The Day I went into Labor

Two years ago today, I went in to labor with Hudson Ruth.

Two years ago today, I kicked the day off with one too many bran muffins, played 9 holes of golf and went out to lunch with the Hubs, went to my scheduled doctor’s appointment, had my membranes stripped, and 2 hours later ate a Subway sandwich and took a shower before heading to the hospital to meet our daughter.

Baby Dub.

And of course, last night my dreams were all about labor.

Let me tell you right now that I don’t have any desire to go through that again.

There is no part of me that feels like less of a woman because my future children will be delivered by C-Section.

Before we had Hudson, somebody told me that the throes of labor were similar to a runner’s high. I am here to tell you that I did not get that, not even one little bit.

Back to my dreams. I’m miraculously something like 37 weeks pregnant with a little sibling for Anson and we haven’t found out what gender we are having. For some reason the delivery room is also somebody’s very nice outdoor patio. There are 6 other women in labor in the same room (er, on the same patio?), and Dr. M informs me that I am “Complete” but I have only felt one contraction and it was like, 2 hours ago, so I’m not exactly sure what we are doing here. “Is this baby just going to fall out of me?” I ask. Evidently that’s not how it works. In my dream, Dr. M is so happy for us, and there are other women pushing babies out all around me, and I’m supposed to have a C-Section, I know, but I’m just standing around, dilated to 10 centimeters and excited for this boy or girl to “just fall out of me.”

Dreams are weird, man.

I had a fleeting thought as I was getting ready for bed last night – tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary of going into labor with Hudson. Two years ago we weren’t These People Who Have Experienced Awful Loss. Two years ago we were innocent.

Two years ago I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have a baby. And unfortunately, the taste of motherhood I got in the days that followed was far from the expected, far from the experience we deserved.

And here we are two years later and I’m writing this while my 5 month old plays on his piano key play mat. I take a break from typing to help him get his foot untangled from the little jungle birdie, and he looks up at me and smiles his delicious grin, and even though two years ago we kicked off the hardest days of our lives, I feel happy, blessed, in this moment.

I love my two gorgeous children more than I can ever express with the written word. It’s a warmth in my chest, a lump in the back of my throat, that burning sensation in your eyes, a smile you can’t seem to wipe off.

Life went crazy two years ago. There have been some dark days in the past two years. I am far from the person I planned on being. But today, life is the most beautiful it has ever been.

And forever, there is only ONE THING I would want to change about This Life. I wish, forever, that we got to live This Life with Hudson.

Tagged , , , ,

4th of July

If there’s one day of the year when I should write, it’s today.

This is the day we looked forward to with so much anticipation back in 2012: Hudson’s Due Date.

On this day, two years ago, I watched fireworks and cried as I realized that I would not be getting my 4th of July baby. Our little firework showed up a week later and filled three days with so much.

The arrival of Summer 2013 was difficult. Summer belonged to Hudson. Warm weather, beautiful sunrises, gardening, golfing and spending time in the sunshine made me wistful for our sweet girl. And even as summer began in earnest and we KNEW the Bullet was on his way, I spent the month of July with a lump in my throat and the Missing-My-Girl just a bit heavier on my heart.

My mom told me once that you can’t truly begin to get over a loss until you’ve gone through a full year, because you need to experience all the holidays and milestones without that person.  Making our situation even more difficult: That year full of Firsts-Wthout should have been a year full of Firsts-With our baby.

And today was Anson’s first 4th of July.

Every once in a while I will pick up my baby and realize he’s mine.  I’m not sure if that makes sense to anybody else. In the Year of Firsts-Without, I remember comforting myself from time to time by imagining our future children and how wonderful our life would be together.

We are living that life now, in the Year of Firsts-With-Anson, and it’s better than I could have imagined.

As a parent, you hear this a lot: “Enjoy this phase, it goes so fast!”

Anson’s first four months have gone by awfully fast. It’s unbelievable how slowly the last half of a pregnancy can drag on, and how quickly that same amount of time can fly with an infant.

Another thing you hear fairly frequently from parents who’ve been there, done that: “Every stage is better than the last one.”

This, I can also vouch for. Every single day is better than the last one. I can’t explain it, but it’s awesome. Anson changes so much from day to day. I swear I went to get him one morning and he LOOKED OLDER. This morning, I tried to sit Anson up on his own and he went timber the second I took my hand away. By the afternoon, he could balance himself sitting up for a couple of seconds!

Though I miss Hudson every single day, today, I’m so grateful for the Firsts I get to experience with Anson.

On Anson’s first 4th of July:
Like a true American, he puked on himself before noon.
He had a yelling match with his cousin C.
We learned that he is un-phased by the erratic POP and BANG of fireworks.

And there was this:

Sweet, sleepy boy.

Sweet, sleepy boy.

Tagged , , , , ,

Let’s pretend it’s actually June 13

Making the time to write has been challenging for me, but I’ll spare you the excuses  and just leave it at this: I have a four month old.

And it’s the best.

June 13 marked Anson’s 4 month birthday (yes, we celebrate month birthdays around here). It also marked the one year mark (exactly) since we found out we were pregnant with the Bullet. It also kicked off Father’s Day weekend.

I found myself thinking (amidst the whirlwind that was that weekend) how very grateful I am that we knew we were pregnant prior to Father’s Day 2013. Remember how the Hubs didn’t want Father’s Day to even be acknowledged last year? Ugh. My heart aches thinking back to those incredibly hard 11 months between the loss of Hudson and the hope of Bullet.

How did we even function?

Our days are filled with so much joy because of Anson. He’s truly a blessing, the love of my life, the never-fails-to-put-my-life-in-proper-perspective little dude who puts more huge smiles on my face than I ever thought possible. Before Hudson, we didn’t know our lives were so empty. With Anson, we get to experience daily what our short time with Hudson gave us a just a beautiful glimmer of.

And he’s an awesome baby. All boy, with delicious rolls of chunk on his thighs and forearms. Yes, his forearms. Kissable cheeks, enviable eyelashes, the definition of Baby Blues. He smiles when he’s smiled at. He flirts. His laugh, while hard-earned, will send me and the Hubs into fits of giggles that result in more laughter from Anson… the highlight of any day. As his personality emerges more daily, I discover how much he truly is like me and like the Hubs – a bit of a showoff, likes the sound of his own voice, enjoys entertaining a crowd and can’t help but check himself out if there’s a mirror present.

My baby makes people who are done having babies want to have more babies.

My baby also makes me a big fat braggart.

Joy: synonym for parenthood.

And without further ado (and to spare you anymore of my incessant bragging), pictures.

Anson's skeptical face

Anson’s skeptical face

These days it is hard to keep his fist out of his mouth...

These days it is hard to keep his fist out of his mouth…

Handsome Anson

Handsome Anson

Yea. He sucks his thumb.

Yea. He sucks his thumb.

Or... his entire first.

Or… his entire first.

Money shot. That face!!

Money shot. That face!!

 

Tagged , , , ,

Best Mother’s Day Gift EVER

For Mother’s Day, my amazing hubby NAILED IT.

Four mini-sessions with our favorite local photographer, Melissa McFadden.

We’ll get to capture Anson at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year old.

Have I told you lately that I love the Hubs?

We will have no shortage of photo documentation of this little guy. I have taken at least a handful of pictures of him every single day of his life. (Thanks, iPhone!)

But one thing we DO have a shortage of is photo documentation of ME with the little guy.

Now, I’m not offended by not being in the picture out of personal pride or anything. I mean, my body has a ways to go before I’m back to pre-baby shape. I’m still wearing predominantly elastic-waisted pants. Lots of “flowy” tops.

I have tons of gems of Anson with his daddy.

Sleepy boys

Because I’m always the one TAKING the picture, I’m rarely IN the picture.

A while back, this article went viral on Pinterest and Facebook and I was missing my beautiful daughter and I thought, “When Baby Dub Dos arrives, you’d better believe I’m getting in the picture.”

So we have a few treasures like this:

Mommy and AnsonBut more often than not, they look like this:

Napping togetherSo on Tuesday, Mr. Whiskers stayed home and I got in a few of the pictures.

img_025 img_016 (1) img_034 (1) img_029 (1) img_028And of course, Anson starred in a few on his own.

img_022 img_014 (1) img_023 img_011 img_001 img_019 img_018 (1)

 

 

 

Tagged , ,

3 Months Old

Anson officially turned 3 months old on Tuesday.

I love watching this little dude grow up, but seriously. Can time slow down already? Why is he wearing 9 month jammies right now?

It isn’t lost on me that significant number: 3

Anson has been alive and a part of the outside world as many months as Hudson was days.

And back then, we felt the same way: Can time slow down already?

Anson's pretty jazzed

Anson’s pretty jazzed

What are you doin' Mom?

What are you doin’ Mom?

No, seriously. What are you DOING?!

No, seriously. What are you DOING?!

I guess I trust you.

I guess I trust you.

Because you're hilarious!

Because you’re hilarious!

This is the face Anson makes when he does his little stoner laugh. "ah-HUUUUUUUH"

This is the face Anson makes when he does his little stoner laugh. “ah-HUUUUUUUH”

Anson Joseph Walter. Distinguished.

Anson Joseph Walter. Distinguished.

There isn't a face more perfect.

There isn’t a face more perfect.

Tagged , ,

Mother’s Day 2014

The year 2014 marks the third year that Zeb and I have celebrated Mother’s Day, with Me in the starring role of Mother. The year 2014 marks the first year that we’ve had the proof of our parenthood present and accounted for.

In 2012, we were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Baby Dub, aka Hudson Ruth.

In 2013, we were mourning the loss of her, and I was struggling with the awkward quandary of being a mother without a child to be a mother to.

And then, today.

The only Walter getting breakfast in bed was Anson.
Nobody slept in.
Everybody is blissfully happy.

I have found myself thinking often of what an awesome world we would live in if we had 22 month old Hudson today as well as 3 month old Anson. These two would have made a dynamic duo of trouble-making. Hudson would have been inquisitive, unhelpful-by-trying-to-be-helpful, loving, gentle and wonderful in her role as Big Sis. Anson would have doted on this Other Woman in his life, and would have grown up to be as protective of her as her father would have been. The world of Anson-PLUS-Hudson would have been paradise.

Who knows if I would have known how good we had it. Who knows if I would have taken this gift for granted. I’d like to think I would have cherished every day with the same fervor that I try to now.

We have much to cherish.

Tickles and giggles with Uncle B and cousin C

Tickles and giggles with Uncle B and cousin C

Future best friends.

Future best friends.

Couple-a dudes sitting on the couch

Couple-a dudes sitting on the couch

That juicy smile!

That juicy smile!

That's the Dub in him coming out!

That’s the Dub in him coming out!

A precious keepsake of Anson's first Mother's Day

A precious keepsake of Anson’s first Mother’s Day

 

 

 

Tagged , , ,

Birthday Bonanza

Today I turn 31.

My 30th year brought two of the Top 5 Moments of my life…

 

The moment I found out we were pregnant with Anson

The moment I found out we were pregnant with Anson

 

And the moment Anson was born

And the moment Anson was born

 

IMG_2616

And so many moments since then have been made better by the simple fact: We are a family.

Ten weeks later, and it’s hard to imagine anything in year 31 topping the highlight of 30. That’s not to say I don’t have high hopes for this next year of life. And that’s not to say I have peaked and it’s all downhill from here. Life with Anson just keeps getting better.

In fact, the only complaint I have is that I don’t also get to live this life with Anson’s big sister.

That nose. Those eyebrows.

That nose. Those eyebrows.

 

And when life has only given you one valid complaint, it’s best not to complain at all.

That's me on the left and Anson on the right. Both of us can rock a faux hawk!

That’s me on the left and Anson on the right. Both of us can rock a faux hawk!

Tagged , , , ,

2 months old… what?

I cannot believe we’ve been living life with this handsome sonuvagun for the past 2 months. Where does the time go?

DSC_0874

I can’t pretend that the past two months have been easy. Far from it. Ever had a kid? It tests your will. It calls into question your sense of adequacy. One human being entirely dependent on another. It’s blow-your-mind BIG.

DSC_0936

And you rise to the occasion.

DSC_0918

Because look at that.

DSC_0954

You made that.

There are parts about this journey that nobody tells you about… likely an evolutionary thing, to ensure the human race keeps reproducing.

Breastfeeding is almost as big a sacrifice and takes nearly the same physical toll as 40 weeks of pregnancy.
Say goodbye to a solid night’s sleep.
You and your husband can’t be held accountable for what’s said in the middle of the night when the baby is crying.

DSC_0992

But are you freakin’ kidding me?

My body will never be the same, but I am the sole source of sustenance for the most adorable human being on the planet.

DSC_1004

I may not sleep more than 5 hours straight for the next 18 years. But I get to see this face all day, every day, and most of the night too. And that’s good.

DSC_0893

And yes, sleep deprivation might cause us to be a little short with each other from time to time.

I didn’t wake up at the sound of Anson’s cries one night, so my husband brought him into the room and woke me with this gem:
“Remember this little guy?”

BUT the love I feel for this man who is raising this precious human with me? That’s beyond words.

Know what else is beyond words? The feeling I get looking at this face.

DSC_0894

There just aren’t words for that.

Tagged , ,

1 Month of Magic

Anson is 1 month old today.

I celebrated by taking a zillion pictures of him in a custom-made onesie. Enjoy.

DSC_0816 DSC_0822 DSC_0829 DSC_0826 DSC_0844 DSC_0865

Tagged , , ,

The 11th

In the year following Hudson’s birth and death, I wrote something each month on the 11th, to mark the milestones we should have been celebrating with our growing little girl.

And then, we were pregnant with Anson, and Hudson’s first birthday was spent contemplating all we were missing but also celebrating her brief existence and the coming arrival of her baby brother. And with the passing of July 11, 2013, the 11th started to sting less.

Sometimes the 11th of the month comes, and my mom texts me to let me know she’s thinking of us and of the joy our little girl would have brought us, and I’m surprised that it’s the 11th.

^^That actually happened today.^^

This weekend a dear friend came to visit and meet Anson. Amidst the questions about nighttime feedings and diaper changes and who does Anson look more like, she asked me how I was doing emotionally.

Another friend whose first child was stillborn shared with me that some of her most emotional moments over the loss of her daughter came years later, when she was caring for her infant son.

I won’t pretend that I haven’t had countless thoughts of our beautiful girl since the birth of our son. But I’m so filled with joy over the little guy that I don’t have a lot of room for sadness over the missed moments with Hudson. If anything, all these moments are made more beautiful knowing how precious they are, how much we would have given to experience them with Hudson.

Back to my friend’s question: How are you doing emotionally?

I’m happy.

Let me be clear, Anson’s arrival doesn’t fix Hudson’s far-too-early departure from our lives. Hudson’s life is its own beautiful part of our story, just as Anson’s life is a new and wonderful chapter, and he is his own unique person. We experience Anson’s life more fully because of his big sister, but I want to be careful not to tie the two too closely to each other. My hope for Anson is that he always knows how much he is wanted, how much he is loved, in his own right and not just because his big sister died.

So today,  the 11th, gets to be the day that Anson spit up on 3 outfits and went through 3 diapers in an hour.

It also gets to be the day his big sister Hudson would have been 20 months old.

This life doesn’t give us only beautiful experiences. It’s up to us to find the beauty in all of life’s experiences.

img_148

Mommy & Daddy & Anson

img_047

Mommy & Daddy & Hudson

 

Tagged , , ,