Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pinterest Interest

Oh Pinterest! It has become our best friend. We have only been on Pinterest for a few short weeks, and we have already made several ideas on there. It is awesome for us because my husband loves to create things. It helps him occupy his mind to keep it off his pain as much, and it gives him a sense of accomplishment. I am a craft fanatic, but I've added to my arsenal of craft genres because I help my husband with his projects. Today he wanted to help me with one of my projects instead of the other way around. Sundays have unofficially become our "create" days. Since he was going to help me, I decided to do something with wood so he would enjoy it more. I went out back and climbed up in the old treehouse that never got completed. He began building it for his son years ago, but he was unable to complete it, which has caused it to sit there and rot. I was a little nervous about standing on rotted wood up in a tree to tear this thing down. When I thought about how far I was off the ground compared to how high my husband was when he took his 800ish feet high tumble, my fear of falling through the boards quickly diminished.

After tearing down one side of the treehouse I began cutting the wood down to size. We put together a sign made of the weather wood. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I get one. It will go in front of our house. Then we cut some wood down to size to make a frame for a rustic-looking coat rack. We may get that one finished tomorrow. We cut some boards to create sconces for our living room. I will try to make it into town tomorrow to find the hardware I will need to finish them.

This evening we drove into town to find some shipping pallets that were being thrown out. We could only find one that we were certain was sat out for trash, so we brought it back. We will cut it down to make a wine rack to hang on the wall. We are learning that pallets are incredible! There is so much that can be done with them.

All in all, crafting brings us closer together, gives us a common goal, and gives him something to occupy his mind in a very positive way. Today was an awesome day!!!

On the baby note, I just have to mention that I noticed tonight that if we conceive this month we will be due on Tim's Alive Day. That would just be awesome! So here's hoping it takes this month! That would be an awesome way for him to start thinking of that date.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Updates Galore

I was blessed with the opportunity to return to NYC for the second part of the Wounded Warrior Project's Caregivers Writing Workshop along with the Writer's Guild of America, East. The friendships I have made with some of the other caregivers are priceless. It is so nice to have others who understand your situation and can offer advice and tips on how they handled a similar situation. I will forever support Wounded Warrior Project. It is amazing what they have done to help us and other wounded warriors and their families.

Kiddo Update: I got my results on my tests, and I was informed that my progesterone levels were off the chart. In other words, things look good on my end. We are working on this month, and we will try next month, and then it will be time to turn to more intense testing and possibly IUI if it still has not taken.

We met with a new doctor, and we are SO pleased with him! He is wanting to admit Tim to the hospital for a couple of weeks to do intense occupational therapy as well as some other therapy. Although we don't want him to have to spend two weeks in the hospital, we are looking forward to this opportunity. There is a chance that what he learns can help decrease his daily pain level.

Yesterday was a big day for us. A nurse from the VA came out to do a home visit to evaluate our eligibility for officially classifying me as his caregiver. This has been a process, and the home visit was the part we were most concerned about. It turned out to be great! I cleaned for three and half days, so afraid that something would keep us from getting the grant. I had read a blog entry of a caregiver who scrubbed everything with a toothbrush and went a little OCD on her cleaning, but they didn't even look far beyond her living room. Yet I was still too nervous to not go all out on the cleaning. So I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I had beef stew cooking in the crockpot so it would smell good in the house (a different good than my over-abundance of glade plug-ins that I keep around here). I washed the glasses on my wine rack just in case they had any dust on them. I scrubbed everything! I was definitely over-prepared. The lady was very nice, and the whole process went very smoothly. We hope to have an answer shortly after Thanksgiving. One source I read stated that I will be paid back pay to the date of application, and another said to the date that I finished my training, if I get the "job." Since I have technically been working this full-time "job" for over a year now without pay, it will be nice to actually get paid for it. I'm praying right now that it goes through.

Other things I am working on right now are a little exciting. I learned of "Guitars for Vets" when I was in New York this time. Tim has been wanting to learn to play the guitar. This program offers free guitar classes to disabled vets and gives them a guitar. When I mentioned it to him he was very excited. So I am looking into getting him involved in that program. I believe it will be a great outlet for him. Another thing that we are excited about is getting him a hand crank or terra trike. These are modified bicycles for the disabled. He misses regular physical activity, and he has expressed interest on several occasions of biking. He cannot sit in the upright position necessary for bike riding for a long period of time, though. The hand crank or terra trike will allow him to participate in running and biking races with me. We are currently considering doing a half marathon together in March... I will run along next to him on the hand crank or terra trike.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One of These Days...


September brought some unexpected medical issues that I will keep private. They changed everything in our life for weeks. I began this blog as an "out" for me as well as a source of comfort for other wounded warrior wives. It is therapeutic for me to write in here, and it is even more therapeutic for me to read other people's journeys through similar struggles. Although our unexpected medical issues will remain private, I have decided to open up much more about our biggest ongoing struggle... infertility.

A dear friend has a blog titled "One of These Days..." that is a great source of comfort for me. She is currently expecting her first child in March, but it was a 2 1/2 year struggle to get there. I had another dear friend recently open up to me about her infertility struggles she had years ago, and they are struggles she keeps from most people. Hearing what other women are experiencing or have experienced helps me tremendously. This is an extremely emotional struggle, so I want to be very open to help other women.

My husband and I got married in March of 2010. In March 2010, my husband and I began trying to conceive. We expected it may take a little while, so we wanted to begin trying immediately. For a long time I didn't include those first few months in my trying to conceive (TTC) count of time because we were only trying to make sure we hit the right days. I had not yet began temping and charting, taking prenatals, etc. But I had a doctor inform me recently that those months are to be counted in my TTC timeline.

In July 2010 we had a chemical pregnancy. We were so disappointed when the pregnancy failed that we decided to buckle down and get serious about this whole TTC thing. I read book after book after book, began seeking advice from friends, and followed other women with infertility struggles on forums. I bought a thermometer to keep by my bed, and I began temping and charting.

In January 2011, my husband began cutting back on his medicine, fearing that may be a cause of infertility. He researched methods that may help him, and he began taking supplements. He experienced a tremendous amount of more pain than he previously had because he was taking much less medicine to help. But we were so determined to make this dream of having our own children a reality that he figured the extra pain was worth it.

In July 2011, we made appointments to start having everything checked out and possibly get some help. Before making it to the doctor, though, we learned that there was a good chance we were pregnant. My cycle is clockwork, but I was a week and a half late. I am always the last to smell things, and my nose had turned into that of a dog. I got nauseated at the same time every day. My face, shoulders and back broke out, I was emotional every day, I had to pee every 30 minutes, and I could no longer fit in my bras. I had to wear sports bras every day. We were on a family vacation, so I decided to wait until we got back home to test. In early August, before making it back home, we had what seemed to be a miscarriage. We didn't confirm it because we didn't test before or go to a doctor after, but everything I have read since then matches up exactly to miscarriage. Rather than getting me down, the belief that we had a miscarriage gave me hope. I had begun to think that pregnancy wasn't possible for us. The miscarriage made me believe that it was.

The next month, September 2011, I finally got my first prescription for a fertility medicine, Clomid. October 2011, our 20th month of trying to conceive, I began taking the prescription. This is the personal part, but I'm including it for information for anybody who is facing the possiblity of fertility meds.... I had to take the meds on days 5-9 of my cycle, do the baby dance with my husband on days 10-20 (actually I think the doc told me days 10-17, but I deemed it necessary to get a few extra days of every day trying in there :-)), have bloodwork done to check my progesterone levels on day 21, and have an ultrasound on day 28. Today is officially day 29, and I have all indications that Aunt Flo is on her way. I should get a call today or tomorrow letting me know if they will increase my dosage for next month.

Although I expected quite a few side effects with Clomid, I really didn't experience them. The only thing I noticed was from the ultrasound technician yesterday. She told me that I had a cyst on my right ovary, but it appeared to be going away. So I am hoping for an increase in dosage as we start month 21 of TTC.

My husband is really hoping for twins, and fertility drugs increase our chances. I would love twins, but any more than that at once seems like a little much. However, if getting to have our own children meant that we had to have 10 at once, I would do it.

Sorry if I got a little personal for anybody. This blog entry is directed toward anybody struggling with infertility, though, because I know how much it helps to hear details and facts from others.

Other than the infertility issue, everything is going great! Tim's "bad" days have grown more seldom. He only has about 2 or 3 days a week now that he is down for the count. That is much better than the 5 to 6 days that he experienced throughout the spring and summer. We've decreased some of his stressors, so he is in much better spirits. He even went to the hardware store the other day when he woke up feeling great, and he came back with some flowers for me. It was the first time since we got married that he had brought me flowers, but he's not had many outings alone to be able to. It made my entire week!!!

I have to get ready for an appointment. Until next time.... love life!!!