Category Archives: Uncategorized

And then, there were seven

Today started with hot, fat tears.

I had meant to send a note of appreciation to the social worker who was such a pivotal part of our experience with Hudson at Sacred Heart. I accidentally stumbled upon an online gallery of photos taken of Hudson on the night that she died.

Seeing that beautiful face, through the lens of our experience now, was bittersweet and heartache-inducing.

Anson, Maddox, and Marlowe are there. Maddox’s determined brow. Marlowe’s ridiculous lashes. Anson’s little butt-chin.

They’ll never know their big sister, not in this lifetime. But they’ll know a life with truly joyful parents.

Losing a child is a disaster. A life-wrecking event. Unrecoverable.

And yet.

We have joy.

We find it.

We create it.

It’s in Anson’s frantic, kinetic dance moves. It’s in his breathless laugh when he’s wrestling Daddy. It’s in his pensive expression when he needs an extra snuggle. The way he helps out willingly with “keeping Marlowe entertained.” “Who’s the best baby in the whole wide world? YOU ARE!”

It’s in the silly facial expressions Maddox makes when she’s talking about bird poop. The way she requests “Spicy Man” soap during bathtime (that’s Old Spice). Her exuberant “I love you in the whole wide world!” (no, I’m not accidentally leaving out words there)

And it’s in the weight I savor as I lift Marlowe out of her crib. The softness of her baby skin and the way she throws her head back into me when I pretend to chew on her ears, the gooey smiles she’ll give you in return for a high pitched, overly-expressive hello.

I don’t get to hold Hudson’s hand, braid her hair, take her to her first day of the 2nd grade, teach her to ride a bike, listen, work hard, or project from the diaphragm. These aren’t privileges I get in this life.

But I had her for three days, and she changed the way that I’ve looked at life these last seven years.

We’ve started a new tradition of bringing a Mylar balloon to Hudson’s stone at Veterans Memorial Golf Course on her birthday. Each of the “big kids” gets to pick one out. This year, Maddox chose (or perhaps, I chose for her…) a large unicorn balloon. Anson chose a butterfly.

Unfortunately, the unicorn untethered from its string and floated into the sky while we were loading the kids back into the car to head to Hudson’s stone. We tried to make the most of a bad situation, encouraging Maddox to look out the window and spot the balloon as it floated up to heaven.

Maddox moaned and cried, exclaiming “It’s my fault.” Her brother comforted her by saying, “Maddox, it’s okay. That balloon was for Hudson, and now she has it.”

When we arrived at Hudson’s stone, Maddox eagerly “planted” the roses we’d brought out and then asked if she could water them. Then, she asked, “Why don’t I see Hudson?”

“Because Hudson died, sweetie. We won’t get to see her in this life.”

It’s around this age that Anson started to understand death, too. 

But at bedtime, Maddox requested that I sing “Happy Home” and that I include Hudson in the song. “With Hudson in the family, happy happy home…”

“Hudson’s mybig, big sister!” Maddox said, trying to keep her heavy eyelids open.

“Yes, my darling, she is.”

“I love her in the whole wide world.”

And that about sums up my feelings about her, too.

Though the day started with tears, it ends with a heart full of joy. What gifts we have, when we choose to see them. What joy we can create, when we are mindful about creating it. And what a life we can build out of the ashes of tragedy, when we see how much life can be lived in just three short days.

 

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Hudson’s Sister

I have been silent here for so long, it almost felt like sacrilege to sit down and write again.

But Hudson has a baby sister, and I think that might be the best way to close the journey we share here.

Meet Maddox Debbie Sue.

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Yes, her hair is red.

She’s our little unicorn baby, with her sweet disposition, her little buddha belly and her love of the camera.

The only way life could possibly be better was if Hudson were here to show Maddox the ropes.

 

If I had a Three-Year-Old Today

…She would be sticky stinky campfire smells.

…She would need a bath. Now.

…She wouldn’t want to go to bed. Ever.

…She would test her Mommy’s patience daily.

…She would shout “No, I love YOU” and laugh from her belly.

…She would be soft and sweet and droopy eyelids.

…She would be told every day how much she is loved.

But my three-year-old daughter only lived three days, and I have missed out on every day with her since.

It has been three years since Hudson died, and today I am melancholy for all the things we are missing.

We won’t get to teach our three-year-old daughter her A, B, Cs or her 1, 2, 3s. We won’t get to teach her right from wrong, left from right, her colors or her shapes, the names of her dogs or the names of her siblings. We can only wish for these things now, and cherish every second we have with her baby brother.

Because it’s all we get, I’ll live with it, and I’ll be thankful for it. But every once in a while, and especially on the 14th of July, all I wish for is a world where things went differently.

I wish I had a three-year-old today.

So much gratitude

Of course the obvious subject of today’s post would be Anson. My heart is juicy, oozy full of love and gratitude for our son, this incredible little being who made the Hubs and I parents again.

DSC_0891My husband would make another excellent subject for today’s thoughts on gratitude. After all, he has kept me sane through life’s trials, he challenges me daily to be the best version of myself, he is a tremendously thoughtful and engaged father, and he is not too hard on the eyes.

img_033Being a family with these guys is pretty damn swell.

But there’s always the one that got away: Our sweet girl, Hudson.

And today, I am thankful for the family we are because of her.

I have had a difficult time writing lately. I haven’t had the energy, the creative juices, the subject matter, frankly.

This blog was intended to be a place to share my sometimes comical musings on pregnancy and parenthood.

Tragedy struck, and this blog became something entirely different.

I have felt like what I want to write about now is…

,,,Superficial.

…Trite.

…Too much sunshine and rainbows.

…Lacking in profundity and thus unworthy of being shared here, where Hudson’s life is captured in as much detail as I could muster.

So I don’t write for weeks, months. And when was the last time I cried because I miss my daughter? Is this moving on? Getting over it? I am no longer awash with envy at every new pregnancy announcement.

I almost feel guilty for how happy I am.

Hudson made me a mommy, put life in perspective, broke my heart and somehow still makes every day of my life better simply by having lived at all.

And so today I’m thankful for legendary red hair

for a little girl with a big name

for strong arms to hold me when my empty arms ached

for a little boy who completely owns me

for family.

The 100 Day Countdown

On Saturday, I did the math and realized that The Bullet would be arriving in exactly 100 days.

Double digits to our baby boy!!

The beauty of a scheduled C-section is that you can plan, to the greatest extent possible with willful fetuses, when the baby will arrive. We’re due February 20. The hospital only does scheduled C-sections on Mondays and Thursdays. So my options are the 13th and the 17th. The day before Valentine’s day, or President’s Day.

What could be more auspicious than a strapping young man born on President’s Day?

So February 17 is the day, people. That’s 95 days from today. That’s 13 weeks from Monday.

That’s soon! And also, somehow, lifetimes away.

President’s Day. Our daughter was due on the 4th of July, and our son will be born (barring any surprises) on President’s Day. The Walter family is destined for political greatness.

Evidently the First Hundred Days is a thing. To quote Wikipedia, the First Hundred Days “…is used to measure the successes and accomplishments of a president during the time that their power and influence is at its greatest.”

I’m flipping that on its head and making the most of the Last Hundred Days of pregnancy. The Bullet’s power and influence will probably only continue to grow over the next 100 days and after, so I might as well harness the power of two and squeeze as many personal successes and accomplishments into the next just-under-100-days as I possibly can.

Unfinished business? Time to finish it.
Goals I’ve set? Blast them out of the water.
Career accomplishments, getting the financial house in order, girls’ weekends, babymoons? No time like the present.

I’m a productive member of society, but in less than 100 days, I have a feeling my personal productivity is going to be sacrificed to the god of adorable chunky babyness.

One major goal that I want to accomplish before The Bullet arrives is completing and self-publishing the Baby Dub Blog Book. I’m sharing that goal here because I want people to hold me accountable. It’s a gift for me, a gift to my family, a tribute to my daughter and a task I KNOW will fall by the wayside once Bullet arrives.

The next 95 days on the Baby Dub Blog could be pretty eventful. And the Next Hundred Days are going to be some of the best of my life.

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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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Showered Part Two – the Photographic Evidence

Cute, tasty cake!

My amazing mom is letting me use these for Baby Dub’s room decor.

Tiny cups and straws! Hooray!

My incredibly crafty SIL made this adorable diaper four-wheeler. How am I supposed to take this apart?

The Ducky Diaper Derby… GENIUS!

Shoes so darn adorable they made me cry.

Tiny little hand-made baby booties!

Epic 4th of July quilt made by Auntie Stu.

I showed this to my husband and he said “Oh baby I can’t wait to see our baby in that.”

Another epic handmade treasure from Auntie Nat

Me and Grandma Sue

Me and Auntie Shiz… the camera adds 10 pounds. The baby adds the other 25.

New favorite

A wealth of baby-mommy-pregger-blogs exist, people. You simply must discover them.

I have discovered my new favorite.

When you aren’t reading the Meet Baby Dub blog, you should read Pregnant Chicken.

If you don’t have time for full-time follow-age, at least read this post.

This one.

Pregnant friends, take note. Friends and family of my own, maybe take a few notes too.

Hilarity and practicality rolled into one. What a delight.

Bump Progress

I’ve been pretty religious about taking a weekly picture of the “bump” so that I can look back and say “Oh yea, that’s what it was like to have a body.”

I feel compelled to share the bump pics here. Who wants to see ’em? I frankly am excited to see them all next to each other. Bumptastic! Let’s do this!!

10 Week Belly

10 Weeks!

11 Week Belly

11 Weeks!

12 Week Belly

12 Weeks!

13 Week Belly

13 Weeks!

14 Week Belly

14 Weeks!

15 week belly

15 Weeks!

16 Week Belly

16 Weeks!

17 week belly

17 Weeks!

18 week belly

18 Weeks!

19 week belly

19 Weeks!

20 week belly

20 Weeks!

21 week belly

21 Weeks!

22 Week Belly

22 Weeks!

What the? Did I explode??!!

To be fair, between the 21 week and 22 week picture there are about 12-13 days of belly growing time. I think the 21 week pic was taken at the start of week 21, while the 22 week picture is taken today, on the eve of 23 weeks. So…

Seriously, I look like I’m ready to give birth in this pic!

And I’m going to get bigger. AWESOME. Bring it on.

The Honeymoon of Pregnancy

Whoever called the 2nd trimester the “honeymoon” of pregnancy can suck it.

I felt WAY better in the 1st trimester.

I wasn’t sick. I didn’t have trouble sleeping. I wasn’t overly exhausted. I wasn’t carrying extra poundage all over. My back didn’t hurt and I could still wear most of my bras.

I AM fond of my belly. It is fully of Baby, and Baby is good.

But I have to say that the 2nd trimester has not been a honeymoon, by any stretch of the imagination.

On our honeymoon, for instance, it was about 100 degrees outside and I got to bask in the sunshine every day. There was golf, every day, and I didn’t have to swing around a belly. I was in some of the best shape of my life (P90X got me ready for the big day!). I had a wardrobe that wasn’t solely made up of stretchy fabrics. The only reason for my back aching was too much time in the bunkers at PGA West.

Dangit, I got to drink cocktails on my honeymoon!

They call it the “honeymoon of pregnancy” because you typically aren’t throwing up every 5 minutes (in contrast to the 1st trimester, I suppose), and you aren’t as huge as you’re going to get in the 3rd trimester, so in theory this is the most comfortable you’ll be in pregnancy.

Unless you were awesome in the 1st trimester, like me.

A friend of mine (who found out recently that she is pregnant) texted me this weekend to ask me how much weight I gained in the 1st trimester.

Without shame I will tell you, as I told her, that I gained about 10 pounds.

This is THREE TIMES the amount that my preggers books inform me is healthy. 0-3 pounds, really? Yes, maybe if I was throwing up every day, like many pregnant women in their 1st trimester. Me, I was hungry all the time, I was told I couldn’t continue my Insanity work outs (I miss you, Sean T.!), and I kept all my calories from coming back up. It was a recipe for weight gain.

I wasn’t a fan of gaining this much weight, but I wasn’t going to obsess over weight gain either. People, pregnant ladies have baby parts to make. We can’t be bothered with calorie counting.

I slept like a freakin’ baby(maker) during the 1st trimester too. I woke up in the morning feeling like I’d just gotten the best night’s sleep of my life, and that was often WITH a 2 am pee break to interrupt my REM cycle.

Things have changed in the 2nd trimester, I’ll admit. Mainly I’m more tired, which leads to lack of exercise, which leads to a harder time going to sleep at night, which leads to being more tired.

Darn you vicious cycle!

When you’re tired, you don’t feel healthy, and you’re more sensitive about little things, and let’s face it, the fact that you weigh the most you’ve ever weighed in your life (and it’s only going to get worse!) is a big “SUCK” too.

Where’s my violin? I’m throwing a little pity party over here.

Being pregnant has not been incredibly difficult thus far. I’m pretty much enjoying the whole journey. But I will say that it is a constant adjustment. Your body is no longer all your own. Add all the physical changes to the emotional toll of contemplating being responsible for another human being, and you have a recipe for one-to-two-to-three break downs.

I’m working on staving off my second pregnancy break down of this pregnancy. I think keeping it under 5 will be a reasonable goal.

I suppose it isn’t as much fun to read about as some of the other things I write about. Sorry. But you know what, I’m tired and I’m not going to apologize anymore! You are going to read it and LIKE it!

Oh dear.

I think Baby Dub must have known that I would have a weak constitution for even the mildest of discomforts in pregnancy. She’s been so easy on me so far. I’ve felt gross for the past 3 days, and I’m ready to snap. Can you even imagine what it would have been like if I’d been sick for days on end?

We would not be here today.

There would be no time for blogging in between trips to the bathroom, screaming fits at the Hubs about ice cream flavors, and sobbing sessions in the corner over all my parenting fears.

Thank you, Baby Dub, for being so kind to me.

I am gearing up for the most important job of my life, and while this particular job is totally terrifying, I choose to be awesome at my every undertaking.

It is time for me to be awesome at the 2nd trimester.

Three days of funk is enough funk for one pregnancy.

We’re a few weeks behind, but…

…let the HONEYMOON of pregnancy begin!