Autism and Marriage: The Wife Chronicles (Pt. 3; Changes)
It's Been A VERY Long Time... Where'd You Go?
I realize that it has been quite a while... And a lot has happened. So, let me explain...
During my pregnancy with my second child, it really hasn't been a picnic. I went through two experiences of a "threatened miscarriage", almost losing my baby twice. I also developed pre-eclampsia, and HELLP Syndrome. And tachycardia. So it landed me where I was supposed to be on bedrest... And that really didn't happen.
My Aspie husband has changed a lot. And is progressing downwards with mental health problems. Now, I'm not saying all people with Aspergers will go through this... I'm just saying that my husband did, and still is. And sadly, I've become more of a mother to him, than a wife. And it's all because of changes.
Now, going backwards again...
I spent months preparing for the baby. I helped clean when I could, in our house. Because of him collecting what seems like a collection of a little bit of everything, and becoming a borderline hoarder, to put it nicely, we made a sort of pact: He doesn't touch or clean my stuff, or the childrens... We won't touch or clean his.
It took him some time to become used to it, but it's all getting there. He has cleared out a lot of his collection. It's also spared from him having a meltdown, and lashing out at us.
Old gift certificate cards that he's collected over the years, to someday make an interesting dress? Gone.
Those plastic tube roles from receipt paper, while he worked as a cashier? Gone.
Cardboard toilet paper, and paper towel roles? Gone.
Old shirts, and other old articles of clothing he no longer wears, or touches? Gone.
All those piles of paper, and receipts from the store? Mostly gone.
The adult-themed party items, and other useless trinkets and things he bought from the clearance section while he worked at Spencers Gifts, a long, long time ago? Mostly gone.
So, those are a few of what he has collected... The list really goes on. He has learned that he finds comfort in material items out of insecurity, and from picking up on his parents habits. It's possible there are other reasons, but we aren't too sure.
There just has been a lot of changes for him, including what could of been his ultimate breaking point... His bedroom.
The Breaking Point For Two, Please!
Because of the increase in our family, we had to move all of Seth's belongings out his bedroom, and in to a smaller one. There are four bedrooms in the house... Ours being the largest, the second largest for our eldest son, the medium one for Seth's belongings, and the smallest one for the baby.
Seth had spent weeks having to clear out the garbage, and make more than just a pathway to his bed, and dresser. Because he wasn't ready to part with all of his collections, we had to put the baby in the smallest room... Which is quite the disappointment, as his crib, a dresser, and a chair can fit in there, with a tiny bit more of room to spare. Upon asking him if we could eventually move his belongings to the even smaller room, he broke down and cried. And he went on a verbally violent rampage at us. I guess that is where he snapped; where he had his breaking point... Not threatening us, but just anger. Anger that we are in his life. Anger that he spent so much time building up what he owns, only for us to tear it down. Just so much upset. He wasn't afraid to let us know.
Seth has a lock on his door, for his room filled with belongings.
And that room is packed full, floor to ceiling, of items.
As he began to change, and breakdown more, we stopped sleeping in the same bedroom. His belongings slowly started leaking in to our bedroom that we shared, as it could not fit in to the room of his belongings. And being pregnant and full of complications, I didn't mind. I slept downstairs on the pullout couch. I still cannot sleep in that room. It's not that it's full, it's just him, and his falling apart mentally that is driving a wedge.
As January slowly came to an end, and February was just days away, my health became worse, and I started spilling protein in my urine. The tachycardia felt worse, and looking at myself in the mirror had reminded me a lot like the "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man". I was horribly pale, pregnant, and unusually swollen.
With Seth not being so much of a husband anymore, I pushed and forced myself to move on, to keep going, and getting everything done. I'm sure nesting had helped too! Seth wasn't of much help, as between telling me that Aspergers was getting him worn down, and so was work, all I could do is keep going. He settled in to a literal routine of eat, sleep, work, and repeat... And I was all that was left to keep the house together, and our son fed, while taking him to and from school, and anything else that needed to be done.
And then February 3rd had come... I finished both of the bedrooms for the boys, painting and decorating.
As I was out and about getting a few last decorations, I got a phone call from the doctor that if I didn't have the baby that day there was a good chance that I could die, and so could the baby.
In a panic, Seth rushed me to the hospital. He was seriously panicking. He wasn't in a stable state of mind, and calming him down was hard. He wanted to rush to the hospital right away, instead of getting what we needed from home. I had to calm him down, and tell him to pull over, until he could calm down. He was beyond overwhelmed, and his breathing was heavy, and quite loud. It was hard getting through with him. I'm sure that could just be about any father's reaction, when it's time for a baby!
Looking back has been quite painful to think about, for me. He was very concerned about his family-- his mother, sister, and father, and how they wanted to handle this all; how they wanted to be there... Any of their input. It took me constantly needing to repeat myself that this was between me, him, and our eldest son, as well as our new baby. But for some odd reason... He kept going back to his parents, and sister.
So, the emergency c-section happened. And he was still bouncing around all over the place. He became the photographer during the birth, forgetting to hold my hand, and forgetting that he had a job given to him by the doctors, to help me through the c-section, seeing I couldn't take any opiates, with me being allergic. The doctors had joked with him, "Hey, don't forget about your wife!"... But that still didn't pull him to stay by my side.
Sadly, he was there, but he just wasn't there...
And so, they pulled someone else in and filled her in with what was going on, and gave me a nurse as a backup birth partner, so Seth could take pictures, and do what he needed to elsewhere. I spent the rest of the time being coached, and comforted, by the nurse. As I was wheeled in to recovery, they had to track him down. He was happy, overwhelmed, and all over the place.
I spent the rest of my recovery from the c-section on Tylenol and Motrin, and not being able to sleep, or rest, from the chaos of visitors at bad timings. I also had to deal with our baby boy having jaundice pretty bad, and breathing problems. After all, he was born early. We were only a few hours, to a day, in to being 37 weeks.
Towards the end of my stay, I realized I was adjusting to an old familiar way of life, from before I met and married Seth... The feeling of being a single mother. I spent my time in the hospital mostly alone, when visitors weren't there.
Coming home was much worse... He asked his parents to come over to the house, clean a little, and try to help out. But what really happened was far from that...
What I got was two in-laws, his parents, who did try make a slight attempt to clean, while reorganizing my important papers in my tiny work space (which is an old, tiny kitchen table, 4ft round, in a corner, where I do all my work, in a little tiny area off of a playroom full of toys), and them clearing out the house a bit more, from when they lived in it.
They talked to me, downing me about the puppy we owned, and how my family needed to train him before we took him in, but "...nevermind because they were too poor". They talked down to me, and my parenting skills, that I need to clean more, take care of my husband better, and... Well, so on. I walked off as fast as a woman could after a c-section, with baby in tote, and I cried. My eldest son eventually did follow. And we sat there, as we listened to my husband and his parents talk, laugh, and obviously have a good time.
Sadly, after that, the puppy was given a new home, where we can visit whenever we wanted, and I started to plan for the future. Because there was no way that this life would continue, if this is how it was starting to be.
That's when I had my turn breaking down, and wishing I wasn't allergic to opiates.
Seth didn't defend me. He just stood there. He let it happen. And I kicked in to Mama Bear mode.
Emergencies, And Final Decisions
The first month of the life of our baby boy was concerning. His breathing wasn't right. Something was wrong. And the doctors reassured me that everything was okay.
When he was just shy of 2 months, he became very sick. Around midnight, he would not stop crying and gasping for air at some moments, and was falling asleep right away after.
Seth was asleep, and so was our eldest son. No matter what I did, the baby couldn't calm down, during these spurts. Something was wrong, and I spent the whole night awake, trying to figure this out.
I tried several times throughout the night to wake Seth, telling him we had to take the baby to the hospital. But he wouldn't wake up. At one point, Seth, in his sleep, started cursing at me, and threatened harm to us if we didn't leave him alone.
At a little after 7am, Seth was groggy, and with hearing him moving, I ran upstairs and told him that I don't care if he hurts us, the baby needed to go to the hospital. Seth had no idea what I was talking about, and proceeded to take a shower. I got both boys ready, and in the car, when Seth finally decided to join us minutes later, after realizing that I wasn't kidding... The baby really needed to go. (I'm not confident about driving due to an arm injury.)
When we got to the hospital, they brought him in right away, and made us wait in the waiting room. Our baby was dying, and they had to work on him to save him.
A while later, and spending my time calming Seth, and keeping our eldest entertained, and distracted, they came and got us to see our baby. Although, our eldest had to wait with a nurse, because of what was going on...
It took a team of over 21 people to save his life. They had to put him in an induced coma, and hospitalized him for a week. During that time, they had to use a tube to clear fluid out of his lungs every so many hours, and kept him under a warmer.
I stayed there the whole time, day and night. Seth couldn't handle it, so he went home. He also decided it was best to continue going to work, which meant more time alone for me. I left our eldest son with my parents, and had to prepare Easter for him there, as well. It was our first Easter as a completed family, and it was a mess. Very separated.
During my time in the hospital, by the baby's side, I had a lot of time to think. On my behalf, I needed it. On Seth's behalf... Not so much a positive matter... I needed time away from Seth. I needed a trial separation.
Here We Are...
The baby has since recovered from the hospital. He is doing much better, but still has a bit of a breathing problem. It was never figured out what it was, but is believed it's because he was born early, and that they fully did not clear out his system, when he was born.
At the time I wrote this, he's about 4 months old, and doing really well. He's in my care at all times. Meaning that yes, Seth doesn't help out much. He has changed a few diapers, and interacts with the baby sometimes. He tells me all the time that he doesn't do much with the baby because he doesn't know what to do. And although I told him that I don't either, as every baby is different, he shrugs and walks away.
So here I am... Taking care of both boys on my own. Although, my eldest does help me out a lot. I feel horrible because at 7 1/2 years old, he seems depressed, and is disappointed over Seth and his path. He won't call Seth "dad" anymore. They argue a lot.
Seth has been in his own world, living his own life. He has a "bachelor state of mind", and we don't have much of a marriage. His greatest concerns are his parents, his belongings, and his life. We live as roommates... Seth the bachelor, and me, the single mom of two boys. It also doesn't help much when he lets others inside of our lives, letting them make comments and talk, which seems to tear us apart more. I really don't understand why he also lets those whom he is close with, just letting them verbally attack me.
I do give a bit of credit to Seth though... He has been wanting to find help because of having Aspergers. Although, with the healthcare confusion that is going on here in the United States, it hasn't been easy. We've been told that he is covered to see a specialist, but when we talk to the specialist, we aren't. It's a lot of phone tag, and trips back to the doctors office to see what steps we should try to take next.
Although, we do have a new issue... Regression back to his childhood.
Seth has had moments where he grows jealous of my attention for both of the boys. He always compares his childhood to the childhood the children are growing up to... Which is a more free, and happy one, in which I put in an overload of effort in to. And in all, I feel bad because all that Seth wants is love and to feel accepted, after a life of trying to search for it. Sadly, he has just regressed. And now, he has settled in to a routine similar to one he talked of, as a child, where he wakes, showers, eats, works if he has work, eats, then goes back to bed... That's it. No cleaning, no helping with the children unless it's time to play, I act as secretary to his life, he doesn't cook... He doesn't do much. It's as if he's a 13 year old boy again.
Or maybe, just maybe, Seth has become so comfortable with me that he transformed to this way, as if to start over again from a point in his life...
Yeah, sounds silly.
But, you never know. Because I really don't know. Every day feels like a new discovery.
So, here we are, in this mess. And there's a lot of straightening out to do. All I can do is take it one day at a time... As much as I may not be descriptive of Seth this time, as it feels, this is where we are. And this is the jist of our lives in the past several months. Just as many do in life, all we can do in our household is continue to move forward, even though it feels we have gone backwards.
But, how can we move forward, if we don't fuel ourselves from the past? Reflections, although upsetting sometimes, are helpful.