It was a rough weekend for me. The closer we get to Ewan's arrival -- excited as we are -- the more nervous and anxious I am becoming. And not just about Ewan's heart. That is a part of it, but that is not the whole story.
Many of you that read this blog are newly acquainted with my husband and I. To help make sense of the root of the other stresses we face, I have to tell you a little bit about how we became "Kirsten & James." We knew each other in college, but were not close friends. He graduated in 1999 and I graduated in 2000. We did not keep in touch. We became reacquainted through Facebook (I know, I know) in November of 2008. By February 2009, we were engaged and we were married about three and a half months later on May 23, 2009 -- a little over a year ago.
He was living in Kansas at the time, and I was here in Washington. We went back and forth on where we should live and ultimately decided (for reasons I won't go into here) that he would move here to Washington. He left his jobs there -- he was working with cattle on the family farm and drilling oil wells -- and we got married. And then the job search began.
And this is where we talk about the job market, the economy, yada yada yada. You know how this tune goes, I'm sure. Long story short is that after networking in variety of circles, applying all over the place, considering careers he had never considered before -- we are still looking. The income from his oil investments has been crucial to supplementing the income my job provides, but by itself, is not enough for us to live on. We never thought it would take this long.
And now I'm 32 weeks pregnant. My son has Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring surgery and an extended NICU stay after his birth. And I will only be receiving my full pay for two weeks after he's born. After that, it goes down to 60% for six weeks. And then ... that's it. We're on our own for the remainder of my leave (up to 18 weeks altogether). In different circumstances, I'm sure that 60% of my paycheck for that long would seem like a godsend. But I've crunched those numbers. It's not enough. It's just not enough.
Our options at this point are to sell off a portion of the investments that currently provide for roughly half our income, or for me to return to work much, much sooner than would be safe for our sanity and emotional well-being (2-4 weeks after the birth).
I don't share this because I want money or pity or anything like it. Really, I don't. It's just that these are real stresses and decisions that we're facing and as much hope as we've been given, as much as we've been provided for every step of the way, this is the thing that, as we get closer to our due date, has the best chance of making me come completely unhinged. If you had seen me this weekend, you would have seen it on my face.
So, if you're one of our Prayer Warriors (and we are definitely praying people here!), please, please pray for us in how best to handle this situation for our family. If that's not your particular bent, be assured we do not discriminate: your happy thoughts, warm fuzzies, e-hugs, and good vibes are all welcomed and deeply appreciated here. :o)
(Geesh, and to think ... some people have babies without heart defects and unemployment concerns all the time! This should be easy next time, right?)