Monthly Archives: July 2013

One. Happy Birthday, Hudson!

It’s been a long, full day. I have so much to say, and very very little. But on Hudson’s birthday, I’m feeling wistful, sad, happy, hopeful, blessed, full, loved. More words, perhaps more profound, to come.

One candle on my baby girl's cake

One candle on my baby girl’s cake

Hudson's butterfly cake

Hudson’s butterfly cake

Spending the day together could only have been better with you, baby girl.

Spending the day together could only have been better with you, baby girl.

 

 

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Touched…

I’m overwhelmed in the best way. In just 24 hours we’ve raised almost $500 for the Forget-Me-Not Foundation. Thank you, wonderful, generous, caring friends and family for your support. My Hudson candle is lit and my heart is full.

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Brokenhearted, but hopeful

This morning, my heart broke.

photo(2)The inside of that heart is with Hudson, and the outside, which I’ve worn on my wrist or around my neck every day since I got it, is now broken.

It was kind of a shit start to the first day in The Week.

From Monday to Sunday, we will pass the day we went into labor (the 10th), the day Hudson was born (the 11th), and the day that Hudson died (the 14th).

I was so sure I could sail through The Week relatively un-phased, and then my heart broke.

I was in a hurry to throw my bags in the car and get on the road for work, and I must have caught the edge just right. I just stared in horror at the fragments on my garage floor, the ruby chain dangling haphazardly from my wrist. I wanted to cry. I felt sick. I thought this heart could withstand the heat of cremation. How did this little tap against my car door shatter my heart?

Sometimes the tiniest things can shatter you.

I’ve figured out how I’m spending Hudson’s birthday this year. It’s mostly small personal things. But there is one big thing that has been on my heart, that I’d like to share today.

I started my day with a broken heart, but after work, I went to check the mail, and in it was a letter from C at the Forget-Me-Not Foundation. She had handwritten a card to the Hubs and I, letting us know she was thinking of us this week, almost a year from when she met us and our beautiful Hudson. She said she still can picture us standing over Hudson’s bed, reading stories to her.

One of my favorite memories of Hudson is also one of the strongest memories someone else has of me. How nice.

I would like to make a large donation to the Forget-Me-Not Foundation in honor of Hudson’s birthday this year. In order to do that, for this entire week, 100% of the income from any Hudson’s Heroes teeshirt orders will go to the Forget-Me-Not Foundation, plus I’ll match the amount (so if you buy a $15 shirt, I’ll donate $30 to Forget-Me-Not). I’ve got short and long-sleeved in a variety of sizes. To order a teeshirt and have the full amount sent to the Forget-Me-Not Foundation, you can click on the “Donate” tab at the top of the blog, fill out your information and I’ll take care of the rest.

If you choose to make a donation directly to the Forget-Me-Not Foundation in Hudson’s name, I will mail you a Hudson’s Heroes teeshirt as a thank you.

To give online, visit this link and under Designation, select “Other”, then type in “Forget-Me-Not Foundation”. In the comments, you can enter “imo Hudson Ruth Walter”.

You can also mail your donation directly to:

Providence Health Care Foundation, Eastern Washington
c/o Forget-Me-Not Foundation
PO Box 2555
Spokane, Washington 99220-2555

In the memo on your check you can enter “imo Hudson Ruth Walter”.

Grandma and Grandpa Dub have made  contributions in Hudson’s name on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and have promised to do so again to celebrate Hudson’s birthday each year. Grandma Shiz has “sold” some of her photography work in exchange for donations to the Forget-Me-Not Foundation. I feel blessed and touched every time I get a letter from the organization saying that yet another donation has been made in our precious daughter’s memory. I am excited to contribute in another big way to celebrate Hudson’s first birthday, and hope that those with means will find it in their hearts to help make a big impact for families who face the loss of an infant.

Sure, I started the week with a broken heart. But I can and will spend the rest of this week offering hope to others.

It’s the least I can do in memory of our beautiful fighter.

 

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Ess just got real, again – The first Doctor’s appointment

Today we counted down the hours and minutes from “wake up and get out of bed” to 3:15. Because at 3:15 today, we got to see the Bullet for the first time.

That’s right kids. The first doctor’s appointment was today.

We arrived the requisite 10 minutes early, filled out a little bit of paperwork, and I commented to the Hubs on how sad it was that there are two lines on the form:

Husband/Spouse or Significant Other:
Father of the baby:

Then my name was called, and Nurse A was excited to see us and congratulated us profusely. Weigh in (I have a little less wiggle room than I did last time around), blood pressure (perfect, huzzah!), a few questions about the particulars and then the agonizing wait for Dr. M.

I sit in the hospital room, in the belly length, open front blouse-y mess and a sheet to cover my lap, nervously tucking the sheet to cover my exposed butt crack, and I keep pestering the Hubs about questions for the doc. I felt like I had a lot of them before I got in there, but as I sit there waiting for Dr. M to arrive, I am drawing a blank.

I just want to see that heartbeat.

And then, Dr. M is rolling in the ultrasound machine and she cuts right to the chase.

“We’re going to do the fun stuff first.” I love my doctor. Have I mentioned this before?

Forget the pap smear, the questions about last menstrual period, blah blah blah. Let’s get that ultrasound going and see Bullet, already.

There’s just one in there, and it is ours. I laid there and held the Hubs’ hand and took it all in, our baby, this precious creation that was conceived in a trailer park during one of the most stressful and difficult months of my life, and I fell in love.

I did request a thorough scan for multiples, but there really is just the one Bullet. We aren’t getting double barrels this round.

We’re measuring at 7 weeks and 1 day. Our estimated due date is February 20. Everything looked good. Hudson’s baby brother or sister is on the way.

As the appointment is wrapping up, my doctor asks me a question:

“After Hudson was delivered, you asked me for information about any support groups. Did you ever find one?”

“No,” I responded. “But a friend of mine and I are thinking of starting one.”

Dr. M then explains that someone else in our small town just lost their full-term baby, and is looking for somebody to talk to. I told Dr. M to give her my information.

Losing a baby is an absolute travesty. After our appointment, I’m filled with joy for the healthy heartbeat, the tiny bean on the screen, but  I am also left with a heavy heart knowing that someone else, in such a tiny little town, will go home without their beautiful labor of love. And that there’s nothing that anyone can do to fix or change it. And that there isn’t even a good support if they wanted it.

I hope that this mother calls me, and I hope that I am given the opportunity to be that listening ear. As my doctor put it, “We [doctors] know what happened, but we can’t relate. We can’t validate how they are feeling the way that you can.”

It is a horrible position to be in, to be the best qualified individual to identify with somebody going through the worst experience imaginable. But here I am in this place, heartbroken for somebody I’ve never met before and hoping that they pick up the phone and call me.

Because even if its miserable, and even if it drags me back to the darkest places of my grief, I know that it is helping somebody, providing hope when somebody can’t imagine any day that could be brighter.

I’m astounded by the lessons I continue to learn because of Hudson. I have a capacity to love harder and deeper than I ever thought possible. I have an appreciation for the miracle of life that makes me value other people more, to cut people a little more slack. And I have learned to listen, to be empathetic, to be silent when it is necessary and to be selective in my word choice when silence is not enough. I know that these qualities are making me a better person, but more importantly, they are making me a better mother. Bullet will benefit from these lessons, and will probably teach me a whole new world of lessons him-or-herself.

But for now I want Bullet to focus on growing those arm and leg buds, getting less tadpole-like and more awesome.

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Due

A year ago today was Hudson’s due date. I wandered around with the Hubs at the park, enjoyed a little pool time and a salsa cook off with my family, even played some golf in an attempt to swing her out. Our little firecracker was stayin’ put, however. She stuck with Momma for an extra week. 

Flash forward to 2013: It’s a beautiful 4th of July in Walla Walla. Like I did a year ago, I played some golf today… this time in a tournament scramble, which we placed 7th in. Instead of being surrounded by anxious, eager and impatient family members, I’m mostly just hanging out with the Hubs and the dogs. I’m trying to stay cool instead of trying to sweat out a 7+ pound baby.

A salsa cook-off does sound pretty nice though.

I haven’t got much profound to say about today. I miss our baby, and I wish we had a chunky cooing almost-one-year-old to play in the sprinklers with today, to try to put down for the night amidst the popping and crackling of fireworks, to attempt to keep away from the sugary treats that make up classic BBQ/picnic dessert fare.

We rarely get what we wish for in this life. We sometimes have to struggle just to be grateful for the many things that we do have. And we have much.

I have much.

My health.
My husband.
Good, thoughtful friends.
Amazing, caring family.
Loving, energetic puppies.
A job I care about.
A home I can be proud of.
Freedom.
Love.
Hope.

I am hopeful. I am loved. I am free.

I have always been Hudson’s mommy. Before I knew her, while she was with us, for a lifetime without her and for Eternity with her.

I wanted her desperately a year ago, and I want her desperately today. And maybe like I did a year ago, I’ll wrap up in my tee shirt quilt tonight, sit out on the balcony and cry as I watch the fireworks.

Or maybe I won’t. I’m free to choose.

 

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Hudson’s Month

Today is the first day of July. A year ago, I woke up every morning with a sense of anticipation that this could be the day I go into labor, this could be the day I see what our daughter looks like, this could be the day I start the next phase of this thing called motherhood.

Those first few days of July 2012 were pretty great.

But this is 2013 and things are much different. I started a new phase of my life a year ago, that’s for sure. Instead of planning a birthday party, frantically scouring Pinterest for the best baby bday ideas and panicking that I might settle on the wrong one, today I feel obligated to plan a memorial. And I just don’t know what to do for our daughter’s 1st birthday.

Today I returned to work from a long weekend celebrating one my dearest friends getting married. On my desk was a card and a small cardboard box wrapped in brown ribbon. Inside the cardboard box was a Glassybaby, not coincidentally called “Hudson.” The card (from a sweet new friend who has mastered the art of the handwritten card and is more thoughtful than I could hope to be) explained that the colors made her think of my eyes, which she imagined would also have been my daughter’s eyes.

I like to imagine that too.

She also included these words, so fitting:

Some people shine a light so bright, that even when they are gone, the light remains.

Hudson’s light remains. Her spirit, which captured our hearts and changed our lives throughout my pregnancy and in her brief life in the world, shines on in me, in the Hubs, in the people who know us and are touched by her fight.

So while I haven’t come up with anything too profound to do to celebrate her 1st birthday, I do know one thing I’m going to do to celebrate her birth month. I will light one of my Hudson candles (I have two, thanks to another dear and thoughtful friend) every day this month and I will smile when my eye catches that flickering orange/red, so like Hudson’s hair in hue, and that soft grey/blue, so like Hudson’s eyes, and that glow that is my daughter’s indomitable spirit,

small but powerful,

bright and beautiful.

The colors couldn't be more perfect.

The colors couldn’t be more perfect.

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