Jacob and I, Jordan, met in November 2012 in Jacob’s hometown, Boone, NC, where I had attended Appalachian State University. I resisted meeting his family; scared that Jacob and I would get too serious if I did. I was terrified I’d fall in love. I finally gave in and went to a family dinner. I had so much fun and his family and I really hit it off!
That December, Jacob’s mom Leigh, died suddenly. Leigh was famous in Boone for being a survivor of a kidnapping and rape. She escaped from her abductor and helped the police find the body of her kidnapper’s first victim. Leigh was an example of strength and inspired others by living her life full of joy and love even after such a tragic event. The family dinner I had attended was the last one Jacob’s mom would ever attend.
Our relationship quickly turned from fun-loving to one full of overwhelming grief. I left my job and desperately tried to fill the void that losing Leigh had left. I'd stay up for hours doing things like scratching Jacob and his sister, Haleigh’s backs—something Leigh had always done that they loved.
A couple of months later, we found out we were expecting. I felt that our baby would return joy to Jacob's family and to the whole community. Even strangers would approach me and say: "Leigh had something to do with this baby." Things were finally looking up!
On June 26, 2013, I was hospitalized and delivered our baby three months early--a little girl, Kayleigh Lynnette. She lived only a few seconds.
I felt like I had let Jacob’s family and the whole community down and I felt empty without my sweet girl kicking in my stomach. I fell into a deep depression. How could we handle another loss?
After just having made his mother’s funeral plans a few short months earlier, we were faced with doing the same for our daughter. It felt unbearable to know that two people we loved so much were gone.
Kayleigh’s ashes were divided between Jacob’s mom’s grave, my mom and an angel urn so that Jacob and I would always have our baby girl in our home.
Scared to lose Jacob and desperate to restore happiness in our life, I began planning our wedding. When we visited Bella Collina Mansion, we fell in love and knew our wedding had to be there. Our families pulled together to put down the deposit, but, the timing wasn’t right. We were too broken and I was no longer strong enough for everyone to lean on. I needed to be surrounded by my family, so I returned home to Michigan knowing my move would slowly dissolve our relationship.
A few months later, I accepted a job in Charlotte, North Carolina. One evening Jacob shocked me by showing up at my door. It only took a second for us to know we still loved each other.
On November 20th, just a year after what should have been Kayleigh’s due date, we found out we were expecting again. All I could do was cry. I was shocked, excited and scared. I knew I couldn’t survive losing another baby.
On June 26th, 2015, a month early and on her big sister’s birthday, Lynleigh Hope was born. She was healthy, beautiful and absolutely perfect!
It wasn’t easy to get where we are, but we are best friends and stronger than ever! Reliving and sharing our story has been really hard for us. I feel that Jacob and I are an example of a real-life love story and proof that love conquers all. We have built our family with a foundation of friendship, strength and love. Winning would provide us with the wedding of our dreams and give us a fairytale head start on forever. We are ready now, more than ever, to become the #WallacePartyofThree!