Monday, July 2, 2012

Three Days.


My husband left me once. I was stunned and frightened but mostly lost. He’d always been the stoic one. My faith in him seemed unshakeable, until the day he faded from our life and I was left alone to face an unimaginable and desperate situation. 
The seriousness of my son’s congenital heart defect was officially diagnosed during a weigh in. Three days after discovering the holes in his heart, three days on a drug called furosemide (a diuretic), my husband and I left our house with great hopes that it was a cold which had plagued our baby and caused his laboured breathing.

Three days would determine whether my son’s weight gain was baby fat or excess fluid caused by heart failure.

I bore out those three days and the days before them without my husband. He was there, in our house, but he had vacated our marriage and his role as father as wholly as though he had walked out the door and drove away.  He was a shell of his former self.  Our marriage, only five months old, was being tested and it seemed as though my husband had decided to skip the exam altogether.

After surviving three torturous days where we lived together but suffered alone we arrived at the weigh in. The pediatrician placed our baby upon the scale. Its digital face came to life and spoke a truth we hadn’t prepared ourselves for. He’d lost an entire pound in three days and was a “failure to thrive”. There was no denying that “his heart was the problem”.

On the drive home I doubled over and cried. Silent and hysterical I longed for my husband to reach out, to hold my hand or pat my back.  Instead he glanced at me and asked if we should pick up lunch.

“You are so fucking stupid” I whispered. I didn’t need to shout; my rage laced the words and poisoned the atmosphere more effectively than screaming would have done.

“Did you just call me stupid?”

My anger fizzled and suddenly I was calm again. Roles had reversed and it was my turn to be strong. I quietly explained that his detachment from the situation was hurting all of us. I told him that if our son died I planned on never looking back and wishing I could have loved him just a little more and could he say the same?

A marriage should never have to encounter the terror of losing a child. Although it is promised before God that we would endure the best of times and the worst – this worst – had the potential not only to destroy our marriage but also the people in it.

I lost my husband once. But with a little grace and a wealth of understanding I found him again. It would be months before any good news would be received, but they were months where we learned to live as husband and wife and love as parents should, unconditionally.



read to be read at yeahwrite.me

47 comments:

Guerrilla Mom said...

Wow - that is terrifying.
I'm glad you got through it together, but sad you had to endure that initial terror on your own. How awful.
I am so happy to read a happy ending to this story, and thrilled that your baby is okay.

OneDayIllBeThatGuy said...

Powerful. Beautifully put.
Thank you.

Cathy Morton said...

I can't imagine what that must have been like for you. Thank you sharing that struggle and the endurance it took to get to the other side.

carrie said...

@GuerillaMom- The hardest part was enduring Children's Hospital on my own. I was extremely disappointed that I had to do that without him by my side. That being said I realized that if I had half a chance to think instead of react I might have shut off too. I think being a mother (and a woman) we are naturally more inclined to be attached in the early weeks. But my husband did bounce back and for that I will be forever grateful!

@DS- Thank you for reading and leaving such lovely comments! :)

@Cathy- It is a lonely and devastating place to be. I know many families who have lost children and I thank the fates every day that I never had to face that unbelieveably difficult path. Thank you for reading and commenting :)

Melisa @ just begin from here said...

What an incredible story of love and perseverance. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Such powerful descriptors. I especially liked this one "I didn’t need to shout; my rage laced the words and poisoned the atmosphere..." wow.

carrie said...

@Melisa-Thank you so much for the lovely compliment on my writing. It such a good feeling when I've written something that has impact! I'm so glad you enjoyed. :)

IASoupMama said...

I am so sorry that you had to endure that stress and worry without support -- and so glad that you got it figured out. I hope that you have the support you need now...

christie tate said...

OMG, that is a harrowing story. I hope your little guy is doing well and thriving.

carrie said...

IASoupMama-He was very supportive after the talk in the car. I think I just needed to jolt him out of his denial.

@Christie- he is doing very well now - only a few small holes left. Thank you!

Robbie K said...

How frightening to be dealing with a life threatening situation and be alone. I'm glad you were able to work together and things improved.

carrie said...

@Robbie- thank you. I'm glad we came together in the end too. It made things much easier.

Jennifer Worrell said...

This piece is SO powerful! What a terrifying story!

momfog.com said...

Men and women are so different. It's hard to understand what in the world is going on in their heads. I'm glad you gave him the jolt he needed and things worked out.

fiftyshadesofpeach.com said...

Abandonment can take many forms, can't it? Well done in the relaying of the complexities of relationships and the curveballs life throws.

Lynnjefferson said...

Very well put Carrie. Am so relieved my grandson is now well. <3

Lee said...

Isn't is amazing how sometimes just a few words can bring someone back into the reality of a situation. Very powerful.

carrie said...

@Jennifer- It was the scariest of my life. I hope I never have to face anything like that again!

@momfog-It truly is amazing how men and women work so differently. He's also a police officer so I think he's doubly good at shutting off emotion. But he snappe dout of it once I called him out on it!

@fiftyshadesofpeach- yes it can. Thank you.

@Mom-he is doing Great; and he's the cutest thing that ever lived too!

@Lee- Yes words are very powerful especially if one knows the right ones to say!

Mamarific said...

Very moving post. Marriage is never easy, but with the challenge of a sick child...I truly can't imagine. Bravo to you and your husband for persevering.

Stephanie B. @B4Steph said...

I love the photograph at the end. Beautiful! I also love your opening line. It turns out to be not what we think. A moving post indeed. How young you were (are) to navigate these waters. I admire your strength.

christina said...

INCREDIBLE story. thank you for sharing and thank goodness you all came out on top.

carrie said...

@Mamarific- thank you for the kind words! And yes adding other people into the equation of a marriage is difficult, but even more so if those people need extra special care!

@Stephanie- I think I'm still young! Sometimes its so hard to determine. During this journey of marriage and kids i swear I've aged exponentially! Thank you for the wonderful compliments!

@Christina- thank YOU for reading! :) And I am also VERY glad we all made it through relatively unscathed.

jesterqueen said...

I am so glad your marriage thrived. And I am even more glad your son thrived. That the bad news turned good and you did not have to look back and wish to have him back.

Louise Ducote said...

First, you were beautiful bride! Also, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen to that little guy. Congrats on having the honesty and guts to tell the story.

carrie said...

@Jesterqueen-Im an thrilled that I never had to look back either. I could barely live with the possibility, I'm not sure how I would have ever lived the reality.

@Lousie- thank you! I was five months pregnant and that was my second dress lol!

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms said...

Intense situations define us. So glad that you made your way to the other side of this with your husband and that you were able to tell the story. Erin

Tricia said...

I can't even imagine what this must have felt like. I'm so happy that goodness eventually reached you.

Pish Posh said...

Oh Carebear. This is one of the best written, saddest, and most human things I have ever read.

I am so glad everyone is there now.

Joe said...

So well written, you kept the tension up till the very end.

carrie said...

@Erin-You are totally right. The difficult times do define us. I never would have thought I could do so much when I felt so frayed. And now I'm stronger for the journey.

@Tricia- Thank you. Me too!

@Pish- wow Pish that's insanely high praise coming from you. Thanks so much!!

@Joe- Thank you Joe. I wrote it in word first and spent a good 8 hours on it. SO in other words lol I worked hard on it and I'm very glad people like it.

Michelle Longo said...

Very well done. My heart breaks thinking of the struggles you've gone through - I'm glad things are better. You've told the story so well.

Mere said...

You are clearly a much better person than I. Much, much, much better. I wish you and Preston well -- surfing your blog, I can see he's a little muffin!

carrie said...

@Michelle-Thank you. I'm glad too. His next appointment should be this November. I'm not at all excited for that but it will be good to get another good check up under our wing.

@Mere- Thanks for surfing the blog. :) I didn't think I had it in me either. But a part of me kept saying "everyone grieves differently". Being a man makes it extra hard to express emotion so I had to make it clear what I think we both needed. I needed him not to miss appointments and hold my hand and offer support and he needed to bond with his son - just in case it would be too late to do it later.

Truthfully I'm not sure how I didn't shut off too. It would have been my usual M.O. I think it came down to necessity. Preston needed me the most just due to being the primary caregiver so I never had the opportunity to do anything but face the hard truth.

Thanks for reading :)

SouthMainMuse said...

There are many times in a marriage that you have to let your partner "be." And vice versa. That was a huge trauma right after getting married. How thankful you must be that your son's health improved and you stuck with each other.

Cindy The Reedster Speaks said...

Carrie, this is so poignant and beautifully written, spare but with such a depth of emotion.

carrie said...

@Southmainmuse-I agree. Marriage is complex and in the face of complex issues, often very difficult to navigate. I am also very happy that we made it and that my son is fine.

@Reedster- Thanks so much Cindy. :)

Dawn Beronilla said...

Beautifully written, Carrie!
You put so much emotion into 500 little tiny words.
Very well done!

Shiftless Mommie said...

So, when your husband asked where you wanted to go for lunch, I got chills. On the way to the NICU, following the ambulance with my daughter, I told my husband we might as well stop for lunch because we wouldn't get to see her for an hour anyway. We went to Wendy's. I was so numb at that point that all I could focus on was practical matters, but I'm sure I seemed like I had checked out. I don't know if that was what was going on with your husband, but I'm glad you were able to tell him how it was affecting you.

And, of course, I'm extremely happy your family made it through such a terrible experience.

Stephanie Sikorski said...

"for better or for worse" such serious vows that we hope we have to never endure. I'm glad you were able to work through such a difficult time. I'd hate to imagine ...

carrie said...

@Dawn-thank you! It was so hard to whittle it down and still have a piece that made any sort of sense lol.

@Shiftless- Oh yes. Scott was in shock too. Completely. He had missed the original appointments (including the one where the holes were discovered) and all because he was so sure that Preston was fine. Optimistic to a fault. So when it was confirmed that it was his heart he was sent for such a tailspin. That's why I ultimately backed down. I realized that it was truly HIS first piece of bad news and it was a hefty one to take. And also this was going to be a long term issue and we would need to cooperate and not be at odds with eachother.

@Stephanie- I'm glad we worked through it too. It made us stronger for it.

Larks said...

That's so heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

I love the way you described him leaving you. Because that's what it is when someone shuts down and becomes a shell. They're physically there but really they're gone.

carrie said...

@Larks- yes he had totally checked out. He has never done that - usually hes the realistic one, but I guess his achilles heals is his kids. He just couldn't face it. I understand. I didnt want to either. But it didn't mean he could continue to check out. So hence the talk in the car.After the talk he did a complete 180. He never missed another appointment and he began to bond with his son.

Shoshana Martyniak said...

I'm sorry I've been so slow to write. If I'm learning anything from baby number two, it's that parents parent every child differently. And sometimes, even when we want our partners to be partners, they don't always know how to be. It was brave to speak up. Clearly, it was worth it.

carrie said...

@Shosh- perfectly said!

Michael A. Walker said...

Carrie, I'm so glad everything worked out okay. That must have been a terrifying experience.

I had a similar experience with my eldest daughter. She was diagnosed with a heart valve that was stuck open when she was 5 and required open heart surgery. Her mother and I were already divorced by then, but nonetheless it was a polarizing ordeal. Other than a HUGE scar on going across her back and rib cage, she is perfectly fine now.

Thanks for sharing your story.


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

carrie said...

@Micheal- Wow what an ordeal. I am so happy that my son never needed surgery.I cannot imagine how terrifying that was for you and your ex wife.

I'm glad that your daughter is doing fine despite all that she's been through.

Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment :)

Tammi said...

This is the second blog I have read today that brought tears to my eyes! This was very moving!

carrie said...

@Tammi- thank you! :) You made my day!