Sunday, September 20, 2009

When Does the Sun Shine for Us

Right now I am looking at the expensive wood floor (that used to be covering the concrete in my bedroom) all layed out in my living room to (hopefully) dry out. I watching and listening to Carolena fret, fidget and fuss. And I am questioning whether good karma, the golden rule and a merciful God really and truly exist.

I have heard and read that happiness is a choice. You choose your attitude every day when you wake up. Okay. I like that. I choose to be happy and positive every day when I get up.

And then the day starts.

And I struggle with my choice because really there is too much wrong going on right now for me to be able to see the happiness.

Todd flooded the bathroom in my bedroom yesterday. He stuffed way too much toilet paper into the toilet and then tried to flush. Water was pouring out of the toilet. All over the floor. I had no indication that anything was wrong until Todd said something about the toilet getting water on the floor as he was trying to get the plunger from the other room.

I do not see the humor in this situation. I do not find this funny in the least. I am wondering what in the hell is going on. What have I done to possibly deserve this latest catastrophe. And while I understand that on the grand scale on things this does not rank up there with Hurricane Katrina or the Iraq war, this is a catastrophe for me.

Kevin and I worked very hard to redo our bedroom just 2 years ago. We did all the work. Stripped the room bare and started over again. Took us longer than the one week we had allotted. The thing I loved best about our room was the flooring. I pushed for the oak floor that cost a fortune. Kevin thought the other less expensive composite wood flooring would be just fine but gave in to my request. Now Kevin is doing his best to save the wood from being ruined from the 3 inches of water that covered it. He has had to remove base boards, door framing, the wood floor, the padding underneath the floor and will need to put it all back together again should it actually dry out. Most of the water went into my closet. While none of my shoes were actually ruined they are now in one corner of the room by Kevin's side of the bed. Everything is pulled apart in our room. To make it worse, since Carolena is sleeping in our room as well the whole room and bathroom need to be cleaned as soon as possible since it was toilet water that when everywhere. And not clean toilet water.

What makes this so upsetting is that we have been on the boys forever about how much tissue they are using and putting in the toilet. We have talked and talked to them. I even bought some wet wipes for them to use to cut down on the paper. Yet with all this talking and accommodation to give them the independence of wiping their own backsides they still do not listen.

We have serious issues with respect in my house.

Respect from the boys for the house and the belongings, respect for all of their toys, clothes, etc., respect for treating each other nicely, respect for us as their parents. Kevin and I are not immune to the respect issue ourselves. We scream and yell and fight and argue. And even after approximately 3 years of marriage counseling we still fight dirty. We have all lost our sense of respect.

In a time when we all need to come together as a family we are separating. In many different directions. And we are shattering.

Much like when a windshield is hit with a tiny little rock thrown up by the semi in front of you on the interstate. When at first you barely notice the teeny tiny little chip but all of a sudden there are cracks spreading everywhere. It cannot be put back together. You need to start over and replace the whole thing. Unfortunately there is no do overs or replacing in life. You have to mend what is there or stop it from happening in the first place.

Kevin and I have received no let up on Carolena either. We were prepared for all the worst case situations but we obviously did not prepare enough for this horrible limbo we are in. It seems that everytime a new test is done there is something else wrong. I guess this is what my MFM doctor was referring to when he said there could be so many more issues wrong with the baby because of the heart issues. Well, we chose to be positive and we chose life for Carolena. We chose to fight for her. Give her a chance. And that has not changed. But seriously when do we get a break. Both of us are under enormous pressure with her care and noone truly understands how delicate a balance she is in right now.

Carolena does not eat well. She has been gaining weight and we are thankful she does not have a feeding tube but honestly at times I think in a way it would be easier on all of us. She fights, fusses, fidgets, pushes the bottle away with her tongue and hands, she cries and grimaces in pain and refuses to swallow even a little bit. It takes a good hour to try and convince her to swallow just one ounce of liquid. The catch is that she cannot refuse to eat. We HAVE to force her to eat. And to top it all off, she throws up what little we can get down her. If this continues she will be put back in the hospital. What is the worst is that she does not nurse at all, she only takes bottles. So, after trying to feed her for an hour I then have to turn around and spend another 20 mins pumping to get the breast milk to feed her. Because of her weight gain issues she is on a mix of half breast milk and half formula. I spend all my day washing bottles and breast pump items and then trying to feed Carolena. My hands are literally becoming raw from all the hot water and soap with the number of times I am washing stuff. I cannot afford to just rinse her bottles, they all need to be washed in super hot soapy water or boiled as she cannot get any infection at all...no stomach bugs as that could be salmonella which would be deadly for her as she has no spleen.

We do have her home but in some ways it is much harder on all of us. I am here but there is not much I can do with or for the boys as I have no time left to do so. Both Kevin and I are exhausted because of the way Carolena eats. There is no quick 20 min awake period in the middle of the night for her feedings. By the time it is all said and done you have been up for well over an hour. She eats every 2.5 hours. Does not leave a lot of time for sleeping. Or eating or anything else for that matter.

We both need a break but cannot afford to do so. We cannot leave Carolena with just anyone so that throws out Kevin and I doing anything together. If I go by myself then I am leaving Kevin with Carolena and the boys which is proving to be much harder than we anticipated. The boys are fine with Carolena but are not adapting to the fact we have less time to do stuff for and with them. They are still spoiled and selfish (by our own making...we know) and it is really too much to ask one parent to take care of all three of them at the moment. Not that Kevin has not offered as he has. But, he still gets a break during the day where he has no kids to watch or do stuff for. Even though it is when he goes to work and his work is just horridly stressful right now, it is still a break from kids. A chance to just be. I am not looking at having this kind of break for a very, very long time. Carolena cannot go into daycare.

Weekends are easier for me as we are all home but I am resentful that I get stuck in the house all day every day with the baby because she cannot go out. This is not a suggestion from the doctors but an adamant you must keep her secluded at all costs. Not an option. Each time we have taken her somewhere or allowed people in our house it is taking a huge risk. And each risk is stressful for us. Kevin and I would have a very hard time forgiving ourselves if it was through our selfish need to get out that we took a risk that exposed Carolena to something and she got really sick.

Kevin and I both feel we are living under a black cloud right now that we just cannot shake. We try to be good people as God wants but to what end. We are not happy. We chose to be happy but we are not. We all just want to sun to start shining on our lives and family again.

4 comments:

Kristi said...

I love you. My heart is aching for you and Kevin. I have no words, except that I am glad you are "talking" to your blog and venting. My only advise (which is hardly advise at all since I have no idea how hard it is for you) is that you and Kevin need to be OK. If you are OK, then the boys will be OK and Carolena will be OK. I will continue to pray for strength and guidance for you and Kevin. Just keep pushing. Push hard until things improve. You are stronger than you think, and Aunt Pat and Paige are there to make up the difference. Please call me if you need to vent in person. I just want to help any way I can.

Anonymous said...

Ashley,

I hear the despair and the frustration and I know it's got to be so hard living under the stress that consumes your life right now. And I guess the worst part of it all is there seems no end in sight. Please find a way to get out of the house some and do something just for you. You have got to take care of yourself or you won't be able to handle all of this. NO ONE COULD!!! I just can't even believe what you and Kevin have had to endure over the last few months. Preparing for Carolena, getting her here, getting her home and adjusting to all the doc visits and the constant worry and THEN on top of all of that the "Universe" sends the flu to your house. And now the floor is likely ruined. I know you just want to scream! The only words I know to say is words I've said to myself so often in my life ..."this too shall pass". Even though it doesn't feel like it right now, the sun will shine on all of you again. Until then, please take good care of you. And try to lean on Kevin. I know how much he loves you and his children. As hard as it may be you two need each other right now probably more than you ever have. MY OFFER STILL STANDS ... I can be there in a flash ... all you have to do is call or get Pappi or Paige to call!

I love you and wish I could make it all better!

Aunt J

Laura said...

I wish so badly that you didn't have to go through any of this. I wish I could be there to help you through it. I wish there was anything, anything at all, that I could do to make it better.
I am so glad that you are so open and honest in your blog, Ashley. It has to help when you express those feelings and I am so glad that you trust enough to let them out in this forum.
These trying times will be over someday and you will look back and wonder how you got through it, but you will get through it, because you are a strong woman, much stronger than you feel right now, I am sure. It will get better and I hope and pray that relief will come soon.
As much as possible, take things one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. What's the old adage...How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This storm will pass and the sun will shine, again. Until then just hold onto each other tighly and don't let go.
I wish so many good things for you...you are so very loved.

Anonymous said...

Ashley,

It would be foolish for me to sit here and type that I know what you are going through. I dont imagine I will ever know what it is like for you on a daily basis. One thing I do know is that when I am going through the tough times, it is not so much what people say, like "it too shall pass" or "I am praying for you" that makes me feel better but just someone reaching out letting me know they are thinking about me. I want you to know I am thinking about you and hoping things get better soon. I know we will always have a connection and I want you to know how much that means to me. If there is ever anything I can do, please do not heistate to ask.

Matt