Battling the grief of losing a baby girl at 5 months pregnant, I am still a mother to two amazing boys. I am striving to get through this by telling my story through words and when there are no words left, I leave it to my camera to tell the rest. Join me in my journey of learning to battle this process one step at a time.
Every summer Andy’s family makes an effort to get together for a family vacation. They have done this every year for many years. I love this tradition and have every intention of doing the same thing with my own family. This year the choice was to go to Vail, Colorado. Typically the Philipp’s have done hot, beach type places in the past, which we all love. But this year Vail. It was something new and I was looking forward to seeing it’s beauty. This trip had been planned out since January and we thought for sure I’d be able to be there. Even when I learned I was pregnant, and that I’d be 32 weeks pregnant at that point, I still thought I’d be fine to go.
Fast forward 6 months. I was at my 30 week check up. My doc looked at me and all looked fine. She said the baby was growing and I was on track for everything. I then, asked her, just to make sure it was no big deal, if she thought my trip to Vail in two weeks would be fine. Unfortunately what came out of her mouth next, was not something I expected.
She said,” Vail is at a very high altitude. Your body is used to a lower altitude. You are on blood thinners and have a higher risk for preeclampsia and blood clots, not to mention your oxygen levels would be lower. I don’t know how your body would react so late in pregnancy at such a high altitude. I’m sorry but I don’t believe it would be at yours or your baby’s best interest for you to go.” WHAT?! I was seriously really surprised. I hadn’t thought of all that, not to mention I just really didn’t think it’d be a problem to go. I was immediately bummed. I HATE BEING LEFT OUT! Ha ha! I in no way was going to hold Andy and the boys back, but was so sad I would have to stay home alone and miss out on all the fun.
Later that night, Andy and I discussed things and we both decided it would be in our best interest to listen to my doc and for me to stay back. With that being said, I did not want to be alone. We thought about the possibility of having someone come stay with me. My brother Matt came to our minds. We weren’t sure he’d be able to make it with his job, but figured we’d ask.
Matt is easily one of those people that will do anything for his family. He is very willing to be there for you. So I asked him and he didn’t even hesitate. He got things figured out with work, although he made some sacrifices with that (which I really appreciated) and the next thing you know it, we had booked his flight.
I was very grateful for his willingness to come and keep me company.
Andy and the boys left early Saturday July 16th. I took them to the airport and had much anxiety of being away from them all. I struggle with so many fears when my family is separated from me. They were going to be flying to Denver and then making a two hour drive to Vail. I get worried that something will happen to them and I will be left alone. Yuck! I hate the way my mind works sometimes.
They left, Andy kept me posted and before you know it, they were safely in Vail.
What we did on Monday. Not shown is a whole bunch of errands, getting Nixon registered for kindergarten and shopping for Andy’s birthday.
And you bet, this picture is true. ON OUR WAY to dinner, Matt asked to stop at QT, when he came out he had two corn dogs that he dipped in cheese and ate, while again, ON OUR WAY to dinner…..CRAY CRAY! We went to dinner at Taco’s and Avocado’s. P.S. The boys love snap chat, that’s why I sent a lot of snap chat pics to them.
And oddly, we also had pizza for dinner. Only ours was homemade and not as LARGE
Wednesday in Colorado,
At home, we took it easy. Swam, got our trampoline fully put together for the boys to come back to and went to dinner at La Madeleine.
That night the they got home and it was good to have them home again!
On Thursday, the next morning, the boys were very excited to have Matt at our house.
They went swimming with him for most of the morning and then I needed to take Watson in for his pre-op apt. Nix stayed with Matt and swam while Watson and I were gone forever.
Watson fell asleep on the way to the doctors office and stayed asleep on my lap while we waited for 2 HOURS! Then when they called me back, I waited another 30 minutes and he still stayed asleep. He was exhausted.
The minute we got out to the car he woke up happy.
That night, we made some din din at home and then went out for some DQ afterward. The boys had never been there before. Nixon was not impressed at all with his Dilly Bar.
Watson on the other hand loved his!
Friday, we went swimming that morning at our neighborhood pools. And then to dinner at a our favorite Thai place that night. The next day was Andy’s birthday which will be a whole other post. 🙂
We are a family full of summer birthdays. Mine is June 26th, two weeks later is Nixon’s, two weeks later is Andy’s, a month later is Watson’s and two days later will be baby girl’s birthday! It is a crazy time! The summer for me is full of planning for birthdays. It’s nuts!
Nixon’s birthday this year was on a Monday. Because of leap year, he lucked out and missed the Sunday birthday. Ha! We still had to get a lot ready on Sat. so we didn’t have to go buy anything on Sunday.
I only do birthday parties on their first birthday and then every four years. So, 4, 8, 12, 16 etc. So, this year again was a no birthday party year. However, we still like to do fun things as a family. We had planned to be doing stuff on Monday night, so instead of doing a cake on Monday, we did one on Sunday and let him blow out the candles.
Both boys LOVE to help me out in the kitchen. I can’t say it is my favorite thing yet because they are always making messes, but they sure enjoy it. Both of them helped me make the cake and then they both helped ice it and of course lick the bowl.
That night, the festivities began. Andy put up the trampoline and got eaten by mosquitos,
and I blew up a bunch of balloons to put all over his room, wrapped the presents and decorated.
That night was a bit of a nightmare for Andy and I. Nixon had been beyond excited for his birthday. He had been counting down for it for months. He loves me putting balloons all over the floor in his room, so every year he asks for that and every year I do it. I may or may not have regretted it this year. He was so excited, he woke up in the middle of the night, around 2 a.m. My guess is that he saw all the balloons all over his floor and then got really excited and couldn’t go back to sleep. He then came downstairs where he saw everything decorated and proceeded to come into our bedroom where he kept us up much of the night. He crawled in our bed and just laid there, taking turns trying to wake one of us up. He would poke at us, make noises, push on us, etc. Then after laying there wide awake forever, he began to get really bored and then hungry. So then he starts whispering to me, “Mom, what do I do if I’m hungry?” At this point, I was starting to get really frustrated with him. I said “what you do, is GO TO SLEEP!” Then he turned from me over to Andy and started pinching Andy’s arm with little small pinches.. OH BOY! That’s when I hear Andy sit up, turn to Nixon sleepy and annoyed and say, ” I don’t care if it’s your birthday! You can’t be doing this! Stop bugging me and pinching me!” Ha ha! At that point, I knew we were both exhausted and couldn’t handle much more. It was 4:00 am and we were done. So I got up, got Nixon a string cheese and said you need to eat this and go to your bed. He then went back to his bed and went to sleep till 8:00. Man alive! To be a kid again and get that excited about things! So nuts.
When we got up the next morning, we had both snapped out of our moods after sleeping for a bit and were ready for the excitement. Nixon of course was too!
That night we went to La Madeleine as a family for dinner and then Main Event to play some games. While there we saw some of our friends! Nixon was very excited about that and spent much of his time with them.
Over all he had a great day! We sure love our Nixon, even from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. when he’s keeping us up. Ha! He is such a great big brother and really is our ray of golden sunshine!
As I have said before, the 4th of July is easily a favorite holiday for the Philipp’s! It was one that we both have great memories of growing up in Utah. Utah has some pretty awesome events for the 4th. A huge parade, a balloon festival, and the Stadium of Fire, which is so stinking cool. This year they had Tim McGraw there and they always have amazing fireworks. I feel like everyone I know in the state of Utah went to it this year. Wish we would have been there.
With that being said, we have formed our own fun traditions here in Texas. The past two years, we went boating and watch fireworks on the Lake. This year, I just wasn’t up for the crowds, so we decided to do things a little differently.
We went boating on sat July 2nd, so we could still get our boating in. That was a lot of fun and we went to a new lake. It’s called Lake Ray Roberts. This lake is man made and so far it’s my favorite Texas lake. It was so clean and just beautiful.
On Monday the 4th, we started out our morning with our ward (church) breakfast. They typically do this every year. Last year they didn’t and we were able to go to the parade. This year we had to choose between the two and the boys chose the breakfast. They had a bike parade and the boys were really excited about that.
After the breakfast and bike parade, we went back to the house to get ready for the BBQ and swimming we were hosting. (it’s tradition).
We did that for a couple of hours and then everyone had their individual plans for the night. We didn’t want to go and join the massive crowds for the fireworks, so we decided to do our own fireworks in our neighborhood for the first time. We had glow sticks, glowy toys that flew in the air etc. We also brought our fire pit out front and made s’mores. It was super hot outside, but it was a lot of fun! The boys loved it.
After all this action, we threw our glowy sticks in the pool and had a glow in the dark swim. It was much needed from all the heat. It was quite the eventful day and we loved it.
This year my birthday was a little bit different than most birthday’s. It landed on a SUNDAY! Ugh! When you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sunday is not the day you want your birthday on!
We believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy, which means our Sundays are a day of rest. We don’t go out, we don’t buy things, we don’t work, we rest. SOOOOO, when you have a Sunday birthday, you basically celebrate it on Saturday.
The benefit to that is, you kinda have two days of celebrating. Ha! On Sat. the plan was for me to go and have some “me” time. I went and got a facial, which was nice and then went out and ran errands that I have been wanting to run for a while (just don’t like to with the kiddos). Andy took the boys boating with some friends.
The plan was for us to go out that night. Andy had planned dinner and a movie. After they got home from boating, I was basically all ready to go and was giving Watson a hug and he felt warm. I took his temperature and sure enough, he had a low grade fever.
I don’t like to mess around with sickness, so I called and cancelled our babysitter. I was way bummed, but it’s a part of being a mom. So, instead of a movie and dinner. I went grocery shopping, ran some more errands, got pizza, put the kids to bed and watched Netflix. Ha! But hey I was lucky enough to catch this amazing sunset while running errands.
Oh and after a couple of hours, Watson’s fever was completely gone. We figured he was just dehydrated. Ugh! Oh well, I’ll take that over him actually being sick.
That night I was up all night feeling super nauseous (the morning sickness has returned in this last trimester). The next morning (on my actual birthday) Andy and the boys came to give me breakfast in bed, unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well enough to eat right away, but I was able to eat some of it and it was perfect!
I also opened my present which was a Nikon D7200. I was super excited! I love taking pictures and this is a way for me to get better quality pics.
After breakfast and presents, we headed off to church, after church I had a meeting and then came home. There was a meal planned for that day, but when I grabbed to meat out of the fridge, it had expired. HAHA! So we got creative and Andy made grilled cheese sandwiches and strawberry salad. It was actually very yummy and I was grateful.
My friend Melissa also stopped by and brought me this adorable gift!
I was obsessed! We had been putting up the baby’s nursery, and this went perfectly in the room!
We ended the night as usual. Kids to bed and Netflix and it was great!
I’ve gotta say birthday’s are a big deal to me. I love making them a big deal for my kids, Andy and anyone that’s close by, but as you become an adult, birthday’s just kinda change. You just got to be grateful for life and that you are still living. 🙂
Given the circumstances, I am always so grateful for the efforts that Andy puts in for me. He’s such a good hubby!
I have wanted to go to Oregon ever since the first time I laid eyes on pictures of it’s beauty. It’s lush and green and reminded me so much of Prince Edward Island; which thanks to Anne of Green Gables, I am in love with. From the lighthouses to the waterfall’s, to the heavy pines I just felt like there was nothing more beautiful.
My Mom’s best friend who is also named Ane, has lived in Oregon for many years and my mom has never been able to make it out there to see her. She has always wanted to and just like me has dreamt of the beauty. So this year we made the dream come true.
I took the boys and flew out to meet my parents on June 11th. Andy had been out of town like crazy and was leaving to Chicago to be out of town somemore, so he was gonna meet us there on the 14th.
My flight started out rough. Watson threw a major fit (that was a first on a plane for me). He was exhausted and hungry. Not a good mixture for him..let alone anyone. I finally got him to calm down after much embarrassment and then we were off and they were amazing the rest of the flight. THANK GOODNESS for electronics.
When we got there, my parents picked us up and we went to go eat. After that we were off to stay at Ane’s house for a few days. When we got there, it was late and it was especially late for the boys and I since we are two hrs. later, so we went straight to our room and went to bed. That morning we woke up and got to experience all the beauty. It was gorgeous! Her backyard was like a kids/adults heaven. It had amazing landscaping and every kid toy you could imagine. Both indoors and outdoors.
This panoramic gives you a little idea of the beauty
The boys went outside, saw all the action and went straight to it. That day happened to be beautiful, probably the best weather day. They played for a while and then we went to church for a bit and came back and played some more. The whole time we were there, the tv was never turned on. They were outside from sun up to sun down.
Ane’s granddaughters lived at her house and the boys had a ball playing with them. It was so nice to feel like I barely needed to watch them.
Sunday evening, Ane made a delicious dinner and we got to eat it outside. The weather was perfect. Unfortunately as we were eating dinner, Ane got word that one of her friends passed away. He had been in the hospital with cancer and they thought the time was nearing. Her and her husband Mark had to take off to help the spouse of their friend and were busy with that situation much of the time we were there. They were really the only “family” the wife had. She was from Africa.
We obviously were still able to enjoy our stay. We just showed ourselves around Portland. On Monday we went into the city and ate at a fun little place that I now can’t remember the name of. The weather was bad that day and started pouring the minute we got into the city. Our plans were to go and eat at the food trucks downtown, but that didn’t work out with the weather.
It did however stop for a bit after we were done eating and we explored a bit.
The weather was much too cold for us Texans, so we decided to head over to Voodoo donuts. All of us had heard much hype over Voodoo Donuts, but I gotta say, it just wasn’t my favorite. We try donuts on most vacations we go on. These were by far my least favorite. They were dry and the flavors just weren’t great. But Hey maybe we hit it on a bad day.
After Voodoo, we went back to Ane’s. The boys were dying to get back and with the weather my parents and I were ready too.
The next day was Tuesday and My sister Liz and her two kids, along with my brother Matt were driving from Utah.
They arrived that afternoon and we met up with them. We rented a house that wasn’t too far away from Ane’s and were packing up from Ane’s to go stay at the rental. I was a bit concerned how the boys would go from such a fun house to a different place, but they were still happy at the new place.
It was a whole different kind of fun. The place was full of speakers, a projector, shutters that you can open and close with a remote, nice bedrooms, amazing bathrooms and showers and a hot tub.
Andy got in really late Tuesday night and came straight to the house and crashed. But the next day he was up and rolling at 6 am while the rest of us slept in until 9. Ha!
On Wednesday we went out to breakfast at a yummy place called Marco’s Cafe
And it had umbrellas on the ceiling.
and then made our journey to Multanomah Falls
The Falls were magical. They were gigantic!
At first we thought we were just going to hike up to the bridge. But when we got up there, which wasn’t very far, some of us decided to do the longer hike which was just over a mile. When I was beginning to start on the hike, a girl coming down looked at me and said, ” If I were you, I wouldn’t try to make that hike, it’s quite difficult.” I can’t lie, her comment made me want to make the hike even more. I thanked her for her concern and then kept on going. I continued to pass people that had something to say. “Are you trying to have that baby right now? One more switchback and you’ll definitely be having that baby.” and “You are my hero” I was surprised at how many people noticed I was pregnant and had something to say about it. And quite honestly after doing the hike, I’m still not quite sure what all the fuss was about. Don’t get me wrong, my buns were DEFINITELY burning and I was slower than the others. (my sweet neice stayed with me the whole time) But I made it! I had to of course take a picture at the top. Going down was a bit more tricky as I had much pressure on my belly and it had started to rain so the ground was wet and slippery, but it worked out. When we were getting towards the bottom, it started to pour down rain. It barely even touched us though because the trees were so thick. It was pretty cool.
Once we got down and out of the trees we saw it was pouring buckets. Andy and Liz ran to get the cars and we were off.
We went to Beaches for dinner which was on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It was a long wait, but good food and a good view. We were even lucky enough to catch this amazing sunset.
We got home late that night, but the kiddos and Matt got in the hot tub for a bit and then we were off to bed.
The next morning we woke up late, and ate some delicious French toast casserole that Lauren made, got ready and then set out on the two hour trip to Cannon Beach.
By the time we got there, we were already ready for lunch. We ate at a place called Mo’s that was pretty good (seafood) and it had a seaside view.
Cannon Beach was beautiful! Unlike any beach I have been to before. The weather as I have mentioned is a bit chilly there, so I didn’t plan for getting in the water at all. I regretted that very quickly cuz the boys just couldn’t resist and before you know it, their pants and shoes were soaking wet and filthy. I tried to stop them many times, knowing that we still had more to see and were a long way from home, but I finally gave up.
After the beach, we stopped in to see the cute lil shops and the cute lil town. We stopped in a vinegar shop that had all sorts of delicious vinegars that you would taste test with a piece of bread. The vinegars were so good, even the boys loved them.
We also stopped into a little candy shop and got some candy. The little town was starting to shut down at just 5:00 so we hit the road and went back.
When we got back we just ate at home and everyone jumped in the hot tub.
That night was another late night ( 1:00 am Texas time) but an early night for Andy and my mom who weren’t feeling well and had the chills.
We all slept in till 9:00 again the next morning and luckily Andy and my mom woke up feeling a bit better. We ate breakfast and then hit the road for another 2 hr. trek to the Tilamook Cheese Factory. We stopped and ate lunch at a taco food truck down the road from Tilamook. Wasn’t my fav. But it fed me. 🙂
When you first arrive at the cheese factory, they send you to a cheese bar where you can taste their different cheeses. MMMM… if there is anything I crave while pregnant, it’s cheese.
After Tilamook’s we went over to the Cape Meare lighthouse that was close by. I was a bit disappointed in the sixe of the lighthouse (very small), but it was still interesting to see.
After Cape Meares, we got back on the road. On our way home, we had to stop at Killer Burger which is the home of the peanut butter hamburger. I gotta say, it was pretty darn good.
The next day everyone was heading off in different directions. Most everyone was heading home except my little family. We cleaned the house, packed up, went to lunch and said our goodbyes. My families flight wasn’t leaving until the next day ( Father’s Day), sp we had some time to kill.
We went to our hotel, got settled in a bit and then went and saw Finding Dory
After the movie, we grabbed some take out from a thai type place called Pok Pok. I didn’t love it. ( and I love Thai) but Andy really liked it. Afterwards we went to the famous Salt n Straw that everyone told us to go to.
There was a super long line and it was late at night, but we held out. They have a ton of crazy flavors there like pickle icecream and lavender just to give a couple examples. But we got some pretty good flavors. My favorite was the salted caramel. MMM.
The next day was Father’s Day and our flight back home. I felt so bad that we’d be flying on Andy’s day. We got up and ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up and then headed to the airport.
I tried to do a little bit for Father’s Day and let Andy sit alone on the plane and the boys weren’t allowed to bother him. So he slept and worked the whole flight, but that was the best I could do.
We did however have presents for him at home and gave those to him. A pretty lame day for him, but it was all I could do. Next year will be better.
Well Portland it was nice meeting you. Until next time.
Watson’s cyst has been a process that has taken far longer than I ever imagined. It took 6 weeks to even discover what it was after repeatedly going to doctors. We found out what it was in April, got him on antibiotics and contacted a plastic surgeon. We couldn’t get into the plastic surgeon until June. Once we got him in to see the plastic surgeon, the doctor looked at him and immediately told us we were at the wrong place and needed to see a plastic surgeon ENT. HOLY MOLY. Luckily the plastic surgeon was a great guy and got us in t o see an ENT the very next week. At this point the cyst was definitely getting larger and darker in color.
I had been emotional about the whole thing and was eager to meet with the ENT. When we got to the office (which was located at Cook’s Children’s Hospital) We were waiting for the doctor for an hour. The office must have been very busy. We were all restless and wanted to leave. The doctor then came in, took a few looks at his cyst, talked to me about the history of it, asked me questions and then came to the conclusion that he would need surgery.
She said these types of cysts can occur from many different things. TB, a CAT SCRATCH, could be born with it and an ear infection causes it to inflame, or something else (possibly more serious). She said either way, the cyst would need to come out. Because of the location of the cyst ( possibly in a salivary gland next to major nerves) they would have to make a larger incision to make sure they get it all andwould also need to locate major facial nerves so they wouldn’t touch them and make him lose feeling in his face. She said the incision would be done much like a facelift, accept because his is further in on the cheek they would have to go further in.
Doing the procedure like this has a large chance of the skin in between the cyst and the ear dying. Therefore they would have to pull on his face to sew it back up, and it would look like he had a facelift on one side of his face. She said he would be in the hospital for two days and would have a tube in his face for drainage. Just like this pic and then they would take it out. I then left the office with a surgery scheduled for July 22nd.
Taking in all of this information was way too much for this prego mama to take on. I called Andy and immediately lost it. I somewhat expected surgery to be the only option, but I had no idea it would be so intense. I have so much anxiety naturally and the thought of this type of trauma has completely broken my heart. I tried to get my mind off of it, and went into the children’s area of the hospital. Without having any idea what events were going on at the time, we stumbled upon an event that was barely starting and the boys were the first children in there. Conor Daly, the racecar driver was there signing hats and giving things away. We took a picture with him, and then we spotted none other than Clarus glassboards that were there for the kids to draw on. It was pretty neat for the boys to see those there.
After this we went and ate at the hospital eatery. By this time I had forgotten a little bit about everything and then we got in the car and my uneasiness came back. I cried all the way home and then continued to cry on and off throughout the day. I then received these beautiful flowers from my sweet friend with a note that said I’m sorry to hear about Watson, I wish there was more I could do. That was such a sweet gesture and a good pick me up. I truly have such amazing people in my life!
Later through the help of some friends advice. I decided to get a second opinion. I had a friend recommend a plastic surgeon ENT to me that is considered one of the best in the area. I contacted his office and was able to get in.
When he looked at the cyst, he said he would definitely need surgery. He said ” I don’t care if you use me, but you just need to get it removed.” He then told me that these type of cysts don’t go away and that they stay inflamed. He also said it was important that we find out what has caused it. With that being said, he said he would do the surgery differently. He explained his concern about the skin dying and that he would hate to distort such a handsome face. That’s exactly how I felt. He said he may have to do more than one incision, but that he has done surgery on this type of cyst more than anyone in the area. He also mentioned the scar will be red for a good year and that we will have to put sunscreen on it everyday. 😦
Although it’s still not what I wanted to hear, I have felt better about the second option and have been glad I went and got a second opinion. We are still waiting on the date of surgery, but it will probably be around the same time we had it scheduled before. Until then, I have to watch Watson closely and make sure he doesn’t bump the cyst or cause it to rupture or become more inflamed. UGH! That’s a bit hard to do with my little wrestler.
I have still been worried sick over it. Every time I think about them cutting his sweet face, it makes me cry. I worry about the scar and if he’ll get teased. You just never want your children to face heart ache! It’s just not right. But I am hoping he will become stronger because of this. I am just praying good will come from it.
Just before Memorial Day weekend, we had some friends The Rincon’s invite us out to their vacation home in Austin. The house was beautiful and has many acres to play on. They had four wheelers for the kids, a swimming pool, basketball court, a playground, a creek etc. It was a dream place for the boys. The trip was a short one. We drove up Friday and left Saturday night to be back for church, but it was a ball.
On Friday, the boys swam, went four wheeling and explored. They slept in a bunk room with a bunch of kids. When I say they, I mean Nixon. Watson was a bit overwhelmed with all the kids. They went to bed late and after they were in bed, the adults stayed up late talking. It was a lot of fun.
The next morning, we took our boat out. We went to Lake Travis which was a beautiful lake. Austin was just beautiful in general. We were out on the boat all day, then came back ate dinner, got ready for bed and hit the road to go back home. It was definitely a quick trip, but we really enjoyed it