Monday, January 8, 2018

Evan's birth story

Evan Luke Phillips joined our family on Sunday, November 19th, 2017 at 1:16 pm.  Three days past his due date.  I was getting anxious to be done being pregnant so I told Luke that if he didn't come by November 20th that I wanted to get induced.  Luckily he came the day before all on his own, which is what I really wanted.

I went to bed the night before having sporadic, mild contractions.  I didn't think much of them because I'd been having them for days by that point.  About midnight I started to take them more seriously as they started becoming more regular.  At 2:00 am I couldn't sleep through them anymore.  I wanted to wait as long as possible before waking Luke in case it was false labor.  However, by 4:30 am they were coming every 2 1/2 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute.  They were also quite painful by this point so I woke him up.
Things went pretty quickly from here.  I had planned on laboring at home for as long as possible, but when they started coming that close together so quickly I thought it best to at least give my midwife a call.  After talking to her for a bit she advised I go into the hospital.  We called Luke's mom and she came right over to stay with Charlotte.  I wanted so badly to say goodbye to Charlotte before we left and luckily she woke up for a bit so I could.  As I held her close and explained what was going to happen, my eyes filled with tears at the thought of leaving her to go have another baby.  It wasn't going to be just me and her anymore.  I was excited to be having another baby, but Charlotte was my baby.  She made me a mother and for that she will always hold a special place in my heart.
We made it to the hospital by 6:00 am where I was taken to triage.  I was dilated to 4 cm.  They had me walk the halls for about 30 minutes until the next shift of nurses got there at 7:00 am.  I was standing at the nurses station when a painful contraction started.  Suddenly I felt someone's hands on my hips pushing them in and up.  It brought immediate relief!  That was my first encounter with our nurse Leisl.  At the time I had no idea just how much I would come to rely on her.
We got settled into our room and Leisl began teaching Luke different manual techniques to use during my contractions.  She specializes in natural delivery and offered many tips and tricks to relieve some of the pain.  At this point I was dilated 6 cm.  I moved around into several different positions, soaked in a hot jacuzzi (this was the best and most helpful!), sat on the exercise ball, etc.  Sometimes the different positions helped, and sometimes they didn't.  Same thing with the different maneuvers.  What would work for one contraction wouldn't for the next.  Leisl and Luke were incredible support people.  Leisl is LDS too and used lots of comparisons with the Gospel to aid me mentally.  Her and Luke not only supported me physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.  She explained to me what would happen when I entered the transition phase.  That I would not be myself.  I would feel lots of pain, anger, and out of control of the situation.  She said it would be completely fine if I wanted to curse!  It's funny to think about that now, but not at the time.
At 8 cm I called my mom crying.  I was telling everyone I didn't want to do it anymore.  I was begging for an epidural, but was told it was too late for that.  This was definitely the transition phase Leisl was talking about.  She reminded me again what would happen during this phase and that it was totally normal.  She gave me nitrous gas at this point.  She told me it wouldn't take the pain away, but that it would give me something else to focus on.  It semi worked.  It made me loopy and my sense of time was thrown off.  I couldn't tell if hours or minutes had passed.
9 cm ..... So much pressure and starting to feel the urge to push.  I asked when I could start pushing and they all just said I would know when it was time.  My midwife and other nurses came in to prepare for the pushing phase.  Every contraction from this point on contorted my body as it naturally started to push him out of me.
10 cm .... Luke got into position to catch Evan.  I'm totally not myself at this point (Luke said he's never seen this side of me before....yikes).  I was screaming and absolutely out of control.  I was asking for a C-section!  I just wanted to be knocked out.  Evan would start to crown and then the contraction would end and I would be stuck like that - his head partially crowned and me in excruciating pain - until the next contraction started and I could push again.  It felt like an eternity to get his huge head out.  I legitimately felt I needed help getting him out.  I asked for a C-section, vacuum, anything to aid me in getting him out.  They all just looked at me with pity and said it was all up to me.  I was so angry with them!  Leisl was there the entire time holding my hand.  Another nurse was on my other side.  I kept grabbing for her hand, but every time I did she would try to make me hold my knee.  Every time she did that I would grab for her arm again.  She just wouldn't cooperate!  I got angry with her too.
After his head (finally!) came out, I did one big final push and out he came.  Immediate relief!!!!!!!!  He was laid on my tummy.  Luke came around and we both got a good look at him.  Luke isn't one to show much emotion, but that whole experience and then finally meeting our son brought out his sensitive side.  I've never felt more connected to, and supported by him, than in those 11 hours of bringing our baby into this world.
I only had a first degree tear with him - surprisingly because in the moment it felt like he was destroying me as he was coming out!  My midwife and Leisl began getting me all back together.  When Tamara (the midwife) told me I needed stitches my heart started to race.  The last thing I wanted was to be touched down there!  Let alone sewn up!  She said she would numb me before sewing, but those needles she used to numb me.... oh I just wanted to be left alone!  Postpartum recovery is almost as bad as labor and delivery.  However, I must admit my recovery with this one has been night and day compared to after I had Charlotte.  Eventually they finished up their work.  I was bleeding quite a bit so they had to give me a shot of pitocin in my thigh, but other than that I wasn't in too bad of shape.
We got to hold and cuddle him for a good two hours before they took him to weigh and measure him.  During that time he managed to poo on me (like Lottie did).  He also rooted around and began nursing all on his own!  Incredible!  Luke and I guessed how big we thought he was and boy were we both surprised - and way off in our guesses - by how big he was!  9 pounds, 5 ounces, and 21 3/4 inches!  Almost 2 pounds bigger than Lottie!

We had the hardest time deciding on his name.  It wasn't until the day we were discharged that we finally settled on a name.  Evan, meaning God is good, and Luke, after his daddy.

Welcome to the world Evan!!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The past 2 months

I'm back.  Wow it's been awhile.  Are blogs even still a thing?  Anyways, so much has happened in the past two months and blogging about each individual thing sounds too daunting.  So I'm going to try condensing it all into one post.

Kim is married!

My sister Kim and her sweetheart John got married in August in a beautiful park up Provo Canyon.  With the mountains as a backdrop and the rustic decorations, it was a romantic ceremony.  My big brother even officiated.
Charlotte doesn't get to see her little cousins very often, but she was glued at the hip to my brother's little girl, Brynlee.  What cutie pies!

{All my siblings minus Gregg}

Luke is a third year!

Luke's last semester of classes in California were the easiest yet.  He had 4 day weekends pretty much every week, and his homework load was minimal.  I think it was a tender mercy because that is when I was the sickest in my pregnancy.  For the first 5 months after we found out I was pregnant Luke had to take over grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, bathing and generally taking care of Lottie, etc.  I don't know if I could have survived if he had had a busier semester.  He 's a rockstar!
Well, he completed his 2nd year of PT school on the day of his 30th birthday so it was celebrated by going to dinner with friends at Bass Pro Shops and walking around after.  Him and Brian even took to the shooting range.  I think it was a good birthday for him.
He began his third and final year of schooling at an outpatient clinic in Kuna, ID. 
More on that later.

Smith Family Reunion:

Every 3 years my side of the family gets together for a reunion.  It's a pretty big deal with A LOT of people.  My dad is the oldest of 12 children, and he has 12 kids himself, who also have kids, etc., etc., etc...... You get the picture.  It was hot and Lottie was impossible to keep track of, but it was so good getting a chance to catch up with relatives that we don't see too often.  Per the norm, Lottie gravitated to the older kids following them everywhere they went and wanting to be included in everything they did.
At our reunions we always do a silent auction.  I had my eye on a few Minnie Mouse things such as a dress and some toys I knew Lottie would love, as well as a baby boy outfit.  Luckily I got them all!  I gave the dress to her right away, but am saving the toys for Christmas.

Our move to Idaho:

After living in California for two years while Luke attended classes on the LA campus, we had an opportunity to leave and be closer to family while he does his rotations.  We are heartbroken to have had to leave the many good friends we made there (especially Lottie), but there are some things we won't miss (the following is just to help me feel better!)

The traffic
Constant summer
The traffic
High cost of living
The traffic

It was especially important to be close to family for us for when baby boy arrives.  AND we have never lived close to either of our parents in our entire marriage.  Charlotte loves her Grandma and Grandpa.  So here we are in Boise, Idaho.  And so far so good.  Luke is already into his sixth week of his clinical and doing well.  Ya'll..... I'm really looking forward to his graduation next August and when he'll be able to bring in an income.  Really though.  Also, I'm loving this cold autumn weather!



So much for doing regular bumpdates with this pregnancy!  Honestly our lives have been so busy that I haven't had any time.  I will be 34 weeks on Thursday and this is only my second baby update this whole pregnancy!  Sorry baby boy for not doing better.

{32 weeks}

How far along: 33 weeks, 4 days

Size of baby: Almost 5 pounds, about the size of a cantaloupe.  And about 18 inches long.

Total weight gain/loss: I've gained 34 pounds.  I've just accepted that I get ginormace while pregnant.

Maternity clothes: I've outgrown my maternity clothes.  I'm not even joking unfortunately.

Stretch marks: I can't really see most of my body anymore so it's hard to tell where the new ones are, but no doubt they are there.


Best moment(s) last week: So I'm dancing again.  Kind of a random time to pick it back up, but it's true.  My body doesn't agree with it at this point so it's kind of a catch 22, but yeah.  It's kind of nice to be doing something to help me keep progressing and having a side hobby.

Movement: In the beginning I thought maybe he was more chill than Lottie was in my tummy, but I don't think that anymore.  Him and Charlotte both have acted like aliens trying to pry their way out of ma belly.  Also, he keeps switching from breech to head down and he feels extremely long!

Food cravings: Between nausea coming back again a little bit and feeling SO incredibly crowded in there, I don't particularly have any cravings right now.  Wait, that's not entirely true.  Meat.  I want all the red meat in the world right now.  I had mentioned to Luke not too long ago how much I had been craving meat and come to find out at my prenatal appointment - I'm slightly anemic and borderline hypoglycemic.  Explains why all I want is red meat all the time.  

Gender:  A boy.

Labor signs: No.  SO SO many braxton hicks with this baby though.

Belly button - in or out: Out.

What I miss: Liking food and fitting into any clothes.  And having a normal sense of smell.  I'm so over this whole heightened sense of smell that makes my nausea worse.

What I am looking forward to: Meeting him.  And getting past the first 3 months of recovery.

Well that's all folks.  Thanks for reading this long entry.  I really need to be better about updating more often so it doesn't turn into such a long post.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Baby #2 bumpdate, 19 weeks

I did the following update while I was pregnant with Charlotte, and while I started a lot sooner with her, I am trying to document the same things with this baby as much as I can.

So here goes ....

How far along: 19 weeks

Size of baby: The size of a large mango.  At my 18 week ultrasound he measured in the 93% for size!  At that time, a week ago, he was 10 oz., and measuring 6 days ahead of schedule.  At Charlotte's ultrasound she measured 4 days ahead of schedule at 19 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss: 11 lbs gained so far.

Maternity clothes: It's so hot I'm mostly wearing maternity shorts, but I can still wear my non maternity shirts.

Stretch marks: Just the stretch marks left over by Lottie so far.

Sleep: Aside from having a toddler that occasionally wakes me up in the middle of the night, and peeing at least twice during the night, I am mostly sleeping good.  Very vivid dreams though.

Best moment(s) last week: When Luke and I got to see this little boy for the first time and find out the gender.  It was my first real ultrasound (not counting the one from the ER at 15 weeks because they wouldn't let me look at the screen), and seeing him moving around and looking with eyes wide open was a beautiful moment.  Up until the ultrasound I thought I was having a girl, but watching him (while still not officially knowing the gender yet), I felt in my heart the tech would tell us we were having a boy.  I immediately felt a strong connection with him and Luke and I both began to tear up.  I know nothing about raising boys, but I am very excited to meet this little guy.

Movement: I get so concerned at times about this because he is not nearly as much a mover as his big sister was.  At least not yet.  I suppose it's still early.  But if I hold really still while lying down, I can feel tiny little movements.

Food cravings: I am just now starting to get interested in food again (I thought I was sick with Charlotte, but this baby definitely showed me what it feels like to be so sick).  So I guess currently Taco Bell and the BLT sandwich and fries from Farmer Boys'.

Gender:  A boy.

Labor signs: No.

Belly button - in or out: In.

What I miss: Liking food.  

What I am looking forward to: The delivery.  Every night when I go to bed I fall asleep thinking about when I'll get to meet this baby face to face.  And breastfeeding.  It's important to me that goes well.

*Sorry for not having any pictures.  I need to do better about taking bump pics.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Small glimpse, Big miracle

This post is about mine and Luke's journey over the past year and a half as we have dealt with some trials including experiencing secondary infertility.  I get into more of the details of how it all began later on in this post, but for right now we want to express our joy over our exciting news.  We struggled for 15 months getting pregnant a second time, but we are excited to share that we are expecting another bundle of love this November.  Today we were able to have our first look at this new life growing inside me and found out that we are adding a boy to our family!  This being said, we wanted to express our empathy to all our friends who are struggling, or have struggled, with infertility.  We recognize that our situation was a mere glimpse to what others are going through and our prayers are always with those we know by name, and those we don't know, that their desires can be fulfilled someday.  We know what its like to be told that our only options are IVF, or having to get on clomid, or seeing negative pregnancy tests month after month.  We firmly believe more so now, that Heavenly Father knows us individually and hears our prayers.  And that sometimes painfully, doesn't always answer our prayers according to our own timetable.  He sees the bigger picture.  If you need someone to talk to I'm always here, and if you don't, I understand that too.  It's a personal journey that sometimes we feel like talking about and sometimes we don't.

Here is where I go into the details:
The year 2016 did not go as we had hoped or expected.  I went into my doctor for some pain I was having and was told (casually) that it could be cancer, liver or kidney disease, or heart failure.  Not something we were ever prepared to hear.  Particularly as we were a few months in of trying to add another member to our family.  Feeling more than a little nervous we waited, and one test result after another very slowly came back.  All negative for anything serious.
This all took place over the course of the year and all the while we still weren't having any luck conceiving another child.  I went in for a laparoscopy to check if I had endometriosis, which I did.  Early stages of it.  And Luke had his numbers checked as well that came back abnormal unfortunately.  At this point our doctors were starting to wonder how we ever conceived our little girl Lottie, and began suggesting alternative treatments such as IVF or sperm donor.  Not being in a financial position to do expensive treatments we began to lose hope and almost give up on it altogether.  At probably the lowest point during all of this, my doctor suggested that I get on clomid (a fertility drug).  As soon as he handed me the prescription my heart sank.  I had friends who had to be on this drug and I had done my own research on it as well.  It involved a lot of side effects and risks as well as having to be closely monitored by my doctor while on it.  Not a drug to be taken lightly.
I got the prescription on a Friday and whenever I thought about filling it I got the biggest pit in my stomach.  I had to decide soon too because it follows your menstrual cycle.  The following Monday as Luke was playing with Lottie, I was washing the dishes.  For once I wasn't thinking about infertility, drugs, or treatments.  My mind was just blank as I stood there washing dishes when literally out of nowhere the thought came to me to go take a pregnancy test.  I thought that was odd because I hadn't missed my period yet and I wasn't even sure if I had a pregnancy test lying around.  So without saying a word to Luke I went to rummage through the bathroom cupboard for a test and I found one!  I was still skeptical because I hadn't missed my period and also because for the past 15 months I saw more than my fair share of negative pregnancy tests.  But I took it anyways.  And there they were.  TWO lines indicating a POSITIVE.  I thought I would be shocked, but I wasn't really.  I think I knew deep in my heart that it would be positive that time.  I quietly walked out to Luke and showed him the test.  He was extra surprised because he didn't even know what I had been doing that whole time!  It felt surreal.  And sometimes it still feels surreal to me!
I'm grateful it happened when it did because I had sunk pretty far into depression by this point.  And so I wouldn't have to take clomid after all.
Luke and I both feel so blessed, humbled, joyful, and a 100 other feelings about being able to raise another spirit, and have had our testimonies exponentially strengthened as a result of the experiences we had to go through.  We love and are indebted to our Father in heaven, as well as all of our friends and family who have always been there for us in our times of need.

{14 weeks}

{Me and baby boy at our first major league baseball game.  18 weeks.}

{I'm going to be a mom to a BOY!}

With love,
Robyn & Luke