Sunday, March 23, 2014

I feel safe...

Sometimes Roland wakes up to eat but instead of going back to sleep he just wants to talk. So he coos and grunts with wide eyes while I groggily respond. Then when he is finally ready to settle down he grips my finger oh so tight and falls asleep steadily sucking away on his pacifier.
And since by then I am usually wide awake I stare at him by the light of my cell phone until I find sleep again.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And if you ask me...

When you have a baby your body changes... and unlike all my fantastic delusions I had this body of mine has yet to return to its' previous state. So, Saturday when Gabe and I headed to our local Old Navy to try on jeans for $5 coupons (because I refuse to buy almost anything without a coupon or discount of some sort) I went from mildly amused to a bit flabbergasted as I tried on pair after pair of jeans, only to find I didn't like how any of them, no matter the size, looked on me.

I love that my body (with the help of modern medicine) was able to grow a child. I still sit and stare at him in awe at least once a day. But, that doesn't mean I am used to this somewhere between pregnant and in shape again body that I have.

And so with that in mind my wonderful husband shopped with me for 4 HOURS so I could find a pair of jeans that I felt confident in. He searched through racks of clothes, held and entertained Roland, hung up tried on clothes as I breastfed in two different dressing rooms, and reminded me my self worth doesn't depend on what I look like in denim.

I found a great pair of Levi's... But more than that I found out how much my husband really does love me. 4 hours of jean shopping worth, and then some.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Roland is One Month old... Or five weeks by the time I finished writing this

Roland turned one month old last week. He celebrated by getting sick and going to the doctor. Poor kid. However, he is growing and that makes his Mama and Papa very happy.

8 pounds
22 1/2 inches

I am excited Roland is over over eight pounds these days because that means he is big enough for me to wear around in a carrier or wrap. But we still mostly just hang out on the couch or floor together. Once he started to feel better his cooing became more frequent. He is also sure to tell us when he isn't happy and has added squeals to his growls and squeaking. He especially gets excited when Gabe comes home. He kicks his legs and moves his arms in that uncoordinated way that newer babies do.

During the day we listen to music, have tummy time, talk and eat and eat and eat. I definitely think he is going through a growth spurt. My favorite time is still when he is curled up on my lap or chest asleep. He looks so calm and peaceful and I love watching him dream.

This little guy kicks off one sock as  soon as he gets the chance

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

If You Close Your Eyes...

Some days I feel like I should be in group therapy... sitting in a room full of people who start out their introductions with "Hi, my name is... and I'm a..." But my mantra would sound a bit different. "Hi, my name is Heather and I have a loved one(s) who is(are) mentally ill." I would be able to openly discuss the frustrations and pains of loving someone who suffers from an invisible disease. I would talk about how some days I honestly just want a break and others I pray they don't decide today is the day to take their life.

I would share my internal struggle of knowing when to back off and when to push my way in, even when hate is being thrown my way. I would talk about the time I dropped all of my classes at the end of a semester to rescue someone who then threw it all back in my face. I would talk about the feeling of guilt... and oh how it eats away at me. Sometimes it seems like either I am not enough for those who are struggling or I am neglecting my own immediate family. I would talk about the nights spent on my knees pleading with the Lord to "fix" them, only to realize how selfish and wrong that prayer was. I would talk about the feeling of wanting to run away, to cut off all my contact with those sick loved ones.

I would talk about how important it is that in the fight for rights for those with mental illness their loved ones aren't plowed down along the way, because we matter too, we suffer as well. But many times our resources are even more limited than theirs.

I would talk about the one friend I have who has always been okay with me telling her what is happening in my life. How so many people cannot deal with the concepts but her? She knows what to say, whether to crack a joke or just have a mind numbing conversation. She has saved my sanity more than once. I would then talk about Gabe, my loving, kind and patient husband who has loved these people as much as I have. Who has been the strength I needed to say enough is enough at times but also has opened his arms to let my loved ones in. Sometimes when they hurt me or themselves, or someone else we love ... again... He will just hug me. And how he has been burned by every single one of them, just like I have.  But, he still loves them too.

I would talk about how imperfect the timing of their episodes seem to be, and the day I realized if it is this inconvenient for my life I wonder how angry they are about the mental illness interrupting their life.
I would talk about the beautiful art and souls that these individuals make and have, that sometimes those intense feelings they have flow over into the most wonderful things. But other times that intensity takes a dark turn, like a storm turning into a tornado, that leaves destruction in it's wake.

I would discuss how much it pained me to watch other people go through similar pain and hurt I have as they tried to help as well. I would invite those people to my imaginary group therapy, so they too could see how much others have been hurt and how much they should not blame themselves.

When I was finished talking I would sit down, exhale and for a second feel relief. I would listen to others and hear their frustrations and pains. I would reflect on how much empathy, strength and wisdom I have gathered from my life experiences.  I would ponder how I can do better in the future and I would text a few "I love you"s because I genuinely feel that way and they need to hear it.

Sometimes, a support group would be so nice, especially if I decided I could share my feelings openly. But for now, I have a loving husband, that one friend, and most importantly prayer. I would say in the long run, those three blessings are more than enough to get through the day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Roland Isaac is 3 Weeks Old

Roland has his third doctor's appointment last week. He has grown and changed so much in these three weeks.

7 pounds 6 ounces (We have gained a pound since birth, yes!)
21 1/2 inches long
13 3/4 head circumference

This week Roland had a lot of firsts. He was in his first car wreck (thankfully it was a fender bender), he had his first long trip in the car, his first trip to IKEA and most importantly he had his first Eaton visitor, Uncle Josh. Josh flew into Austin from Chicago to come meet Roland. I think it is safe to say they are both smitten.

Roland is growing and is much more alert during the day. He will grunt when he is unhappy and coo whenever he is content. One of my favorite times is after he is fed and has a clean diaper and will look at us and coo, as if in gratitude. So adorable. One of my other favorite times is when Gabe comes home. Roland will look around for him when he hears his voice and smiles. The bond between those two is definitely special and it melts my hormonal heart.

Before Roland was born I decided that I wanted him to have a lullaby that was just his, something that I came up with after looking at him and getting to know him a little bit. A few hours after his birth Roland was fussy and I was trying to get him to calm down, as I looked at my little jaundiced baby the song Yellow by Coldplay popped into my head and I softly sang it to him. He quieted down and that became his song. I sing it almost every night when I put him to bed and he's usually asleep by the end of it.

 This is by far one of my favorite pictures of these two. Roland was cooing a bit and Starky sat there without moving, I think he was a bit shocked. 

                        Father son bonding...

                            Long and thin...