Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Unfortunately, it seems that every time we come home for any period of time, something goes wrong. I'm so tired of something going wrong! I just want him to feel good, and healthy for once. He has been weaning off all his medications pretty much since he was discharged. Finally, he was down to the last one right before we came home. It's an anti depressant that they give to these guys at night to help them with sleep and nerve pain. It kind of leaves their mind blank, so they can sleep at night, and calms the brain down which in turn calms down the nerves for the nerve pain too. He's been taking it pretty much this entire time. He had no problems weaning off anything else, so he sped this one up a little. He went from 75mg every night to 50mg, then 25mg, then nothing in about a week and a half. Then he started complaining of not being able to sleep at night. At first we thought it was the bed. We're in a full bed at my mom's house, and it's really soft, almost too soft. Then he started getting headaches and feeling really nauseous throughout the day. Then I thought it was because he wasn't drinking enough water and the combination of his blood pressure medicine which can dehydrate him if he doesn't drink enough. Then we googled, and decided he was withdrawing from the Pamelor (the last drug he weaned off). We're really hoping these symptoms only last a couple of weeks. He's already sleeping better, so at least that's improved. I hope the nausea is soon to follow. I hate seeing him like this. He feels nauseous pretty much all day. He feels terrible because he wants to be better in time for this baby to arrive, which could really be any day now. He's tired of feeling like this, anyway, he says. And he doesn't understand how heroin addicts do it, haha. At least I know we'll never be on that show Intervention. If it hasn't improved by next week, we'll have to make an appointment with his doctor when we go back up there to await the arrival of this baby. I just hope it's not something more serious. I just can't think of what else it could possibly be. This is the first time in four months he's been virtually drug free, so I think it's just going to take his body some time to adjust to that. I hope*

Otherwise, our Christmas was great. We spent it with a lot of family, and actually on Christmas day, we were exhausted from all the family gatherings. His big gift was a computer program he likes to use to produce music, and some nice headphones, and also a Keurig. He got me a DSLR Camera, and I've been playing with that a lot. I'm excited to take pictures all day long of our baby. Don't worry, I most certainly will not be starting a photography business. :) It is exciting when I get one good picture out of about 400 though.

It's getting to the point now where we can't believe there are only 10 days - DAYS! - left until this baby is scheduled to arrive. I wonder if he'll come then, sooner, or later. My guess is still for the 7th. Jason thought he'd be here before Christmas. I don't feel any signs of him going anywhere in the next 10 days though. We lay in bed at night and are so thankful that we're going to get another full night's sleep. We are so fortunate to be able to have this time to collect ourselves before he comes, to be able to rest and nap all day long if we feel like it. I just can't believe I'm counting down the days until I won't ever be able to sleep through the night again. Even when he grows older, I'm sure I won't sleep as soundly. I'll always have that motherly worry throughout the nights. I used to periodically wake up and make sure our dog was still breathing. And I do it to Jason also.

Now, our nephews are coming up from Atlanta tomorrow. This could affect our amount of sleep. They are 5 and 7. There will be a lot of legos to be built, and entertaining to be done. And then we get to sit back and remind ourselves that this will be us in a few years. Then we'll have the "What were we thinking?" moment. Oh, joy, I already can't wait!

We've been watching One Born Every Minute. I'm probably most nervous about being a patient. I've never been a patient. If I ever go back to work, I'm sure I'll have so much more empathy for these ladies. I still can't believe they can regulate whether or not you can adopt a dog based on whether or not you'll agree to take them to doggie daycare, but they'll let anyone have a child. And they let you leave with it! And you're supposed to figure out how to do it all by yourself! And children do it all the time! How scary. In our case, we are not ignorant enough. And so, we are not blissful. Ha. We watch too much TV, really. When we watch Supernanny, we talk about how we are going to be way better parents than them. When we watch Teen Mom, we feel way better about ourselves and our situation. When we watch Beyond Scared Straight, we get so nervous that our child will end up that way. When we watch One Born Every Minute, we both just can't believe that's going to be us so freaking soon.

I have all these visions of perfect parenting, and I second guess myself so much, I know it's going to be a huge struggle for me. I want to do everything right. I never want to argue in front of him, or loose my temper, or bribe him, or feed him bad food. The reality is, I know I'm impatient (although they say it's different when it's your own), I know I'm lazy about cooking, and I know sometimes I can't control the volume of my voice. Ha. I will probably still use Johnson's & Johnson's baby shampoo. I will probably give my child Apple Juice at some point. And I will probably not feed him all organic stuff. I do hope to breastfeed for as long as I can. But, I hear that's extremely hard in the beginning. It makes me cringe to think about the pain even now.

So, these next few days will be spent waiting for this still nameless baby to arrive. I hope everyone that still reads this had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Convalescent Leave

The blogs are slowing down as our schedule seems to slow down too. Jason went on convalescent leave starting last Friday. Thirty days of free leave from the Army to "recover" for those of you who aren't military. We decided to take it now because of the holidays, and the baby. He'll also get ten days of free paternity leave when this baby does come. It's a little stressful though, to be home with our families, I'm not going to lie. Here I am, almost 30, and I feel like I'm home on Christmas break from college again. Mom gets mad when I don't tell her where I'm going...still. We have to divide our time between my moms and his dads, and that can be a pain to drive back and forth. We're on leave, but are still living out of bags. And accumulating more stuff.

Operation Second Chance sent me my much wanted (and expensive) breast pump. Not so exciting for most, but it was for me. That was really the only 'big' thing left on our registry. Other than the crib and the glider I want, but won't get until we get back to Colorado. After all the generosity that has come our way because of Jason and the impending baby, I'm sure we can afford to buy those two things ourselves.

I had a doctors appointment today in Bethesda. If it's not him, it's me. We stopped by OT to get some different sized finger shrinkers, and say hello to everyone. It was definitely pretty dead. Then we waited over an hour for my appointment that lasted about ten minutes. I was becoming more and more irritated - and hungry - by the minute. The weather didn't help, either. Baby is still head down, heart beating, and breathing. Fluid looked good, GBS-, but no internal exam. My next appointment isn't scheduled until the 5th, which is two days before my due date. I figured I don't need to know whether or not I'm dilated. Ignorance is bliss right? We'll probably just pack up and go back to Bethesda to stay if I haven't gone in to labor by then. They don't do internal exams like they used to apparently, because everyone is shocked that I don't know if I'm dilated, or how much he weighs.

I wanted to try to go to the Pentagon City Mall on the way home, just to see what it was like. So we pick the shortest route according to our iPhones, but there was so.much.traffic. It was noon! On a Wednesday! Finally, about 3 miles down the road, Jason got too hungry, so we found a maze of a parking garage, and went to the Cheesecake factory where we still had to wait 15 minutes to be seated. At lunch! On a Wednesday! More and more irritated. I decided I hate the city. Doesn't matter what state it's in, I hate cities. There is nothing about the city that appeals to me. Crowds everywhere, all the time. Impatient people crossing busy streets holding traffic up. They always say cities are more fast paced, but I can't see how that's possible if it takes you 3 hours to run one errand. So by the time our 2 1/2 hour lunch was done, we're pushing rush hour. We continue the way we were going, towards the mall. All the way through Georgetown, and down by Washington Harbor. I'm a terrible navigator, and so we missed our exit. It only took that for Jason to give up and just go home. So we got on 395 and went an average speed of 30mph all the way to the route 1 exit. It took us 3 hours to get home. Long day for one doctors appointment.

Since we've been home (last Friday), Sadie has gotten up on the counter and eaten cookies three different times. The first, was Friday before mom's Christmas party. Mom had all the food on the table, and pushed it back, but not far enough. She came upstairs to get ready, and then we were all upstairs. I waited to hear her follow, but she didn't, which is unusual because she always has to be within eyesight of someone. I called and she didn't come, started down the stairs and called again. Finally she came around the corner smacking her lips pretty hard. I looked at the table but couldn't find anything disturbed. There was a plate of cream puffs with a section missing. I couldn't tell if Mom had planned to put something else there, or if she really at all those cream puffs. Later on, Mom says "Where did all these cream puffs go?!" Strike 1.

Last night, I noticed some crumbs on the counter in front of a plate of cookies left over from the party. I asked dad if he ate those cookies since it looked like half the plate was gone (it was full before). He said "I had a few" and looked over at the plate "but not that many..." Strike 2.

Today, after we all got home, dad showed mom a basket and said "Well, this is the only one she left..." Apparently he didn't know she was leaving, so Sadie was once again downstairs by herself at some point. Mom had individually wrapped all the glorious Christmas cookies Jason and I worked so hard to decorate at Laurens' house last week. She was saving them for our nephews who are coming to visit. Sadie ate all but one. Apparently she took them to her crate, unwrapped the plastic, and ate at least four giant, heavily frosted, sugar cookies. Strike 3.

It's safe to say, she has a sweet tooth. She's also going to be a handful when we get her back. We don't generally leave food out on the counters like they do here, though. She did eat pizza off the top of the stove once, back in Colorado. I suppose these are the joys of being a dog owner. Our old dog ate a whole chicken off the counter back when I was growing up. She knocked over the Christmas tree, too.

Today is the seven year anniversary of the death of our high school friend, Nick Mason. He was killed in Iraq in 2004 by a suicide bomber. It rocked our small town, and everyone still goes to great lengths for his memory, which warms my heart. We didn't get to send off red balloons today because we were stuck in traffic for about 3 hours this afternoon if I haven't already mentioned that. It's hard to believe it's been seven years, though. I remember I was online, IMing - home on Christmas break from JMU - when a friend called and told me what had happened. The war was still so new, and I was still so naive to it, it was really hard to believe at the time. Now, it has all but defined our generation, and it has definitely changed my life forever. It's hard to think back to before the war. And while they are finally finished with Iraq, which is glorious, I wonder how much longer we will be in Afghanistan. At least every other day, the Medevac comes in with more wounded soldiers. I've been meaning to take a picture of it, just the 'bus' as they call it, to remind people that this is still happening. Peoples lives are still changing forever after that one phone call. Even though we're done with Iraq, remember soldiers are still dying, or becoming seriously injured in Afghanistan.

Nick and I did not get along in high school. But, we literally grew up together. Went to Sunday School together, my mom taught him in the fifth grade. After we graduated, we got much closer, thanks to AIM and the good ol days. We talked almost every day when he was deployed, before the days of Skype. I always wonder what our friendship would be like if he had come home. The same things so many families have wondered these past 9 or 10 years, and will continue to wonder until this nonsense stops.

I am thankful this Christmas that my husband sleeps soundly upstairs, as healthy as healthy can be considered in his situation. Almost all in one piece. Off all of his medications, and thriving. So excited to become a new daddy. A gift so many have given up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Month 4

I remember sitting in the Navy Lodge, probably at like midnight, typing the "Month 1" post...wondering where we'd be now, and even further down the road. Some days it doesn't seem like we've come very far, other days it feels like we can taste the Colorado oxygen...or lack thereof.

Now, my hands and feet are swollen from walking around all day. Even the "fat, pregnant ring" I bought, is too tight. I'm just going to have to give up on rings for a while. I thought walking was supposed to help. It seems to make it worse for me. Especially in my hands. But my hands used to swell from walking a lot even when I wasn't pregnant. I'm just special I guess. But if that's the worst of the pregnancy symptoms I'm going to get, I guess I should be thankful. Everyone thinks I am crazy anyway, but I really haven't had any crazy mood swings. Unless I'm talking to my mother. The other night, she asked a billion questions all in a row...just complete a thought woman! And as per usual, I got irritated. And she says "Gosh, why are you so sensitive? Geez, those hormones are out of control." Come on. Really? Saying that to any daughter would probably irritate her, haha. The joys of a mother/daughter relationship. I do hope I get to have one, one day. I don't think my son is going to want to talk to me on the phone every night when he's 27.

The appointments still haven't slowed down. Maybe it seems worse because we're trying to get a lot of things done before he goes on convalescent leave. So yesterday, we added a few appointments to the week, and every day there's something new. Then his platoon sergeant or nurse case manager is calling or texting him all morning trying to get a hold of him to do some other administrative crap, even though they could look it up and see that he's got appointments in a building where we get no cell phone service.

So then I look back and remember when I was thinking we'd have all this free time on our hands. Ha. It's never going to end. Even once we leave, I'm sure we'll always be tied to this place some way or another. He'll probably have to come back every once in a while for prosthetic adjustments. And once we get to Colorado, there will be a new heap of problems. Inprocessing and Fort Carson trying to figure out how to deal with his situation. Ugh.

Today at OT, while his hand was in the heat machine thing, we talked about how different it will be once we're "back to normal." He was realizing that even for regular work, he'll possibly have to lug different legs, and socks to work. We'll have to get zippers in all his long pants so that he will be able to access his leg if he needs to add or remove socks mid day.

He could go to the X Games at the end of January, but I couldn't go with baby, and he doesn't seem to want to leave us behind. They're in Colorado, and I think he should go, to get away, and because you don't get a chance to do that very often, but we'll see.

We went to the Army/Navy game this past Saturday. It was a lot nicer than we thought. We came all prepared for the freezing cold, but our seats were in the Upper Level Suites where it's all heated, but the front is open to the field. The lunch was free, but sodas were $5 a piece, and beer was $9! We didn't really get to watch much of the game though. Right before half time, we were supposed to go to the back by the door and meet the President, and when we were told about it, it sounded like a hush hush thing that no one else knew about. Until everyone started seeing everyone else crowding around the door. Then it just got nuts. People were yelling to move back, and we got cut in front of a ton of times. Jason was wearing pants, so no one could tell he was wounded. We ended up in a corner behind people in uniform who seemed to be working the event, but wanted to meet him also. I know everyone wanted to, but it was supposed to be for the wounded warriors, and they were getting swooped by these people. My heart was racing because I was becoming so livid, not because we were about to meet the President. My rude comments started getting louder and louder. Finally after about 10 minutes of pushing and shoving, we realized he was on the field at the half time show. Ha.

When he did finally make his appearance, he walked right by us. We moved to another area, and he started back the other way. They kept telling us to come this way or go that way, and finally we ended up on the opposite side that we started on, being one of the last people to see him. He is very personable, and tall and skinny in person. He asked when I was due, boy or girl, and if we had any names. Jason asked if he had any suggestions, and he said he heard Barack was a good one. We took a picture with him, and that was that. I woke up multiple times that night mad at myself for not saying something about Jason's injury so he'd get the recognition he deserved, but I couldn't figure out how to work it in to the conversation at that moment. If we ever see him again, I'll be sure to tell him. Ha.

We went to see The Nutcracker at Warner Theatre on Sunday night. I've been wanting to do that for a while. The tickets were really expensive, but we treated ourselves since we got screwed on the Pentagon :) It was a great show, and Jason even enjoyed it.

So, here we are, four months later, still going. Now, waiting for this baby to make his appearance, and thankfully he's waited this long to do so. It doesn't feel like he's coming any time soon, but how would I know, I've never done this before. He is still head down, with hands and feet on my right side, butt in my ribs, and back on my left side. Hopefully he stays that way. And hopefully we can make it through Christmas, and it doesn't snow or ice or anything since we will be driving back and forth from Bethesda to King George at least once a week until he decides to show. The car seat is in the car, and the diaper bag is packed. We need to pack the hospital bag, and Jason is determined to put towels in the car in case I deliver en route. Ha. I don't think it will happen that fast. But I sneezed yesterday and it hurt the ligaments in my uterus, so I said "ow ow ow ow" and he thought I was going in to labor again. haha. When it finally does happen, I'm sure we'll look back on all this and laugh.

Hopefully, at month five, we'll have a baby here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

so done

Let me just say, this will most likely be another depressing, 'woe is me' post. Just FYI.

Back in October, right after we were discharged, we found the events office and learned about all the events they had to offer. We signed up that week to go to the Pentagon but we were on the waiting list. We got a call saying we could go, but we ended up not being allowed because he was still inprocessing to his attached unit here, and we had to go to a mandatory brief that same day. It wasn't as big of a deal then because we didn't think we'd be able to get off the waiting list anyway, and we were really busy with all the appointments and inprocessing after just being discharged. They only do the Pentagon tours every other month, so we were stoked when we saw it back on the list again for December. Perfect. Right before the baby gets here, and he really wanted to go. We were among the first on the list, and have been counting on this trip for at least two weeks. It's all we've been looking forward to this week, which has gone by like molasses. We've told his PT and OT that we won't be here on Friday because we're going on the tour, and were so careful not to schedule any other appointments for that day.

He gets a text this afternoon. (The tour is tomorrow) "Confirm your appointment for bone scan at 1430 tomorrow." WTF. Who scheduled this appointment?? Why didn't they call us first? I understand he's in the military and 'owned by the government' but give him a break. Where's the morale? It was his nurse case manager who was texting him. This man who we have to meet with every Monday morning to be sure Jason still isn't suicidal or homicidal and doesn't need any appointments. If he does, he's supposed to make them for him. Fat chance. We ended up making his last appointment ourselves because it took this guy two days to do it; and it was for a med refill, so not something we can just sit on. He has been trying to get an appointment for a bone scan so he can be approved for running. They told us they were booked through January. But there is a special guy who squeezes them in anyway. This special guy is out sick all week, so we were going to call next week to schedule the appointment for right before we go on leave. Somehow, someone made this appointment for tomorrow, instead. An appointment that will last all of 15 minutes I'm sure.

Now, I know I'm supposed to be all happy and excited that he's got this appointment even though they told us they were booked through January. But, I'm a negative person. And I can totally see us showing up tomorrow for this 15 minute appointment, and the mean lady at the desk will say "you're not showing up in the system." like she did last time. If this happens, I will probably lose my mind. So, we missed an awesome, once in a lifetime, full day tour of the Pentagon for this bullshit.

He texted his case manager back and told him about the scheduled trip, and he told him he had to go to this 'hard to schedule appointment, the pentagon can be rescheduled.' It must be the selfishness in me, but the bone scan can be done 5 days a week. They only do this tour 6 times a year. And so that means the next time they do it, the baby will be here, and I can't see myself taking a newborn on an all day tour. Yeah, let's breastfeed in the middle of the Pentagon. Awesome.

Why no phone call? Why do they think we just sit here ready to go to appointments all day long? Why do we have to drop everything else we have planned for these stupid appointments? Where is the mental wellbeing coming in to play here? I really wanted to go on this trip, maybe more than him, so maybe that's why I'm so upset about it. We've been to the White House twice, but they were both self guided tours, we have yet to be able to get on the official tour where you meet the president and all that. Why? Because of appointments.

He won't fight it though, which I guess I can't push him on, it's his career. And I guess that's why I'm not in the military. I, apparently, don't do well with authority. I wanted to go give this guy a piece of my mind, but he wouldn't let me. I just don't get how he can be so complacent about these things. I was like, utterly crushed that we couldn't go. I am going to be biting my tongue tomorrow morning as we walk by the bus with police escort just to go to the appointments that we already told them we won't be at. And then twiddle our thumbs until 1430.

Why do I let things make me this upset? If this bone scan is the correct one, then I should be happy that he's one step closer to being approved for running, getting the running leg, and getting out of here. But instead, I stewed all afternoon, and pouted, and was so mad I wanted to scream, but figured it would do no good. All the while, he just goes along with his day like it doesn't bother him, and that just makes me even more mad. I know if I ask him, he'll say "There's nothing I can do about it, sitting here being mad isn't going to help anything." And there's logic in that statement, but my brain doesn't work that way I guess.

So, I officially hate it here. I hate the people, and I hate the reasons that we're here. I hate that all they preach is morale and mental health, and get involved! And then they make it freaking impossible. We're signed up to go to the Army/Navy game Saturday, but I suppose I shouldn't get too excited about that until we're on the bus to go.

And all day tomorrow, I will walk around with a scowl on my face, insanely bitter that I'm not at the pentagon meeting super important people and all that fun stuff.

That doesn't help him any, and it certainly doesn't make for a very friendly wife. I hate that I do this, and react this way in these situations. I hate that everyone in the universe can tell when I'm beyond pissed. How do people put on those fake happy faces all the time and go about their business like grown ups? I'm still so, so childish, I think.

Then I try to remember why we're here, and how it was 4 months ago, and how distraught I was about much bigger things. I need to always keep that fresh in my memory. Because missing a tour at the Pentagon is not the end of the world. But today, it was for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

another week gone

Our days have been pretty much the same this last week. It was our first full week of appointments since his hospitalization because of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. It's like going back to school after Thanksgiving only to have to study for finals, and then have a month off for Christmas. Speaking of which, we're hoping to get his convalescent leave for the middle of December through the middle of January. After that, the baby should be here, and he'll get ten days of paternity leave. His therapists will likely clear him to do PT and OT on his own, so we won't have to go to appointments while on leave. We will have to work a little harder to stay motivated to work out, though :)

I think, for the most part, we have everything we need for baby! Jason and I went to Babies R Us the other day, and got a lot of the remaining things from our registry. I could've been in there for hours. He faded quickly, though. I tried to only get the basic things, but we'll see how much of the stuff I have, I actually use. This baby already has a dresser full of clothes which I tried to organize by size. I can't wait to get back to Colorado so he'll have his own space. Right now we have the pack n play with little changing thing on top in our room, a cradle my mom found in the living room, and all his clothes and changing table pad in the second bedroom. He's kind of all spread out, but oh well. I know I'll be too anal to not have him in our room in the beginning, especially with breastfeeding. Jason has been fighting me on having multiple changing areas...he just doesn't understand the point. I tried to explain it, but he still doesn't see my logic. He thinks he can just change him in our bed every time. ha. Until he pees all over the sheets at 0200. I'm sure how we have it set up now will change once he comes. That's how it always works. I'm not going to lie, having the pack n play across the room even freaks me out a little. I won't be able to see him breathing from all the way in the bed! Yes, I'm that nervous. Now I just feel like a sitting duck, wondering when I will go in to labor. We're going to have to bring the car seat and hospital bag home with us on leave just to have. And I will probably have to come back up here once a week for a check up which is a bummer, but I will survive it. I'm hoping he'll hold out until after Christmas. Jason seems to think he's going to come sooner.

We set a goal date for returning to Colorado of 31 March. That's just the date we've set for ourselves, of course he'll have to clear this base and all the doctors first. We need to get a bunch more legs, he has to have a bone density scan to clear him for running, he has to go to the gait lab to be sure he's walking okay, he needs to go to the wheelchair clinic to get a custom wheelchair that will probably take 6-8 weeks before it comes. That took some convincing; he didn't want to get one at all. I'm just afraid we will need it down the road in case anything happens and he can't use the crutches. Basically, I am trying to drain this place of all it has to offer before we leave and it becomes that much more of a hassle.

I almost feel bad though, for being this far in his recovery that we are able to think about returning home and getting on with our lives. There are people who have been here for 2 years. I don't know how they do it. A lot of these guys are doing their med board process here, though, and that can take at least a year in itself. We are waiting until we get back to Colorado to start the med board. That way we can be in our own home, and hopefully I can get a part time job eventually. Otherwise, I'd have to go back to Colorado alone (and with the baby), while he stayed here in the single soldier barracks and did his med board. A lot of guys are med boarding out of the Army though, so it might be a little different for their families too. He wants to stay in, and stay at Fort Carson for a few more years, so that's why we're trying so hard to go back. I just hope that once we are back, we will be happy. In life, there are always those times when you say "I just want to do.....whatever it is....and then I will be happy." But then that thing comes and goes, and you think of something else that would make you so happy. Right now, Colorado is our 'thing'.

This weekend we're going to the White House again, for a tour to see the Christmas decorations, nothing official unfortunately. Next week we do get an official tour of the Pentagon though, so that will be fun. We have a Christmas party to go to tomorrow night, and then another labor/delivery/breastfeeding/baby class all day Sunday.

It feels like I'm running out of things to write about. Hopefully the holidays will prove to be a little more eventful. Although, I can say, sometimes I don't mind the fact that things aren't too eventful around here these days!