Chapter 19: Surrounded by Love – Part 1

Marissa, Bryce, and I are surrounded by love.


Monday, August 17th
I was sick. Bryce was also under the weather, but not to the extent I was. I called in to work and knew it was going to be a long day of Kleenex, DayQuil, and Netflix. Bryce and I stayed in bed all day and were in and out of sleep. I looked like I had been hit by a bus, just like in Mean Girls but without makeup. Lovely. It was a typical sick day. The pugs love when we are sick. Being in our bed is practically exaltation to Bandit and Banjo. They snuggled in and were determined to sleep out the sick with us. In between bouts of drowsiness I would text back and forth with Marissa and Alysia (Marissa’s mom).

Around 8:30pm Marissa took some Castor Oil. I remember reading the text, looking over at Bryce, and saying “that’s going to suck when she goes to the bathroom.” I had heard of the castor oil trick, but held no stock in it. However, things were that desperate for Marissa. She wanted to be done so badly. Her pregnancy hadn’t been easy.

Around midnight Bryce and I were wide awake and so began a Home Improvement marathon.

While marathon watching I was also on my phone, checking out what you all were up to at midnight on a Monday night. Honestly, not a lot was happening on social media. It got to the point where I was mindlessly scrolling for eternity with nothing grabbing my attention. Courtney: Put the phone down, it’s 3am. By this point Bryce and I are falling back to sleep so we turned the tv off and went to bed.


Tuesday, August 18th
Around 2:30am Marissa’s family took her to the hospital. She was not doing well at all. Her blood pressure was an outrageous 190/177. To put this in perspective, a “normal” blood pressure is around 120/80. Instead of going to the hospital originally planned, about 15 minutes away, they took her to Davis hospital two blocks away.

At 3:30am Alysia calls me. No answer.

At 6:38am I wake up to someone yelling my name in my hallway.

I say to Bryce “Someone’s in the house!” I’m in my underwear and frantically looking for clothes to quickly throw on. I found a sweatshirt. No pants. That’ll have to do.

In my hallway is my wonderful friend Mindy. How? Why? What the french, toast?!

Bryce is still in the bedroom, listening, trying to wake up, and looking for clothes to put on.

Then Mindy says “Marissa is in labor, you have to go to the hospital now!”

I’m in a fog. What did she just say? Is this a false alarm? Nothing is packed. What do we do with the pugs?

As the fog clears I ask Mindy what she’s doing in my house. She tells me to look at my phone.

44 missed calls, 10 Facebook messages, and 7 voicemail. 


How Mindy became a Ninja and earned the name Minja:
Alysia reached out to Mindy because we could not be woken. Mindy, being the amazing friend that she is, came to the rescue. In her PJ’s, she drove to our house and knocked on the door.

And knocked.
And knocked.
Then pounded.
Then started yelling.

This lasts for about 30 minutes.

All the while she’s texting with Alysia. We weren’t waking up. The pugs weren’t going berserk. No movement in the house. Alysia then tells Mindy to break in. Enter the Minja.

We live on the second floor of an apartment. Our front door leads to a balcony. We have a front window, but it is not accessible from the balcony. You have to lean over the edge of the balcony to climb in.

The text messages go like this:

Mindy: If I fall. Call the ambulance for me 🙂
Alysia: Done. I hope they’re not neeked.
Minja: I’m in the house
Alysia: Omg
Minja: She’s awake
Alysia: Best. Story. Ever.
Minja: Success
Alysia: I love you so much
Minja: They are aware
Alysia: Calling.

And then my phone rings.


Marissa is at 3 centimeters and just getting an epidural. Epidurals slow down labor so I used this knowledge to my benefit and hopped in the shower. In the meantime Bryce is packing and cleaning. Mindy agrees to take care of the pugs for a day or so until she leaves town. We finally get things moving and packed in the car.


We swung by my office to grab my laptop in preparation for a long stay in Utah. Once we were on the road and past Idaho Falls we started making phone calls to the family.

An hour away from our home is Pocatello. We stop at a convenience store to pick up the essentials: PopTarts, 5 Hour Energy, DayQuil, and Kleenex.


I start receiving text messages from phone numbers I don’t recognize. Family and friends at the hospital asking us where we are.

Marissa is at 6 centimeters.

I start texting the awful truth that we may not make it in time. That we should prepare for the possibility of us arriving after the birth. However, we kept going.


The “where are you now?” text messages become more common. Bryce is going faster and faster the closer we get. We really could have used a police escort from Rexburg to Layton, but it seemed unlikely that a cop would let us speed for 3 hours. So Bryce took matters into his own hands.

The closer we got to Layton, the likelihood that we would make it for the birth became real. I remember being about 30 minutes away from the hospital and the nerves set in. It became emotional. We are here for Marissa. We discussed that no matter what happened, we love her and support her. She is amazing and so loved. I looked at Bryce and said “We could become parents today.”


To be continued . . .