09 August 2010

quite possibly losing it

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)

Thanks, Team!

(Geesh, and to think ... some people have babies without heart defects and unemployment concerns all the time! This should be easy next time, right?)


ANewKindOfPerfect said...

It is a stressful time for sure. I hope that by some miracle your husband comes across something soon!

Lisa said...

praying, praying, praying.

Erika said...

I just found your blog and will definitely keep you all in my prayers. ((HUGS))

Jill said...

i lost my teaching job over a year ago. We went from making $70,000 combined income to just under $32,000 combined income. Now that I'm not working we are now at $28,000. There is no possible way that I can go back to work after Joshua is born. We have our house up for sale as a short sale (it was between that or foreclosure).

Trust me when I say that I know how you feel. BUT....God will provide. It has taken us a long time to reach the point of full and complete trust. He provides in ways that are not necessarily ideal (like trips to the food pantry between paychecks) or through random bits of money showing up in our mailbox, but He DOES and WILL providE. He will do the same for you.

I will be praying for peace no matter what decision you guys make. I will pray that God provide for your every need at the exact moment you need it. He's good like that! :o)

Sarah said...

How I love you, friend. We're praying and praying and praying.

Shannon said...

Praying for you! Also sending happy thoughts, warm fuzzies, e-hugs and good vibes...but most of all, prayers!

Shay said...

thank you for sharing your needs and stresses...you all are in my prayers! I know God has something amazing planned...praying for peace as you wait. also sending you a giant hug! love you!

Stefenie said...

{{{HUG}}} I know exactly how you feel. I had to quit my job to stay home and become Logan's fulltime nurse. We had just built a house and had huge bills plus another child to care for. It was highly stressful but we have learned that we have to live without a lot things. Have you talked with a hospital social worker yet about applying for financial aid to help with medical bills and apply for other programs to help you guys out? Not sure what is available where you live but it never hurts to look into it. Our social worker was very helpful.

Sending up many prayers!!!

Tara said...

Just wanted to share that I am praying for you and your situation. I just found your blog. My son was also born with ToF back in Oct of 2009. We just had his repair surgery this past June. I know financial issues for us never seem to go away...but God always takes care of us, even when on paper it doesn't make sense. Feel free to email me tara@johnsonheartbeat.com if you want. Hugs and prayers to you =)

Wodzisz Family said...

I am praying for you to find the best solution for your family. It is hard and only time will tell which decision is best for everyone. We are lucky that we both work...me from home. I was able to go back to work from Hope's hospital room.

I am also sending positive thoughts, warm fuzzies, and good vibes to you and your husband.

Unknown said...

I'm praying for you guys. I think about you often and send my well wishes up every day. Big hugs!

Jodi said...

Coming over to your blog from "When Life Hands You a Broken Heart". My daughter, Leah, is an almost 2-year old ToF survivor. I'm just becoming acquainted with your story, and I plan to keep reading deeper, but I just want you to know another heart mom is here...here to talk, pray, follow, witness. No doubt you will reach farther than you ever have before...but God is with you always. Sometimes it helps to really just stop and feel His arms wrapped around you.

Financially...we are a single income family barely making it on a teacher's salary. Apply for Medicaid (Ill and Handicapped Waiver). And if you qualify, apply for SSI, too. You have to meet your insurance max OOP first but Medicaid will pick up the rest and also cover all Ewan's co-pays until he's 18. And those add up. Lots of trips to even his regular pediatrician will be more than you ever thought. Apply immediately after he's born because there is usually a waiting list. The hospital social worker can get it started for you.

Sending lots of prayers. Go Team Ewan!

Jodi Flannery

Chicago Mom (Heather) said...

Hi Kirsten - I found your blog and just wanted you to know i'm praying for you.

God Bless and hang in there. This too shall pass... even though it's hard to see that now.

Jen said...

Your situation is all too familiar, and it is to many other heart families- you are not alone. My hubby and I are both in the education field (so already don't make much! Ha!) but I had to take a year off from teaching to stay home with Andrew and living on one teacher's salary and paying insurance, medical bills, etc, we barely made it. The next year I tried part time, which was perfect, but still not enough financially. Going back to work has been the hardest thing for me to do, but it also has been good for Andrew, as he is past that critical stage where he couldn't get sick, etc. Plus he now loves "school" and all his friends! :) We are still picking up the pieces from that time I took off- paying off debts and a huge credit card bill...but we know God will get us there. He has a way of working things out.

Sending up lots of prayers for your situation. It is so tough. I hope it helps to know you aren't alone.

Jen, Craig & Andrew

travelmom said...

"Be still and know that I am God." He brought you this far Kirsten, He will not leave you now. I will pray.

Blessings friend,

Buttercup said...

Lots of prayers and warm thoughts and hugs!