Saturday, August 20, 2011

the landslide

"is this the real life?
is this just fantasy?
caught in a landslide,
no escape from reality."


if i could have recalled how to do algebra the way that i can recall lyrics, i am certain i would not have flunked it twice in college. its weird the way that a lyric will pop into my head at just the right moment in time. i have been thinking the last couple of weeks about how to define this particular season in my life and for some reason "the landslide" keeps popping up.

i feel like i am living in this bittersweet time slip right now, torn between stumbling through the day in a zombie like haze and then finding myself unable to close my eyes in fear that i might miss a single moment of this sweet newborn baby bliss. is it real life? is it a fantasy? what is love? can i handle the seasons of my life? can everything in the world be so perfect, so pure and yet, so exhausting? sometimes i just stare at you, eleanor, and can't believe you are here. what an amazing miracle after all of the effort and heartache it took to get jack and vivian here; and then poof! like magic, like true love, like all the best things about randy and i produced this tiny little bundle of joy. could you be any more perfect?

because this time goes so quickly and you are changing daily, let me tell you a little bit about nearly-four-week old eleanor. you are tiny, oh, so tiny. your hair is starting to fill in on the top and you're gaining control of your neck. your favorite place to reside is on my chest and now you're raising your little head to meet my gaze. i see you, baby girl! i really see you, like i am staring right into those blue eyes and i can see your soul. you are starting to find your voice, crying more aggressively when i don't come quick enough. you're nursing every three hours like clock work and we are getting our dance figured out. it turns out that not only was i meant to work at hooters once upon a time, but i was made to breast feed a baby. in fact, i am pretty sure i could end hunger or at least feed an entire nursery full of babies! so, i've got that going for us and you are growing and gaining weight just like you should be. you are a content and relaxed baby, happiest in the noisy chaos of our house.

you are a very good baby! and i fall more and more in love with you every day!

knowing that eleanor is my last baby, my pleasant little surprise guest, makes this landslide most enchanting! i know that too soon you will be sleeping through the night and you won't wake me with your little grunting pig noises. we won't have those tender moments together in the middle of the night, when the house is quiet and there is just enough dim light in the room to highlight your little face. you look like an angel all snuggled in as close as i can get you to me. soon enough, the binkie will be enough to pacify you when you feel lonely and we will both sleep alone through the night. and before i can blink my eye, you will be a "big" little girl like vivian, who grabs her binkie, her pink bunny and requests to go ni-night on her own. just like her, you will grow before my very eyes! i can hardly believe that little tiny bug is now 22 months old and TALKS to me. then before we know it, you will be like jack, reasoning with me and independent. you will dress yourself, bath yourself and be anxious to go to preschool. you will become your own person, no longer a little growth that happily lives on my chest.

i am going to savor every sleepy moment of this landslide because before i know it you will not be a baby anymore. i'm going to slow down and continue to enjoy the in between time- the time between going back to work, life resuming to a normal schedule and this time, the time that daddy lets me sleep in with you until ten am and takes your siblings away in the evening, so i can rock quietly and get to know you. you will grow up too soon, be independent and fabulous, all of the things i want for you! things i want for all three of you! but for now i am going to soak in your milky breath, your heavenly scent, your petal soft skin. when i am an old woman, these will be the moments i will cherish, rocking a sweet, slumbering baby. if you could just stay small for a while, this mommy would really appreciate it.

I took my love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Till the landslide brought it down

Oh, mirror in the sky - What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I don't know, I don't know

Well, I've been afraid of changin'
Because I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder, even children get older
And I'm getting older, too

So, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
The landslide will bring it down

Fleetwood Mack 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

time in a bottle

it was a cold, dark, january day seven years ago when the soon-to-be light of my life entered my world. who would have thought after all my travels and wayward searching that i would end up meeting my husband back in good 'ol st joe? i remember meeting him like it was yesterday- i was bar tending at the hi ho and he was drinking miller lite with some guys i knew. after my shift, i sat down and had a drink with them, intrigued by this new stranger. after several hours of drinking i decided it was time to go home because i had school the next day. he laughed at me, thinking i was still in college and gave me a hard time about getting up in the morning. (after all, i looked much younger than i was! :) i informed him i was in cosmetology school and that i had to be there at 8 in the morning and stay all day. he then pointed to the balding thinning spot on top of his head and said "what can you do with this?" in an instant i was charmed by his humbleness and wit.

he frequented the bar for the next few weeks, flirting with me from time to time but always failed to pull the trigger on asking me out. so i sent him a valentine when the time came around and he totally took the bait. he might tell this from a different point of view, but this is my blog and that's the bitch of him never commenting. ha ha! he finally asks me out and i obliged and the rest, as they say, is history.

six years ago on this very night i married my very best friend. i can hardly believe at times, that it has been this long and at other times, i can still see that cute boy who came into the hi ho one night. we have lived in four different houses, had 7 different cars, three children and the same dog. we have been busy and productive over the last few years.

when i met him, i had dated enough to know what i wasn't looking for, but never was able to wrap my brain about my perfect mate. then he showed up and everything else moved to the background. life with him was easy, no waves and always fun. to this day, there is no one i know as funny as him. we laugh all of the time and about everything! its my best lesson to you three, marry someone that you can always laugh with. it makes the good times great and the hard times more bearable. its one of our best qualities as a couple, i think.

your dad is an easy going guy with the biggest heart of anyone i have ever met. he wears his heart on his sleeve and is kind and gentle. i have always known that he will take care of us and protect us. he's gone above and beyond during all of my pregnancies, especially this last one. he does laundry, changes diapers, and is quick to run to starbucks when i need a coffee fix. in fact, as i am typing this, he ran to the gas station to satisfy my chip craving! he's an honorable, do-the-right-thing kinda guy and i hope you always see him with the same eyes that i do. i love and adore him and i am a better woman for having him in my life. he has given me the best three gifts ever!

dan o'connor sang "time in a bottle" at our wedding, its the same song that was played at my parents wedding. since they have been married for such a long time, i thought it was appropriate and a good omen to do the same at our ceremony. i often reflect on the lyrics close to our anniversary and they hold as true today as they did six years ago- he's the one i want to go through time with.

happy to have you, happy to love you, happy anniversary, rothy!

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

Jim Croce

Friday, August 5, 2011

the siblings

i had anticipated my first two children being unsure and inquisitive about their new baby sister, but have been pleasantly surprised at how much they LIKE her. they really LIKE her. actually, they are smitten with her and totally and completely in love with her. i am certain the day will come when the new has worn off and eleanor is slobbering on jack's trains and she will become less enchanting; but for now its about the cutest, most heart warming thing in the world.

they have become excellent hand washers and use "hanitizer" frequently, before fighting over who gets to hold her. they each have their own boppy and they love to snuggle with her on the bed. 

i have to give credit to tasha young, who has the cutest, hippest bog ever for the brilliant idea i am about to rip off! she uses "isms" in her blog, "husbandism" and "toddlerisms"-- and i thought it would be appropriate to have our own set of "isms," as there have been a plenitude of hilarious things happening around here. there are things you don't really think about when introducing a new sibling. . . like how does it eat? where did it come from? jack is too quick to ask these questions, so i have had to be light on my feet and decided to just answer him as honestly and vaguely as possible. 

like these jackisms. . .

"how did that baby come out?" well, there is one bonus of the c-section. they cut my stomach open and pulled her out. ta-da! simple enough answer. and he bought it, with no follow up questions about HOW it got in my stomach in the first place. 

"why is she chewing on your nipples?"--- um. well. you know how cows make milk for people and baby cows to drink, well, mommy makes milk for eleanor to drink. "yea, like those big, huge pink thing that hang down?" right, jack, exactly. they are called udders. "i didn't know you had udders, mommy."

the nipple thing has been a real matter of fact deal around here. he is totally down with knowing that is how eleanor eats, but he wants to talk about it. a lot. and to everyone. like my 88 year old grandpa. yesterday at lunch, i took the baby upstairs to feed her and jack informed grandpa verne that "your nipples don't work grandpa." it might be the first time in my entire life i have seen my grandfather that quiet. i don't think he even responded but i was just certain that i was going to pop a stitch in laughter. 

vivian's speech and comprehension isn't quite what her older brother's is but she is fascinated with her new baby. she is puzzled that this new baby doesn't talk and gets closer and closer to eleanor's face with a "hi baby. hi baby. baby. . . hi?" vivian also gets so super excited around her that her speech speeds up and she ends up calling the baby "ner ner" instead of "eleanor." its hilarious and i hope it doesn't stick. 
ner ner roth just doesn't have the ring to it i was looking for. 

its complete chaos around here all the time, but eleanor seems to be the most content in the midst of it. she rouses when its too quiet. her little eyes flutter open when she hears jack's voice and she turns her head to find him. he sings to her when she gets fussy and she calms down to listen to him. its my greatest hope that they all adore each other like they do right now. thing one and thing two simply beam when they look at her and she is the most happy around them. what more could a parent ask for? 

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life." 
  Isadora James

isn't she lovely

"Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love"

Stevie Wonder, Isn't She Lovely

in the 24 hours leading up to butterscotch's birthday, jack was vomiting with a 103 degree fever, i had blood work drawn, a fender bender in the parking lot at the hospital and buried my grandmother. i never anticipated being able to sleep the night leading up to "the" day but i was so exhausted from the mayhem, i crashed immediately after packing my bag. i woke up nearly every hour on the hour and finally at 4:06 am i got in the shower. i was nervous and excited.

we got to the hospital around 6 in the morning and they wasted no time getting things going. randy and i were thrilled to discover the nurse that would be taking care of us for the day, was our favorite nurse that had taken care of us during jack and vivian's birthday! i knew our luck was changing. . . and then she tried to start my iv. ugh. she blew veins in the tops of each hand and i was very near passing out. ugh again. another nurse came in and drew additional labs they had forgotten to take the previous day and finally got my iv started. dr nichols came in and went over the surgery one last time and told me that they had plenty of my blood type on hand in the event of an emergency and she wanted me to be aware that in a worse case scenario that they couldn't stop the bleeding, she would have to remove my uterus! WTH!? talk about changing the game and upping my nerves! whoa!

i shuffled into the operating room alone while randy waited behind. it was cold, sterile, bright and so clinical. . . everything an operating room should be and everything a birthing experience should not be. they started my spinal block, draped me and brought randy in. the party had officially begun. in a matter of mere moments, the baby was out. dr nichols held it up to show randy so he could be the one to announce the sex! he stumbled with his words and finally said "its a girl?"


i couldn't believe it. could not believe it. although i would have loved a boy just as much, it really was my heart's desire to have a baby girl. in all my previous thoughts about this baby, my only premonition was that it would have dark hair like jack and there she was in all her glory, a perfect, little dark haired baby girl! i saw her briefly, the nurse nuzzled her to my nose and in an instant she and randy were gone. just like that. i laid there on the table, arms out stretched, monitors beeping, the sounds of "repair" going on beyond the blue curtain and i was alone. the anesthesiologist must have detected my anxiety because in that moment, he asked me if i would like a mild sedative. uh, yes, please! he injected my iv and i could gradually hear my heartbeat slow down on the monitor. i believe it took another 30-45 minutes for them to put me back together and wheel me to my room for recovery. it was at this point randy came in to inform me that our baby had been taken to the neonatal intensive care unit for respiratory issues. it was all so surreal to me. i had a baby, but i didn't have a baby. weird.

at 7:55 am, Eleanor Christine Roth came into the world and i didn't see her again until 3:00 that day. the goal for post-surgery was for me to get up some time the next day but there was no way in hell i was not getting out of that bed and to the nicu to see my baby, to touch my baby. after the fog lifted and i had my pain under control, i struggled to get myself into a wheel chair to go and see her. she seemed so tiny, weighing in at 6 lbs 15 oz, laying on a warming pad in only a diaper, underneath an oxygen bubble. i could only touch her legs and tiny feet as i watched her panting. she had an iv and was hooked up to all sorts of monitors and wires. it was a horrible and helpless feeling. every few hours though, she seemed to be doing better and it was a matter of waiting for the dr to come in and give her the clear to be able to come to our room. when we held her, she calmed down and her breathing slowed to a normal pace.

they kept her in the nicu the following day, but i was able to get up and go nurse her every three hours. talk about bittersweet- being in pain from surgery and tired but anxious to get up and be able to go and hold her. 48 hours after she came in to this world, the doctor finally released her to come to our room. thank God! i finally got to hold her, inspect her and really get to know her. we actually enjoyed the next few days in the hospital, even opting to stay an extra day. it was quiet and peaceful, with very few visitors. just us and our new baby girl.

eleanor is the sweetest baby, so snugly, so calm, so laid back. everything a third baby should be! and has to be! i intend to hold her too much, kiss her too often and make too big a fuss over her. she is everything we never knew we wanted and then some. i laugh now thinking about randy and i talking last fall about revisiting the idea of another baby at the end of the summer- and now here it is, the end of summer and she is already here. we have a three and a half year old, a 22 month old and a new baby. we are complete and happy, in a state of bliss that only comes from having children. i'm happier than i ever could have imagined and its because of the four other people that make us a family! how lucky are we?