I was allowed to keep my bracelet on. Cam got it for me for Mother's Day this past May. It says "Eventually" on it. I love it. It has been such a great source of strength to me. They had Cam kiss me and head out to the waiting room. I fell asleep about 10 seconds later. When I woke up, the anesthesiologist walked me into the recovery room and told me that Cam should be in in a minute. I was grateful to have the chance to pray for him. 

The best part of my day by far, though, was when Cam came through the door to my recovery room. He gave me a kiss on the forehead and held my hand. The sweetest moments in marriage come when you are given the opportunity to conquer something together. It's moments like that recovery room conversation that make me so grateful for this trial. 

We talked for about 15 minutes and then our brilliant Dr. walked in.
 "We were able to get 35 eggs."
*Jaws drop*  
"You're kidding me!?"
"Not in the least. And we normally expect about 60% to fertilize, so hopefully that means 15-20 will make it to the next step."

 We are floored. On the way home from the clinic, Cam stopped to pick up my favorite breakfast from my favorite breakfast stop, Kneaders. They have some killer croissant sandwiches and smoothies. Yum! We got home and Cam helped me up the stairs to bed. He read me a chapter from Harry Potter and we cuddled up for an hour or two of deep sleep. The rest of today has been full of watching TV and eating food. What a glorious day to celebrate. We couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


[Written 5.23.11]

There are so many things I’ve wanted to blog about in the past few days. In all honesty, Cam has had to physically restrain me a couple of times because things are just so exciting! We both wanted to wait to spread the news until we had a solid plan in place, though. Yes, both of us.

The past week and a half has been unbelievable for us. We have laughed, cried, let our jaws completely hit the floor more than once, and made phone call after phone call. We have felt your prayers, thoughts, love, and support more than ever these past few days. You’re really not going to believe this. Let’s start on Thursday of last week.

Thursday: We were going in for our 3rd (and last) IUI before IVF was on the table. We knew it wasn’t going to work, but we had to do it before our Dr. would consider us for IVF. We had to do it in order to move forward. In the middle of the treatment, I was sitting in the waiting room and the nurse called me. She didn’t know I was in the clinic, but she wanted to let me know that the Dr. had looked over our charts and wanted us to know that he didn’t recommend us doing this 3rd IUI because our chances were so low. He said we could go through with it if we wanted to, but that he recommended us saving our money for IVF. We spent the next hour meeting with a nurse and asking all of our questions about IVF. Scheduling out everything, learning about medications and procedures, and asking about how everything works. We left the clinic and stopped at Cheesecake Factory (Free slice of cheesecake with purchase of $30 + $25 gift card = AFFORDABLE!) to celebrate actually being able to move forward. We were thrilled!

Friday: Because we were both fully and completely on board for this expensive procedure ($25,000 minimum), we decided to pull out all the stops and really organize our resources money-wise. At work, I got an e-mail letting me know that it was the last day to add money to a tax-free medical account that is put into the account at the beginning of the year and is paid back throughout the rest of the year. It’s like a tax-free cash advance. Love it!

Saturday: We went to support Pound the Pavement for Parenthood. It was my first 5k ever and I was nervous! We were friends with the couple that was being sponsored and they asked how our the treatments were going. We told them how the Dr. stopped our last IUI and recommended us for IVF. They stopped the conversation right there and told us to talk to Jill, the race coordinator. Jill had received an e-mail from a fertility specialist in pleasant grove who was donating 50% off IVF to anyone who ran the race and needed it. WHAT?! We ran really, really fast that day. And this was when I wanted to blog so SO bad!

But we didn’t know the details of the 50% off offer. Both of us thought it was too good to be true, or some sort of scam or something. We had to wait. Jill met with the Dr. (Dr. Foulk) on Saturday. She called us with the details on Sunday night. I will never ever forget what it felt like for me and Cam to be up in the second bedroom hearing about this man who was going to change our life while we had company playing games downstairs. Dr. Foulk is an extremely successful reproductive endocrinologist who has opened practices in Reno and Boise. He is ranked among the top 6 RE’s in the nation. He was at the point of his life where he could retire, go golfing, go on a mission, etc. He decided to send himself on a medical mission to Utah County in order to help the people here have families. I’ve looked over his statistics and success reports for the past 5 years. 60% of the IVF cycles he has done incorporate a procedure called ICSI that we will need. He is a specialist for our specific type of infertility. Because he’s on a medical mission, he does all of his procedures at cost. He doesn’t make a dime. This is his passion – helping people. So….the amount we put in the account last Friday? It just happens to be exactly the amount for the procedure and the medications.

We are floored. And we’ve been really thinking about what to do with our auction. The support and excitement it has generated is too much to pass up, but we would be incredibly ungrateful to keep it for ourselves. We don’t need it. We want to help another couple reach their dream of parenthood. I asked Jill if her and her husband were taking Dr. Foulk’s 50% off offer. She said they’d like to in the future, but they are still paying off a failed IVF cycle. I can’t imagine the emotional turmoil a failed IVF cycle would cause. My heart hurts for this beautiful, selfless couple that, regardless of their own dreams of parenthood, have started an organization to help raise funds for other couples to have children. Especially when they have a huge debt to pay off from their past cycle before they can move forward and try again.

To make things even better, Cam got a phone call on Friday from the insurance company. Remember when our car got totaled? Over 5 months ago? They wanted a fax number so we could sign a form for them to send us another check for our “pain and suffering.” Yesterday, the lesson in Relief Society asked the question: “How has God provided a way for you to be obedient?” We have seen his hand, so clearly, in our lives the past 10 days. We’re so stunned that things are moving so quickly, but we couldn’t be happier. There are days when I look at Cam, just terrified and say, “What if this doesn’t work?” and then minutes later I look up at him just as terrified and say, “What if this DOES work?”

What if it does?!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Big Business Woman

When I was a little girl, when people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always the same, "A big business woman!" (?) For some reason, I was always drawn to the idea or image of a successful woman, the look, or the confidence they seemed to have. What I saw was a women who dressed in a pant suit and carried a brief case. You know the kind, the put together women who swiftly walks through airports, as if they own the world, and has somewhere really important to be. These women always look busy.  They look important.  They look good. However, they rarely look happy.

While my actual career choice has changed, I feel in a way my childhood dream is coming true. But here's the difference: I'm currently sitting quietly in a little corner of the Denver airport, in yoga pants and running shoes. My luggage consists of running T-shirts, signs, and race supplies. The important place I get to go is to the Purcell's home in South Bend, IN where we will discuss and finalize the details for the event that will help to get their baby(ies) here.  

I don't think I would necessarily be considered a successful woman. I don't walk above normal speed. I often follow the crowd in airports, and for heavens sake, I don't even know where I would buy a pant suit, let alone wear one, but I think my definition of "success," or even "a big business woman" has changed.  I feel like I'm living my dream in this moment, as silly as it may sound. I am continually in awe at this opportunity that seemed to just open up and change my life, this "business" of pounding the pavement to help people become parents.  I have an amazing team working with me, and there's is NO WAY I could do anything without them. Yes, I'm busy, but this work is important, and I am truly happy (see the difference?). To me, that spells big success, bigger than young Jill could've dreamed or defined.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


One of the many benefits of being a part of Pound the Pavement for Parenthood is the opportunity I have of meeting so many good people. All of these people will make incredible parents someday, but for whatever reason, for now, they have to wait. (see there, blessings of infertility, meeting the good people of the world)
Over the last few weeks it seems the topic of 'timing' keeps coming up.  And it's got me thinking...about my own infertile situation, about the couples we help through PPP, and

Timing. It's a funny thing.  If you're like me at all, timing is a bother.  Period.  I like to plan. I like to know exactly what's coming next. I like to feel like I'm ready for it.  So, really, timing and me butt heads. Like constantly.

Looking back though, life just works out the way it does, regardless of how much we worry, plan, or prepare.  And most often, it absolutely works out for the better.  We become better people through the process of giving up our own will and trying to make the best of what comes.  The outcome is better than we ever could've planned or prepared for.  In the end, timing wins every stinkin' time.  

So now, when I feel like I'm about to butt heads yet again with timing, I try to step back, and just hope.  I hope that I'm patient while I wait for the world to work itself out, just like it always does.  I hope that I learn the lessons that always seem to accompany frustrated timing.  More than anything though, I hope that I can continue meeting so many good people, who consistently make their way into my life and help me become good in the process. Their timing has always been perfect.

There's always a plan better than mine.
There's always a time better than mine.
There's always people around, better than me.
And for that, I'm grateful.

Just in time.

[Written 3.27.11]

I am deeply humbled today. I am grateful.

This weekend has been a rough one. I reached a new depth of sorrow that I didn't think was possible. Nothing really happened to cause it. Some days infertility gets the best of me. It turns me ugly. It causes thoughts and doubts and anger and hate, disbelief, pride, the list goes on.

I realized, this week, that I have been putting up one heck of a front. I constantly say "Oh, we're doing ok. There are good days and bad days, but you caught me on a good day." I constantly tell myself that it's not that bad. That things could be worse. That I am stronger than this.

But sometimes I just need to feel.

We are mourning the loss of someone that, in the eyes of others, never was and could possibly never be.  I completely understand why people are afraid to say anything to me sometimes. I wouldn't know what to say to me either. I understand.

I sat through sacrament meeting today with my head down. Tears rolled off my cheeks and made dark spots on my red dress. I choked through a few words of the opening song. I kept silent through the rest of it. I sat and cried through the opening speaker who talked in detail about how the strongest time she's felt the calming power of the holy ghost was during her pregnancy, emergency c-section, and first few days of her new daughter's life. I kept my head down and tried to avoid eye contact with this sister when she left the chapel to get a drink.

I whispered to Cam when the next speaker mentioned a lesson we had on fasting a few weeks ago. The men had a great lesson on the importance of fasting and the closeness we receive from our Heavenly Father. I remember that lesson, but a lot differently. The men and women meet separately in the 3rd hour of our church. The men had that great lesson. Us women had a lesson on fasting that was completely focused on what we can do, as women, when we can't fast because we are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Cam looked at me like I needed an attitude adjustment.

Let's be honest. I did.

But I said, "At least I'm here."

I sat and felt Cam's arm around me, my hands in his strong hands, and I felt lucky. I had gathered myself, and the tears had stopped.

Sacrament meeting ended and a sweet, wonderful friend of mine came to talk to me.

I had texted her earlier this morning asking if she wouldn't mind teaching the 7-year-olds for me. I had agreed to teach during one of my extremely convincing fronts of "we're doing just fine. today is a good day."

She was already teaching another class so she couldn't help me out, but asked if there was anything else she could do. I left it at that.

She knelt down by my pew and asked me if I had found anyone else to teach.

I said no.

She put her hand on my knee and asked me if it would be OK for her husband to teach so that I could go home.

And tears of gratitude poured forth as this beautiful, kind woman was able to see exactly what I needed when I was going to stubbornly put myself through more pain than I could handle this weekend. She rubbed my back and I managed to get out a quiet "thank you."

Cam gave me a hug, an I love you, and the keys to our apartment.

And I walked home with tears streaming down my face.

The tears this time were very different, though. I was so thankful. and humbled.

For the first time since we found out about our infertility, I found anger with my Heavenly Father. Surely we have suffered enough through all this. I felt forgotten. I felt angry. I hated Him for creating our bodies this way. I hated Him for blessing every single one of my friends and neighbors with the one thing that we desperately want. And I hated Him for giving me too much to handle. For breaking me down this way.

And then I listened.

I am not forgotten. My God, My Heavenly Father, sent an angel to save me from myself today. He loves me so much that He is giving me this refiners fire to bring me closer to Him. It gets harder when He needs me closer to Him. When I feel like I can't do it anymore, He steps in and lets me know that He is there. That He will never leave me and that He has given me everything that I need in order to come off conqueror.

And what a blessed day that will be.

I am so grateful to that sweet friend for being close enough to the spirit to follow the prompting to help anyway. For not being afraid to give me what I need even when I deny needing any help at all.
I am not strong.

My God is strong.

He is my strength.

Everything that I do, I do through Him. For without Him, I would have given up completely many, many times.

My God loves me. He loves me enough to give me a husband that lives his life in a way that make God's hand so easy to see.

He knows what I need.

What I have thought I needed is wrong. He knows me and loves me and only has my best interests at heart.

I trust Him.

We trust Him.

For the first time in a long time, I can honestly say "Everything is going to be OK." And believe it with every bit of me. For the first time I don't care what OK means, because my Heavenly Father will protect me. He is all-powerful and wants nothing more than us to have the greatest joy. I know that now. If this trial is necessary for me to experience joy, then I will be ever grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to watch us go through this deep pain.

It takes a special kind of parent to do that.

It takes a perfect parent.

When I got home, I noticed a pink envelope on the ottoman. I don't know how I missed it yesterday, but I opened it and inside was another piece of fabric for our little one's blanket. Along with the sweetest note. One for baby call, one for me.

Each of the 3 pieces of fabric I have received so far have come at such moments of weakness.
I have been surrounded and buoyed up by angels.

How could I ever doubt my Heavenly Father's love for me?

His love is everywhere.