Monthly Archives: December 2012

World Stops

Today is the Worldwide Candle Lighting, and I remembered.

Candle lit for Hudson

I thought it appropriate that the candle we light for Hudson is surrounded by pictures of her mommy and daddy loving on each other.

I forgot all about the last candle lighting opportunity. I didn’t feel too bad, but when I saw there was another opportunity, I set a reminder on my phone so I wouldn’t neglect to light the candle for Hudson today at 7pm.

As I am writing this, there is laundry in the wash, and a sink full of dishes to be cleaned, a Christmas tree to be decorated, a football game on the TV, and a candle lit on my kitchen table.

A part of me feels a little guilty that the world didn’t completely stop for this candle lighting. But that’s life, right?

I have a candle lit, and as I walk by it, or as I glance at it while I write this, I think of our beautiful baby girl and miss on her like crazy. But I think of our daughter almost constantly, with varying degrees of heartache. I probably don’t need an hour of remembrance, because I have a lifetime of remembrance in which to honor Hudson.

I’ve never participated in a candle lighting thing before, not like this, not for Hudson. And I feel like something more formal should be taking place right now: TV off, dishes neglected, world stopped for an hour.

And then I remember that the world already stopped for Hudson – for three amazing days, she was surrounded by nothing but love, and her entire life was spent with people who would probably trade theirs for hers. Better yet, she continues to change the world every day, through all the ways she is being remembered. An hour of candle lighting is a part of a global movement, but the day to day actions we make in Hudson’s honor make a tangible impact on our world. I am so proud of our girl, so proud of her life, so proud to be her mom. I think of her every hour, not just in this hour of Remembrance.

So even though I am going to get these dishes done, and likely spend an hour or two on laundry after, the world stops daily for our girl, and the world changes daily because of her, and her life extends beyond the flicker of these candles, burning in our hearts and singeing others.

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Seattle Half Marathon – Hudson’s Heroes Triumph

I believe I have mentioned on here once or twice that I was training for a half marathon. It was a positive goal to focus on while I’m “not allowed” to get knocked up again, and it was a great motivator to get me back into pre-baby shape. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, my sister and I ran the Seattle Half Marathon, the culmination of all that training and hard work.

"Hudson's Heroes" sign - H H!

“Hudson’s Heroes” sign – H H!

It was the worst I have ever felt running.

I’ve run a full marathon, a HARD one, and at no point while running those 26.2 miles did I feel as horrible as I felt at about mile 10 of the Seattle Half Marathon.

How discouraging.

I trained pretty diligently for this race. I actually think I followed the half marathon training plan (good ol’ Hal Higdon) better than I followed my marathon training plan. I’ve had the time to do my mid-week runs, 5-milers became routine, and I was feeling pretty good about my race pace (my goal was to finish in 2:25, which averages out to 11-minute miles).

But for whatever reason, on November 25th, at mile 10, I hit the wall so hard I honestly didn’t think I could finish the race. I would have cried, but I’m pretty sure I had sweat out all my excess fluid. I felt panicky and my legs ached. Worst of all, my mental fortitude, your best and most important asset come race day, just went out the window. I took a walking break, and my brain could not convince my legs to start running again.

Thank God for my sister.

My sister - a true Hudson's "Superhero"

My sister – a true Hudson’s “Superhero”

She ran the race with me, stayed with me the whole time, and occasionally barked at the spectators, “Can I get a shout out for team Hudson’s Heroes?”

She could tell I was fading, that I didn’t have much left in the tank. And when I hit that wall, she starting asking me what I needed.

“Want some funny motivation? Or maybe something a little more sappy?”

I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t even really have the energy to answer.

So she started out with funny motivation, recounting tales of running-bathroom-near-disasters. One of my secondary goals for the half marathon was not to poop my pants, so realizing that I was probably going to accomplish at least one of my goals that day helped me pick up my feet and start running again.

My sister moved on to something a little more sappy – telling me how proud she was of me, how impressive it was to even be doing a half marathon so soon after having major surgery and going through the life shattering loss of Hudson. She talked about how much she wished Hudson were waiting with the rest of my family for us at the finish line, how much easier it would be to fuel these last miles if I had gooey baby kisses to look forward to. She told me that what I was feeling during these last miles of the race was nothing – I’ve been through much, much worse and I came out stronger, I pushed through.

She got us a few more Hudson’s Heroes shout-outs from spectators. She helped me break down those last miles into manageable chunks, and when we got into the finishing chute, surrounded by cheering fans (the race finishes in Memorial Stadium), she saw the clock time and told me we were going to make it in under my goal.

My sister is trying to get my attention.. I look miserable, right?

My sister is trying to get my attention.. I look miserable, right?

My exhausted attempt at the "Hudson's Heroes" HH sign

My exhausted attempt at the “Hudson’s Heroes” HH sign

 

It is a lot easier to sprint when you realize that you are so close, that you don’t have that much further to go, when you can see the clock and you can see the finish line and there are thousands of people wishing you well as you grind out those last steps.

And that’s what I did. I started to sprint when I realized how close we were, shaving seconds off, so close to that blissful feeling of accomplishment and a huge, carb-tastic lunch. My sister leaped across the finish line with me, we got our finisher’s medals, and then we spent a good amount of time intermittently stretching and hugging.

Leaping across the finish line!

Leaping across the finish line!

Sister Stretch

Finishing Hugs!

Finishing Hugs 2!

My goal was to finish in 2:25. Our chip time was 2:24:22. It was, as my sister put it (on Facebook, of course), a “Hudson’s Heroes Triumph.”

We are awesome. That is all this picture says.

We are awesome. That is all this picture says.

Christmas might be my “Mile 10 Wall”. Soon, we’ll have the all-clear to start trying for Baby Dub Dos, my imagined “Finish Line” (even though I have a lifetime to face without my girl, and there is no finish line for dealing with loss). If I do hit a wall though, and lose my mental fortitude, I know that my sister (among many others) will be there to help me pick up my feet and power through.

Maybe it will require some funny motivation (delivering a baby, much like running a marathon, is fraught with risk of pooping oneself), and probably it will require some sappy motivation (because who doesn’t like to be reminded that you’re stronger than you think you are?).

I’ve been so encouraged by comments on this blog, Facebook messages and more from people who are looking forward to meeting Baby Dub Dos almost as much as the Hubs and I are. So much positive energy is directed at me and my reproductive bits that I really don’t think we’ll have much longer to wait (we might even finish in under our “goal time”!). And I know that when I start to near the finish line, there will likely be thousands of spectators rooting for us, giving us “team Hudson’s Heroes” shout outs, and encouraging me to sprint the last few steps.

Yes, I will sprint to that scheduled C-Section!

And when Baby Dub Dos arrives, Team Hudson’s Heroes will have another co-captain, and I’ll gladly trade my Half Marathon registrations for 5K walks (pushing a stroller!).

And I’m WAY cool with that.

My finisher's medal and new Hudson schwag

My finisher’s medal and new Hudson schwag

 

 

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The perfect baby name

Baby names are quite the ordeal.

I was pregnant at the same time as a good friend, and she and her husband were not on the same page about names for their son. They playfully argued about it, both holding out hope that at the last minute the other person would change their mind. In the end, my friend won because lets face it, she’s the one who pushed out that baby.

That is the ultimate trump card, folks.

The Hubs and I did not have any problem picking a name for our daughter. In fact, we have perfect agreement on a ranked list of baby girl names 1-3, so fingers crossed that we just have girls from now on.**

**Who would ever have thought I would say such a thing?

In the name of full disclosure, the Hubs had a different first choice for girl names when we first met: Lilly. I love the name, but sorry, big guy. In high school, you named your yellow lab Lilly, and we aren’t going to name our child after your dog.

Young, handsome Bruce Willis. Yes please!

Young, handsome Bruce Willis. Yes please!

People ask me where we came up with the name Hudson. I’ve wanted to name a daughter Hudson since I was in high school, and I am just fortunate that Mr. Whiskers was so on board. Please don’t judge me: I first heard the name Hudson while watching the incomparable Bruce Willis in the film Hudson Hawk.

Take a break and get a laugh by watching this charming rendition of “Swinging on a Star” from the film. I heart Bruce Willis.

I decided Hudson was the perfect girl name for any daughter of mine: not too girly (it literally means “Son of Hudd”), strong, simple, no crazy spellings (though I confess that in my day I attempted to change the spelling of my name to Airykah – sadly, this is not a joke).

Middle name? Originally I liked Hudson Elise. I figured Elise compensated for the lack of girly factor in the first name. Then, the day after Christmas last year, my husband’s grandma Ruth passed away. I wanted our daughter to have the namesake of this strong and special woman that she would sadly never get to meet.

Thus: Hudson Ruth. The perfect baby name.

Among the myriad of disappointments in losing a child, this one might seem trivial – but I am disappointed that our perfect girl name has now been used, but I’ll probably never get to announce to somebody (at a parent-teacher conference or a soccer sideline) “I’m Hudson’s mom.” Our other exceptional girl names can never compare to the meaning and attachment we have to this one.

So many couples struggle to decide on names, worry that the names don’t fit their child, and here we were with 100% spousal agreement and the perfect name-fit for our strong red-headed fighter, but she didn’t live.

Almost as distressing is the fact that now I see the name Hudson pop up all over the place. In airports – “Hudson Booksellers.” In department stores – Hudson Jeans. I even stumbled upon a floor plan for a house today called the Hudson. The Hudson River. Hudson Hudson Hudson. I can’t see the word and separate it from my beautiful daughter. You don’t see a lot of girl names plastered all over pairs of pants and bodies of water.

But Hudson, you do.

Last night I couldn’t sleep, and so I finished the book I was reading: Eva Moves the Furniture. In the book, the heroine has a daughter, and she names her Ruth. I can’t even escape our daughter’s middle name.

I suppose I would be thinking of Hudson constantly even if I didn’t see her name in unexpected places, though. And I feel that warmth of pride when people tell me, “I just love the name Hudson for a girl,” or “What a beautiful name.”

The perfect baby name for a perfect baby girl. I don’t really mind reminders of her at all.

The nurses put her name on the white board in her NICU room.

The nurses put her name on the white board in her NICU room.

 

 

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Power to Choose

Last night I was telling my husband about how my sleep has lately been troubled with “crazy vivid dreams.”

Of course, Mr. Whiskers had to make fun of me. Evidently all of my dreams are “crazy vivid.” Whatevs.

But take this dream, for example. Thursday night I dreamed that I discovered pictures and video of Hudson being delivered via C-Section when perusing the library on my iPhone. When I discover these pictures I am somehow transported there, to the moments captured by my magical little smart phone. And I am screaming to the nurse and to my doctor that they shouldn’t cut the cord, because Hudson’s heart stops when they cut the cord and I don’t want my daughter to die. The nurse cuts the cord anyway, and then performs half-hearted CPR on Hudson while I yell at her and at one point slap her across the face with my sweat and vomit drenched towel.

You can’t make this stuff up, people.

In my dream I felt so powerless, and I woke up and felt even more powerless. What I wouldn’t give to change the course of events on July 11 that led to my daughter being without oxygen for such an extended period, the damage that eventually took her life.

I had another dream that somehow, we hadn’t made the call to have Hudson taken off life support when her heart stopped on July 14. They were able to revive her, and I was at some sort of woodsy brunch place with my mom and she had Hudson sitting in her lap and I thought, “How did they bring her back? We had her cremated.”  But she was there with us, smiling and cooing and more adorable and perfect than I could have imagined.

I love to dream about Hudson, but when I wake up I am heartbroken. These are merely dreams. The reality is painful and irreversible. Our daughter didn’t live, and I can’t do anything to change it.

This powerlessness is awful and also liberating. Nobody can change the past – this is not just an affliction of mine. How many of us have one moment in our lives that we would go back and change if we only had the power? I imagine there are many.

I could spend the rest of my life dwelling in the space of July 11-July 14, wishing I could change these days somehow. Or I can accept that these dates – July 11-14 – happened the way that they happened, and I can accept that these days are the defining days of my existence. And I can make them define my life in the best way possible, not the worst.

I have absolutely no power to change the past. I give up. I have no choice.

But I do have the power to choose how I let the past shape my future.

We all do.

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