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7 Weeks and Counting

Isabelle will be making her debut 7 weeks tomorrow and my anxiety grows as each day passes. It’s funny, when I sit down to write about what I feel I find myself spinning my wheels. Fact is, I feel like I have brought a terrible responsibility to everyone without thinking of the consequences. I wanted a third baby, I wanted to add to our family and made the gamble against factors like my age and we went for it. The cost is huge and so many people will be paying. It’s impossible not to feel guilty when you know that your two year old will have to suffer your absence because of the lengthy hospital stay. Your teenager will be worrying about you, the family, and what she can do to help instead of enjoying the last month of summer before school begins again. Parents on both sides will be coordinating schedules on who will be with kids and who will be there with us while we anxiously await her recovery. Family members will be praying and worrying about us and their new niece, and seeing what they can do to help with the kids.
But the cost I feel the worse about is the one I have forced upon my husband. We are in this situation because I wanted another child. He now has the daunting task of figuring out how to be a supportive husband, loving father while dealing with his own fears about what lies ahead for us. Long nights at the hospital, being away from our kids, watching our little baby suffer helplessly and being isolated once we come home are all charges brought on by having a CHD baby. Our first major expense has been the loss of not having a normal pregnancy and the most recent cost is not being able to go on vacation with our family to Narraganset beach this summer. A few months ago, we looked at this vacation as a great opportunity to have a fun vacation on the beach with our families. Yes, I would be the size of a small blue whale, but it would still be a great way for us to spend time together as a foursome for the last time. Today the reality is I cannot spare any of my vacation days because I have no idea how long Isabelle will need to be at the hospital recovering from her first open heart surgery. What if there are complications? What will I do if she doesn’t get cleared for daycare? How will I be able to not work and still carry the benefits for my family? All of our health insurance is through Eaton Vance, and I know that if I do take a leave of absence, I am still responsible for that bill.
I didn’t get very much sleep last night partly from being uncomfortable and the other caused by my guilty conscience. As much as I know intellectually that I am not responsible for Isabelle having HLHS, I can’t help but feel responsible for the price everyone around me is going to pay. I never intended on any of this happening. I just wanted to have the family of 5 that I have always wanted (and grew up with). It breaks my heart that Isabelle will be born with a broken one. It kills me to think what I have brought upon the rest of our family.