Monthly Archives: September 2012

Life’s too short

Hudson’s three beautiful and painfully brief days with us are a reminder of this truth: Life is too short.

You don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow.

Cherish the people who matter in your life.

Change the things you don’t like about your life.

Be the person you want to be, now.

Life is too short for anything else.

We lost our daughter. We got those three beautiful days, but in the end, her life was too short. And here we are, trudging onward. Looking forward with anticipation to the joy that life has in store for us in the future, but also saddled with a lifelong grief that will always tinge every happy, good thing.

Life will be more full because of Hudson, even with this huge gaping emptiness where she belongs.

It’s tragic and unfortunate that it often takes a loss like this for one to realize the truth:

Life is too short.

So I’m making changes now.

Life is too short to not tell the people you love the most how much they mean to you – so I’m telling them, with my words and with my actions and with my time.

Life is too short to not be the person you want to be – so I’m being me, I’m making the time for the things that feed my soul, and I’m making the choice to travel the paths I want to travel.

Life is too short. Be you. Be fulfilled. Be good to others. Be your best.

Hudson’s life was too short, and she’s missed every day in so many ways. Finding special and meaningful ways to memorialize her life has become a small obsession. It’s one of those weird things I will have to deal with in this life – finding a way to ensure that Hudson is a continuous part of our daily lives without putting her on a pedestal or making her future brothers and/or sisters feel like they have to “live up to” her. But I can’t pretend that her life didn’t happen, that she wasn’t born, that she didn’t change my entire world.

So in keeping with my “life’s too short” theme, I have decided that I can’t make everything about Hudson, even though everything in my life now is shaped by Hudson in some small way. I have to live for the living, and be good to (and for) the people who are in my life now.

She’s making me a better person – a better wife, better friend, better mommy – and she did all that in just three days.

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Bath time is the best time

A friend of the Hubs, in discussing having kids and babies and what-not, told him:

“Bath time is the best time.”

He wasn’t kidding.

The night that Hudson passed away, the night nurse let the Hubs and I give her a bath.

This is the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. The most fun I could ever imagine. Sign me up for another, please. Bath time is the best time.

For the first time since Hudson was born, we got to touch our daughter, to cover every little perfectly-formed inch of her. For days I’d ached to hold our baby, and this was as close as I’d been. Together, the Hubs and I took turns washing and drying our baby’s hands, her perfect little wrinkly arm pits, her hairy-tufted shoulders, her folds of neck fat (Oh how I cherish those little folds). We got to turn her on her side and rub her back, we got to take off her little diaper and clean her adorable butt (“Front to back!” Zeb was paying attention in birthing class). We fought over who got to change the first diaper – we ended up doing it together. We were careful to get behind her ears (oh those ears were so perfect and soft and round). Her tiny toes needed extra attention to get the ink off from the footprint fun earlier in the day. Her pudgy little thighs were next, and Mommy was careful to get the backs of those darling knees. And then we got to take a soapy washcloth to our daughter’s gorgeous head of hair – oh man, I know 1 year olds who don’t come close to having as much hair as Hudson.  I never wanted the bath to end.

Next, we got the baby lotion. We warmed it in our hands before carefully caressing it into Hudson’s  hands, bruised and swollen from IVs and fluids. Then her feet, wrinkly and just a little bit cracked, each little piggy getting special attention from Mommy and Daddy. Her back got a baby lotion massage, oh how I treasured the chance to touch her back and feel her soft skin and explore this previously unchartered territory and look for freckles. We discovered a freckle on her left thigh, right beneath where her diaper stopped covering. And then we massaged the baby lotion into Hudson’s hair, both of us eager to get our hands on that head of hair again, both of us a little timid about rubbing too hard on her soft little noggin, both of us in love with our daughter and in love with the experience and in love with each other and in love with being Hudson’s Mommy and Daddy.

No bath toys. No tub. No hooded towel that looks like an animal of some sort. No pajamas afterward.

But the best time I’ve ever had.

I know Hudson loved it too. Earlier in the day, we did hand and foot molds and had a photographer come take pictures of Hudson too. Throughout these moments Hudson’s vitals oscillated and you could tell she was a little stressed out.

Not during bath time. Her vitals were steady and strong. I think Hudson was just as hungry for Mommy and Daddy’s loving touch as we were to give it to her. I was dying to touch and hold my baby. If I could have held her to my chest and somehow kept her body at 33 degrees Celsius I would have done it. I would have held her until my arms fell off.

How really good days are still tinged with tiny sadnesses

My husband bought me tickets to the Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers Monday Night Football game for my birthday this year.

Yes. We were this close to the field.

Not too shabby, Big Guy.

Of course, my birthday is in April and I had to wait until September to get my gift. This is actually quite alright because I get to spread my celebration throughout the year. As anyone who knows me knows, the entire month of April is pretty much my birthday. Why shouldn’t September get in on the fun too?

I’m a big Seahawks fan, and I’ve been to several games but unfortunately never have been to a WIN. While I didn’t have high hopes for this game against the Packers, I was still pretty jazzed. Seattle is always in it when the game is at home!

We’ve had this weekend in the works for quite some time. We were expecting to have an 11 week old baby by now. Grandma and Grandpa Shiz were supposed to babysit. It was supposed to be my first extended baby-free time in months.

What I wouldn’t give…

Anyway, anybody who follows sports will know that this was one of the wildest football games ever. Seattle sacked Green Bay’s quarterback EIGHT TIMES in the first half. Defense was off the chain. But it all came down to one play at the end – a botched call by the refs as time expired gave Seattle the victory.

I was so excited at the signaled touchdown, I may or may not have peed a little.

A call went our way! A small win for my life.

And we had ridiculous seats – 5 rows back at about the 35 yard line – right behind a couple and their brand new baby girl.

I’m not kidding you.

The wife asked me to take pictures of their little family TWICE. Her, her hubs, and a practically-newborn-baby-girl wearing one of those precious stretchy headbands with a green and blue flower clip on it.

She couldn’t have been much older than 2 or 3 weeks.

Hudson would have been like, twice her size.

It is LOUD at CenturyLink Field. I hope this little girl’s ears aren’t permanently damaged from the noisemaking. The dad kept his fingers over her ears as he cradled her head, and she was super chill… probably the crowd noise replicated the womb noises and kept her at ease. But I couldn’t help but cringe every time the roar got particularly deafening… who is doing something about this infant and her ears?!

The Hubs couldn’t believe it either. He was equally indignant about the lack of ear protection for this tiny little girl.

I love that man.

So I got my desired win – on a miracle call – but life counteracted my miracle moment by seating us so close to this couple and their baby girl. The game was a distraction from my preoccupation with Hudson, with wanting our family. But even with the ultimate distraction of this ridiculous win, I couldn’t escape.

Life should be different than it is right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had a blast. It was the most face-hurting-smile time I’ve had in a long, long time. It was nice to know I still could smile that hard, even with that baby right in my face all night.

But this night of fun would have been so different with Hudson to come home to afterward, and I’m a little bit glad that there was a tiny baby right in front of me to remind me of what I’m missing.

I wouldn’t want to escape thinking of Hudson for the world.

A year ago today…

Today is September 26, and a year ago today, Hudson’s life began.

Those of you who have been through this whole crazy thing that is “having a baby” will know how this math adds up. It’s weird, but it is true.

A lot can happen in a year. The best thing that ever happened to me began a year ago. The worst thing that ever happened to me happened just a few short weeks ago. How strange.

I had a good day today.

We got the Hudson’s Heroes teeshirts today. They are amazing.

The Best Shirt I’ve Ever Owned…

Don’t act like you don’t want one!

It’s weird to think about my life a year ago. I had no idea I was embarking on this journey a year ago. I was training for a half marathon then, too. I was very concerned with a fitness regimen. I believe I was doing Insanity.

We weren’t trying to get pregnant. We weren’t trying NOT to, and we weren’t opposed to it, but we certainly weren’t making a concerted effort.

I had completely different priorities a year ago.

Your life can completely change in a year. Less, even.

New Baby Smell

Hudson smelled like cinnamon.

I think it was the stuff used to keep her ventilator tubes in.

But I like to think it is just her spicy saucy self in aroma form.

There is nothing like new baby smell. Our precious little girl never blessed us with a dirty diaper to change, so we didn’t get any grody smells, only cinnamon, and the baby lotion smell. She smelled better than anything.

We have a little baggie of some of Hudson’s clothes that a nurse put her in after she passed away. The nurse wrote on the baggie “Hudson’s clothes smell like her from her loving bath.”

I don’t want to open the bag and let the smell out.

Her Red Sox socks smell like her too.

I love the way our baby smells.

There are times in my life that are brought back by smells. Highschool adventures, the summer after I graduated college, the weeks when the Hubs and I first started falling for each other, all are memories that come rushing back to me when I catch a whiff of coconut oil, day-old coffee, stale beer.

Cinnamon. Baby Lotion. Flowers. Hand soap.

Hudson-smells are the best. I am thinking of her nearly all the time, so smells can’t really bring the memories rushing back yet… but later, when the wounds have healed a little more, when Hudson memories aren’t so burned in the back of my eyeballs, maybe I’ll toss a teaspoon of cinnamon into a recipe and be flooded with the memory of the first time the nurses let down the side of her bed so that I could lean in and kiss her precious forehead.

Team Hudson’s Heroes

I am training for a half marathon.

Running has become my stress reliever in the past couple of years, and lately this Momma has some serious stress to relieve.

I broke my neck in 2007, and spent a week in a rehab hospital working to regain movement in my paralyzed right side. I was walking within a few days, and tried to bribe my doctor with my wine connections if he’d let me out of the hospital sooner than the 4 weeks I was scheduled for. He said “I don’t want your wine. You can send me a picture of you crossing the finish line of a marathon.”

So that’s what I did. Granted it was almost 5 years later, but I did it. I ran the Yakima River Canyon marathon with my sister and did it in my goal of under 5 hours. Booya, Dr. N.

It was a healthy goal to work towards, a cause to raise awareness for. I proved to myself that I could do it. Hopefully I inspired a few people to do more than they thought they were capable of. I had no interest in running before I broke my neck, but I told somebody I would do it… so I did it.

I sent Dr. N a picture of me crossing the finish line, sporting a homemade teeshirt emblazoned with the vertebra that were broken in our car accident.

After we lost Hudson, it became evident that I needed some healthy goals to work towards. I needed to heal my body, sure, but I also needed something where daily dedication provided positive results… something where tangible progress could be made. Thus the half-marathon goal. And of course some “little” races leading up to it.

On September 29, the Hubs and I will be running the Color Run in Portland. Along with several friends and members of the Dub and Shiz clan, we’re running for team Hudson’s Heroes.

We have shirts and everything. This time they aren’t homemade and they aren’t plastered with enigmatic letters and numbers… they’re plastered with our daughter’s footprints, her name and a motto I want our children to embrace:

My crazy amazing sister organized getting the teeshirts made, and ordered up 50-something, for family and friends who are running with us and even just for family and friends who like sweet fashion. We might need to have a second run printed, what with all the runners and Hudson fans in our lives. My fabulous cousin is even working on organizing a SoCal team.

In November when I run the Seattle Half Marathon, I’ll be running for Team Hudson’s Heroes then too.

Part of what got me hooked on running was the feeling of just shutting my mind off, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t hurt that my schedule usually puts me on the road for a run right around the same time the sun is rising.

Beautiful Walla Walla sunrise + runner’s high + empty mind = a good start to the day.

Now when I run, I can’t help but think of Hudson. Despite my best efforts to empty my mind, if my mind does wander off the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other path, it tends to wander down the missing-my-baby-girl-like-crazy path. I’ll run the same route that the Hubs and I used to walk when I was trying desperately to induce labor, and I’ll think how badly I wish I could go back in time. I’ll struggle up a hill and think how much I wish I were pushing a stroller up it instead of just lugging my body weight. Or I’ll see that beautiful Walla Walla sunrise and think how every beautiful thing in this world pales in comparison to the person that me and the Hubs made.

But you know what? Beautiful Walla Walla sunrise + runner’s high + thoughts of my baby STILL add up to a good start to the day.

I love being on Team Hudson’s Heroes.

On the day the iPhone 5 is announced…

My sister is big into technology. Particularly Apple products. This is the girl who follows blogs about the new iPhone, or tells me over a beer about the new, mini iPad that is rumored to be coming out next year.

Mini iPad? Isn’t that just an iPhone?

All that aside, this is one tech-freak who knows her game. My sister is always in tune to the zietgiest of the tech world. She makes “early adopters” look like they’re living in the 90s, with giant brick cell phones.

A few weeks ago, we did a little sister road trip and spent some time talking about Hudson, among other things. And when we were talking about Hudson, we started talking about the Baby Dub blog. And while we were talking about the Baby Dub blog, my sister said the funniest thing.

“I cannot wait for to hear some rumor or buzz or whisper about good news for you and your pregnantness. I used to check the Baby Dub blog every day for an update about my niece. It was like my checking out Apple sites. But I felt so connected to Hudson because of the blog and I couldn’t wait for the next update. Even more than the next iPhone!”

That’s right folks. Our daughter has a cult-like following.

And now, my uterus is going to be the center of anticipation the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the iPhone 5.

Baby Dub Dos.

I cannot wait for the next release from this ol’ uterus. I imagine that the BDD will have several cool new features (Turtle instead of hamburger? Ultrasound nerds will know what this means). I’ve heard tell that sometimes there are “Buy One, Get One” offers on releases from this particular line (heyo, two babies, one pregnancy). Baby Dub Dos could come in a different color (I heard the red is extremely limited and priceless), BDD might be bigger (or smaller) than the original. Unlike the original model, Baby Dub Dos will have a scheduled release date (scheduled C-Section, baby!). And just like the original, Baby Dub Dos will have people waiting in line overnight to get their hands on him or her.  Or him AND her!

Of course, the Baby Dub Dos is all rumor and speculation at this point. Nobody left the protoype for BDD in a bar.

What I’m entirely sure of is this: When Baby Dub Dos arrives, it will be like that Apple ad for the iPhone 4s.

“This Changes Everything. Again.”

It’s time…

I’ve been writing about Hudson almost every day since she died. I wanted to capture every memory, paint a picture of this beautiful little girl, vent my frustration at the universe, etc. I did it for me, because it kept me from losing my mind in the darkest days of my sadness. I did it for my husband, because I know he loves to read about her.

It’s a lot.

I feel like it is time to start sharing what I’ve been writing about Hudson. I’ve debated it from just about every side…

“A lot of this writing is only really meaningful to me.”

“I don’t want to depress people with some of the darker things.”

“Is the “Meet Baby Dub” blog the best place for this kind of content? Do I start a new blog? Can I just let the Meet Baby Dub blog sit idle?”

And on and on. But in the end, this stuff is me. It’s Hudson. It’s the Hubs. My family might find some of this writing helpful. My friends might like to hear about her brief life. Someone I don’t even know who has experienced loss might find healing through our shared experience.

So I’m going to start sharing things. Ever since we knew there was a Baby Dub, we loved her with every fiber of our being. Her story continues today, 9 weeks after her birth. She continues to make a difference and shapes who I am every day.

Such a powerful little human being.

It’s time to tell the rest of the story.

Being Angry

I had a few beers the other day with my boss, and as the conversation turned from work to relationships to the recent loss of our daughter, my boss made this comment:

“It’s obvious you’re very angry.”

Whoa. I didn’t even think that I came across that way. Probably a few beers talking more than me. But it struck me.

I am angry. I’m angry that other people get to be pregnant without ever experiencing the fear of a loss. I’m angry that other people are completely irresponsible throughout their pregnancy or parenting journey, that they still get their kids, oblivious to the gift they’ve been given, the privilege of parenthood.

I’m angry that this happened to me, to us. I don’t believe in karma, because I didn’t do anything in my life bad enough to deserve this.

I’m angry that I can’t change what happened. That’s the gut wrenching, sick-to-my-stomach path that my thoughts can sometimes travel, when I’m tired and my defenses are weakened, or when I’m a little buzzed and my mind is free to wander. What could I have done differently that might have resulted in a different outcome? What little change in the course of those 24-48-72 hours could have resulted in us bringing our beautiful daughter home? Is this my fault? Maybe if we had skipped the epidural. Maybe if I had been more diligent with the kegels early on. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I’m angry that time doesn’t pass quicker.

I’m angry that I’ve never prayed harder in my life, that my husband prayed fervently, but that our prayers weren’t answered. Don’t give me the “Your prayers weren’t answered the way you wanted them to be” crap. We didn’t get what we asked for – we didn’t get to bring Hudson home alive and well – so our prayer wasn’t answered.

I’m angry that I’m working right now, 50-60-70 hour weeks, because I should be on maternity leave instead.

There’s this thing people who are religious say to you in an attempt to make you feel better: “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

Well, I’d officially like to start being capable of handling less. Because if the strong get crapped on, just because they can take it, then this is not a fair world. What’s the point in being strong? I would like to be a wuss, so that I get a cake-walk life, so that I can have Hudson back.

I express my frustration openly over the course of the evening, and I get this from my incredulous boss:

“You must not be afraid of God, the way you’re talking.”

Of course not. I’m not afraid of God. Because the kind of God I choose to believe in would understand that I’m a little pissed off at Him right now.

Friends, family, relatives, acquaintances, they all want to offer comfort, and those who have been raised in a particular faith are quick to offer some sort of “God will make this right” type of sentiment. “God will get you through this.” “God knows best.” “God works in mysterious ways.” “Lean on each other and lean on God.”

These are all nice, worthy sentiments. I know that I’m going to make the best of this situation because that’s the type of person I am, the type of man my husband is. But I can’t believe in any world where this would be “what’s best.”

What would be best? If my beautiful daughter were completely healthy, and if today, her 7 week birthday, was celebrated with some new baby trick in the comfort of our home. Not with a beer on an airplane while I travel home from a business trip.

The comforts offered by my religious friends are all well and good. But almost more comforting are the sentiments from my non-religious friends:

“This effing sucks and this isn’t fair.”

I can’t make some sort of life lesson out of Hudson’s death right now. I feel better saying aloud, angrily if necessary, “This effing SUCKS! This isn’t FAIR! I want my daughter!”

It feels better for this to be random.  It feels better to me to accept that this shitty hand we were dealt was all just a series of coincidences, instead of a small piece of God’s master plan.

I might feel differently someday.

But in the meantime, the God I believe in understands where I’m coming from. He sees me in my frustration, and wishes He could offer a real comfort, clue me in, give me a sneak peek of the future where we have 3 more kids and they are all totally healthy and amazing, and Hudson is a part of their life even though hers was so tragically short.

The God I believe in would want to help me comprehend how He can be all-knowing, all-powerful, see the future, but not be able to change it or control it.  He’d want to let me understand now, not tell me “Someday you’ll get it.”

I have faith in that God. The God that will sit down with me in Heaven and say “You got dealt a crap hand, and I wasn’t the dealer. I’m sorry the world ended up this way for you. Thank you for making the most of it. Here’s how Hudson changed the world.”

And then He’d let Hudson and the Hubs and I have some sort of VIP tour of Heaven.