Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hudson’s things

This morning, I decided to brave Hudson’s room.

I go in there from time to time, just for a few minutes. I pick up one or two items of clothing, open and close the closet door, stare at the words “She believed she could, so she did” on the very green walls.

But today, I really WENT IN THERE.

Two strollers, two car seats, and a swing clutter the room, so you kind of have to tip toe around things, but today, I moved things around so that I could sit in our rocker, look through her big pink bin of toys.

I squeezed the hand of the little red Valentine’s monkey that my mom bought for us, and it started to sing Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me”. I laughed imagining our bright eyed baby lighting up and giggling to this very inappropriate song.

I read for the first time a few of the books we were given, and I allowed myself a few tears imagining what it would be like to read to our sweet girlie in that rocker.

I found the little pink box that Hudson’s aunties bought for her, filled with colorful flowered clips to put on her stretchy white headband. I had thought it was left at the hospital, and was so  happy to see it.

I dug into the closet next, sifting through hanger after of hanger of tiny adorable outfits, organized from 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months. I realized she would have outgrown all of these outfits by now, and I mourned the fact she never got to wear the so so so cute little red white and blue bathing suit that Momma Sue bought for her.

Then I tackled the stack of blankets. Handmade quilts and hand-knitted blankets. Soft, store-bought blankets, some so ridiculously small I couldn’t even really think what they’d be for. I found the blanket that my Grandma (Great Grandma R) knit for the “next grandbaby” – wrapped in a pink and blue bow – and I thought I should probably give that to my brother and his wife now.

Then I moved to the dresser. I thought I was going for the shoe drawer, but it was actually the burp rag and bib drawer. I found the pink Boston Red Sox bib that we had bought during our babymoon to Boston, and I cried a little bit because these are some of the few things I personally bought for Hudson.

I did eventually make it to the shoe drawer, my favorite thing when I was pregnant. Tiny, pointless baby shoes. Little baby moccasins, pink baby Crocs, frilly gold Mary Janes. These shoes never made it on our daughter’s feet.

I read through every single one of the cards I got at my shower, and I cried a little more thinking of all the love I felt on that day, thinking about how loved Hudson was and still is.

I have two gifts from an old church member, beautifully wrapped, sitting on the changing table, unopened. I contemplated for the umpteenth time opening the gift now. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe on Hudson’s birthday. Someday.

I looked around this room and I thought about how ready we were to have a baby, how ready we are. I cried. I’m crying as I write this.

The Hubs came upstairs and found me on the floor, digging through the baby shoe drawer. I had been allowing a few silent tears to trickle down my cheeks, but something about the sight of my sweet husband at the door, taking in the scene and probably assessing what kind of damage control he needed to do, made me burst into the “randomly gasping for air” tears that later result in the hiccups.

“I’m having fun!” I tried to explain through my tearburst.

I was having fun. Taking in all those unused things, all those unworn baby shoes, all those outfits and all the love that went into preparing that room… It took me back to the fun of our pregnancy, this surprise, unexpected thing that changed my entire life. And it got me excited, really really REALLY excited, about having another baby, being pregnant again.

Having a baby is going to be so fun.

Being pregnant is going to be so fun!

I’ve somehow gotten to a place recently where “having a baby” is just another thing to cross off the to do list of our “moving on”. The idea of being pregnant again is just a stepping stone to the baby part. “Ugh, I’ve got to make it through 40 weeks of pregnancy before I have another baby.”

But looking around that room, pawing through those drawers, made me remember how freaking awesome it was to be pregnant, how good I was at being pregnant, how delightful those 41 weeks really were.

Looking at Hudson’s things reminded me that there was so much more love in her life than the three short days she lived outside of me.  I’d been cherishing the mementos of Hudson’s life in Sacred Heart – the locks of hair, the Red Sox socks, the molds of her feet – all the while totally neglecting this room full of mementos of Hudson’s life when she lived inside of me.

The love affair with our daughter started so much sooner than July 11, and will last a lifetime.

And when we have another baby (oh my God, it’s going to be so so fun), Hudson’s things can become her siblings’ things,  hand-me-downs from big sis, a legacy of love that made us a family.

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Just another day, right? Nine Months

Yesterday, a girl who I went to college with posted a picture on Facebook of her 9 month old twin boys, with the caption, “Happy 9 months old!” She had her babies the day I started labor with Hudson, and I didn’t even realize how close they were to each other until I saw that post. I saw her chubby sweet-faced twins and I got a little choked up because…

I can’t even imagine what Hudson would be like at nine months.

I feel worlds apart from Hudson, worlds apart from the person I was when I went into labor on July 10, worlds apart from where I want to be, and kind of in limbo about the whole thing.

Do I want a baby, or do I want Hudson?

Both.

Do I want to be pregnant, or do I want Hudson?

Both.

I want desperately for my life to be different, for events nine months ago to have taken place so differently, for our spunky and sweet little lady to be here in the kitchen with me as I write this. I don’t get to have that life.

Writing is great for helping me to put all of this in perspective, but so is reading from time to time. I finally decided to read Harold S. Kushner’s When Bad Things Happen to Good PeopleI was hesitant to read such a “cliche” grieving book, but after reading about 60% of it, I realize there is a reason this book is so highly recommended to people after a loss. The honesty and logic with which Kushner tackles the business of reconciling belief in God to a world where good people experience so much pain is JUST WHAT I NEED at this point in my journey. I need logic right now, because my emotions are a mess. I need logic right now because I never dreamed we’d be this far from our girl without another baby on the way. I need logic right now because I realize that this world is not fair, and the world is not in the business of handing out miracles, and I need to be okay with that. I need to not take it personally.

But I am so tired. So tired of being saddled with this sadness. I want to carry a torch high for my beautiful daughter, to remember her in ways big and small, to memorialize and celebrate and honor this brilliant, but brief, life. But does doing this mean that all my future happinesses will be bittersweet?

I LOST it in a restaurant last week having lunch with my dear friend, whose daughter was stillborn three years ago. I was talking about this business of being saddled with sadness, carrying a torch for Hudson. She told me that during her pregnancy with her son (who is now a little bit over 1), she noticed little body positions that he would do that were just like the ones they’d see in ultrasounds of their daughter. She told me that her husband, her son and her daughter all had the same eyebrows. She said, “When you have another baby, you’ll see all these similarities, and those can be your torches.”

I burst into tears, this unstoppable force and release of pressure imagining how wonderful our future children will be, how wonderful our daughter was, how inextricably connected I am to my husband because of our children… ugh. Just WHOOSH… tears and a weird, elated laughter at how good that release felt, and how much I needed to hear those words:

“Those can be your torches.”

The further we get from Hudson’s life and death, the harder it is to imagine what life should be like right now. And that’s probably a good thing. I need to be experiencing this life as it is, not as I wish it was.

Something bad happened to us. We are good people. Until time machines (or miracle machines) are invented, there is nothing we can do to change the fact that our daughter – headstrong, funny, gorgeous Hudson Ruth – didn’t live. We can only control how we choose to live this life that we have. And maybe nine months from now we’ll be worlds apart from where we are today… until then, we can only take this life one day at a time, carrying our silent torches for our beautiful baby and missing the world that would have been so beautiful with her in it.

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