The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sam's birth story and hospital stay

Disclaimer: This is probably the longest, most detailed birth story you’ve ever read. I didn’t mean for it to be this long, but it’s more for my own record than anything, so I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read this freaking novel ;)

I’ve been sitting here staring at a blank screen for about 20 minutes trying to take in everything  from the last week. Usually when you read a birth story you only read about labor and delivery, but I think I’m going to share the timeline of our hospital stay as well. It’s more for me than anything. Writing has become really therapeutic for me, so if I’m able to record all my thoughts, it will help me process everything better.

Tuesday, November 28th:

10:30 a.m. - I got a phone call from the hospital to see if I could come in the next morning instead of that night because they were overbooked. I said that I already had someone set up to watch my kids that night, and I was also 8 days past my due date, so no, I’m not delaying my induction by 12 hours (I was very nice about it, but kind of wanted to say “are you seriously asking the woman who is 8 days past her due date?! Ask someone else!”)

8:00 p.m. - We arrived at the hospital and got situated in our room. I had noticed on our drive to the hospital that I was having contractions, but it wasn’t anything different from what I’d been having for the past 3 weeks, so I didn’t think much of it.

8:45 p.m. - An OBGYN from the office came in and said “I know you were expecting us to put the medicine on your cervix to ripen it, and then we would start pitocin in the morning, but since you’re already having contractions we are going to start you on pitocin tonight.” He also checked me and said that I was still only dilated to a 1, 50% effaced, and Sam’s head wasn’t engaged. Grant and I just looked at each other and said “ok! I guess this kid is going to be here a lot sooner than we thought!” Grant and I were both excited and also realized that we probably weren’t going to get a lot of sleep that night either.

9:15 p.m. - We started on pitocin. The contractions were still nothing to even think about, so I decided to try and get some rest while I could.

Wednesday, November 29th:

1:00 a.m. - I sent this text to my mom. “Things are going nice and slow over here. I was able ot sleep for about an hour. Contractions are just menstrual type contractions, so nothing strong yet. They haven’t checked me again either--I’m just taking it easy and trying to save up energy for later.”

Between 1:00 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. - The contractions were still very manageable, but I was starting to get uncomfortable. I also didn’t get a lot of sleep because the nurse kept coming in telling me to change positions. Even though Sam’s heart-rate was consistent during labor, there wasn’t enough movement in his heart-rate. I guess having the heart-rate move up and down within a range is good during labor because it shows proper oxygen is getting through the umbilical cord. I remember thinking “They are having me change positions a lot--I don’t remember them having to do this with Andrew or Hailey.”

4:45 a.m. - I had bloody show and my contractions were starting to get more intense.

5:00 a.m. - I woke Grant up and told him things were ramping up, and he jumped right into action.

5:30 a.m. - My nurse came in and I told her things were getting more intense. She checked me and said I was still only dilated to a 1, maybe a 2, but that if I wanted an epidural I needed to request one right then because it was about an hour wait. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t want to get an epidural too soon because I didn’t want to delay labor, but I didn’t want to repeat what happened with Hailey’s birth. I’m grateful for the wisdom of my nurse and Grant who both really encouraged me to request the epidural right then, because I know if I would’ve waited any longer it would’ve been too late and the pain would’ve slipped away from me.

6:15 a.m. - The epidural was placed.

7:00 a.m. - The nurses did their shift change.

7:40 a.m. - I called in my new nurse and told her that I was feeling a lot of pressure that I had to breath through, and I needed her to call my OBGYN. She made the call and then started to prep everything for Sam’s delivery. I remember thinking to myself “I hope I’m not over-reacting. Watch, I’ll probably be only dilated to a 5.”

7:45 a.m. - The OBGYN on call came in to check me and she said “Oh yea, you’re dilated to a 9 with a bulging sack. Your OBGYN is just walking into the hospital right now, so hang in there for a few more minutes.”

8:00 a.m. - My OBGYN came in with a chipper hello and I remember reaching out my hands with tears in my eyes and telling her how glad I was she was there. I didn’t realize how much I depend and trust my OBGYN until that moment. She was the one that delivered Hailey, has been there for me through countless doctors appointments, and has been a good sounding board. I know it’s crazy for me to drive 40 minutes one way to my doctor’s office, but to me, it’s totally worth it for a doctor that I trust completely. She then broke my water and had me breath through a few contractions to get completely dilated. At this point I was really struggling through each contraction, and my nurse asked me if I wanted to push the button for more of the epidural juice. I said no because I wanted to feel when I should push, but looking back that was a mistake. The pain got so bad that I threw up, but I felt much better after that.

8:20 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. - I was completely dilated, but Sam’s head was still not engaged. My OBGYN suggested that I try a few pushes to move him down the canal. We started pushing through each contraction, but Sam’s heart rate started to drop, so we stopped and got me on oxygen. I also remember telling the nurse to “push the stupid button” to get me the epidural. We then decided to wait and see if Sam would engaged on his own. With the epidural kicking in again, my doctor suggested I lay on each side for 30 minutes each with a peanut ball to open up my hips and help me relax.

9:40 a.m. - Sam’s head was down a bit more, but not fully engaged yet. We decided to wait another 30 minutes to give him more time since his heart-rate was looking good. I asked my doctor if she thought a C-section was in the works, and she said that she would use that as a last resort. She said she would tell me right away if she thought it would come to that, but that worst case scenario she was thinking she would have to use the vacuum to help him come out.

10:10 a.m. - Sam was finally a little bit engaged, so we started pushing.

10:23 a.m. - Sam’s head was born, but my OBGYN said that the cord was wrapped around his neck pretty tight. She cut the cord and told me I had to give one last big push right then to get him out.

10:24 a.m. - Sam was out and was placed immediately on me for skin-to-skin, but he wasn’t crying and his color wasn’t that great. I remember I instantly started rubbing his back while the nurse was suctioning out his mouth. I just kept repeating “Cry cry cry cry cry, I need you to cry Sam, come on sweetheart, I need you to cry.” After about 30 seconds they took him off me and placed him under the heating lamp. After about a minute I heard a few whimpers and then he started to cry and I took a huge sigh of relief. They then weighed him because we were all wondering how big he was (I didn’t think he would be over 8 lbs, and my OB didn’t either). We all started laughing when the nurse said he was 8 lbs 10 oz. I remember saying “He was that big?! No wonder I was so uncomfortable!” As my doctor was stitching me up, she said “Ok, so if you ever have another baby, can we just agree to do an induction at 39 weeks?” to which I laughed and said “Uh, absolutely. I’m not ever pushing a baby that big out again!”

Sam was pretty upset for a good hour to an hour and a half after he was born. Nothing really seemed to calm him down. I knew he would cry a lot under the heating lamp, but I figured that once he was doing skin-to-skin with me and hearing my voice he would calm down. Nope. Not even close. I think because he was so stressed in utero with the cord wrapped so tightly (hence me having to change positions a lot during labor and him not engaging), he was trying to handle the stress he had just gone through. He finally began to relax a little bit, and we were moved up to the mother/baby recovery room around 12:30 p.m.

12: 30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. - Trying to breastfeed this kid was awful. Every time I would put him to the breast he would start crying and get so frustrated. I remember thinking to myself “This kid is inconsolable. I’m going to have a colicky baby. As my third child. How in the world am I going to handle colic when I have 2 other kids?” I was mildly freaked out. I finally hand-expressed some colostrum and gave him some through a dropper, and it was like he was a completely different baby. He finally took a deep breath, laid on my chest doing skin-to-skin and was just looking up at me. I thought “Oh...he was just hungry.” Every attempt to feed him after that was still just a frustrating for him. The lactation consultant was even a little stumped. He does have an upper-lip tie, but it’s not so severe that he can’t flange out his lip properly. She said I should just keep trying, but I didn’t want Sam to be frustrated. Hand expressing as he “nursed” seemed to be working, so I was confident we could get him breastfeeding within the next day or two, especially after my milk came in.

11:00 p.m. - Sam was in the nursery while I was getting some sleep, and my nurse came in and said that he had just spit up neon green vomit. She said the color was really weird and so they were ordering an x-ray to make sure everything was ok. Everything came back normal and Sam came back to the room with me.

Thursday, November 30th

4:30 a.m. - The nurse practitioner wanted to do one more x-ray to make sure everything was still ok with Sam. This time, she said it looked like something was inflamed in his intestines and she wanted him to come down to the NICU for further observation and to order an upper GI to make sure there wasn’t an obstruction in his bowel. I told her that he had pooped 4 times already since being born (he actually pooped ON me right after coming out of the womb--thank you child), so that didn’t really make sense to me. She said she would just rather err on the side of caution, so down to the NICU he went, but I couldn’t feed him until after the results of the GI.

9:00 a.m. - I was down in the NICU with Sam when his nurse came in. I asked her when he would be seeing the radiologist, and she said “it all depends on when they have time for him. He will be there by Noon.” I have the utmost respect for NICU nurses--they are angels and are CONSTANTLY doing something. They literally never get a break. So I do feel a little bad about this, but I kind of got on her case and said “Look, my past-full-term baby has not been fed since 3:00 a.m. He is hungry, and by the time he sees the radiologist and we get the results of the GI it could be 1:00 p.m. and he’s going to be starving. He is not a premature baby who will be pacified to just sleep through his feedings--I’ve had a premature baby! I would know! You are going to call the radiologist RIGHT NOW and explain this to them and get him in as the first appointment.” I was trying to be nice about it, but I felt like I had to say something.

10:00 a.m. - Sam saw the radiologist and everything looked good.

11:00 a.m. - We were able to start feedings again, but even though I had been pumping in lieu of being able to nurse, I know my supply wasn’t keeping up with his demand. The nurse in the NICU said I could breastfeed him, but I also know from experience that he would be in the NICU longer, which I didn’t want. My ultimate goal was to get him home ASAP--hopefully with me. So we started him on the bottle while I continued to pump.

10:00 p.m. - Sam was discharged from the NICU and was able to return to mother/baby with me.

Friday, December 1st

2:00 p.m. - Andrew and Hailey were finally able to meet Sam and we were discharged from the hospital.

Since Sam’s been home, my milk has thankfully come in, and we are continuing to pump and give him breast milk through the bottle. I’ve tried quite a few times since my milk has come in to get him to nurse, but he’s not having any of it. Luckily, I have plenty of pumping experience with Andrew (I was able to pump with him for 5 months), so the plan is to get Sam through flu-season before we switch over to formula. It’s not AT ALL what I had envisioned with my third baby. That hospital stay was a complete whirlwind and incredibly stressful and unexpected, but I know that Heavenly Father is watching over us and that this experience will be a good growing opportunity. I’m grateful for those who watched the kids while Sam and I were in the hospital so Grant could come be with us, for friends who dropped dinner off, for friends who have texted (I’m so sorry if I haven’t responded--we’ve been in full-blown survival mode over here), and especially for my mom who flew into town on Friday and has been a complete saint. We feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful support system, and we are excited (and somewhat nervous) about beginning our adventure as a family of five.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Gospel ABC Book

I'm not a very good at all. But, I saw this Gospel ABC book idea on Pinterest, and decided to make one for our family. It's not super awesome, but it gets the job done :) My kids love reading books during church, and I thought this would make a good FHE aid as well. Hopefully the kiddos enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Here is a link to the quotes I used :) 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

In Defense of Men

I love Brian Regan. He is probably one of the funniest comedians out there--not to mention I appreciate how clean his humor is. I think what makes him so funny is how accurate his perceptions of life are. One perception is his bit that he does on "stupid husbands." I couldn't find the video, otherwise I would post it on here, but let me paraphrase. He basically says that he finds it really frustrating and insulting that a bunch of commercials on TV feature a husband and wife duo, where the wife is complaining to the TV about how stupid her husband is (cut to a picture of the husband using the rake incorrectly, or getting stuck in the blinds). Obviously Regan's impression is much funnier than my description, but he hit the nail on the head. 

Some people nowadays seem to think that life is a competition between men and women. That one must dominate the other, and now it's the women's turn. In too many Hollywood films, TV and cable shows, and yes, even commercials, men are portrayed as incompetent, immature, or self-absorbed. How can this have any other effect on our society than a damaging one? It must be difficult for good men to continue living a good life when they are getting bombarded with these kinds of messages. People who degrade and mock the role of husbands and fathers and make them feel as though they are not needed, or are incompetent

I've had two experiences just this past week where men were put into this stereotype of being complete idiots and would be totally lost without a woman. The first one was a phone call I received from a nurse at the surgical center where Grant will be having surgery tomorrow. At first I thought she was calling me because she couldn't get a hold of Grant or because they had the wrong phone number on file. She went on to explain that he had to fill out a survey online and then call them back for an over-the-phone interview to go over medical history. And then she said the kicker. "Yea, we usually just bypass calling the husband and instead call the wife because we've found that's the only way things get done." I just kind of laughed it off as I told her I'd pass along the message. After I hung up I told Grant about what happened. To be honest I was kind of angry. I thought to myself "Wait, they didn't even try to call Grant? They just assumed that my husband is some irresponsible moron who needs his little wifey to tell him to do everything?" Newsflash: My husband is independent and responsible (as are most men). I'm more than happy to care for him after his surgery, and I'm more than happy to pass along any messages. It wasn't the fact that the nurse called me, it was the reason behind why she did that bugged me. This is what kind of society we have created.

The second experience was a post I saw on Facebook. Literally, the title of this post was "What to do when your man refuses to change." I remember seeing this and thinking "Yep, this outta be rich." Looking back I probably shouldn't have read it because I knew it would make my blood boil, but I had to see what kind of post this would turn into. So I read the whole thing. In short, it made my blood boil. It talked about how we as wives need to encourage our husbands to change and love him and lead him. My biggest beef with this post is that it encouraged expressing love and compliments only on conditions of your husband "doing something right or showing up for you." Right, that's super healthy. Put conditions on expressing your love and respect for your husband (said no marriage counselor ever).

How often do we hear women (even righteous, religious women), speak disrespectfully to or about their husbands, even in front of their own children? Or most often, to other women? Now listen, respect goes both ways. Both husband and wife need to speak respectfully to and about each other. When was the last time we sincerely praised our spouses? When was the last time we thanked and expressed love for our spouses? When was the last time we stopped ourselves from saying something hurtful? When was the last time we apologized and asked for forgiveness? Note: all of these done without adding conditions?

I think sometimes our perception about men in society is distorted by the news and social media. What kind of stories do we hear? Trust me, it's a small percentage of men out there getting 100% of the attention. All men are NOT like Brock Turner. All men do NOT go on shooting rampages. All men are NOT incompetent morons. All men are NOT disrespectful to women. All men are NOT liars. All men are NOT cheaters. I could go on and on. The perception of men that we get from the news and social media is most often not a positive one. But there is so much good in the world. Here are some examples from my own life.

~My husband always takes time to spend with the kids--away from his phone, away from his work, away from any distractions. He builds train tracks with my son, dances with my daughter, and takes them grocery shopping, to the park, and to the pool. I never once feel the need to explain the kid's routines to my husband because he already knows.
~Last week I had to leave my brother and sister-in-law in CT in a hurry, and as I was frantically packing up I noticed my keys were missing. My brother had quietly taken my keys and went to fill up my car with gas and all the other fluids it needed. Quiet act of service that meant the world to me.
~My other brother and sister in law and their family came to visit this past week. The first thing my brother did was pick up my son to give him a high-five, and he helped me get the kiddos to the park for a picnic.
~2 men from our ward selflessly came over last week to give Grant a blessing after he tore his Achilles'.
~Grant is constantly helping me around the house. Cooking, cleaning, you name it. He takes his role of provider very seriously for our family, but he also recognizes the importance of his role in the home. He always leads out in family prayer, FHE, and family scripture study.
~Grant is fiscally responsible. He is not selfish in how he spends money, and he has invested money to help our children have a bright future.
~Grant is an impeccable husband. He is there as a sounding board for me and he is truly my best friend.
~My brothers and brother-in-laws are wonderful husbands to their wives. They support each of their families, are righteous men who lead their families in the gospel, and are incredible fathers to their children.

I could go on. There are good men all around us. Don't let society's perception of men taint your view of what a man truly is.

They love their walks with daddy

Some of the wonderful men in my life

Hailey and her sweet daddy

Love my man in the kitchen!

Back when Andrew was little

Andrew's baby blessing and all the wonderful men in the circle

Andrew and daddy in the NICU

Love my eternal companion

Wouldn't trade my brothers for anything

My nieces and nephews have some pretty awesome uncles ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cease Fire

Alright. I'm calling a cease fire.

I used to think that mommy/women wars were pretty cut and dry and that people could recognize when they might be hurtful to another mom. I would think to myself, "Stop with the judging. Stop with the rude comments behind someone else's back. Stop with the rude comments about a kid's behavior. Stop saying how your kid would "never do that." Stop saying how a certain mom needs to get her priorities straight. STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!"

But the past couple months I've had a lot of experiences that have made me look at mom wars in a different light, and what the source of mom wars are.

Today I went to a stake scripture study class. The lesson was wonderful! We talked about the importance of our physical bodies, the importance of eternal families, and I gained a lot of insights from others in the class that I hadn't thought of before. It was really uplifting and I'm so happy I went! When we were talking about our physical bodies, we talked about how important it is to appreciate our own bodies and how we shouldn't strive to be or have someone else's body. One sister made the comment "Yea, I look at all these fit moms and think 'would I rather spend 8 hours at the gym, or would I rather spend time with my kids?'" I don't think this woman's intent was to degrade moms who enjoy working out and staying in shape, but I kind of cringed at this comment because she made this "mommy wars" comment without even realizing it. Even a few days ago I had a mommy war thought without realizing I had until after the fact. I thought "Well, I didn't get dinner made because I took the kids to the park for a fun afternoon." Translation: "I'm such a good mom for taking my kids out for a fun afternoon while all those other moms are keeping their kids inside while they cook dinner." (Ridiculous, right? The NERVE of those moms to have dinner ready for their husbands!).

After much contemplation, I think I've figured out the source of these mommy wars comments. 


About ourselves.

Yea, my thought I had about taking the kids to the park was made from insecurity. My husband came home with a fried brain from a long day of work and I didn't have dinner ready and I felt horrible. So, to justify it, I thought "Well yea, I didn't make dinner like the rest of those moms, but I'm such a good mom because my kids had a fun afternoon." It's messed up, right?

My best friend in high school taught me an important lesson about friendship. She and I did practically everything together in high school. We did many of the same extra-curricular activities, tried to take as many classes together as possible, did homework together pretty often, and we had a sleepover almost every weekend. With all that we did together, it was sometimes easy for me to compare myself to her and think "she's faster at running than I am, she's smarter than me, etc." But I never got this feeling from her. She was always genuinely happy for any of my accomplishments, and didn't compare herself. I started trying to mimic this quality, and I realized something. The more genuine happiness I had for her, the better I felt about myself. And that was the secret to her ability to genuinely love those around her: She was secure with herself and who she was. When graduation time came, I watched her give a killer valedictorian speech and felt nothing but genuine love and happiness for that huge accomplishment of hers. I was able to feel that genuine love because she taught me to be confident with myself and secure with my gifts and abilities. 

I felt secure about high school life, but then I moved on to college, and then got married, and then had kids, and have tried to balance my life, and with these new situations comes some insecurity. And when we get insecure about ourselves and wondering if we can handle it, we look at others and start to bring them down to make ourselves feel better. "Well, yea she has her hair and make up done, but I bet her kids watched TV the whole time." "Well, she cooked an awesome dinner, but I bet she didn't clean the rest of her house." "Well, she's breastfeeding her baby, but I've lost all the baby weight." "Well, she stays at home, but I bring in some extra income for our family."

When we are secure with ourselves, we can instead say "Wow! She looks really cute today!" "That dinner looks delicious--she's a great cook!" "Breastfeeding can be really hard--good for her!" "Staying at home with kids can be exhausting--I'm impressed with her!" "Being a working mom requires so much balance and energy--she's amazing!"

So moms (and women), I'm calling a cease fire. On ourselves. 

Try this activity for the next week and see how you feel: You are only allowed to think positive things about yourself. This is cognitive behavioral therapy. Essentially this is changing our thoughts in order to change our words and our actions. How you think about something is going to be how you eventually vocalize and feel about something. It's going to be really hard. Trust me. The past few weeks, I've worn yoga pants or sweat pants every day, if I must go out of the house I put on a sports-bra and a t-shirt, I have only done my hair and makeup on Sundays (and that's only because church starts at 1 p.m.--I'm totally hosed when it switches to 9 a.m. in January), and dinner has rarely been made when Grant gets home (I'm slowly getting my feet under me with that). It has been so easy for me to look in the mirror before walking out the door with the kids and think "Ah! You look like a mess!" Or when Grant wants through the door the first thing I'm doing is apologizing for the house being a mess and dinner not being made. 

Nope. Not this week. This week, you are only allowed to think positive thoughts about yourself. Think about how much you're able to get done around the house. Think about what an awesome workout you just did. Think about the killer dinner you just made. Think about how much you rocked your job today. And just a warning: if you find yourself starting a compliment about yourself by bringing someone else down, it won't work. 

You'll find that as you feel more secure and better about yourself, you'll see other moms/women in a different, much more flattering light. 

Stopping the mom wars begins with stopping our own insecurities. 

So ladies, CEASE FIRE!...on yourselves. (while I go make dinner...)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Principles of Personal Revelation

I admit, I've had bad writers block the past couple of months, which is odd, because you'd think with big changes like moving and switching jobs that I'd have a lot to report, but it's been such a whirlwind that I haven't really had time to put everything into words.

I have been doing a lot of studying on personal revelation the past couple of months, which has prompted me to reflect on times in my life when I've received personal revelation. I wanted to share some things I've learned about personal revelation through my own experiences.

Personal revelation sometimes confirms what we already knew.

This has happened on a few occasions, but one time in particular that has always stood out to me was when I was applying for colleges and trying to figure out where I wanted to go. Honestly, I knew all throughout high school that I wanted to go to BYU, and I worked hard to qualify to get in. I still applied to other schools (I was a incredibly nervous about not getting into BYU since it has become so competitive. I had heard of people with higher GPA's and ACT scores not getting accepted). After I got accepted, it seemed silly to me to pray about it to make sure I should go, but I did anyways. My answer wasn't a big huge revelation of "Hey! Yes! You need to go to BYU!" but it was just more just peace and assurance that BYU was where I was supposed to go. After I got that reassurance I still didn't know why I was supposed to pray about it, but I later realized that it would set a pattern for me. I needed to practice praying and relying on the Lord to guide me, because there would certainly be times when I wouldn't know what to do and I needed to practice asking for and receiving guidance.

Personal revelation sometimes comes at random or unexpected times.

There are two times I distinctly remember receiving revelation when I wasn't praying about a particular problem or situation, but was simply trying my best to daily seek the spirit by prayer and scripture study. I think because of those small and simple daily tasks, my heart was able to receive unexpected revelation.
The first time was my second semester of freshman year at BYU. This was when I started dating returned missionaries and the thought of marriage became more serious in my mind. As a freshman going on dates with RM's, the thought did cross my mind that if the person I marry graduates before I do, would I be able to finish my degree, or would I have to work to support a family while my potential husband finishes school? It was a little concern in the back of my mind. I don't remember exactly where I was, but I remember getting a very strong impression that I needed to finish my degree.
The second time also goes along with my schooling. It happened during my first semester of sophomore year, so just a few months after I felt that I needed to finish my degree. I admit, after receiving that first bit of revelation, I figured that if I met and married someone who was on track to graduate before me that I would just transfer schools to finish my degree. I remember it was in October or November, and I was walking through the Talmage building on the way to one of my classes, and I felt very strongly that not only did I need to finish my degree, but that I needed to stay at BYU. It seemed very random and not something I was earnestly praying for, but I tucked that little bit of revelation away.
Looking back, I can see that getting a degree was essential to me being able to bring in extra money right now and also working until Grant was able to finish up school (not to mention the NICU bills for Andrew would have been crazy without good insurance through my work). I know that our situation is just that: ours. I know that everyone receives their own personal revelation for their lives. I'm not saying everyone needs to get a degree or everyone needs to graduate from BYU, but for my life, that is what Heavenly Father had planned for me.

Personal revelation sometimes comes piece by piece.

You'd think with something as important as deciding who to marry that you'd have an experience where it was unmistakable that you were supposed to marry that person. I knew tons of people that had unmistakable experiences where they knew in one particular moment the answer to who they were supposed to marry. I remember as Grant and I were dating, I just kept saying "Heavenly Father, this is who I would like to marry. Please let me know if this is the right thing." I went to the temple often, fasted often, and still, no chorus of singing angles saying "You should marry Grant Vanderhorst!" Finally, I got a little frustrated and fed up, so my prayers changed to "Look, I really really like this guy a lot and I plan on marrying him, so if that's not the right thing you need to let me know...sooner rather than later would be preferable." I also realized that I was looking beyond the mark a little bit. I was so busy waiting for this undeniable sign, that I had missed little bits of revelation that Grant was who I was supposed to marry and was (and still is) a good choice for me. I started keeping track of those small experiences in a journal, and looking back I can see that all those experiences together was my undeniable answer. But my revelation to marry Grant came piece by piece.
So it was after we got married. We both had a couple years of school ahead of us, and we seemed so far away from the goals we had in mind. We were trying to plan out when to start our family, what Grant should major in, where we would find a job out of school, and wondering if it would all work out. We wanted the full picture. But, we finally realized that we just had to take it one semester at a time. At the beginning of each semester we would discuss our finances, where we would be working and how many hours, discussing classes/majors, and if that was the right time to start our family. Each semester things became a bit more clear. We didn't receive the answers all at once, but we received enough to get through that semester. Looking back, I can see now how Heavenly Father led us through those first couple years of marriage and finishing out our college careers. The revelation we received didn't come all at once, but it did come (just in small pieces).

Personal revelation sometimes comes all at once.

When Grant and I first decided to move out to D.C., it wasn't because we felt like it was "where we were supposed to be." Grant also had an offer in Houston, TX, and as we prayed about these job offers we got the feeling that it was truly our choice, and that either decision would be a good decision for our family. Both Grant and I always wanted to experience the East Coast, and he was excited to work for a company like Deloitte, so we decided to move to D.C.
After being here for a couple years, Grant started to get the itch to move on from Deloitte. He had gained some great experience and loved his coworkers, but he knew that he didn't want to be doing what he was doing in the long haul, so back in March he started looking for new jobs. When he first started looking, we were wanting to move back west to be closer to family and where the cost of living is cheaper. As Grant was applying for jobs, he found one at Amazon Web Services in Herndon (about 30 minutes away from where we were living), and decided to apply for the job. He thought that Amazon would be a cool company to work for, but knew that since it wasn't back west that we probably wouldn't take it. As he went through the interview process with Amazon and a few other companies, the more he learned about the job and the culture at Amazon, the more he felt a draw to them, and I was on the same page. He had his final interview with Amazon, and then the next day was flying out to Salt Lake to interview with a couple companies there. When Grant was out of town, it hit me like a ton of bricks that Amazon would be a really good opportunity for him and a good change for our family, and Grant felt the same way. After interviewing with the companies in SLC, we both knew that Amazon was the right move for our family.

Personal revelation sometimes is hard to accept and requires patience.

I find it a little ironic that when we moved out here to D.C. (the time when we felt like it was really our decision), that move seemed easier for me to handle, but the move to Herndon for Grant's job with Amazon (the time when we felt strongly that this was the right thing for us to do), the move has been harder for me. We really like the area we are in because it is less congested and more family oriented, and Grant has really enjoyed his new job. I think this move has been a little harder for me, simply because it takes a while to get familiar with an area and things to do with kids, as well as build new friendships in our new ward. Even though I know this move was the right move for our family, and we felt like we should be in the ward we moved into, that doesn't mean it will always be easy. The right path for us requires patience, trust in the Lord, and especially trust in his timing.

In a marriage, unanimity in revelation is key to guiding a family.

When I was at BYU I took a class entitled "Teachings of the Living Prophets," and there were a few statements from apostles that said in a nutshell that the Quorum of the Twelve only works on unanimity, but that unanimity isn't always achieved right away. All these men are well educated and opinionated about many different things, and they discuss things in detail and at length before all feel at peace and unanimous about decisions. Even though there may be disagreement at first, they always discuss things calmly and with respect to each other.
I've learned that unanimity in revelation applies to marriage as well. There have been times in mine and Grant's marriage where we haven't always agreed right away about decisions, but we've both learned that we both need to receive revelation about the decision and be on the same page, because if we're not, it's not the right decision. There have been times where Grant felt good about moving into a certain apartment and I didn't, and when we moved to Herndon there was an apartment that I loved and felt good about, but Grant didn't feel good about it. Every night when we say prayers together, we pray that we will be guided in our decisions, and we recognize that part of being guided means that we need to eventually be on the same page. There is great peace in unanimity. When we were getting ready to move to Herndon, we were both getting stressed. We were getting ready to go on a 2 week vacation, trying to pack up our apartment, trying to find a new apartment, etc. There were times when I wondered if we were making the right decision because I wasn't feeling that same peace that I had originally felt. I was reading my scriptures one night and came across D&C 6:28 where it says "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." That helped me remember that Grant and I were both had a confirmation that this was the right move for our family, and this was "the word" for our family.

I'm so grateful for personal revelation. Whenever I get anxious about the uncertainty of life and get frustrated that I can't plan out everything, I always go back to this scripture in 2 Nephi 4:34. "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever...Yea I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness."

I know that when life gets uncertain, we can rely on our Heavenly Father to guide us through personal revelation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Abortion Law I'd Propose if I were a Politician...

Disclaimer: Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely pro-life, and very much anti-abortion. I firmly believe that a person is a person no matter how small, and that babies in the womb should be considered living, even if it's at 6 weeks.

     A few weeks ago, a woman in Colorado answered a Craigslist ad for baby girl clothes when she was 34 weeks pregnant. As she walked into the house, the person selling the clothes cut this pregnant woman's baby out of her, and took the baby to the hospital to claim it as her own miscarriage. However, this woman is not being charged for murder (the baby did not survive this vicious attack, but thankfully the mother did). Obviously this woman is going to be charged with something (possibly attempted murder on the life of the mother) and hopefully she will be put away for a LONG time. Not only did the story of this psychotic woman make me sick to my stomach, but the fact that she wouldn't be charged with murder made me enraged! I think this story hit me a little too close to home. Andrew was born at 34 weeks, so for someone to say that Andrew wasn't technically a person because he couldn't have lived outside the womb without medical aid, or that he wasn't a person until I gave birth to him is crazy to me. 
     This story kept me up at night (no joke). I seriously had a hard time sleeping for a few nights, not only because my own precious baby wasn't sleeping very well, but because I was so disgusted by this horrible act and by the fact that this poor baby boy who was viciously taken from his mother's womb wasn't recognized as a person and the perpetrator wasn't being charged for his murder. I remember thinking to myself, "That's it! Abortion needs to be illegal!"
     A couple days ago, one of my friends posted an article on Facebook that said how proper/legal abortions was one of the greatest health benefits to women this society has ever made. I started to feel my blood boil at this remark, but I decided to read the article anyways. It is from the perspective of a practicing OBGYN who remembers the days before the Roe v. Wade case. He gave examples of women who had what he referred to as "back-ally abortions," where the abortions performed were not professional, safe, and in many instances it endangered the life of the mother. Some women would be laying on their death bed because of an abortion that was poorly executed. He made the point that women will be getting abortions no matter what, so we might as well make it legal so that way they aren't getting improper care and putting themselves in harm's way. His perspective was that "All abortions need to be legal."

     Do you see the two extremes here? That's when it hit me. The solution to the abortion debate cannot be on either one of these extremes. I think (or at least I hope--maybe I'm a little naive about this), but I'm hoping that those people who are pro-choice can see how the current abortion laws make it so that in the case of the psycho woman from Colorado (newsflash: I promise we aren't all psycho), that baby is not recognized as a person, and this woman is not being charged for murder. I hope pro-choicers can see how horrendous that is.
     On the other hand, I'll admit that I haven't really thought about the health aspect of legalizing abortions. Even if you're extremely pro-life (like I am), you have to admit that it is necessary for OBGYN's to be able to perform a legal abortion. Why? Because of the cases brought up so often by pro-choicers: Rape, and the pregnancy being a mortal danger to the mother. 
     Let's talk about the latter for a second. A pregnancy that would mortally danger the mother could be something like an tubal pregnancy. If the baby makes it past anywhere around 11 weeks, the tubes burst and the mother would probably die. If abortion were completely illegal, that means that a woman with a tubal pregnancy would not get the proper care she needed to end that pregnancy and save her life.
     Let's talk about the example of rape for a minute. I know this is an extremely sensitive topic, so I'll try to be as objective as possible. Most pro-lifers out there say that if a girl is raped, she could still carry the baby, deliver the baby, and give it up for adoption (I'm pretty sure I've even said this before), which is absolutely true! Let me just say, if a woman/girl is raped and still carries that baby and gives it up for adoption, kudos! Not only is pregnancy/labor physically exhausting, but the emotional toll of giving up a baby for adoption is something I cannot even imagine. However, now that I have a daughter of my own, I put myself in the shoes of thinking "What if Hailey were raped and became pregnant? Would I make her keep the baby because I'm pro-life?" I thought back to my birth experiences with Andrew and Hailey and how sacred those experiences were. I thought back to the many times Grant and I were able to bond during my pregnancies and how I leaned on him for support. Those experiences that I went through with my husband by my side are irreplaceable. I want Hailey to be able to experience those things with her husband by her side. I would be ok with her getting a D&C if she were raped because I wouldn't want a rapist to take away those sacred experiences from her.

     Alright, that's my huge lead up to my proposed abortion law. Here's what I propose (or at least a variation of this):
          "If you want an abortion, you need to get it before you are 12 weeks pregnant. After 12 weeks pregnant, you need to deliver your baby and either keep it or give it up for adoption."
     Why 12 weeks? The exceptions that pro-choicers talk about are rape or danger to the mother's life. If you're raped, you're going to know if you're pregnant before you're 12 weeks along,thus giving you time to end the pregnancy before you get too far along. Tubal pregnancies can't even last until 12 weeks, thus taking care of the case of endangering the mother's life.

     Often times I feel like those who are pro-choice use these 2 exceptions as an excuse for being pro-choice. So, now that we've talked about those 2 exceptions, what else is left? This is where my pro-life sentiments kick in to full gear. Abortion is not a form of birth control. If you did not have protected sex and you get pregnant, you do not have a right to end someone else's life simply because you don't want the responsibility of your actions. It is not just your body anymore. I hear a lot "It's my body, I get to choose." Sorry, you already did. You DO have a choice, but you do not get to choose your consequences of that choice. If you don't want a baby, that's totally fine. I have plenty friends that have wept into their pillows because they cannot have biological children. I know they would GLADLY take the responsibility for you. But it is not your right to end another's life simply because you made a mistake and you don't want to deal with the ramifications. #sorrynotsorry
     I know that my proposed abortion law isn't perfect and I get that this issue is much more complex, but I feel like if we have a law that allows for those 2 exceptions I talked about, what else can pro-choicers say? A person is a person, no matter how small, and the definition of a living being is not whether or not someone wants to keep you. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thoughts on Women Tell All

Alright, the fact that I'm actually writing a blog post about The Bachelor's WTA must tell you that I REALLY miss watching this show with other girls! Grant is good to discuss comments and girls with me and laugh with me, but there just isn't a substitute to watching this show without other women present. So, these are my thoughts! Feel free to have a discussion with me in the comments--I love it!

This was probably the most catty, intense, ridiculous WTA I've ever seen in all my years of watching! Right off the bat we had our first cat fight between Britt and Carly. 

Here are my thoughts on each girl:


So I'll admit, I've never really been a huge fan of Britt. She's always seemed kind of fake to me and seems to wear a lot of make-up and dress like she's in middle school (Am I the only one that feels like she has HUGE lips and a really ugly cry?). However, I could see where she was coming from a little bit after the WTA. It's ok to change your mind about an opinion that you have, and you shouldn't always feel obligated to stick to your first impression of something (whether it's your first impression about a town or your first reaction to a date card). That being said, the big thing that still bothered me was when Carly, Kaitlyn, and her were on that group date and she was super rude about Kaitlyn getting the group date rose. I didn't like how she always felt like she was the front-runner. Even during WTA, she admitted that if it wasn't for Carly, she felt like she would have ended up with Chris. That's a slap in the face to the other girls, and especially a slap in the face to whoever Chris ends up with (my prediction is Whitney--Grant's is Becca). And please, do you really have to cry when you first see Chris and then give him the longest hug known to man? That was so awkward for everyone. The man is probably engaged! He doesn't love you! Get over yourself!


I always liked Carly during the season. Her and I seemed to have the same opinions about the girls in the house, and she was just really fun loving. That being said, I do think that it's never a wise choice to be the self-appointed "protector" of the bachelor/ette and take it upon yourself to warn him of other girls in the house, which is what I feel like she did. I also think the jabs she made at Jillian during their mud-run were meant to be in jest and kind of as a compliment to Jillian that she was super in shape, but it came off as offensive (I'd be offended too!). I think Carly has a sarcastic sense of humor which is sometimes at the expense of other people. All in all though, I do think that Britt had no right to blame Carly for the demise of her relationship with Chris.


How do you even begin with this woman? I do feel really bad that Ashley I. alluded to the fact that her first husband didn't even exist (and she should feel horrible for even saying that), but seeing the contrast between Kelsey's emotions to her husband dying and Jeulia's emotions to her husband dying are pretty telling. I get that everyone grieves in different ways, but something just seemed really off when Kelsey told both the girls and Chris about her husband. It kind of seemed like she kept that card in her back pocket and decided to bring it out when it was advantageous for her. I hope she can move on. I think she will go down in history as having the best line in Bachelor history. "I know what you did."

Ashley I:

She needs to grow up. Yes, Kelsey was really rude about the things that she said about her, but she seriously needs to grow up. 

Ashley S:

She really surprised me! I think she was my favorite girl to talk last night! She was seriously so funny. "I just thought 'I'm bored' so I'm going to go explore." "All the girls in the house are crying and I'm just out picking pomegranates." Haha! She was so crazy on the show, but I think she was just trying to make things fun. Makes me wonder why she even went on the show in the first place. It just seemed like she went on the show to try and lighten the mood instead of fall in love with Chris.


I was a really big fan of Jade during the whole season. I don't think she should've blamed Chris though for not being honest about her showing him her photos. That's an awkward position to put anyone in, and if I were in his position I wouldn't know what to say. You don't want to offend them by saying no, but it's also really uncomfortable. I think part of the problem is she didn't seem to regret posing for Playboy either (which is fine if you're proud of it, but understand that it may make others uncomfortable). I hope she finds someone who can accept her past and move on.


Rumor has it that she is the next bachelorette--I'm so excited! I've always been a big fan of her. She has a good sense of humor, but she also knows how to be serious. She be a good season!

Alright, thanks for reading this. This is what happens when I don't have girls to chat with about this! I'm freaking stoked for the finale next week!