Our Story

     Side Note: We go into greater detail with our story on our Podcast, "Praiseworthy".  Be sure to check that out by clicking on the link below! This will take you to the Anchor F.M. website, as well as the Apple Podcast website where you can listen to it, but it is also available on other outlets. 
Thank you so much for stopping by!

Anchor Podcast Link


    Each of us has a story, a story that has placed us on roads that we would never have imagined we would ever travel down. We hope that as we share our story it will inspire others to do things that are praiseworthy, and to perhaps share their story more openly with others all with the same goal to help each other.  The idea for Praiseworthy came from the gratitude that we have because of the kindness that other people have shown us during our challenges.  We want to give praise to those who have done commendable things and we hope to inspire others to give praise through their stories as well.  We also know that as we share our stories others may find Hope and inspiration to get through a challenge they may be faced with.  Often we hear stories in the news and elsewhere about the bad and negative things that people do.  We want to remind people that there is a lot of good in the world as well and we hope to encourage those who read stories on Praiseworthy to step out of their comfort zone and be kind to somebody in need.  In short, we hope that by being vulnerable in sharing our story that people will be courageous and do things that are praiseworthy whether that is by helping others get through hard times by sharing your story or by just being kind.

     Even before we met we both had experiences and events in our lives that eventually led us to where we met.  We believe that we met exactly when we needed to because as we look back at the following years, events needed to happen at certain times so that the events to follow would happen when they needed to happen.

     Our story is a journey with twists and turns, ups and downs, but that is life, right?  We are still on our journey and although we don't know how it will end, we are so blessed for each day we are given! We hope that as you read our story, or hear it on our Podcast, that you will see the hand of God in our lives and that miracles happen every single day!  We promise you that if you take a minute and look for the hand of God in your life, and search for the miracles both big and small, you will find them!


     We met at Brigham Young University-Idaho which is located in Rexburg, Idaho.  Mary had just transferred there as a result of a couple of things, one of those things being following a strong impression to transfer there from where she was attending college in Utah.  Eddie had just completed a two year service mission in Puerto Rico for our church and had returned to BYU-Idaho where he had attended for one year before his mission.  Mary's older brother was an RA at the student housing apartment complex Eddie had moved into so she would quite often go to her brother's apartment to hang out and would bring her roomates along.  Because of that connection we met almost immediately when the semester began and an immediate connection between us was made, but not the connection you may be thinking, haha....we became really good friends and would talk to each other about people we were interested in or dating.  To make a long story short after months of a sweet friendship and friends always telling us that we should date each other, we had "the talk" and started dating which led to a sweet proposal, and then marriage!

Heartbreak after Heartbreak

       After getting married, Eddie finished his AA in General Studies and we moved to Utah so that Eddie could go to film school at the University of Utah.  We decided to start our family towards the end of his studies and we were delighted when Mary got pregnant.  Mary had been reading about ectopic pregnancies and had been feeling some pains that as a first time pregnancy she was unfamiliar with.  About 8 weeks into her pregnancy, Mary was at work and one day started having intense stomach cramping.  Eddie came and got her and rushed her to the E.R. to get checked.  When she fainted in the parking lot, he knew that something serious was going on.  An ultrasound showed lots of internal bleeding and confirmed an ectopic pregnancy.  It is almost like Mary was being prepared for this because she had been reading about ectopic pregnancies prior to this life-threatening emergency.  An ectopic pregnancy is when the pregnancy doesn't make it's way into the Uterus because it begins growing outside the uterus.  For Mary, the baby had been growing in the right side fallopian tube and had ruptured the tube.  An emergency surgery was performed and as much of the tube was removed as possible.  Mary had lost so much blood that she needed a transfusion.  The experience was tragic and intense.  She eventually recovered and we were able to try again for a second time.  Because of her history, she was considered to be a high-risk pregnancy and we were seeing doctors much earlier than normal to monitor the pregnancy.  Unfortunately, this second pregnancy was in the remnant of the right side fallopian tube and another surgery had to be made to remove it and the rest of the fallopian tube.  We decided to give it one more shot after another waiting period.  This time, the pregancy was in her right side ovary.  A third surgery was scheduled and the ovary was removed.  Having lost her right fallopian tube and right ovary we weren't sure if future pregnancies would be possible, or even safe.

              Our Miracle

       We decided to put off our family for a season and focus on getting our house in order before trying for a baby again.  Eddie focused on finishing his studies and found his passion for Computer Animation.  He graduated with his BFA in Film Studies and got an internship at Avalanche Software.  Eddie thought that he wanted to be a college professor and began looking for jobs in that field.  He got an opportunity to teach Animation short courses at the Texas Tech University library so we moved to Lubbock, Texas for the opportunity.  Shortly after moving there we found out unexpectedly that Mary was pregnant, which was worrisome to us because of her history.  This time around thankfully the pregnancy was in the right place, a sweet miracle,and we soon welcomed the birth of our son, Edward IV.  He was a miracle for us after all the hardships we had endured previously!

 A Diagnosis That Would Change Our Lives

       After our son Eddie was born (Little Eddie),  "Big" Eddie got the opportunity to work at his dream job for Walt Disney Feature Animation studios!  We packed up our belongings and moved out to Burbank, California!  We welcomed two more miracle children into our family, Jacob and McKaylee.  At that time, Eddie had been working for Nickelodeon Animation Studios and began experiencing a constant headache located in one spot on his head.  As a side note, Mary has always been one to be in tuned with her body, especially after the three ectopic pregnancies, so she always stays on top of all of our doctors appointments.  In Burbank, her OBGYN was located right next to our family doctor as well as a Neurologist (which would come in handy later), who was located just down the hall!  She scheduled a physical for Eddie and he went to the doctor and discussed the headache he had been experiencing for two weeks.  Within in the next couple of weeks Eddie began noticing a cold and tingling sensation along his whole left side of his body. That new symptom triggered our family doctor to send him to the Neurologist, and thankfully and honestly miraculously he was able to get in for an appointment that exact day!  How did that happen you might be thinking?!  The Neurologist was leaving her office and saw Eddie scheduling an appointment and she had just had a cancellation so she told him she could see him right then! Miracle.  This Neurologist found that Eddie had double vision in his peripheal vision so that was her red flag to order an MRI of his brain.

    In June of 2012, Eddie went in for an MRI that week and the day following his scan he received a call that no one ever wants to recieve.  Eddie immediately called Mary from work after receiving news that they had found a "mass" in his brain.  Mary can remember so vividly that Eddie's voice was calm and peaceful, and those feelings would then stay with us for the next several years.  After hanging up with Eddie and waiting for him to come home, Mary remembers going into a ball and crying as she thought of every possibility that could come of what this new journey would entail for their little family, with three kids under the age of three and one including our sweet McKaylee who was just barely four months old, how could they all get through this? But just as fast as those thoughts flooded her mind, they were almost immediately overcome with immense peace that whatever happened, all would be okay.  Two weeks later we experienced something terrifying, but were once again over come with gratitude and peace as we looked back at the events and undeniable promptings we both received since moving to Burbank.

    Eddie begain vomitting one day about two weeks after they had found the tumor.  I began to get worried after his vomitting was becoming more and more frequent, so I called the oncall Neurologist Physician who adviced me to take Eddie to the Emergency Room because of the fact that he was just diagnosed with a mass/tumor.  As we have witnessed so many times over the years, we had two of our dear friend/angels come right over to watch our two little boys while I took our little four month old McKaylee with me to the Emergency Room with Eddie.  After we arrived at the hospital it was determined that Eddie was experiencing hydrocephalus, swelling in the brain, and had I not brought him in when I did he would have slipped into a coma and likely have passed away.  The NeuroOncologist performed an emergency surgery where he placed a temporary VP Shunt in his head which basically drains the cerebral spinal fluid down the right side of his body and into his abdomen.  A few days later they replaced that temporary shunt with a permanent shunt.

    While Eddie was in surgery I can remember sitting in a waiting room with our baby McKaylee with no one else in the room.  I was wondering what was going to happen with my sweet husband and best friend.  One of our dear friend's/angel arrived shortly after and together we waited for any news.  Over the next few days we tried to get a second opinion and thankfully, and I feel miraculously, we were able to get Eddie into see a world renowned Neurosurgeon located at UCLA!  Because Eddie's tumor is inoperable due to its location near the brain stem the brain tumor board as well as his Neurosurgen opted to get him right on treatments consisting of radiation and chemotherapy via a pill.  Unfortunately, his tumor didn't respond to those treatments incredibly well so they decided to perform a risky brain biopsy so that they could determine the exact type of brain tumor.  The biopsy was a success and they confirmed that he indeed had a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor which is considered terminal. The prognosis is usually only up to about 18 months from diagnosis, and five years is considered long-term survival.  We were all devastated by the news, but still tried to remain hopeful, prayerful, and grateful for each day as a family and for all the beautiful acts of service we were receiving.
 
    The next few years consisted of more treatments that his team at UCLA put him on. These new treatments consisted of chemotherapy via an IV as well as another drug adminstered through an IV called, Avastin.  Eddie would then have to go on blood thinners for a DVT (blood clot) behind his knee, he received an IVC Filter after the brain biopsy to help prevent blood clots in the lungs (Pulmonary Embolism or PE), he then would end up getting a PE still which was pretty scary, and then as of recently needing his GallBladder removed.

    Each day continues to be a miracle and a blessing that Eddie is still with us.  He receives MRI's of his brain quarterly, and Mary finds that she is always watching Eddie closely to make sure there aren't any new symptoms that could indicate his tumor is growing again.  Peace, Comfort, Hope, and gratefulness continue to carry us through each day, and continue to replace any fear that may creep our way.

    We decided to try for another baby and Eddie's doctor's gave us the OKAY since had finished treatments.  We were so happy to get pregnant with our now Molly, and our kids were so excited to welcome another sister in November 2015!

Is This Really Happening? Our Hearts Were Broken....

   
       On August 12th, 2015 Mary felt impressed to take our three kids to the park.  She was six months pregnant at the time and while she was beginning to feel more tired now that she was in the third trimester of pregnancy she felt that she should go have some fun with our children.  While at the park Mary ran into a friend from our church so all of our kids played together for awhile.  Mary remembers that one thing all of the kids were doing was burying a little stuffed animal dog.  After going home McKaylee wanted to watch quite a few Disney movies, Christmas specials, it was just a sweet afternoon as home.  Eddie came home from work for lunch and we remember McKaylee wanting to snuggle both of us.  For dinner Mary made pizza, and then they decided to go outside and enjoy the last evenings of summer before school started again the following week, and also to wait for Eddie to come home from work.  Our oldest child, "little Eddie", was watching T.V. inside and Mary took Jacob and McKaylee outside to play.  We saw Daddy driving up the street so Mary told the kids to stay away from the driveway.  As he pulled into the driveway we all waived at him, and even though McKaylee wanted to run and see him Mary contiued to tell her she had to wait for Daddy to park.  Mary said it felt like minutes had gone bye, she had been talking to a neighbor, and then glanced over to the driveway and saw McKaylee standing there staring at me with the most precious smile.  She was waiting so patiently to go see her Daddy, so Mary told her it was okay to go see him now (she had assumed he had parked by then).  All of the sudden she heard Eddie screaming McKaylee's name, so Mary rushed as fast as she could down the driveway and saw McKaylee laying on the garage floor.  She thought her water had broke so she remembers seeing McKaylee and screaming and at the same time telling Eddie that she thinks her water had broke.
* We encourage you to listen to our podcast, Episode #3 of 'Our Story' where we talk about the tragic passing of our sweet McKaylee, and go into some details about the events that took place after that horrible day.  We feel that you being able to hear our actual voices telling this story makes it more personal.  We also talk about the birth of our 4th child, Molly, who could not have come in a more needed time in our lives.  
      What followed after the most horrible day of our lives was nothing but beautiful, humbling, and incredibly tender.  Being able to welcome our little Molly just three months after McKaylee passed away was the perfect thing our family and families needed.  She was our rainbow baby, and brought so much joy into our lives when joy was needed every single day.  We are just so grateful we followed our prompting to get pregnant with her when we did.  Another beautiful thing was that the fire department held an in-house fundraiser for our family, a couple of sweet friends put together a fundraiser that reached people from all over!  We were able to pay for McKaylee's funeral expenses, purchase two additional plots next to where she is now buried, and use the rest of the money to pay off medical expenses as well as other expenses.  The boys' elementary school arrainged meals to be brought to our family for a couple of months after the accident with McKaylee. We were so touched and grateful, really there is no word to describe how much that meant to our family.  Thank you to EVERYONE in the Burbank community who wrapped us in their arms during such a difficult time.  Our hearts will always be with you.
         Each year now on McKaylee's birthday we call it "Angel Day" and encourage others to do an act of service in her honor.  We know that this is what she wants us to do on her birthday instead of focusing on her not being here physically anymore, instead focus on just being kind to ourselves and others. As we continue to honor her each birthday, as well as on the day she passed away, (August 12th), it continues to bless our lives and hopefully the lives of others.

A Change of Scenery, and then a Miscarriage

     We stayed in the home for a few months, but eventually decided to move into a new house and new city, Santa Clarita, CA.  It was incredibly difficult to leave the support group in Burbank that we had, but we knew that our little family needed to leave the townhouse that we were living in.  Burbank had become home for us, and we hoped that our new area would feel the same.  Eddie started commuting to work by train, which lengthened his work day by about 2 hours because of the additional travel time.
   
      Even though there is no cure for Eddie's tumor as of now and he will always be at risk of regrowth, we were trying to move forward with our lives and not let the tragedies that we suffered weigh us down.  We decided to get pregnant again and were successful, and we were excited to bring another child into our family.  For those of you who are keeping track, this was Mary's 8th pregnancy.  Things seemed to be going well until about week 16.  Mary went into her OBGYN and they were unable to find a heartbeat during a visit.  Mary had to have a D and C to remove the baby.  It was a difficult loss for our family, especially considering all that had happened with McKaylee.
   
     Things for Eddie were very difficult at this time.  The train was taking its toll on his energy levels and he felt like despite all the kindness and patience that Nickelodeon had for him that he wasn't able to perform his duties there sufficiently.  We had begun discussing what was recommended to us from the outset; that we go on disability.  Eddie really struggled with this decision.  He loves what he does for work and he knew that it would really be hard to leave his industry.  We also knew that we wouldn't be able to live on his income if we stayed in California, so that would require us to move out of state after only a year of living in Santa Clarita.  After some serious contemplation on the matter, we felt like this was possibly the best move for our family.

   
      A Late Miscarriage, but an Incredible Blessing Was on the           Horizon

       We then moved to Utah where we lived with Eddie's incredibly sweet and generous parents for one year.  It was such a fun year to be surrounded by family!  During that year we saved money and figured out where we felt our family needed to be, and after much prayer and research we knew where that place was and began to save money to be able to build our very first home there!  During that year in Utah, we became pregnant (pregnancy #9) and we felt so happy and excited! After suffering the miscarriage the year before we were certain that wouldn't happen again.  Unfortunately, at around 19 weeks into the pregnancy my doctor couldn't find a heartbeat, so she sent us to an ultrasound tech where sadly it was confirmed the baby had passed away.  Could this really be happening again?  Another loss?  We were scheduled to find out the gender of the baby the following week.  We didn't understand, and we were incredibly heartbroken, but we chose to have faith and trust in God's plan for our family.  Perhaps our family was complete, and after prayer and trusting in our feelings in the answers we received, we were certain our family was complete.  It was a feeling of peace and great relief to finally know for sure we were done having babies.   Mary was given the option to deliver the baby but for certain reasons we chose to have a D&E which is a surgery that is performed if you are further along in the pregnancy when the baby passes.  Mary ended up losing a great amount of blood and needed to stay in the hospital longer.  Fortunately, she ended up not needing a blood transfusion, but needed to take an iron supplement to help her body recover.  It took her over six months to start feeling more energy again because this pregnancy loss really took a toll on her body.  After spending the following summer with Mary's incredibly sweet and generous parents while we waited for our home to finish construction, we finally moved into our beautiful new home which is surrounded by farm land and gorgeous endless skies!  We are away from the traffic, the crowds, the noise, and that is just what our family needs.  The peace we feel here is undeniable, and while we miss our sweet Burbank, California tremendously, especially because our sweet McKaylee is buried there, we know that we are where we are supposed to be and that comfort is everything to us!

Our Goal

       Our goal by being vulnerable and sharing our story is to hopefully inspire you to share your story!  We know that as we each help one another, show kindness to one another, and share the struggles we have endured and HOW we have gotten through those times, than we all can only help someone in need and in return help ourselves by being vulnerable.  If you have any questions you would like to ask us, or if you would like to share your story, please send us a message on here or on our Instagram account @be.praiseworthy.  Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read our story!  We hope you know that you can continue to move forward in whatever situation you may be facing, hold onto that sweet gift of Hope and don't let go!  We can't wait to hear your story!

    Love,
Mary & Eddie

     
     * If there is a specific topic you would like to listen to on "Our Story" Episodes, we have broken our story up into three sections on our podcast to help you find your topics of interest easier.  

Part One of Our Story:  How did we meet?
Part Two of Our Story: Three Ectopic Pregnancies & Eddie's Brain Cancer Diagnosis
Part Three of Our Story:  The tragic and sudden passing of our daughter McKaylee, giving birth to our sweet Molly three months after McKaylee's passing, moves, two miscarriages.

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