Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Excitement at the River

 Today, even though I am still on bed rest, we were all being slightly grouchy (that's pleasantly put) at one another and I knew it was time that we had to get out of the house.  I think it was more than cabin fever--it was also lunch time and so I think it was that we were hangry.
We went and got some food and then to the local park that right next to the river. We walked down the dock and R said to S wisely, "Always expect the unexpected!"  Then a freak wave bumped the dock and R fell, head first, into the river.  The Albany Fire Department were there doing rescue drills and two of them dashed down faster than you could say "Bob's your uncle" and helped him out.

That made me feel very confident in our Albany Fire Department.

R is quite a competent swimmer and we were all laughing together as they pulled him out.  He probably would have pulled himself out or swam to shore.  Nice thing was, his shoes floated.
We left some pies in the oven since our freezer was left open last night, thanks to a popsicle seeking three-year-old.  All the food was thawed, so we put the apple pies into the oven in hopes that the food was still edible.  Am I the only one that wants to cry a little when the whole freezer full of food and goodies gets thawed?  Oh well, I guess in the long scheme of things that trial is itty bitty compared to a lot of other problems.  W has already volunteered to restock my freezer (I love that guy)!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wedding Video I Recorded and Edited

A couple of months ago I filmed and edited my first wedding videos.  Nikkita and Alec were so kind to ask me to film their wedding and reception even though I am a complete novice.  And then they paid me.  Whohoo!  First paid gig--I tried to do it as their gift, but they tucked the money in the thank you note and I didn't read it until after.  Thank you!


They were married in the Portland, Oregon temple.  I loved their smiles and dearness!  

Nikkita was so beautiful!  Look at that gorgeous bouquet.  It began raining on us at the temple and I had to capture some of the Oregon rain, which I felt was perfect for the video, but a bit inconvenient for the bride and groom. They smiled at one another through it.

Thank you, Nikkita and Alec.  I hope you and your family will treasure these videos for, well, eternity! :D

Friday, August 19, 2016

Updates and Pondering Online School or Public School

Update: No baby yet.  Still on bed rest.  Highly tempted to go to the store and ride the shopping scooters around the store... I asked the doctor about that and she said, "I'll just pretend you didn't ask me that." Then, "If you were to have a bleed, where would you like to be?"  Surprisingly I didn't think of the obvious answer--the hospital. Instead I said, "Well, I guess the store wouldn't be too bad of a place because I could probably get help if I needed it and it's not too far from the hospital."

Interesting thing is, with placenta previa, what happens is (especially after several pregnancies) the area near the cervix is thinned a lot and it is so easy for the placenta to separate from the uterine wall--thus causing a painless but very dangerous bleed.  I did not know this, but now I do.

Still, I'm hoping for that placenta to hold on for dear life (in a healthy way), grow away from the cervix, and to at 37 weeks be induced (not a c-section--though I am so grateful for them!!).  That is what the plan is if all goes well. Six weeks to go.

I'm working on envisioning being in the hospital at 37 weeks, with a v-delivery, having a healthy; strong baby boy, and going home the next day, being thankful I was bleed-free.

I still can't get over how utterly blessed I am we are with this whole thing and how many people have reached out and blessed my family with their service and prayers!  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Now, for the other things my mind has been pondering.  I cannot lift, chase, or be pulled by K. I am seriously considering having my oldest do online school for at least the first month so he can be my right-hand-man--there to chase down and help K when I cannot (which is almost always).
The issue with this is, S and T may feel like this is unfair treatment.  Though, when they are around helping with K can be a monotony of "It's so-and-so's turn."  How to handle this?  It may be the fallback that I have been emphasizing a lot this summer in favor of our helping home and family themed summer that (in a not-self-pitying voice) life is not fair. Don't expect it to be.  Get over that feeling that you are being gypped because you need to help more than you feel is your fair share.

I don't think I will ever earn "The Fairest In The Land Award" with this philosophy--sorry to be so punny.

Thinking and praying about it.  I know the Lord will guide us in these choices!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Potty Training K

The week before the bleed, I was working on potty training K.  I found a few things interesting about potty training her. I can't remember how it was potty training the others (maybe that is a blessing), but with her I noticed that if I wanted success, she would take herself to the loo better if I didn't make a big deal out of it. In other words, no potty dance, but rewards were acceptable and appreciated.  She loves to change clothes several times a day and keeps us hopping and asking over and over "Do you need to go potty?"  When any of us have to go potty we make a family-wide announcement, "I have to go potty right now."  We do that in hopes that she'll follow our lead and make such announcements in the future.
W took this photo and texted it to me while I was in the hospital.  She insists on wearing those
shorts even though they are too small. Yesterday they surreptitiously made it into the trash. :)
I was so grateful to my mom, whom I frankly felt bad about passing the potty training bill onto, but she took it on like it was no big deal and continued to encourage K.  I think they must have stopped a lot on the way home.  Thanks, Mom!

She still has at least two accidents a day and sometimes doesn't want to go before we leave or before bed time, but we're working on it.  I would be amiss to not let you know that pull-ups have been pulled-out for emergencies.  I'm so grateful we live in a time and place where we can be flexible.  

S has made a sticker chart where if she remembers to go number two for seven days, she gets a big prize (a talking Sheriff Callie doll--that was on sale), as a means to say she's finished potty training.  Gulp.  It's a work in progress.

We will prevail. :D

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

At-Home-Bed-Rest and my MIL

I came home from the hospital with a migraine that I assumed was done, but it came back for the next two days and the second day got so bad I could barely see straight and was throwing up.  I was so grateful that a friend, Melody, was bringing dinner by, because she knew what I was going through and immediately got me to lie down with cold packs on my head. Then another family came by to say hello and Janaia, the mom, knew how awful migraines can be and suggested I put my feet in some hot water (she says she suggests a super hot bath with cold packs, but since I can't sit in a hot bath for long--this was the next best thing). Melody, still there, got me a bowl of hot water for my feet and while the headache did not completely go away, it receded enough to a point where I felt like myself again. The next day, it was not so bad and now it is gone.  Again, I felt like it was a tender mercy that those people came by when they did! The food Melody brought by was so good! Thank you so much Melody and Jenaia!  I love my ward!

They were pretending to be secret agents at our family reunion.  Loved it!
My mother-in-law is here.  She is such a blessing! S loves having her near because S tells her everything she is thinking and my mother-in-law is a great listener and always helps S feel loved! She will be leaving soon, with S, and I know S will have a wonderful time with her!  I think Dad VDG is really missing her!  Who can blame him?! Thanks, Mommers and Dad!

She picked up my kiddos from my parents (they met on the first leg of the journey to Albany) (thank you Mom and Dad), stayed with my awesome brother and his wife, Brent and Tanya, and has made delicious food and helped each kiddo. She's taken them swimming for two days.  My kids are loving having her here. I have been able to rest a lot!  It's been great!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Kiddos Gone, For Now

 Last Sunday, my parents took my kiddos to Idaho.
 We've been talking a lot over Google Hangouts.  They've been doing fun things and having a glorious time!  I am so thankful for my parents and their kindness.  They went to Bear World,  the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, the Nature Park (several times), and a lot of other delightful places.
This is me, a few minutes before we left the hospital to come home. I sure hope my lips come back sometime.  Since I lost all that blood it's like they disappeared.  Good times.

I'm home. I've been resting a lot.  Thank you so much to the people who've brought us food and helped my family!

My kiddos came back with Grandma VDG on Saturday.  It is so fun to have them back. I have gotten a lot of snuggles and sometimes four or five hugs at a time! :D  My dear mother-in-law is staying until Saturday.  She and the kiddos stayed at my brother's home on Friday night.  Brent and Tanya were wonderful and the kiddos always have a wonderful time playing with their kidlets! So thankful!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hospital Updates

After my mom got to my house she brought the kiddos the next day.
R was still at scout camp and we got the opportunity to go for a walk into the sunshine.
The next day my Dad and brother, Jeff arrived.
Again we went outside for a walk.
Then in another shift, W brought R down, freshly showered and excited to tell me news of Scout Camp, including the wilderness survival award he got.  Whew! Glad he was safe and sound!

We went walking along the river trail, which was so beautiful!  The boys caught a baby garter snake and then let it go.


News at this moment:  Since I have been stable now for 10 days they are sending me home for bed rest.   We live about an hour away from this hospital and feel a little nervous at being so far away from a great NICU and the awesome high-risk doctors here--especially if the studies are right that we have read that say that about 60% of the women that have had a bleed like me usually end up having another one by 34 weeks.  The doctor told me if I have another one then they will do a C-section.
Other news is that my placenta is not a previa any more, but is now considered a low-lying placenta--meaning I could still bleed out and chances are really high I will need a c-section.  I have never had a c-section before and it may or may not kind of scares me--though I am incredibly grateful for them!!
I asked the doctor how much movement he means from at-home-bed-rest and he said about as much as you would do with a sprained ankle and no crutches.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Another Perspective on the Tender Mercies and Miracles

I got an email from Julianne, one of the women in the cast of Oklahoma last Tuesday.  It was so beautiful and gave me more insight on what happened last Monday night. 

Hi Melanie,
I am Julianne Loftus, ensemble, from the Riverview ward in Lebanon.  I have never met you before last night.  I was there assisting you from the moment you entered the hallway.  I just wanted to let you know, if you already didn't, that there were many LDS Angels directly assisting you last night.  I fully believe the Holy Ghost prompted us all to be there at the right time and in the right place to help you during this trial.  There were 8 of us directly involved in your care and another 13 at least, available in the building.

There are many details I could go into, but one in particular is that Kelly, whose lap you were in, delivered her baby at 28 weeks.  She was particularly and perfectly suited to your cause.

I myself have had 6 babies, my last one being very high risk.  I delivered him in Springfield too.  Their NICU is amazing for preemies.  I feel very blessed to have had a hand in saving your life last night.

I don't even know you or that you were LDS too, but I learned your first name last night.  This morning I wondered to myself who you were and what ward you were from, (as I saw your garments during the EMT exam while I held the blanket).  The craziest thing happened and 'Van der ...aff" popped into my head.  Thinking that to be weird, I checked the Stake Directory and obviously here you are!

I believe the Lord wanted me to testify to you.  I know this trial is hard on you, but you were in amazing hands last night to protect you.  Of all the places this tragedy could have happened, you were placed among at least 21 angels!  I am truly grateful that I could help and I hope you get well soon.

Sincerely,
Julianne

I really felt she was inspired to write that letter. Every time I read it through the week, tears sprang to my eyes because I really felt that all the people that were around me that night were supposed to be there.  I felt and feel so grateful still.  Then a few days later she sent me a more detailed email (and permission to publish it).

The little girl you saw was my daughter Libby.  I was the third person who saw you because I was near her and Kelley.  I told you to sit down as well and that we would get you an ambulance.  I didn't realize Kelley had her phone, but I ran into the theater to tell Terri that we needed an ambulance NOW, that the pregnant lady was bleeding badly.  I ran back to you and saw Kelley on the phone.  I heard you tell me to get Terri and Stephanie.  I said I already told Terri and I went back in to find Stephanie.  I scanned the audience without luck and then discovered Stephanie filming beside me.  I told her that you NEEDED her, but she didn't realize how urgent it was.

My adrenaline had been on fire from the moment I saw the blood on your pants.  I thought your water had broken and that you needed to get to the hospital.  My smile at the thought of you having your baby, quickly turned into terror when I saw all the blood.  I am not a runner in any means, but I only recently began working out at the gym.  That was my miracle, because I had the strength and endurance to keep madly running around the place to help you.

Back in the hallway, they called for a blanket.  I looked frantically around and quickly considered removing my heavy dress to cover you.  But I held out on last hope as not to ruin the borrowed costume.  I contacted Alyson, LDS, stage manager for a blanket and she went into the theater to grab one from the set.

We put the blanket on you, and I asked Alyson in the front doors were open, unlocked.  She said yes, but I wanted to check nonetheless.  I ran like the wind in my 41 year old, plump body.  Grateful I had bought sensible shoes to perform in.  I ran and ran and ran like lightning to ensure the ambulance could get to you.

The doors were locked!  It was so fortunate that I had come!  I propped the door open and ran out to see if they were near.  They weren't.  So I ran all the way back to you to see what else I could do.  I don't remember what I did, but then I ran back to the door like lightning, no pain or shin splints at all!  This time I heard the sirens from far away.  I ran out to the street to guide them in.

I ran with them down the hall back to you.  When we arrived, it was Doug Prince, LDS Albany, and Tracy Krebs who were finishing your blessing.  I don't know about the Allens.  David, Brandon, Mark McAllister and Adam Mah were all there as Priesthood on the premises who could have given you a blessing too.  That's what I find so miraculous.  So many Priesthood available.

Clearly, the EMT, a female, was able to get you squared away while I held the stage prop blanket to shield you.  Soon you were loaded up and taken to the hospital.

There was quite a mess to clean up and 5 of us ladies worked together to at least clear the hallway, and left the bathroom to the janitor.  There are certain protocols to follow in bodily fluids, but we couldn't wait for a janitor to clear the hallway.  It would cause too many questions from the cast!  Terri actually kept them all on stage for a very long time.  Just enough to get the red out of site by the time they came back.

My daughter had gone back on stage shortly after seeing you.  All she had noticed was the blood on your hand.  It was time to get back on stage, but I didn't dream of it.  Your life was in the balance and nothing else mattered.  Me running like s madwoman in my costume and makeup was surreal, but I wouldn't  have thought to do anything else.  Even if it had been a performance.

Thankfully, I hadn't screamed "FIRE" to the world or anyone else.  I kept your complete confidence and haven't spoken ANY details except to my children, two of whom had been there.

I don't know when, but Libby told me that Terri did stop the show and immediately loudly called to Tracy and Doug Prince that someone in the lobby needed a blessing.  She told everyone to stop and just stay there on stage quietly.  I guess they did.

Later, the show did go on.  I hadn't said a word, but I think she might have told everyone that you were going into labor.  I only saw a Facebook post later that night saying she and Sarah had stopped to see you, the bleeding stopped, and that you were headed to Springfield.

The LDS people I counted were, Libby, Kelley, Me, Terri, Stephanie, Alyson, Tracy, and Doug.  We were the ones in your direct circle playing the more important roles.  And with so many more in the building, it's just not possible to deny it was a miracle.

When I was in Springfield, I had Dr. K.  He is supposed to be one of the best in the nation.  I don't know who your doctor is.  But mine used dissolvable staples, which was cool.  They also have a technology that inflates your mattress to transfer easily like a hovercraft from table to bed.  At least that's what it felt like.

I'm not sure if you've toured the NICU yet, but it is amazing.  Like a grand hotel for babies with at least three hallways with private rooms.  I felt so blessed to have been able to deliver there.

It's clear that everything is working according to God's plan.  With as difficult as my last pregnancy had been, I just assumed I'd be the mother to a baby that died.  I hadn't even picked out a name.  Boy, was I wrong!  He fought very hard to be here, even from the day of his conception, and really even months before that to get me off of Ambien which would have harmed him.

He is a fighter even today, not willing to give up on his freedom and zest for life.  I'm sure your baby is a fighter too.  Especially if you've seen the Angels literally guarding you and him.

What an exciting chapter to your life!  You'll definitely be in my testimony on Sunday.  So glad you are doing well!

Miracles and tender mercies are real!  I keep on feeling like this little fellow in me has a divine plan and is needed on this earth.  Isn't God amazing?!  I love Him and His plan for me and my family and yes, for you.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Updates from the Hospital



Just a few more photos from the first visit from W, S, T, and K.  Look at those smiles. I think they were excited to be going to the hospital at all--I am not sure the idea of being away from one another had really set in just yet.



The first few days have, for the most part, flown since being here in the hospital.  My mother came on Thursday night. She stayed at the hospital with me for all of Friday until W could make it down to pick her up.  We had such a great time chatting and laughing together.  I love my mom!
Before my mom arrived, they changed my room to one with an amazing view, which I loved.  It also had a view of a parking garage--where a man stood on the top level edge for about twenty minutes looking out over the horizon. I couldn't tell if he was on the phone or something, but he climbed up and I ended up calling the nurse to see if we should call security. In other words, I was feeling worried he would jump.  The moment I told the nurse what I saw she went and stood directly at the window and the man turned and walked away from the edges of the parking garage.  She threw up her hands happily and cried, "I saved him!!"  Haha.  Good times!  A nurse after my own heart.

The next day when W came to see me and pick up my mother dear, he brought the kiddos.  K climbed up on the bed and wrapper herself and me in the covers and said, "Snuggle!" So I snuggled her.  Oh my heart, how I miss my kidlets!

Don't let T's face in the photo fool you, he was happy to be there--but has mostly wanted to see my bed completely inflated--which at the time seemed anything but comfortable for all involved.
S was determined to visit the gift shop. R was at scout camp so he didn't come. 

 The little one inside me is adoring my ribs (ouch) but staying put for the time being [enthusiastic cheer].  Let's hope for a bunch of uneventful weeks ahead. :D  So grateful for the TLC I have been getting at this hospital!  I cannot say thank you enough to everyone that is reaching out in love to my family!  We've had meals at the house and I've had some visitors, which has been wonderful!  Thank you so much!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hospital Stay

After we arrived at the  hospital, where I am now, W and I guessed at how long we would be there.  I guessed a day and a half and W guessed three or four days. Haha. How wrong we were! 

The doctor came in and told us to plan on having the baby boy most likely within the week and it would likely start with a bleed that could have the potential to be worse than the first.  If that happens then they want me to be right here, at the hospital, so through a c-section we can we welcome this youngster into the world and stop the bleeding right away and know that he will be safe and protected.  

I have had many messages reminding me how blessed I am that I have access to this facility and I am so grateful, but still praying the NICU will not be needed--still I am sooooo thankful that it is available to me!   I have been determinedly resting. 

So many wonderful people have helped my family!  I have had many messages of comfort and prayer, each one reminding me of how dearly God loves his children!  


This was taken shortly after they arrived for their first visit.  How much I love these people! Thank you again for your prayers and thoughts!  Miracles are real!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Miracles and Tender Mercies: Part Two: At the Hospital

I don't remember much about the rest of the ambulance ride.  It was all a blur. I let my eyes stay closed and tried to relax as they gurneyed me through the hospital corridors. I could still feel the gushing.

As they pulled me through to the emergency room, I remember thinking, "I feel very close to the veil right now." Then I prayed for guardian angels to be near.  I felt them near, at least five or six. When I closed my eyes behind the 11 or 12 people swarming around me, I thought I could see a light.  Until my friends arrived that area was, I believe, empty and dark.

Then I began to feel like I couldn't take a deep breath.  It hurt so bad to breathe.  They were asking me questions like "How do you spell your last name?" "How many pregnancies have you had?" "How many deliveries?" "What is your address?" "Date of birth?"

I began to cough and asked for a throw-up bag. They gave me an oxygen mask.  They kept reminding me, "Deep breaths, deep breaths."

I would breathe in and then take off the mask and cough into the vomit bag (nothing came out).    Then answer their questions as best as I could.

I ended up with three IVs in my arms, including a huge one.  They started giving me blood right away. They called the doctor in from his home on my way there.  When he came in he started giving me commands to answer his questions, even though they were the questions I had just answered to his team.  

I asked if I could just fall asleep for a moment.

The doctor asked if I was sick with a cough before I came in  and about when I had trouble breathing and he wanted me to answer every question. I had to repeat myself three or four times out the mask--I felt like I was yelling but it must have been like a whisper.  Everyone tried to be a bit more quiet so he could hear my words.  I gasped for air with each answer and coughed the ending.

Probable too-much-information-moment ahead.  I had had two small scares before--just enough to "fill a pad" and a couple of beefy clots.  The first time we rushed to the hospital and the second I just stayed home and put my feet up (which my doctor told me I should have come in for). With placenta previa bleeding at any scale is no joke and should be monitored closely by trained health professionals.  I tend to think in a I'm-as-healthy-as-a-horse mentality and that they'll just send me home and I"ll have wasted a whole day being checked out--which is normally my experience in general.

My friend, Stephanie came into the room and was able to come near enough to let me know she was there and to pull the hair away from my eyes.

The doctor told me that they were probably going to need to do an immediate c-section.  The problem was that the bleeding had not stopped and that there was a chance I would lose the baby because they were not prepared to take on a baby at 29 weeks and that another hospital would be better prepared for that.
With the first bleed I had a couple of months ago, I was given a blessing and before the words were even out of W's mouth I knew that everything was going to be okay.  I knew that our baby boy would be born later and that he would be safe.  Then the words W spoke confirmed it.

I remember praying that if it was my baby's time to go would I be able to have the faith to move forward?  Was he too perfect for this life? Was he needed beyond the veil?  But, I remembered what I had felt during the other scare and knew this baby is needed on this earth and that he has a special duty he needs to perform in this life.

It felt like 30 minutes as they searched for a pulse for my baby boy.  There was nothing and it was all I could do to gulp down air and pray. He'd been kicking like crazy in our first ambulance ride ever.

Then they brought in the ultra sound and with relief and yes, joy, the sonographer said, "Oh he's fine, he's jumping around and kicking like crazy."

That was the sweetest breath of relief for me.

Somewhere in here the bleeding abruptly stopped.  The gushing stopped.  I am sure there were a few residual glops, but the gushing was no more.

The room began emptying of the swarm of angelic health professionals.  I had received two units of blood--W thinks I lost around 35-40% of my blood. The baby, so it seemed, had taken what he needed and was doing well.

I kept thanking everyone.  I knew they had gone to many years of schooling to be where they were and probably through a lot more. I wanted them to know it was worth every late night studying, school loans, and other anguish known well to health-care-professionals.Right then, at that moment, they were saving my life and the life of my sweet infant! Honestly, I couldn't thank them enough!  They truly were angels in my eyes.

After I had gone from the high school, they finished the dress rehearsal of Oklahoma.  Terri Krebbs and Sarah Reid came to see me when it was over. It meant a lot!  I was so thankful to see them.

An ambulance was ordered to take me to a hospital nearly an hour away with the facilities to care for such a pre-term baby.   Right before I left Greg Hoggard, our home teacher, came from Albany and he helped W give me another Priesthood blessing, which gave me great comfort and helped me to know that everything is going to be okay.  The words in the blessing and the comfort were similar to the first time we went in for that first bleed.

Two nurses came with me, to check my vitals and to help all they could. One was 39 weeks pregnant. They were so kind and dear.  I felt impressed to stay awake and talk to them.  So I did.  I was so grateful for them!  The EMTs were so kind and gentle too. I had to move onto my side part way through and they made sure I was safe and buckled.

Now I am at the hospital with one of the best NICUs in Oregon, every person I interact with has been so kind! Each nurse hurries to help me--even though what I usually need is a refill for my ice water. My doctor is a delight to talk to and answers my questions without any condensation and complete understanding.

I am pretty much bed bound with the exception of the ten feet to the toilet.  They think I will deliver within the week, but I am praying to hold out until 34 weeks (or more).

I have received emails and facebook messages of support and love. I know we have many people offering prayers and support.  Dear friends are watching the kiddos, food will be coming to my house and I feel immensely blessed!

This time I am going to let you count the miracles and tender mercies because I feel like there were too many to count and am finding out each day there were more that I didn't even know about.  I am going to remove the comment section for this since it has been a personally very holy experience.

"Thank you!" are the two words my mouth will not stop saying since this has begun.  I know I am being blessed. I know that you will be blessed as well, when you ask, in true faith, to see the little miracles in your life.

To you dear readers, thank you! Thank you for reading this! Thank you for your prayers in my and my baby's behalf!  I cannot tell you how much it means to me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

10 Miracles and Tender Mercies Part 1

Yesterday I felt guardian angels very close to me and to those near to me.  Looking back, and even while living through it, I could tell the hand of the Lord was in my life and blessing me with what could have seemed like insignificant miracles--but  can miracles ever be considered small?

Just so you know, this post will go into detail and some of it may be a little gory (but it is what happened).

I have placenta previa . I spent the day resting on the couch because I was having some normal cramping and rest seemed to be the best way to clear that up.  I was also "saving" energy for that's night filming of Oklahoma in Lebanon, Oregon, which I was so excited to do because I got to go on the stage and get close-ups with my good camera.  I had a great time capturing facial expressions and trying not to laugh or jump when surprised (even though I knew they were coming).  I loved filming it!


The directors of the musical, Terri Krebbs and Sarah Reid had asked me not to film the fight scenes, because they could get a bit spacious (there were a couple). My friend that came to help me film and had fixed some of my equipment, Stephanie, had had other plans, but came with me to film.  She grabbed the cameras to get some close-ups (it was the dress rehearsal--no audience).

I sat down for a minute and felt a gush (I thought it was my bladder), but as I walked toward the door keigles and all, I kept feeling more and more.  I ran from the theater to the bathroom. I found hemorrhaging.  I knew it was bad. I couldn't get it to stop.   I called out for help.  No one  heard.  I called again and nothing...

I said a prayer in my head and pulled up my soaked jeans and headed for the cast area.  The first one to notice me was a little girl and I asked her to find an adult that was not going on stage.  She found a woman, Kelly McAllister, that was a volunteer stage hand.

She saw what was happening right away and told me to, "Lie down, right now!"  I was feeling a bit confused and she helped me lie down and put my head on her lap as she picked up her phone and called 911. She had me put my head on her lap. She asked me questions for the operator--"How far along?" 28 weeks. "Do you have any complications they should know about?" Placenta previa. "How many children do you have?" 4.  "Have you had complications with any of them?"  "What pregnancy is this?" Six.  Etc.

Kelly McAllister, was supposed to be out of town, but her plans changed last minute and she volunteered to be a stage-hand for the week.  She said softly that she delivered one of her babies at 28 weeks and that now she was a beautiful, perfectly healthy 12 year old girl. I cannot tell you how much that helped calm me.  I truly believe the Lord had a hand in placing her right there, right then.  My eyes are tearing up right now, because I know it is true. Even now, I feel the calming influence of her words.

Another woman went and got a blanket and covered my upper half.  I felt so bad I was interrupting the play.

I begged them to find Tracy Krebbs and Stephanie Schwarz (my friend that came with me).  Tracy accompanied Brother Prince (from my LDS-Stake) came and gave me a blessing.  I cannot remember everything he said, but I think he said I would have peace of mind and an ability to understand what was happening.

Stephanie came and put a cool rag on my face.  Everyone around me used calming, soft voices reassuring me.

When the EMTs arrived they had to remove my pants and shoes and wrapped me in a blanket.   The women around me put up blankets for privacy (I was after all, in the hallway of high school).  I felt so grateful because modesty means a lot to me.

Right as they were wheeling me out Terri Krebbs came and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead.  It felt like a kiss from my mom, who was in Idaho and was incredibly comforting and made me feel so loved.

The whole time I kept thinking how blessed I was to have these amazing people as friends, even those whose names I did not know and how grateful I was they were there to support me.  Sadly, the whole play came to a stop--for me, but I felt so loved.  I could tell many people right there, right then, were praying for me--I just felt it!

The hospital was five minutes away and it took the EMTs about 10 minutes to arrive (I think--I could be wrong about that).  They were so kind and gentle.  I felt like passing out and the gushing had not
stopped and I was lying in a pool of blood.  They loaded me in and started IVs.  I tried to answer their questions.

Miracles and Tender Mercies Numbered Thus Far:
1. Lebanon High School was five to ten minutes away--if I had been in Albany I would have been 20 minutes away and would have likely had to drive myself and could have easily passed out on the way.  I think W was at work still.

2.  I got to film the play (I would have been crushed if I hadn't been able to film any of it--I was really looking forward to it).  You can debate if this was a miracle--but to me it was definitely a tender mercy.

3. The directors told me not to be on stage for the fight scenes.  Inspiration?!!

4. Stephanie was there--she wasn't going to be, but changed her mind--like she knew she needed to be there.

5. The little girl saw me.  Not one other person was looking down the hall as I walked down there.  So thankful she saw me!

6. Kelly McAllister with a story so similar to my own offered probably the only words of comfort that could have really touched me at that time.  So grateful for her.  I almost passed out on her lap.

7. Tracy Krebbs and Brother Prince were ready and willing to give me a blessing at the drop of a hat.  The words Tracy spoke were truly inspired and helped me feel even more love from the Lord.  I am so thankful they were there and worthy to give me a Priesthood blessing.  Isn't the gift of Priesthood blessings a miracle in itself?!  So thankful for the Priesthood, the power of God on the earth--through which the holders thereof can only bless others.

8.  The women who valued my modesty and spoke so reassuringly, thank you!

9. The EMTs, determined to save my and my baby's lives.  They were so kind and gentle.


10. The kiss on the forehead from Terri, it felt like comfort from God and even a tad from my mom--I hope when I am away from my kiddos that someone will treat them like Terri treats me, with immense kindness and understanding--then I know they will remember my love for them too. It made me feel like everything was going to be okay.

I know the Lord was watching out for me and blessing me all along the way--fears, tears, blood and all.  I was going to wait until the drama was over, but I keep feeling a nudging not to wait. I also feel like what I am writing, including future posts, will not be the end of the miracles and tender mercies.  God loves you like he loves me and He is aware of you and your circumstances.  Pray to see these miracles and tender mercies in your life and you will.  Likely a little and then in times of great need, likely a lot!

10 Miracles and Tender Mercies Part 1

Yesterday I felt guardian angels very close to me and to those near to me.  Looking back, and even while living through it, I could tell the hand of the Lord was in my life and blessing me with what could have seemed like insignificant miracles--but  can miracles ever be considered small?

Just so you know, this post will go into detail and some of it may be a little gory (but it is what happened).

I have placenta previa . I spent the day resting on the couch because I was having some normal cramping and rest seemed to be the best way to clear that up.  I was also "saving" energy for that's night filming of Oklahoma in Lebanon, Oregon, which I was so excited to do because I got to go on the stage and get close-ups with my good camera.  I had a great time capturing facial expressions and trying not to laugh or jump when surprised (even though I knew they were coming).  I loved filming it!


The directors of the musical, Terri Krebbs and Sarah Reid had asked me not to film the fight scenes, because they could get a bit spacious (there were a couple). My friend that came to help me film and had fixed some of my equipment, Stephanie, had had other plans, but came with me to film.  She grabbed the cameras to get some close-ups (it was the dress rehearsal--no audience).

I sat down for a minute and felt a gush (I thought it was my bladder), but as I walked toward the door keigles and all, I kept feeling more and more.  I ran from the theater to the bathroom. I found hemorrhaging.  I knew it was bad. I couldn't get it to stop.   I called out for help.  No one  heard.  I called again and nothing...

I said a prayer in my head and pulled up my soaked jeans and headed for the cast area.  The first one to notice me was a little girl and I asked her to find an adult that was not going on stage.  She found a woman, Kelly McAllister, that was a volunteer stage hand.

She saw what was happening right away and told me to, "Lie down, right now!"  I was feeling a bit confused and she helped me lie down and put my head on her lap as she picked up her phone and called 911. She had me put my head on her lap. She asked me questions for the operator--"How far along?" 28 weeks. "Do you have any complications they should know about?" Placenta previa. "How many children do you have?" 4.  "Have you had complications with any of them?"  "What pregnancy is this?" Six.  Etc.

Kelly McAllister, was supposed to be out of town, but her plans changed last minute and she volunteered to be a stage-hand for the week.  She said softly that she delivered one of her babies at 28 weeks and that now she was a beautiful, perfectly healthy 12 year old girl. I cannot tell you how much that helped calm me.  I truly believe the Lord had a hand in placing her right there, right then.  My eyes are tearing up right now, because I know it is true. Even now, I feel the calming influence of her words.

Another woman went and got a blanket and covered my upper half.  I felt so bad I was interrupting the play.

I begged them to find Tracy Krebbs and Stephanie Schwarz (my friend that came with me).  Tracy accompanied Brother Allen (from my LDS-Stake) came and gave me a blessing.  I cannot remember everything he said, but I think he said I would have peace of mind and an ability to understand what was happening.

Stephanie came and put a cool rag on my face.  Everyone around me used calming, soft voices reassuring me.

When the EMTs arrived they had to remove my pants and shoes and wrapped me in a blanket.   The women around me put up blankets for privacy (I was after all, in the hallway of high school).  I felt so grateful because modesty means a lot to me.

Right as they were wheeling me out Terri Krebbs came and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead.  It felt like a kiss from my mom, who was in Idaho and was incredibly comforting and made me feel so loved.

The whole time I kept thinking how blessed I was to have these amazing people as friends, even those whose names I did not know and how grateful I was they were there to support me.  Sadly, the whole play came to a stop--for me, but I felt so loved.  I could tell many people right there, right then, were praying for me--I just felt it!

The hospital was five minutes away and it took the EMTs about 10 minutes to arrive (I think--I could be wrong about that).  They were so kind and gentle.  I felt like passing out and the gushing had not
stopped and I was lying in a pool of blood.  They loaded me in and started IVs.  I tried to answer their questions.

Miracles and Tender Mercies Numbered Thus Far:
1. Lebanon High School was five to ten minutes away--if I had been in Albany I would have been 20 minutes away and would have likely had to drive myself and could have easily passed out on the way.  I think W was at work still.

2.  I got to film the play (I would have been crushed if I hadn't been able to film any of it--I was really looking forward to it).  You can debate if this was a miracle--but to me it was definitely a tender mercy.

3. The directors told me not to be on stage for the fight scenes.  Inspiration?!!

4. Stephanie was there--she wasn't going to be, but changed her mind--like she knew she needed to be there.

5. The little girl saw me.  Not one other person was looking down the hall as I walked down there.  So thankful she saw me!

6. Kelly McAllister with a story so similar to my own offered probably the only words of comfort that could have really touched me at that time.  So grateful for her.  I almost passed out on her lap.

7. Tracy Krebbs and Brother Allen were ready and willing to give me a blessing at the drop of a hat.  The words Tracy spoke were truly inspired and helped me feel even more love from the Lord.  I am so thankful they were there and worthy to give me a Priesthood blessing.  Isn't the gift of Priesthood blessings a miracle in itself?!  So thankful for the Priesthood, the power of God on the earth--through which the holders thereof can only bless others.

8.  The women who valued my modesty and spoke so reassuringly, thank you!

9. The EMTs, determined to save my and my baby's lives.  They were so kind and gentle.


10. The kiss on the forehead from Terri, it felt like comfort from God and even a tad from my mom--I hope when I am away from my kiddos that someone will treat them like Terri treats me, with immense kindness and understanding--then I know they will remember my love for them too. It made me feel like everything was going to be okay.

I know the Lord was watching out for me and blessing me all along the way--fears, tears, blood and all.  I was going to wait until the drama was over, but I keep feeling a nudging not to wait. I also feel like what I am writing, including future posts, will not be the end of the miracles and tender mercies.  God loves you like he loves me and He is aware of you and your circumstances.  Pray to see these miracles and tender mercies in your life and you will.  Likely a little and then in times of great need, likely a lot!

St. George Part 2

The place we stayed had little containers for a little fire that were perfect for hot dogs and s'mores.

The kiddos loved it!
Sunday we went to Sacrament Meeting at the church close to the place we stayed. We were in the very back part of the chapel. They said that more than 50% of the people there were visitors. I loved that Tiffany held Mike's hand through the meeting.

Then we went to the Temple Grounds afterward. Where we did the gender reveal of our baby (still wishing I'd have let W have the honors of finding out after all he didn't know yet).
Lizzy really missed Dan, her husband. We were so glad she could be there!

I am always amazed at how the children flock to each of the Van De Graaff girls.


There is such a feeling of love and joy when we are all together! Don't you just love family reunions?
W held onto K for me.  So lucky I married that man! He's the best!

Don't you just love K's lashes?  Aww.   So glad she's my little girl!
Don't let the photo above fool you, T was running around gleefully almost the entire time we were there.
My favorite part may have been how often I heard W laugh with his brothers.  There was so much laughter.





Here we are all in the car, a 2016 Toyota Sienna with under 600 miles on it (a rental).  Still, I pretty much decided since they don't have the automatic trunk opening ability (which I would LOVE), otherwise I would have begged W to buy me one. Hehe. Also, I think my model has better turning ability...and a no-deaths-yet safety rating.  W kept joking about that van the whole time.  Love that man!

If you can't remember the last St. George post check here.