Friday, September 27, 2013

Peer Support and IVF

We went to peer support last night at The Shepherd Center. We hadn't gone all summer for whatever reason but it was good to get back and see some familiar faces. And, it makes me happy to see Jimmy sitting in a big circle of chairs. 

In this room, I'm the minority being able to walk.

Peer support is two hours long. The first hour is eating dinner and the second hour we split off into groups. You got The Chairs, as I mentioned, and then the caretakers/spouses are usually in another room -- that's where I go.

Last night, when I told a peer-support friend that we had moved to Decatur she informed she taught here for 12 or so years so she was familiar with the area and could give us some tips.

She asked me if I had discovered Revolution Doughnuts yet. I said noooooo and that I would be promptly be contacting her to make a doughnut date. Are you kidding me? How do you even decide?

While her face is a constant at peer support, I get to meet some other people who come through. Last night, as we were going around doing introductions, I listened as a SCI wife talked about her husband who had contracted meningitis years ago, and just recently started using a chair. She also talked about how she and her husband went through IVF during it all. Uhm, interest!

They used the same facility we are using. Same set of procedures we're having to do. Hopefully I can soon say we have the same outcome. They have a beautiful two-year old boy.

She told me that you get a picture of your embryos in the dish to take home. Her husband was listening on and chimed in that it was a really cool process.  I got chill bumps.

She also said that the facility does a zoo day each year to celebrate all the IVF babies and that you can see all the millions of dollars running around enjoying life. Fabulous.

Such a good path to cross; someone who is on the other side of this thing cheering us on. They were genuinely excited for us.

* * *

It was pretty hard for me to publish the post telling you all about our IVF journey. I was shaking not knowing what to expect. But within minutes I was reassured. We received so much instant support and well wishes and prayers and likes and exclamation points. 

That is why. That is why we are sharing it.  

So, here's where we stand in the IVF process:

*Jimmy had his testosterone, FSH, etc. levels checked. All was good.

*I got my estrogen, LH, FSH, thyroid, prolactin, egg reserve, etc. checked. All was good.

*I had an ultrasound done so they could check out the shape of my uterus and ovaries. All was good.

*I had an hysteroscopy done this past week so they could check out the inside of the uterus for any cysts, etc. Holy ravioli. Can I just tell you about this procedure? Like a pap smear times 100. Super unpleasant. I needed chocolate afterward.

*My doctors told me I needed to get my varicella immunization (even though I had the chicken pox as a child).  They said I didn't have the proper antibodies, and if I were to contract chicken pox while pregnant, it could result in complications -- even fetal death. I would just have to wait a month until after the shot to get pregnant. But knowing the risks, it's a no-brainer. I got that and a flu shot this past week.

I feel grateful to be able to do some of these screenings that could eliminate any risks.

*Jimmy has a sperm extraction scheduled for mid-October. He will be admitted into a hospital OR and given light anesthesia for the procedure. Normally these are done in the doctor's office or an ambulatory/outpatient center, but given Jimmy's condition they want an emergency-ready setting. I can appreciate that.

*When that is done, I drive the sperm? specimen? little guys? back to our fertility center. Will I be driving 40mph with my hazards on? Perhaps.

They will test some (and hopefully give us the green light) and then freeze the rest for when we begin the IVF cycle.

And that's when Jimmy hands off the baton to me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Terrifying Excitment

I had a dream the other night. It was probably the scariest dream I've ever had. A wake-up-rattled kind of dream.

I dreamed that Jimmy died. He died and in the dream and it happened after I had dealt with the death of a prior boyfriend. So two significant others in my life had died. I was crying a lot in my dream. I was screaming, "why does this keep happening to me?"  People were trying to console me. I was hysterical. I had lost it.

I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that I went to bed sad and a little teary. Nighttime has always been hard for me post-injury. And, although it was excruciatingly difficult in the beginning, it's gotten easier. But the p.m. loneliness can still creep in.

A few nights ago (on the night of my frightful dream), I went in to tell Jimmy goodnight. He had already fallen asleep.

I got very sad. That was it. No more Jimmy for the night. I needed to go to my room and get myself ready for bed. It's these moments I miss sharing my bed with my husband.

Most nights, I remove my throw pillows and put them on the bench at the end of my bed. This night, I left all of them in the bed, on the other side of the bed. I hugged the pillows so hard they probably have a little less "oomph" to them now.

I cried myself to sleep. And then, the wretched dream. I wonder if my real body moved around a lot. I wonder if I said anything in my sleep. I wonder if I was crying in my sleep. I really have no clue.

But here's what I do know... I woke up scared shitless.

I put an ear to the air and it stayed there until I heard the sound of Jimmy's ventilator. The sound of the ventilator was comforting to me. I never thought I would type that sentence. Life is so cray.

Was this (another) cruel little lesson to get me to realize how precious life is? To slap me in the face and say: keep living, yo?

Just keep going.

 

My dream. My scary-ass dream. My dream made me thankful for life and our new journey. It made me thankful to share this new journey with Jimmy. And, it made me excited to share our new journey with you. 

We're going to do this. 

Jimmy and I have started taking the steps to begin IVF, or In vitro fertilization. After several consults and discussions, we decided it's going to the best route for us. 

It's very exciting and very scary. Lots of emotions but I know it's the right thing to do. I know that because when Jimmy talks about it there's no regret, there's no hesitance in making this decision. There's no, "are we sure we're doing the right thing?"

That stuff comes from others, believe it or not. Not us. 

We feel ready. This feels right. I truly believe we can be successful. Naive? Maybe. But I don't give a crap. I have no reason to believe we can't be a part of the majority who brings home a screaming, chaos-inducing, life-changing baby. 

Because if we have proven anything, it's that we can do "life-changing."

I would love to share some of the experiences and emotions along the way, if you care to read them. This is going to be an amazing, horribly terrifying journey and I want to document it.  

There's hope floating in the air around the Moore home. 

The hope... it's-a-floatin'... 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Husband Q&A Volume 1

I interviewed Jimmy tonight. Here's how it went... 

Q: Am I pretty? 
A: Yeahhhh. 

Q: Are you mad cause I'm getting the new iPhone and you are not? 
A: No. 

Q: What is your favorite animal to eat? 
A: Pig. 

Q: How do you feel about living in Georgia?
A: I like it. It's nice. It's hot. It's too hot. Traffic sucks. But I like it. 

Q: What are your top three favorite TV shows to watch right now?
A: The League, Duck Dynasty, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia 

Q: Can you describe your mood for me today?
A:  Good mood but just exhausted. 

Q: I've noticed your taste for certain foods have changed post-injury. Can you explain? 
A: Bacon, eggs and coffee I don't like as much. I now eat a lot of fruit which is new. 

Q: What is an important lesson you have learned since your life-changing injury?
A: Can't take everything so serious. 

Q: Any desirable travel locations? Where do you want to roll? 
A: Maybe back to New Orleans... 

Q: What do you miss most about living in Myrtle Beach? 
A: The people. 

Q: Pet Peeve(s)?
A: Texting while driving, having to repeat myself to nurses.. 

Q: Can you remember what it was like to walk? 
A: Yeah. I can remember. 

Q: Do you think about pre-injury life often?
A: No. 

Q: Do you feel like your face looks different now? I've noticed several people after an injury like this look different. Do you feel like your looks have changed? 
A: Yeah, skinnier. 

Q: What has surprised you the most about having a spinal cord injury? 
A: How nice people are. And the perks! 

Q: When/if you dream about yourself, are you walking or in a chair?
A: Chair. 

Q: What are some of the things you look forward to each day?
A: My morning wake up from you, watching TV, getting caught up on everything... 

Q: What are your thoughts on iOS 7?
A: It looks like shit. Don't see the big deal. 

Q: Do you feel like it was a coincidence that Prince George was born on my birthday?
A: Why are you so dumb? 

Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: Maybe. All The President's Men 

Q: What do you miss?
A: I miss work. Driving. 

Q: Are you happy?
A: Yeah. 

Q: And finally, who let the dogs out? 
A: Your momma. 

BBQ, Rain and Hot Glazed

We're getting out more. I'm not sure what has sparked it, but I'm going with it. Here's a few photos. 

I already told you about Steely Dan. We've also been going out to watch football which feels very "normal" and something we used to do a lot pre-injury. So, happiness.

Jimmy is pushing himself more to be able to do certain things and I'm so proud of him for doing that. Yay for husband. It would be so much easier to stay home.

Jimmy wanted to go to the Atlanta BBQ Festival last weekend, so we went. It was hot and sensory overload so we didn't stay long. Long enough for Jimmy to eat and pose with some pig.
What you can't see here is the giant bag of BBQ I'm carrying that we got from the restaurant next to our home. A different day, more BBQ. This was a down day for Jimmy but I felt like a quick walk outside would help his mood.  So he humored me and came. It's amazing what some sunshine and fresh air can do.
Don't get me started on The Day of Rain. Horrible idea to go to the UNC vs. Ga. Tech game. Also sucked that no one could properly guide us to our seats. After doing laps around the stadium, some nice workers finally found a spot for us to stay put under a ledge.


This is us making the most out of a crappy day. At least Jimmy got to see his Heels score.
 
This happened. After that.
And it was heaven in the form of a hot, glazed doughnut.
I walked into KK looking (and probably smelling) like a wet dog. Jimmy couldn't have stopped me if he tried.
The soul wants what the soul wants.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Work Hard, Play Nice


I love this. This is like a million little Pinterest quote boards rolled into one. I borrowed it from Cupcakes and Cashmere.
My favorite line? Be easier on yourself.
Happy middle of the week: Feeling happy today!
 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Making Things Happen

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Love Charles


Apparently this guy's name is not Dan...
I got Jimmy Steely Dan tickets for his anniversary gift. It's always been one of his favorite bands.

Jimmy said I would probably be the youngest person there. I think he was right. Sike, I think I saw a girl who was younger than me who came with her sugar daddy. Or her it was just her plain ol' dad. I couldn't tell.
 
This was a real chill crowd. Most people sat down -- the entire time. I didn't know people sat down at concerts. 

Aren't you there cause you know all the songs and are really excited about life and want to stand and sing along? Real chill crowd. 

I mean, at one point I looked around towards the end of the night and I actually saw several people dozing off. They were sleeping! Real chill crowd.
 
The weather was amazing. A nice cool breeze and the venue was super nice. 

But here's what really made our visit just so.... easy: 

In the two years since Jimmy's injury this is the most accommodating workers in a public place have been. Truly. 

There was an older gentleman named Charles. 

My nurse spotted Charles to ask where a power outlet was. This is pretty routine for us. We get there. We scope out power for suctioning purposes. I looks for potties. Then check out the snack situation. In that order.

Charles went to look around while we got food. We were eating when Charles came back. He said he was still working things out.  That was nice.

Charles leaves again. 

In the meantime, we find a power outlet near an ice machine out by concessions. Jimmy and the nurse would have to come back and forth but it's nothing we haven't done before. 

Charles comes back. He asks us where our seats our. We tell him. 

Charles leaves again.  Maybe he'll find us another outlet near our seats?

We start to find our seats and ask a staffer who starts to send us to the (wrong) area. 

Here comes Charles. He's almost offended that we talk to another worker. He told us he had us set-up and motions to our seats. Charles has arranged for a extension cord to be run to our seats so we don't have to get up.

Uhm, !!!

Next thing I know we see three crew members taping this cord down to the cement and laying a mat over it so no one will trip.  

They brought power to US. 

TO US.

I wanted to hug Charles but I just shook his hand. He came back several times throughout the show to check on us. 

Have you ever? I haven't. 

We're so very grateful for people like this in our lives. It's a given that our family and friends will always go above and beyond for Jimmy and our needs. But Charles and the posse the Verizon Amphitheater at Encore Park? You guys are on it. 

From the parking attendant out front, to the folks at the gate, to my main man Charles, to the super-friendly guy who sold us Jimmy's cocktail to the women sweeping in the bathroom before anyone had even gone in there... it was very easy to be there.

I like easy these days.  Easy makes us happy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nia

This book is the best thing I've purchased in a long, long time.

Nia, can we be BFFs? I love you loads. 


"There's no way around grief. You have to go through it. You have to cry it out of of your body, then wade through your own tears to the other side. Where there is cake. Moist cake. Have a piece. It will make you feel better. Have a second piece. Lick your fingers. You will feel better. I promise." 

Nia Vardalos 
Instant Mom