This is going to sound weird, but I find a strange comfort in flipping through the pages of my old pregnancy literature.
You know, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” stuff.
I cracked the pages of “What to Expect…” this morning, and out fluttered the ultrasound pics from the day we found out we were having a baby girl.
There’s a picture of her little legbones and an arrow pointing at the crouch-al region and a caption that says “LITTLE LADY.” I remember the ultrasound lady saying, “Dad’s freaking out because now he knows there’s going to be a wedding to pay for.”
There were days following Hudson’s death when seeing these pictures would have made me burst into tears. It would have been an hour or two long set back in the day.
Today I’m traveling back in my mind to that day and remembering it with a lot of happiness, not with bitter regret.
I remember that ultrasound tech saying as she measured Baby Dub’s femur and took stock of our baby’s biceps, “You better hope its a boy, ‘cuz that’s one muscular baby.”
Hudson was a strong and remarkable and amazing baby. I get a lot of comments from people about how not-newbornlike she looked. She wasn’t HUGE but she was sturdy. She was never “newborn squishy”.
I brought a picture of Hudson to my hairstylist a few weeks ago, and inevitably it was passed around the salon to other stylists and their clients over the course of my appointment. Obviously one little old lady client did not catch on that this was MY baby in the picture. She asked what happened and I replied:
“Hudson was born without a heartbeat.”
To which this spunky older woman responded:
“Well, that sucks.”
Yes, it does suck. The conversation continued, and I overheard Spunky Client say to her stylist, “She must not have been that strong of a baby.”
The fact that they were even able to resuscitate Hudson after she was born without a heartbeat is a miracle, a testament to the strength and will of our amazing baby girl.
The fact that she hung on to spend those three special days with us is further proof that Hudson was far from weak. She fought so hard. I know she wanted to spend a lifetime with us.
It was a small kick to the gut to hear that woman say Hudson just wasn’t strong… but I’ve learned to cut people like Spunky Client some slack. She wasn’t there, she didn’t see Hudson taking her own breaths despite being on the ventilator, she didn’t see our baby grasp my finger and respond to my touch, so she doesn’t know.
These little memories all came flooding back to me as I looked at these ultrasound pictures from 19 weeks 5 days gestation. More proof of Hudson’s vitality. Reminders of happier times.
But more overwhelmingly, HOPE.
I’m not weeping as I write this, although I’ll have to admit to a few welled-up moments. I’m so proud of the baby we made. I’m so excited for our next pregnancy, whenever it happens, and I can’t wait to meet Baby Dub Dos. The fact that I can focus on these things, just over three months after the loss of our firstborn, is a testament not to my personal strength but to the incredible human capacity to heal.
I suffered from “right-side-greater-than-left-side-affected-paralysis” after breaking my neck in 2007. And while I do give the occasionally weak right-handed high five, you wouldn’t know that at one point I couldn’t walk if you saw me today.
The death of a child is the absolute worst thing that can happen in life, and while it doesn’t paralyze you physically, a loss like ours has emotional and physical effects that last a lifetime. But if you didn’t know – if you hadn’t followed the Baby Dub blog, seen me put on those 37 pounds, witnessed the Hubs’ proud smiles at those doctors appointments – you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that we were nearly paralyzed with grief just a few short months ago.
The human body is an amazing thing. The human will is even more incredible. And we look forward to creating a couple more incredible humans in our life together.
And we will never forget the super-human strength of the incredible little being we said goodbye to in July.