The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To All My Pregnant Friends

A couple days ago I was reminiscing about the night that Andrew was born and I wanted to document some really tender moments that I wasn't expecting to have, but I think every woman has them after they give birth. So after Andrew was born, I held him for about a minute, and then they took him down to the NICU to get an IV in him and check his vitals and what not. Grant went with him, and I was just caught up in the whirlwind that just happened that I was grateful for some peace and quiet with my mom who had just gotten into town. I was also starving, so I talked to my mom while I ate, and waited for the bleeding to slow down a little bit before they could take me downstairs. It was about an hour before I was able to see Andrew again. When it was happening I didn't really think much of it, but looking back I wish I could've been there with him.

I'm sure Andrew was wondering what on earth was going on. I think every baby feels this way. They are snug as a bug, and then all of a sudden they are put into a completely different environment. For Andrew, I'm sure it was quite the shock because he was 6 weeks early, and the first hour of his life was probably not the most pleasant. They had to try 4-5 times to get the IV into his little arm, and being around voices you aren't familiar with I'm sure is a little scary. I'm grateful that Grant was there, because I knew Andrew recognized his voice.

So after an hour I was able to go downstairs and be with him. When I got into the room they were able to give Andrew a bath, which was mostly scrubbing off all the sticky white stuff (I can't remember the technical term). Any who, Andrew did not enjoy it at all! I'm sure he was sick and tired of people bugging him, putting wires on his chest, putting needles in his little arm, etc. so he was crying quite a lot. I felt helpless! No mother wants to hear their newborn crying! I had a little voice in my head say "start talking to him" so I did. Within about 10 seconds the crying stopped, and his head was turned toward my voice. The thing I love about this is that babies can't see any color--they are drawn mostly to black and white patterns. They can't focus on images that are more than about 8 inches away from their face, so Andrew couldn't see my face. But he didn't have to--he heard my voice (one that he head heard for 8 months), recognized it, and knew that he was by his mom. I reached out my hand to grab his, and he instantly clutched his little hand around my finger. That was the most tender moment I had with him.
This is in the middle of his bath. The nurse put him down to go get more water, and he was so calm. I just kept talking to him for the rest of his bath and didn't hear a single peep out of him.

Right after his bath. It was such a tender time to finally be with my baby boy!
In the weeks that followed when he was in the NICU, every time either me or Grant would show up and start talking to the nurses, he would pop his eyes open. He had people talking around him all day, but he always knew when his mom and dad were there. This still sometimes happens. If Andrew is asleep during Sunday School, Grant and I have to think twice before raising our hands to make a comment, because most times Andrew wakes up because he hears our voices. People around us can be commenting and even talking loud, but it isn't until one of us starts talking that he wakes up.

So, to all my pregnant friends, you have tender moments to look forward to! Your babies already recognize your voice, and sometimes in the midst of all the commotion, hearing your voice is the only thing that will calm them down. They know who you are, and you know what is best for them. Don't think that you don't know what you're doing--motherly instincts are very real. I personally believe that they aren't just instincts, but promptings from the spirit. These children are God's children, and so of course He has a vested interest in their well being. Enjoy these tender moments! Write them in your journal and take pictures of them, because they make the 9 months of pregnancy and labor and delivery totally worth it!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Parents Kind and Dear

I sing Andrew a couple of hymns or primary songs each night before putting him to bed. I find that he goes to bed much easier--I firmly believe that babies are very sensitive to the spirit, and even though they don't understand what you're saying while reading the scriptures or singing, they can still feel a difference. Anywho, I always make sure to sing the primary song called "I Am a Child of God." The beginning part goes:

I am a child of God
and He has sent me here
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear

and then it goes on. As I was singing this out loud I paused in the song for a couple of seconds and realized what I just sung. "With parents kind and dear." As children sing this, they are reminded that they are sent to parents kind and dear. Parents who love them and would do anything for them. Parents who are trying to raise them up in the gospel. Parents who beat themselves up over mistakes and wish they could redo the moment in the day where they lost their temper. Parents who are trying their best, and their best IS good enough! But we as parents often forget that Heavenly Father doesn't expect perfection out of us--He just wants us to try our best, and rely on Him for the rest of this beast we call parenthood. There have been a few times where I've had a hard day with Andrew, so I close my eyes and say a quick prayer, and I've heard a very quiet voice whisper to me, "You're a good mom." There are people in the world that may think I'm too young, that being at home isn't a worthy goal, that I'm wasting the prime of my life staying at home, and all of those voices are very loud. It isn't until I am quiet and really listen that I can hear the Holy Ghost with His quiet voice saying "You're a good mom." I genuinely believe He whispers this to every parent who is giving it their best, and often feeling like they come short.

I then had another realization after singing I am a Child of God. I can be doing my best to raise up a righteous family, but there may be one of my children that strays off the path for a little bit. This is something I thought about even before I was married, and it has always been a concern of mine. After realizing how deep the words are to "I Am a Child of God" my mind immediately thought of the beginning of the Book of Mormon when Nephi said "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents...". I don't think it is a coincidence that this is the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Lehi and Sariah were wonderful parents who tried to lead their family in righteousness, yet they still had 2 rebellious sons. I think anyone who has been in this situation can look to them as an example of faith on the Lord, and still being at peace. I've been learning to realize that mistakes are ok to make and that kids learn from them, and most importantly I as a parent learn from them. We do our best to teach our kids what we know to be right and true, but men are free to choose for themselves. I don't know if one of my children will go wayward and that will be a huge trial for me, but I do know that as long as I try my best NOW to raise them in the gospel, that Heavenly Father will still look out for them. It is never too late to come back to the gospel. It was huge for me to realize that as long as I do my best and stay close to the spirit in parenting, that my kids still have their free agency, and that God doesn't give up on His children.

I'm grateful for my parents, my in-laws, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and brothers and sister-in-laws. All are wonderful examples to me of what a good parent looks like. All have made mistakes. All have had successes. All have tried their best, and it has been and will be good enough.

Always remember to stay close to the Lord and the spirit, and you will be blessed in parenting (all in the Lord's way and in His time).

And remember, no matter what the voices of the world say (sometimes that can even be you're own), "You're a good mom." "You're a good dad."