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Tender Mercies

One of the most overwhelming aspects of our daughter's spina bifida diagnosis has been the amount of people willing to do anything to help us.  I mean, literally.  Beautiful individuals have been calling, texting, showing up at my house, sending things in the mail, and just doing anything they can to help our family.  At one of the lowest times in my life, I have never felt so blessed.

A good friend of mine, when she found out what was happening, showed up at my door with the cutest Kate Spade journal and Chip cookies (guys, life changing).   On the cover, the journal says "PUT IN A GOOD WORD," and I immediately knew what I wanted to use it for--logging all of the tender mercies and blessings our family has received during this time, both big and small.  Kind of like a gratitude journal.

I will be transferring a lot of what I have written in this journal to this blog.  I plan on doing "tender mercy" posts here and there to update you on the positive things that have happened to us in very difficult circumstances.  

Here are a few of the things I have written and stories I wanted to share:

* My sister Kristy and her husband Nick offering to watch our boys one Saturday while I went to a film shoot at the school.  She offered before she even knew I was struggling with what to do with the boys that day.

* My sister Kim bringing dinner over one Friday night.

* Our neighbors coming over to give Daniel and I a Priesthood blessing of comfort the night of our diagnosis.

* I have never elected to include short-term/long-term disability in my benefits before.  For some reason, in October, I decided to pay the $9 a month and get them.  At the time, I thought, "Who knows?  Stuff happens. Maybe I should do this."  Having that short-term disability is now allowing me to get 80% of my pay while I am gone instead of simple FMLA leave without pay.  This is a massive blessing for our family.

* My principal at school being so supportive and kind during this situation.  She is doing everything she can to make things easier for me.

* I feel incredibly lucky that my trip to Chicago was the week before our diagnosis.  It allowed me a really nice weekend with just me and my little girl where I got to enjoy myself and my pregnancy with just me and her.  If we had received the diagnosis earlier that week (no appointments were available, which is why I didn't have the ultrasound until about 21.5 weeks instead of 20), I probably would have had to cancel my trip.

*An anonymous person sent me the cutest "Bright Box" in the mail.  It had a positive message, a treat, and the most adorable earrings!

* During church the Sunday after we were diagnosed, I watched a little girl run around in my Sunday school class.  I started tearing up, thinking that maybe my little girl would never be able to do that.  The little girl walked right over to me and pulled up to sit in my lap.  She stayed there for about 10 minutes, which is pretty unusual for her, and we played.  

* My sister Kim's in-laws sent me a beautiful orchid that has been brightening up my kitchen table.

* I feel my baby girl kicking all the time.  She is obviously not paralyzed or anything like that.  It's like she is constantly reminding me that she is still here, well, and will be showing up with a lot of strength and tenacity!

* My relief society presidency coming over to talk and see what we need.  They have helped so much with making sure my boys are taken care of and getting my mom a ride to the airport later this week.

* My best friend sent me her favorite books for me to read while I am in the hospital.

* It is a tender mercy that I chose to be with Blue Cross Blue Shield for my benefits instead of Select Health.  Select Health works with Intermountain, which is only in Utah.  Because I am with Blue Cross, which is a nationwide service, the UCSF children's hospital is still considered in-network, even though it is out of state.  My out of pocket maximum is $2000, and this incredibly expensive surgery and all my care will be covered under that.  

* I told my visiting teaching companion that I was going to be doing a lot of blogging and vlogging while going through this crazy journey, hoping to help other moms in my situation, but my laptop was dead so I was going to borrow a Chromebook from my school library to do all that (plus lesson plans and grades of course).  An hour later, she showed up on my porch saying she couldn't stop thinking about me and what she could do to help, so she brought me a gift.  From behind her back came a brand new MacBook Air and beautiful Kate Spade laptop case.  I couldn't breathe.  She told me that she talked to her husband, and this was something they could do for us.  I am typing this on my beautiful, working laptop as we speak.  The generosity of people literally blows my mind.

* My mom agreeing to fly from Shanghai to Salt Lake to watch my kids for two weeks, and THEN fly to San Francisco later this week so Daniel can come home to be with the boys, and THEN fly with me back to Utah once I am allowed to come home.  This woman's willingness to serve her family knows no bounds.

* My husband's work willing to let him work remotely while he is here to cut down on the amount of days he would have to actually take off.

* My neighbors watching my boys here and there while I am gone and giving them playdates to go on has helped immensely.

* My foster son's caseworker working diligently to provide options for our foster son while Daniel and I are both away.

* A wonderful ward here in San Francisco that welcomed us wholeheartedly today and offered many things to help, including a Priesthood blessing for me and the baby.

* An old employer of mine told me how when she was in college, she got cancer.  Her parents were both teachers, and many friends and family chipped in financially to help with the situation.  She told me that she has always wanted to pay that forward.  A $1000 check showed up in the mail, a check that has helped us immensely with hotel and food costs while here in San Francisco--an unfortunately expensive city to be stuck in.  I cannot wait until I can do the same and pay forward what she has done for us.  

* Having several days post-evaluations in San Francisco to just spend with Daniel has been a huge blessing.  We have not actually been on a trip with just the two of us since our honeymoon--almost 9 years ago.  While I would not call this a vacation by any means, these few days have been so important for us to reconnect and enjoy quality time together before our lives get much more complicated.  I will do a whole post on these few days soon!

* Two of my teacher friends at school got me a 3-month audible subscription so that I can listen to audiobooks while stuck in the hospital. They also brought me a huge bag of snacks that has sustained us many times on this trip!

* Today, many of our family and friends have been fasting for us, in addition to the hoards of prayers we have already felt.

* My brother-in-law is a pediatric neurologist at Primary Children's Hospital. His specialty is oncology, but his input and help has been invaluable.  He came to our initial spina bifida meetings at Primary Children's to help give his feedback and take on what was being said.  He read studied and interpreted them for us.  His support and expertise is something we are incredibly grateful for.

* My father-in-law sharing an experience with us that he had in the temple, where he felt very strongly that our girl's Heavenly Father knows her struggles personally, and that she is under His divine care.  The message he sent us meant a lot.

* Multiple people putting our names on the temple rolls at several different temples.

* UCSF has free family housing only a couple blocks from the hospital that we will stay in when I am discharged from UCSF post-surgery.  This is an amazing opportunity that will help us financially and provide another support system during my recovery.

As you can see, we are SO blessed.  Trying to put into words how we feel looking at this list is difficult, if not impossible.  We feel your love and your strength every day.  We appreciate the many different ways people are serving our family, in any capacity they can.  Again, we look forward to opportunities in the future where we will get to pay some of this forward and serve others in need.



  1. You're amazing Camee!! I'm glad you're counting all those beautiful blessings and tender mercies! Many people wouldn't. Sounds like you've been an amazing person and touched many others, because now they're in your life when you need them! I'm so glad


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