30 August 2010

The day her last nerve died.

I need to be really honest here: I'm not holding up all that well right now. Actually, I'm not really "holding up" in any sense at all. We're getting closer to Ewan's arrival every day and there are still a host of unknowns that need to be dealt with -- questions that need to be answered, work that needs to be accomplished, and realities that need to be handled. My due date is 5 weeks (just 35 days!) from tomorrow, and we don't have the luxury of being able to take our time figuring things out.

There is much above and beyond Ewan's heart condition that is beyond our control: the dismal job market, the amount of income we receive from James' oil investments (which have taken quite a tumble recently), and when Ewan will arrive -- just to name a few. Right now, I'm the only one working, and that means that I'm the only one who can take care of certain things: maternity leave paperwork, short-term disability paperwork, making sure I have as much time off with my baby as possible (which means working as close to the due date as I can without losing my sanity).

The combined reality of Ewan's heart condition (and all that comes with that: the wondering, the extra appointments, the financial concerns, the emotional stress, etc.), James not having a job, not yet knowing how we are going to manage our financial obligations while I'm on maternity leave, the steady stream of ignorant or downright insensitive comments about my size or about pregnancy in general, having to work full time until it's time (and my job -- like yours -- has its share of incredibly frustrating days too), the general lack of free time away from work in which to check off anything on my personal to-do list, and the everyday obligations of life mean that I am and have been operating at a level of stress that doesn't leave me a lot of wiggle room in the patience/ability-to-handle-the-unexpected department. There is nothing in reserve.

And instead of getting better, sometimes it all just feels like things are getting worse.

People who know me well know what this means: everyday things -- even the tiniest frustrations and mishaps -- send me flying off the handle. Spilling food down the front of my shirt (again). Dropping something on the floor. Not being able to blow up an exercise ball by myself. Dropping my planner at work and watching all but two pages spill out. Having a paycheck that was taxed at a higher rate, resulting in about 20% less take-home pay. These are the the proverbial straws that break the camel's back -- the things that bring me to the point where I might, for example, get to my car and start sobbing, shouting unreservedly at the top of my lungs at God in all-out hysterics, telling him how desperately I need a break from all of this and how I cannot handle ONE MORE THING. You know, just like I did about three hours ago.

This is more than hormones and it's bigger than knowing how bad all this stress is for me, so I better just take a nice hot bath with some candles and chill out. I am worried about what this kind of stress could do to Ewan. I'm concerned about how this could affect what has been an otherwise healthy pregnancy (the last thing we need is an early onset of labor). I am worried about how I'm going to remember being pregnant with Ewan. While we've experienced so much joy in knowing he was coming and now that he will be with us so soon, the inevitable, implacable realities we go to bed and wake up with are starting to overwhelm and suffocate the joy out of it for me. I feel like this should be such an exciting time for us -- expecting our first baby!! -- and instead I'm finding myself filled with dread. And guilt for feeling that way.

All of it together is just too much for me to handle. I want him to stay safe for as long as possible, and I don't want my stress to hurt him. He will have plenty of challenges soon enough. If there was something tangible someone could help with I would gladly ask for it, but I honestly don't know what that would be right now.

God has taken such good care of us throughout this whole ordeal, providing even for our smallest needs, I have a hard time believing that He would abandon us in these bigger things. He knows what we need and often makes His provision known at the last minute and at the height of the impossible. But I feel so lost in contending with these day-to-day realities that comprise my present, in confronting decisions that I simply don't know how to make, in stresses and frustrations that I cannot ignore or delay or shrug off. I can't live in this place where I'm constantly falling apart. I only have a few short weeks left of being able to take care of my baby, and I don't want to screw them up.

I just don't know what to do, except say Jesus, help with every breath, and hope with every fiber of my being that our morning does not delay in coming.


Nadine said...

Thinking of you and praying for you! I hope your week gets better sweetie! You're entitled to have those days, you have a lot on your plate! You've done an amazing job with all that you've been dealt! Don't be too hard on yourself! I'm praying for you...I know how hard it is to live off of one income and the crummy job market is something I could whine about for hours...I pray that GOD will give you the strength to hold on just a little longer, once that sweet little boy comes out...it'll all be worth it! Love you! :)

Shay said...

Kirsten, thank you so much for sharing your heart...I can only imagine what you are going through...I wish there was something i could say or do to make everything better, but I do know that I can pray and God will do the rest. I love you and am holding you and Ewan and James in prayer. praying for strength and comfort and whatever else you need. hugs and love! :)

Tara said...

Numbers 6:24-26 - I am praying this for you. I know it seems like your world is crashing down...very, very valid feelings. I am praying for you and baby Ewan. Peace be with you =)

Lisa said...

pausing right now to pray for you and James and Ewan, and promising to continue to lift you before the Father.

And sometimes, I think that "Jesus, help" (along with "I believe, help my unbelief") is the most powerful prayer there is...

Tea said...

praying for you..

Anonymous said...

I have walked in your shoes. I know what you are going through (not the specifics but darn close) I worked for 8 different companies as a IC when I was pregnant with our heart baby. I was put on complete bed rest the last 6 weeks and she was born 5 weeks early. Stress is NOT a good thing for any baby - let alone a heart one. This may not be what you want to hear but please look into financial assistance thru Gov't programs. My daughter has TA (II) and she is considered disabled. She is only 2 1/2 and she receives SSI payments and therefore Medicaid. What a blessing that has been. Some may look down on it as "Gov't assistance" but there was no way I could have paid her medical bills with the previous insurance we were on...they cap the lifetime at 1 million and with OHS and a 2 month hospital stay that was gone in about the 1st month. Check into it - if it is not for you, so be it. But it truly has saved us from financial ruin.

Shannon Egan

Stefenie said...

Big {{{HUG}}} for you. I am sure it is really tough for you emotionally with so much weighing on you....financial stress, the health of Ewan, what awaits you after his birth....it's a lot. Right now you should just be focusing on holding that sweet baby in your arms very soon.

I agree with Shannon above. You should really look into applying for Medicaid/SSI Medicaid. A lot of heart families are on it and there is no shame in being on it. You truly need it and deserve the assistance. It helps tremendously because if you can take away one stress factor off the list of many stresses that come with this journey then there will be more of you available to care for Ewan. You really need to apply for it while you are still pregnant. It makes for less loop holes to have to jump through later.

You can always e-mail me if you have any questions on getting financial help or just need to vent. jacks_rswl@mepotelco.net

Katie said...

So sorry you're having these days...I did too. I don't think I've ever cried harder or more than those few weeks prior to Maddie's birth. It was awful and very difficult to find the joy. Know that I'm praying for you...if you'd like to chat in person, email me your number or I can send you mine and we can have a real conversation. Take care-
Heart hugs,

Jen said...

My heart just goes out to you. I totally know how you feel. Financial stress is a HUGE factor. When we decided I would stay home with Andrew, it only lasted a year because we just couldn't afford it and are still paying off the debts we accumulated from that year. At the same time, I look back and think about how much God blessed us and took care of us. It is just so hard.

And if it makes you feel any better (!) I dropped an entire gallon of orange juice on the floor one morning when I was about 30 wks pg and it ran all under the fridge, etc. I totally cried! :) Plus I was late for work and had to leave the mess for later. Little things like that are SO FRUSTRATING, aren't they!? Hope it gave you a laugh. :)

Just please know how many people are praying for you and Ewan. God will make everything work out. :)

Take care, and you can certainly email me anytime too! :)