Leah and Jake

Leah and Jake's Engagement in Garden of the Gods

How We Met

I remember the day I first saw Jake in February 2014. He strutted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in a dashing suit as I sit at my computer charting, overseeing my tiny patients. I remember thinking, “Who is that guy?” (we often didn’t get men in the NICU that weren’t fathers of patients). Little did I know he was interviewing for a job as a registered nurse in the NICU where I had been a nurse for the last 2 years in Tulsa, OK. Almost two months later, I was caring for one of my patients and there he was again only this time in a pair of scrubs orienting on the floor. In shock, I asked “Can I help you?” and he just said with a smile and twinkle in his eye, “Just observing”! Over the next few weeks, we began hanging out as friends and quickly became more when he officially asked me out to dinner in May.

How They Asked

We had been together for 5 and a half years, but this last year was a lot for us. I had moved to Houston to work for Texas Children’s Hospital in a new role as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Jake and I decided together that it would be best for him to stay in Tulsa with his family and cherish the remaining time he had with his brother, Luke, that had been recently diagnosed at that time with brain cancer.

We had done little sprints of “long-distance” over the years while Jake was on military assignments or travel nursing, but actually living apart was a whole new world. It was a hard year for being apart with a new job in a new difficult role and a terrible diagnosis. We decided that we wanted to be surrounded by family and stay in Tulsa after the passing of his brother in August.

So at the end of this year, we wanted a little escape vacation to end the year together since we had been through such separation and tragedy this year. Unbeknownst to me, Jake has been searching for rings for a while and wanted to propose on this trip, but had not found “the one”. We passed by the cutest jewelry shop in Manitou Springs with gorgeous vintage rings in the window. While I Nonchalantly looked around, Jake found the ring of my dreams and secretly bought it with the help of the amazing employees!

Leah's Proposal in Garden of the Gods

A couple of days later we went on a morning hike in the Garden of the Gods. We hiked up a pretty steep and icy incline to get to the most beautiful view and he kept telling me it would be worth it at the top! Once we got to the top he dropped to one knee and proposed! As he slid the ring over my finger, a moment I had been dreaming of for years, it hit a bit of a roadblock and couldn’t pass over my knuckle. He quickly let me know the ring was about a half a size or so too small. Well we were on top of a mountain in the most beautiful location….I just had to put it on and get pictures! With much warning from him, I shoved the ring over my knuckle and took the most gorgeous proposal pictures with breathtaking views. However, about 2 minutes into this ill-advised plan, my finger started to turn a lovely shade of red then purple. Jake had since switched from the NICU to a circulating nurse in the operating room. With his best bedside manner he assured me that he had a ton of tricks for getting stubborn rings off fingers. So we made a mad dash towards the car, a 15-minute trek through steep rocks, ice and snow. Unfortunately, the tricks didn’t work and we spent our first hour as an engaged couple contemplating going to urgent care.

We ended up back at the jewelry shop where he had purchased the gorgeous sapphire ring of my dreams right under my nose a few days earlier. It was just our luck that day that their ring cutter was broken. My finger began to swell to an unsightly size and my new engagement ring was now dowsed in hydrating oatmeal hand lotion and minty green dental floss (side note: floss is a great remedy for removing rings that haven’t passed the point of no return). With one look at my finger, the jeweler advised us to go to the Manitou Springs Fire Department down a couple of blocks. Turning to her employees we instantly became a “learning opportunity” on proper ring sizing and the liability of cutting rings off fingers that swollen. So we scurried on foot through town with a handful of fresh snow packed around my finger. My hand raised to the sky, attracting the “much to do” attention I had always imagined that came with a sparkly new engagement ring! With a simple knock on the door, the heroic firemen then proceeded to save the day by cutting my ring off. Luckily, since both Jake and I are nurses we kept our cool in this “emergency” and never lost our sense of humor. Extraordinarily, the amazing jeweler was able to resize the ring and get it back to us in perfect condition that evening. After a few days, the swelling passed and I was able to put my ring back on! Don’t worry, my ring hasn’t left my finger since, but this time by choice!I