The Longest Year – What We Learned in Our First Year of Marriage, According to Tim

So it’s Tim coming at you again, live and in stereo (well, screen).  Our world has once again been rocked.  Almost immediately after finishing my last post, our world began to rock again.  Let me just say that last weekend ended up being one of the worst ever in the history of our little Horvatich family.  

After going to dinner last Saturday to enjoy an evening out and toasting to moving forward, we got up the next morning as usual and prepared to attend church.  We had decided that we would attend the Summit Waterford campus (as opposed to the church campus we normally attend), which has special meaning for Lindsey since that is where she started her relationship with Summit Church.  We heard a powerful sermon by Kailey Newkirk on a very difficult subject.  Lindsey had to disappear a couple to times to use the restroom since she was still dealing with aspects of our loss, but we didn’t think much of it.  I was excited for our after church activities because they would include looking at the new apartment complex that we want to move to and looking at the house the I had been going gaga over on the internet.  

So in the early afternoon, we drove down to the Hunter’s Creek area and visited the apartment complex and fell in love.  This is the place we plan on moving.  It is exactly what we need during this transition period while before we buy a home.  We left the apartment and drove down the street to the new housing development to see “the house”.   We sat down and talked to the sales guy for a few, explaining what we were looking for, learning all about he builder (and I do mean ALL… the dude wanted us to know the history, philosophy and brand of toothpaste that everyone in the company used. Ok, slight exaggeration, but only slight.)  During that time, Lindsey got up to use the bathroom a couple times.  As we finally began to walk around the house, she kept having to run to the bathroom and I was thinking, “Well, I guess the Chinese food from last night has decided to visit.”  I COULD NOT have been more wrong.  The next 5 hours would be some of the most difficult and devastating we have yet to experience in our marriage.

Let me start this off by saying that marriage and pregnancy are NOT for wusses.  And those who go into either lightly are kidding themselves – and probably the reason the divorce rate is as high as it is.  Lindsey finally told me that we needed to go home, there was something wrong.  We got into the car and she immediately leaned the seat back.  She was in pain.  I didn’t understand what was going on.  Did she have gas?  Was she stuffed up?  I couldn’t have been more removed from what was happening.  Lindsey was having contractions.  Yes, those contractions.  Full on labor contractions.  WHAT?!?!?!?  I thought the baby was gone, that it had been lost the day before.  In my lack of knowledge, I didn’t understand that what had happened the day before was only a precursor.  We get home and I was still confused.  I just did not understand.  What is this pain she is having and what the hell can I do about it?  Luckily, during this time when Lindsey was laying bed writhing in pain and crying, a dear friend of ours texted to give us an update on how she was doing.  She had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl a couple days before.  Lindsey couldn’t talk so I immediately began to ask questions.  This friend had also gone through very difficult miscarriages herself, and the image of our friend almost dying from her experience went straight to the forefront of my mind.  Would our year of struggle lead to this?  Was I losing my wife, the woman for whom I had waited 44 years?  Our friend began to advise me on what we should do next.  We moved Lindsey to the bathtub hoping the warm water would ease her pain.  This is also when I learned what was really happening.  Lindsey was going through labor, but not the kind that anyone wants.  Her body needed to remove the non-living tissue from her body and the only way forward was to push it out. 

This took another 3 hours.  My wife endured contractions every 30-60 seconds.  Once again, I could do nothing.  I called the on-call doctor at our OB office and she made me feel like a stupid idiot.  (Tip for all the doctors out there: generally if someone is calling you seeking emergency help, it most likely means they are going through something they have never experienced, so please have a little compassion and don’t make an uneducated husband who already feels helpless feel even more stupid because he doesn’t understand or know what is going on.)  What the hell could I do?  

I did the only thing that I could.  I grabbed a chair and sat it next to the tub and held Lindsey’s hand for 3 hours while she did what she needed to do.  I don’t say that to toot my own horn or think that I am something special. I say it because I want to relay the extent of my helplessness.  The ONLY thing I could do was hold her hand and the entire time I prayed.  “Please take this from her.  Please help her to relax.  Please let us NEVER experience this again.”

Eventually, it was all over.  Or so I thought.  The reality was that this was just the beginning of a process that is still ongoing and will continue over the next weeks and months.  The physical side of the miscarriage is done and Lindsey is healing and not suffering any side effects, but now the emotional healing has to begin.  This is another area where I can only scratch the surface in understanding.  I am still learning in this process. 

We entered the week in what I felt was a bit of a somber, but normal mindset for us.  For context: My employment situation has been a bit in flux over the last couple months.  Since losing my job last July, I have done a contract stint with The Mouse himself which we had hoped would convert to a full-time position, only to find out they would be entering a hiring freeze and cutting me lose at the end of the contract.  I then did a few freelance gigs, which is not uncommon since I am a Motion Graphic Designer (if you are not sure what that means, you may visit www.timhorvatichjr.com).  We needed more steady income, so I took a retail job at a popular toy store that sells colorful building blocks, which meant eight hour shifts of standing on concrete while surrounded by screaming children…and adults. I would leave many days feeling like I had been at a rock concert because my ears would be ringing and my body would be in so much pain.  Lindsey kept Aleve and back rubs ready to help ease the physical pain, not to mention my bruised ego.

After three months of retail, a dear friend of mine offered me a position at her production company doing motion graphics.  This was great because it got me out of my $10-an-hour-physical-beatdown and put me back in the world of doing what I love and in my career field.  It would not be an ideal solution in the long term as far as providing for my family, but my friend would get a heavily experienced motion graphic designer, and I would be back in my field and working with some of my favorite people on the planet.  We both knew going into it that this was a temporary thing.  Little did we know how temporary.

Two weeks into the new job I received a message from my old boss with The Magic Mouse.  Did I have time to talk?  Sure!  I wonder what this would be about.  So Lindsey and I thought, “Ok, maybe he has some freelance gigs available.”  Once again, I COULD NOT have been more wrong.  My former boss wanted to know if I was interested in returning to work for The Mouse in the same role that I had been in as a contractor.  However, I would not be returning as a contractor, but a full-time cast member with benefits.  WHAT?!?!?!?  All I could think was, “This is my dream job and dream company and they are calling me?!?!” So they began their recruitment process which ended with an official offer this past Friday – an offer that has blown our minds!

Almost one year since the roughest year of our life began, we are walking out of the fog and into the light.  While we know that tough times will still happen, and money doesn’t solve life’s problems, we have survived twelve months of being kicked down WAY more often than feeling lifted up. We have faced two rounds of unemployment, a flea infestation, financial crisis, depression, anxiety, a first pregnancy, and a miscarriage, in addition to all of the normal struggles and conflicts that come with being newly married.

So what are we taking away from all of this as we approach our one year anniversary?  I think the number one thing is trust.  We really had to learn to trust each other.  We are truly approaching our second year of marriage stronger than we went in, not just as individuals, but as a couple.  We have said that we could not have gotten through the miscarriage had we not been through what we had and built the bond with each other that we did.  More importantly, we have learned to trust in the Lord.  There were countless times when we didn’t know where the next tank of gas was coming from just to get to work, or how were we going to eat that day, or what job was I going to have, or how were we going to survive another week with less than $10 in the bank.  But let me tell you, He had our six. EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.  Whether it was friends stepping in to offer us this help or a random freelance job for me, help always came.  We would receive a random check in the mail or get a gift card from someone so we could buy food.  EVERY TIME without fail, He provided for us.  It wasn’t in our timing, but it always happened. 

And during this time we did everything to remain faithful, both to each other and to God.  Does that mean we didn’t get angry with or yell at Him (or each other…)? No. I remember screaming at God one night at the top of my lungs asking for help and then not getting any answers.  But as we began to trust more, the light began to creep closer.  My dad would tell me some days, “you know, one day you are going to come out of this and He is going to rain down His blessings you guys, I just know it.”  Let me say that my dad was almost right… He (God) didn’t make it rain, He has backed up massive dump truck and dumped on us.  But in all of this we still want to remember that EVERYTHING that has been given to us is not ours, it is His, and we should NEVER become complacent or take anything for granted.

Going forward, we know that all of this comes not with a price, but with a calling.  We are planning to use our experiences to hopefully help others who may be going through what we did.  We hope that God will lead us to those who need help so that we can do for others what was done for us.  For those who answered His call during our time of need, THANK YOU for being faithful to Him.  My prayer is that He has backed the dump truck on you as well.  If you are currently going though that time of struggle, remain faithful!  Trust that He is there.  He may not answer or He may tell you no at times, but He is there.  You are NOT ALONE!  It won’t be easy, it won’t be fun, in fact there are times it will seem down right cruel, but keep your focus on Him and I guarantee that you WILL come out the other side.  And hopefully He blesses you beyond what you could possibly dream, because He is the God that can take our small dreams and hopes and turn them into something truly incredible and beyond anything we think possible.  He will show up for you, because the truth is, He never left in first place.

Wedding Photo

Photo Credit: Tonya Malay http://tonyamalay.com

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One thought on “The Longest Year – What We Learned in Our First Year of Marriage, According to Tim

  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing this lovely blog. I definitely loved the end of it because it instilled so much hope and peace into my heart and spirit. Praise God for always looking out for you and your wife, and giving you both the strength to walk alongside each other during your trying time. I pray that God continues to bless you both with much more (as I know He will). He will give double for your trouble, indeed! May God heal, restore, and renew all that has been lost or broken in your lives!

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