Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baby Shower!

What a great day Baby Shower Day was! My mom, friend, and aunt threw me the prettiest, sweetest celebration for Baby Girl Moore when I was home in South Carolina. 

And I have to say, my mom's gal pals were the best little helpers, helping Mom get so much together on the heels of her father's death and a sickness she had been battling herself. We're grateful and the shower wouldn't have been the same without them.

Everything was beautiful. I wish I had more time to talk to people who carved out time to come by. I also wish I would have taken pictures. I borrowed most of these but picked up a few good ones.   

One of the two cakes that was made was a replica of the bedding I registered for. It's the quilt. What a cool idea. 

The diaper cake, although he'd never admit it, was my Dad's little project. He stepped up while Mom was sick and crafted that masterpiece.

My mom got me a bunch of Vera Bradley Baby stuff. Who even knew there was a Vera Bradley Baby line? Not I. What a cool gift! Gorgeous patterns.

Mommy's BFF. Perfect.

And, this gift tag was made from the baby shower invite. Love that.

Jimmy came in (and got a hearty round of applause when he cleared the man-made ramp) in time to see me open some gifts. 

Some of the activities for guests: making clay babies (I got to play judge and pick my favorite). Also, writing messages to Baby Girl Moore for her to open on her various birthdays. Brilliant.

I got so many clothes! And, without having an official nursery theme, got so much stuff with owls! Mom tells me owls are good luck. I happen to love them and am happy to have a good owl collection going.

Our due date is October 30th. My dad is seriously hoping for a Halloween grandbaby. Can you tell? He had a giant ghost greeting guests out front.

Funny story: During the start of the shower, when people were still coming in, I saw a lady enter holding a baby gift. I greeted her. I didn't immediately recognize her but said hi and hugged her. She told me who she was. Really nothing was ringing bells. I assumed my mom invited her. I walked away and started talking to someone else while she took a seat next to my friend Jennifer.

Jennifer told me the conversation went something like this:

Jennifer: Hello, how do you know Jaimie?
Mystery lady: Who's Jaimie?
Jennifer: Jaimie! I need you over here!

Turns out, she was at the wrong baby shower. Her shower was also at 1pm on Sunday and also for a baby girl, buuuut was a few blocks away.

So close.

I bet it was slightly weird for her when she looked around and, ya know, didn't recognize anyone.

The food was perfect. The games were perfect. The gifts were... what can I say? We're so grateful for all the goodies we received. (My sister suggested we do a diaper raffle. Yeah. I think I'm set for 6-8 months. I can do snow angels in all the diapers I received. I can make it rain with all the diapers I received. Okay, I'm done.) 

Most importantly the company I had on that beautiful Sunday afternoon... was perfect.

Couldn't have asked for anything more. We are loved. This baby is already so very lucky.

Two Month Mark

Hanging in the nursery
I think I thought this pregnancy would last forever. For the entire time, until now, I kind of felt like it really was going to. 

But now, we've got only two months to go.

It hasn't felt this real. There's something about the two month mark. There was a baby shower. That was real. Some people I love planned a wonderful afternoon and then people actually showed up to help celebrate this baby girl that will be soon coming into the world.

They brought presents. Small little outfits that a little baby will wear. Products to help me take care of her. Equipment to help me soothe her. Toys to help me make her smile, giggle and grab. My walk-in nursery is small, I know, but feels full and cozy and ready for her. It feels like some one's room.

My belly is growing. Ninja-baby is practicing her karate chops and kicks daily. It's very reassuring. I don't hate any of it. Hiccups don't bother me and painful jabs don't bother me. The day-ending belly strain doesn't bother me, although I do miss my old energy level and stamina. I do miss being able to do it all. I'm starting to get to the point where that's just not possible.

My body clearly needs more rest and care than it used to. And being the do-er of the house -- it's quite challenging.

I'm getting more and more tired. And quite frankly, more and more scared.

Two months isn't a guaranteed two months. Who knows when this baby will make it's appearance?

Since we got back from vacation, we've spent the entire time trying to recover. It was a lot. It was wonderfully exhausting.

Jimmy has been dealing with one thing after the next with his injury. Nothing huge, but a lot of little things that have been wearing us out.

So naturally, when the going get tough, the tough get bogged down with an SCI, exhaustion, pregnancy fears and emotions and several other lingering items... the tough get scared shitless.

Eight weeks and some change. Who's counting? And seriously, I don't want to admit out loud how many times I've asked silently to my own brain: what the hell are we getting ourselves into?

I know all the good stuff that is about to happen. I know it's all going to be worth it. I know there will be so much joy.  All that crap. I promise I know.

But I'm tired. And, those rough patches that tend to pop up every so often in our lives? There's one now and so I'm whiny. And telling you I'm scared.

Maybe the next two months will fly by with preparations to done, leaving me little time alone with my scary fears and feelings. 

It is exciting to think about the fact I'll be able to smell baby smells soon, however.

I know it's the right thing. At this point in time, it just feels so incredibly scary and hard and overwhelming.

I think I need some homemade banana ice cream.     

Thursday, August 21, 2014

30 Weeks

*This is what you call a laying-down-belly-shot-so-my-stay-puffy-feet-can-deflate picture. 

*TMI: I might be done with underwire bras for awhile. The pain is real. 

*TMI: Peeing while coughing, laughing sneezing is also real. 

*Currently baby gal is the size of: cantaloupe, butternut squash, cabbage. She's about 17 inches long and weighs about 3lbs. 

*10 weeks left, people. 10 weeks. 

*On vacation this week at the beach and realizing this heat is NOT my friend. A heat advisory today? Whaddup, A/C, ice cream and ice water.

*My feet are obnoxious. Jimmy is calling me The Michelin Man. I prefer The Stay Puff Marshmallow Man cause Ghostbusters! Yep, the heat. Also, the vacation cuisine. Also, the running around visiting. Also, the pregnancy. 

*The baby shower was simply wonderful. I look forward to doing a separate post when I get home, unpack all my goodies and go through some pics. 

*This baby muffin is particularly ninja-active this morning. I've said OUCH out loud, like, several times, which is new. It's like she got the memo it was 30 weeks today and decided to crank it up a few hundred notches. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Year Number Three

I'm so glad you lived, Jimmy.

Today marks year number three since the flying tire. Three years ago, we experienced the most traumatic day, hopefully, in our lives. The crash. The injury. The paralysis. Our new life was just beginning. 

This morning, I took this card with an ice cream cake into Jimmy's room to wake him. He had a few bites of cake for breakfast, read his card and we talked a little bit about some of our memories from that time. 

Jimmy shared something new with me. He told me about a conversation he had with a doctor following his set of surgeries back on August 9, 2011. 

The doctor told him he didn't want to bog him down with details until he recovered a little more, but said, "James, you don't know how lucky you are."


Other posts:

The first time I blogged after the crash (2011): A New Normal (This picture still makes me crumble.)

My very first Life Day post (2012): My Love Letter (Still my most read blog.)

Last year's Life Day post (2013) Your Emergency Row Ambassador (One of my favorite blogs I've written.)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

28 Weeks

*I feel like all my belly pics have been headless. Weird, right? So here's one with. Haaaay, y'all. 

*Third trimester has begun. Home stretch, baby. I kind of can't believe it. 12 weeks left. 84 days to go. I'm nearly 6 and a half months pregnant.  

*All my apps say baby is about 14-16 inches long and weighs about 2.5lbs. Produce comparison scale for this week: Tropical coconut, head of cauliflower, eggplant, papaya. Take your pick. 

*I'm told by the internets that if baby were to come this week, she'd have a 80-90% chance of survival -- probably with some assistance breathing until those lungs matured a little more. 

*Feeling more and more from her these days. It's pretty amazing. Kicks and movement. I maybe felt hiccups once or twice but not a ton of that just yet. 

*Week 26 marked some pretty strong pregnancy symptoms. Yikes. I'll leave it at that. 

*I have a cold right now. And although it sucks, I've been craving fruits and veggies and things that will probably make me better. I bet this is why my swelling has been kept at bay. Maybe?  

*I've graduated to bi-weekly OB appointments. Moving on up. I passed my glucose test but was told I am anemic so iron supplements, spinach, and steak!

*On my to-do list: start looking at some baby doctors, schedule some maternity classes at the hospital and pack for our final trip/Babymoon to South Carolina. Woo!  Oh yeah, I think I need to figure out how I'd get to the hospital if I go into labor. Yep.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nine Hours

My husband just went nine hours off of his ventilator. His ventilator, in which he has used religiously for the last nine months, he didn't use it, like, all day.

Head surgery phase I was in January.
Head surgery phase II was in July.

In between, he didn't want anything to do with vent work and trying to wean. Believe me. I asked. And got some brutal angry-face. But he just wasn't ready. 

He went a month completely off the ventilator late last year when he got tested at a pulmonologist appointment. His breathing strengths were insanely good. His doctors and respiratory staff were blown away and pretty much told us he could probably be without a ventilator and diaphragm pacer, if he wanted to be.

I was scared he wouldn't come back around to doing this. It had been so long. Yesterday, he told me that he was going to try for tomorrow. He totes did it.

I'm overwhelmed with emotion.

You may have noticed, with our specific type of spinal cord injury, there aren't tons of improvement. He still can't move. He still can't walk. There's not a lot going on.

There are, however, plenty of things that can go wrong. And they sometimes do.

People continue to ask us if he's had any movement. Or people not familiar with his situation will wish him a "speedy recovery."  Even though it's a reminder we've gone all this time with no movement, we're kind of in an okay place with where we are.  I mean, do we really have any other option?  Sometimes you have to just find an okay place, I guess.

Are we happy all the time? No.
Do we get upset and sad sometimes with the issues we constantly face? Yes.

This injury sucks. Let's not sugar coat it. It's a sucky sucky thing that sucks.

Quite frankly, an okay place is a good place to be.

So, when the doctor told us that Jimmy's body was physically able to not be reliant on the ventilator anymore, it felt like we had gained some movement.  It really did.

It felt like we weren't so helpless anymore and had something to work on and work towards. 

Today's 'nine hours' brought back that excitement and hope that I had kind of buried away this year.  I secretly thought Jimmy had given up on it and was just too tired.

After head surgery phase II, Jimmy had started feeling better. And after this week's suture removal, I noticed a drastic improvement in his mood, fatigue level.

The other day, Jimmy mentioned how he wanted to get back to doing vent work. He said he didn't want little one pulling at cords and what not.

Heart = smiling.

It's odd to think about my life in this way.  My day was made because my husband went nine hours off the vent.

My definition of happiness has changed over the past three years. For sure.

Note: This blog is not meant to put tons of pressure on you, Husband, to definitely-have to-must wean off all your stuff. Whatever you can do is enough. 
It's meant to notate my happiness and pride for what you accomplished today. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's a Suture-Removal Celebration!

Today, Jimmy got the sutures removed from his head following his surgery last month. No more gauze dressing and things are getting back to normal. And you know what normal means? The Boston Hat. Oh yeah, it's back.

The first time Jimmy's been able to wear a ball cap in eight months. Woo. It's the little things, people.

Several people this weekend told me how good Jimmy is looking, although very tired in the photo below. Maybe this head surgery is helping him feel a little more like himself. 

His newly placed hair is helping his confidence. This I know. I should look for a good before and after so you can see the difference. So standby for that.
After, we went for Fajitas For Two. The steak can't hurt, as my doctor just told me I had pregnancy anemia last week. 

I'm sure my doctor would tell me to eat Steak Fajitas For Two more often. Wink wink. 

Velveeta and Vitalis: Saying Goodbye to Papa

My big brother Gary, Papa and me

Gary, my Nana, me, and Papa (with a killer stache)

I'm tired. No, exhausted. I have a horrible cough and chest congestion. And, my heart. It's still hurting. I feel as if I've been dragged through a field of emotional and physical landmines. But, it's a small price to pay. 

This past weekend, we said goodbye to my grandfather -- Papa -- as we have always called him. He was my mother's daddy.

He was 79 and died from cancer.  Cancer we didn't even know he had a month ago.  I've never seen some one's physical condition deteriorate so quickly.  I think the whole family can agree that he would have wanted it that way. Quick, and without a lot of suffering.

He died at home. With plenty of family around. We were told a few weeks to a few months, but really were left with just a few more days.

I had plans to fly home to see him just one last time. I had a plane ticket. I had a rental car. I was to be flying home the morning of July 26th. A Saturday.

I didn't. Something made me cancel my reservations. I was tired and didn't feel up to traveling after driving home just the weekend before. It just didn't feel right.

My Papa died that very night I was supposed to fly home.  My mom called me with the news just after 9pm. I had just gotten out of the bath tub. I was reading a baby book among the warm suds.

My little brother was there at the house with Papa and the family as he took his last breaths. He said it was the worst things he had ever seen -- Papa gasping for air, mustering to stay alive for just a few minutes more as everyone watched.

He made me understand, through text message, that it was the hardest thing he had ever experienced. And, maybe it was for the best that I wasn't there. My mom also said it would have been too much emotional stress on my pregnant body and soul.

The last time I saw him alive, the weekend before, he still knew who I was. He looked happy to see me. I could see the pride for his grandchildren in his partially glazed-over eyes. As sick as he was, he got so happy when yet another family member would continue to file into his ICU suite. The limit was two at a time. At one point, there were probably 10-12 of us in there. The nurses were giving us the side-eye for sure. We didn't care.

We stayed until we were told otherwise. I held my Papa's hand a whole bunch. I would kiss his forehead. And he loved it. He soaked up all the love. I didn't know if he remembered I was pregnant until he rubbed my belly quickly with his hand, while throwing a quick giggle in my direction. Oh, he remembered.

I'm heart-broken he died just a few months before his first great-grandchild was due to enter the world.  Wish it didn't have to be that way. Similarly, my mother was pregnant with me when her mother's father died. There will be no shortage of stories about Papa, though. Or things he used to do comfort us when we were little. I look forward to singing the same sleepy tunes to baby, rubbing the forehead as little one drifts off to sleep and later, introducing her to Haluski -- a Slovakian dish made of cabbage and noodles. I grew up eating cabbage and noodles at my Papa's house. So much butter. So good.

I will think of Papa whenever I see a block of Velveeta. He made some killer omelets for us during grandparent sleepovers. That was back before I knew that crap could wreck havoc on one's digestive system. Oh, the simpler times. When I see a bottle of the old man hair tonic, Vitalis on the shelf in the grooming aisle of a grocery store -- I will think of him. When I eat graham crackers and peanut butter I will think of him. 

When I hear any Chicago song, I might lose it as I did the other day when one came on at Whole Foods, an unlikely place for such a tune. Elton John songs will always make me think of Papa. He introduced me to Sir Elton when I was little. The same way as my Nana introduced me to the likes of Elvis.

Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me -- the version with George Michael and Elton. I will always, always think of him. And probably always cry.

We had a song we'd slow dance to in the kitchen. Cherish by Kool and The Gang. I'd stand on his feet and he'd dance me around as the radio played our song.  He'd sing along. Such sweet memories.

The silver lining in something like this is that family -- near and far -- gets together to comfort each other. Members of the family whom I haven't seen in years. I got to hug them as we all shared stories about all of the wonderful impact Papa had on us all. We cried together at the funeral.  I will never forget walking, as a family, behind the casket, behind the cross, in an unorganized line as Amazing Grace was played on the piano.

I somehow got through doing a reading up at the podium. I was asked to do this at my Nana's funeral ten years ago. I declined. I was beyond scared of public speaking. I still am, but now, wanting to conquer some of my fears, as little as they may seem. I didn't want to do it, yet I did. 

Jimmy was there with me, by my side. He was even an honorary pallbearer during the service. He knew and loved my Papa well. And my Papa loved Jimmy so much. I'm so glad he came. So, so glad.

As we left the house Saturday, I hugged my Papa's wife, Deanna. She then loved on Jimmy some. She told me to take care of him. In that moment, I worried about her. I worried about when all the family left and she was there by herself. In her home she shared with my grandpa for years. For the second time, she would be left to live alone. I hope the joy and laughter she shared with him throughout the years outweighs the pain and sorrow she is feeling right now.

Life isn't fair.

But we sure are lucky to have known Edward Strichek.  He made our lives better.  We're all better off for having been loved by him.

Love you always, Papa.