At this point, Nathan had been in the hospital for 3 1/2 months, which is considerably longer than we had originally expected. With the average hospital term for a CDH baby being 6-8 weeks, we were now in the 16th week--twice as long as average.
Granted, Nathan had probably been through a lot more than your average CDH patient, which only served to weigh on us even more. In just over 100 days since being born, Nathan had had 5 surgeries, 4 attempts to come off the ventilator, 2 near-death experiences, 1 failed Cath Lab procedure, and a bout with hydrocephalus.
And now, at this point, with the uncertainty of the hydrocephalus, there still wasn't an end in sight. We didn't know if we were still going to be in the hospital for another 2 weeks or another 2 months. It was very frustrating at times, but most of all it was just plain exhausting emotionally.
The lows were so low and the highs so relatively high in comparison, that they combined to make one heckuvan emotional wrecking ball of a roller coaster. And it wasn't even over yet. We were still dealing with hydrocephalus.
In addition, I had been working as much of a full schedule as possible while still trying to make time to visit Nathan 2-3 times a week. Sometimes that included working early or working late. Bekah on the other hand tried to be at the hospital every day. To try and make everything work, that meant that sometimes we wouldn't get home until 8, 9, 10, or 11 at night. And over the span of Nathan's time in the hospital, it was physically taking a toll on us as well.
And to top it off, we were almost out of money. With Nathan being in the hospital so much longer than we ever anticipated and with gas prices being what they were at the time, it meant that we had so many more travel expenses than we ever imagined either.
The extra expenses had caused us go through nearly our entire savings. Even with an approaching pay day, I had no idea how we were going to be able to pay all of our bills. With a mortgage payment, car payment, two student loan payments, as well as the phone bill, water bill, and gas bill, there was just too much. There was no way that we were going to be able to pay them all.
It was something that I worried over day and night and night and day. And Bekah worried over me because she knew that it was a very heavy additional burden that we had to carry.
We knew that help was available from the Church to get some type of assistance, either help with groceries or some other type of assistance, but we didn't know how to ask or how to bring it up. And none of the leadership from our local congregation ever really asked how we were doing or if we needed anything. They had never been to visit us at home and they had never been to visit Nathan in the hospital. We knew that they were aware that Nathan was still in the hospital, but they never did anything about it.
So as far as we knew, we were on our own. So all we could really do was pray.
So considering that we hadn't told anyone of our severe financial difficulties, we were incredibly surprised when, miraculously, we received timely and ever-so-helpful donations from Bekah's grandparents and aunt and uncle. Additionally, my parents and brothers also were kind enough to give us some needed "Christmas" cash.
All together, it was really a life saver. With everything else going on with Nathan, it was really relieving to not have to worry about finances...at least for another month.
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