Monthly Archives: August 2012

What no parent should have to do

No parent should have to plan a memorial for their child.

No parent should have to decide – burial or cremation?

No parent should have to pick out an outfit for their child to wear the day of their memorial, to brave the nursery to pick out a few stuffed animals and blankets to fill their child’s crib that is standing in for a casket.

No parent should have to keep an eye out for something to use as an urn for their baby.

No parent should have to write a tribute to their child after just three days spent with them.

No parent should have to say goodbye to their baby without ever hearing them cry, without ever seeing them open their eyes.

We have to do these things.

Life is not fair. We live in a cruel world, where the greatest joys can turn into the greatest sorrows in a matter of moments.

But there were so many moments of joy with Hudson.

The morning of our daughter’s memorial, the Hubs and I lay in bed talking before facing the day. The Hubs said: “Today’s going to be brutal, but lets try to make the things we focus on and the things we cry about the happy things, the memories we made, the love we have for Hudson.”

That’s what we have to do.

Remember the magic of creating a life.

Look forward with hope to Hudson’s baby brother, baby sister.

This parent has to cling to a husband who is a rock and a better man and father than anyone I know.

This parent has to aspire to being a better version of herself, to be the best version of herself, for Hudson, for the Hubs, for an amazing family who has been so supportive.

This parent has to live better, remember the best and cherish the millions of tiny memories.

 

No parent should have to live in the misery of missing what could have been.

This parent is choosing to live in the hope of what is, in the hope of what will be.

Little Girls Everywhere

I am at an airport right now, and there are little girls everywhere.

There are little boys everywhere too, and they catch my eye. But not like little girls.

The day we checked out of Sacred Heart in Spokane, the social worker came to talk to me, and she said, “You will see little girls everywhere.”

She was right. Here I am at the airport, alone and bored and lonely and tired, and all I can see are little girls.

There was a little girl on my flight from Santa Rosa to Seattle. She was darling, her hair was beaded, and she looked at me like she knew.

I’ve always believed that babies are the ultimate judges of character. I’ve often felt that little ones have some sort of sixth sense (or seventh sense?) that even they aren’t aware of.

I have held eye contact with so many babies today. I used to be afraid to hold eye contact with a baby – like they might look into my soul and find me wanting. Now, it’s like a baby staring contest. Who can hold this gaze longest? Do you know how badly I want my little girl?

I wish we had Hudson today. I wish for this every day, and every day my wish doesn’t come true. I imagine what she’d be like in the airport, screaming through the halls because her ears haven’t popped. I imagine her trying out her new walking skills in the wide, crowded corridors between gates. I imagine her in so many scenarios I’ll never get to experience.

The farther we get from Hudson’s birth and death, the more I realize there is no fixing this. Having another baby won’t fix the loss. No baby will ever be Hudson.

And so I see her everywhere, and nowhere at all.

Tagged , ,

Singing to Hudson

Hudson’s Favorite Songs:

“With Hudson in the Family, happy happy home… happy happy home… happy happy home…”
“Jesus Loves Me”
“Rock Rock Rock”
“1,2,3 Jesus Loves Me”
“The Little ones like Me Me Me”

Mommy’s favorite thing:

Singing to Hudson

The first time I sang to Hudson, I tried to choke out a “Jesus Loves Me.” I could only whisper the words close to her ear. As I got better, I was able to sing most songs without crying or choking up. My Grandma helped me get my voice back.

My Grandma (Great Grandma R) arrived to visit Hudson on Friday. I asked her how the drive was, and was alarmed to learn that she’d made what should be a 6-7 hour drive in just 5 hours. I asked if she listened to books on tape or something to keep her awake (and keep the foot on the gas). Her response:

“No. I sing.”

Thank goodness Great Grandma R was there! I immediately enlisted her help so we could sing to Hudson together!

My Grandma has as low, sweet voice. No high notes to squeak out with Great Grandma R kicking us off. Together with my mom and my grandma, I was able to sing some of my childhood favorites to my daughter, without crying.

From then on, I didn’t hesitate to pick up a tune and sing to my daughter. It provided the perfect opportunity to get close to her sweet face and give kisses between stanzas.

Reading to Hudson

We decided it was time to keep Hudson entertained with more than just our stories and whispered sweet nothings, so Grandma and Grandpa Shiz went to the store and picked up an assortment of children’s books so we could read to her.

From Dr. Seuss to Bedtime Stories to How do you Hug a Porcupine? we had a grand assortment of literature to read to our precious baby girl.

I treasure the memories of reading to Hudson. The first story, I struggled occasionally to get through parts, and not because “Pokey the Puppy” is a real tear jerker. I kept thinking how badly I wanted to be reading the story to Hudson in her crib or in the rocker in her room, not in a hospital bed with no idea how many more stories I’d get to read to her. The Hubs and I took turns reading, and doing voices, and occasionally ad libbing and making comments to each other (“This Pokey the Puppy seems like a bad character, Hudson. Don’t take your life lessons from Pokey the Puppy.”).

Occasionally, a line or two would make me clench up, but I got pretty good at getting through each story without losing too much steam.

I cherish every story we read to our daughter. I cherish the memories of taking turns reading with the Hubs, of listening to Auntie Shiz reading the Wacky Wednesday story and smiling at her animated rendition. Holding Hudson’s tiny hand or cradling her sweet head in my palm while regaling her with a tale of what I’d do with Duck Feet… These are some of my absolute favorite moments with Hudson, and I can’t think of what I wouldn’t give to read to her about Pokey the Puppy and his horrible siblings just one more time.

Even though it would have taught her nothing useful.

Missing my girl

Yes, it is entirely possible to spend just 3 days with somebody and miss them like a missing piece of you when they are gone.

I came home to a particularly somber Hubs today. I asked what was wrong, and the Red Sox were losing. But then after a pause he said:

“I like looking at pictures of Hudson.”

Me too, big guy. Me too.

I started a Shutterfly account for family and friends to access and upload pictures of our little baby girl. So far my mom and I are the only ones who have added pictures. But it doesn’t matter much, as I encourage anybody who was close to her to check out the site and come see how good our baby looks.

So I scrolled through some of our pictures of Hudson today while the Hubs was upstairs in the shower. I looked closely at some of the pictures where the real action isn’t Hudson (like the footprint pics, where a lot of people are blocking the view of Hudson)… I scrutinized the pics looking for a new angle on our little girl’s face.

Then I saw the pictures from the day before she died, where Nurse S let me pick up Hudson, wires and tubes and all. These are iPhone pictures so they aren’t the highest quality. The Hubs was scrambling to get the camera pulled up on my phone, and there’s a lot of movement so they aren’t even that clear. But I can see the look on my face, and it is sad joy.

Yes, there is such a look. And there is such a feeling. Sad joy.

When you pick up your baby and really feel her weight. When the tubes and wires and everything attached to your baby prevent you from pulling her close, and your heart hurts because you want to pull her that extra 6 inches. When you cradle your daughter’s head in your hand and you feel her soft hair and you feel weird because you know you’re holding the strongest most fragile thing in the world

Seeing that look – the sad joy – seeing that picture today made me miss our girl so much. I just want to hold our daughter one more time.

I used to be really scared to hold babies. I did not volunteer to hold anybody’s baby. But now I will hold your baby. I’ll hold babies all day.

Just bear in mind that no baby compares to mine.

Even the awesomest baby can’t hold a candle to Baby Dub Awesome.

I miss that feeling…

Being Thankful

There are days when it is harder to cling to the things that I’m grateful for. But it is what I must do to stay sane. I have lost the most important thing in my world, and yet I still have so much to be thankful for. If I wake up in the morning and focus as much of my energy on that, I have less energy to direct at my loss.

I am thankful for Hudson. What a beautiful, perfect little creation. What a special gift, what a privilege, being her Mom.

I am thankful for my husband, who is my best friend. What would I do without this man? I didn’t think it was possible to love anybody more than him until Hudson came along. And I also didn’t think it was possible to love him more, but seeing him be Hudson’s Dad made me fall harder and deeper in love with him.

I am thankful for my body. I am a fast healer, and I was fortunate to not be plagued with many of the maladies that befall women after giving birth. Perhaps excessive physical pain would have been a distraction from my grief. But I’m glad I was mobile and semi-comfortable for the three days I got to spend with Hudson, and I’m glad that I’m healing quickly and losing the baby weight and girth in a timely fashion… after all, I want to be pregnant again asap. Need to be in the best shape I can be for Baby Dub Dos.

I am thankful for my family.

My mom, who calls almost daily, who texts her love, who takes detours on already-long road trips just to give me a hug.

My sister, who drives to my house at 5:45am and goes for 3 mile slow jogs with me. My eleven-and-a-half minute miles must be agony to her speedy self, but she trots along beside me and deciphers my winded tirades.

My brother, who wrote such a sweet poem for Hudson’s memorial, that I need to post here. Who goes out of his way to make time for us, who is persistent and keeps the invites coming.

My dad, who talks on the phone with Grandpa Dub frequently. Whose bond with my little girl was so sweet to see.

And don’t get me started on the Dub side. Those are quality individuals through and through.

Hudson had it made in the Aunts and Uncles and Grandmas and Grandpas department.

So today I focus on what I am thankful for. I know that healing takes time, but on days when I can focus on the good things in my life, I feel like the road to recovery is shorter and less steep.

Like the runs I do when my sister isn’t there to motivate me.

More Proof Baby Dub was Here

I got Hudson’s social security card in the mail last week.

I wasn’t expecting a social security card for her. I don’t know why. It took me by surprise. It took my breath away, made me ache for our little girl, made tears well up in my eye sockets and made my chest compress with grief.

But happiness too.

A social security card for Hudson is like more indisputable proof that she existed, that she lived, that she was here with us however briefly.

I want to frame it, or put it on the fridge. I want to post a picture of it on Facebook (but of course will not because we don’t need anybody stealing our daughter’s identify). I’ve looked at it over and over, memorized it.

My physical proof that Hudson was here is starting to fade… breast milk no longer an issue, the baby weight all but gone (just a few pounds to go), a C-section scar that is changing from angry purple to softer shades of red.

My emotional proof that Hudson was here is constant, a need for my child’s presence that fluctuates from a dull ache in my gut to a full-body burn that consumes me both physically and mentally.

But here, on my kitchen table, is a series of 9 numbers assigned to my beautiful baby girl by an entity that never saw her or felt her kick or heard her heartbeat but acknowledges her just the same.

Things said at our daughter’s memorial

Here’s a poem our friend MStu read, because I wasn’t sure I could choke it out. I don’t know the author and I don’t know the poem’s name, so if somebody wants to help me give credit where credit is due on this, I’d appreciate it.

I thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday and the day before that too.
I think of you in silence. I often say your name.
But all I have are memories and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.
God has you in His keeping. I have you in my heart.
I shed tears for what might have been. A million times I’ve cried.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly. In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place no one can ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you but you didn’t go alone
for part of me went with you, the day God took you home.

The world may never notice if a rosebud doesn’t bloom
or even pause to wonder if the petals fall too soon
but every life that ever forms or ever comes to be
touches the world in some small way for all eternity.

The little one we longed for was swiftly here and gone
but the love that was then planted is a light that still shines on
and though our arms are empty our hearts know what to do
every beating of our heart says

We will remember you.

A poem that makes me cry – I miss my baby

Gone too soon
by Mary Yarnall

This was a life hardly begun
no time to find your place in the sun
no time to do all you could have done
but we loved you enough for a lifetime

No time to enjoy the world and its wealth
no time to take life down from the shelf
no time to sing the song of yourself
though you had enough love for a lifetime

Those who live long endure sadness and tears
but you’ll never suffer the sorrowing years
no betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love, only love, in your lifetime

One Month Removed

Our daughter died a month ago.

It doesn’t seem real. It seems like I should have something more profound to say about it.

Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time. I cried til my face hurt. My mom had to call in reinforcements (in the form of my lovely sister who showed up at my door about 5 minutes after I got off the phone sobbing with my mom). The Hubs left work early to come home and be with me and distract me from my sadness. It was rough. But I recovered with the help of my support system.

Today I feel separated from Hudson somehow… like it is easier to detach myself from the experience I’ve had. I’m more accepting: This is my life. My daughter is gone. I can’t change it. I have to move on.

Tomorrow it may be a knife in the gut, a hole in my heart, but today, it’s numb.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss Hudson like an ache in my soul. I saw a picture on Facebook today of a girl from our birthing class out on a date with her baby girl and husband, and I felt that queasy sick in my stomach. I avoided eye contact with an old acquaintance on the street because I didn’t want them to ask where the bump went. There were rough parts of the day. But it wasn’t the raw emotion I felt yesterday.

Thank goodness.

I had a Religion teacher in college who spoke about being in love. He said, “It isn’t realistic to be that over-the-moon, butterflies in your stomach in love all the time. You would be completely unproductive in life if you felt that high all the time. Your love eventually evens out a bit to a nice warm glow, so you can function in the real world.”

I think the same goes for grief. You can’t possibly live with that much emotion overwhelming your senses… you’d never get anything done, you couldn’t function in society. For this I am grateful.

So you oscillate between days that are numb, and days that are raw, and days that are okay, and days that are good. There’s no pattern, no charting of progress, but the raw days become fewer and maybe (hopefully) they don’t hurt as bad. And maybe eventually the horror of losing Hudson dulls down to a low, cool sensation… so I can function in the real world.

At one month removed from our daughter’s death, I am clinging to less-raw raw days…. with hope for a few great, happy days in the (near) future.