Tag Archives: Baby Dub Dos

It couldn’t have happened any other way… Conception IPA

I’ve long thought about how my writing would change once the Hubs and I were knocked up with baby number two. Will my less-desperate nature carry through in the tone of my writing and the subjects I reflect on?

I also have cherished the writing I did before Hudson was born and died, as it captures some of her personality as it developed over the 9 months I carried her, and it captures the happiness the Hubs and I experienced as we got to know our daughter. So I knew that when I got pregnant again, the writing couldn’t stop.

I just wouldn’t publish it right away.

If you’re reading this today, you are reading something that was written weeks ago, and you get to catch up with the development of Baby Dub Dos, or as the Hubs and I have newly nicknamed him/her: Bullet.

It couldn’t have happened any other way.

There were desperate days in the last 11 months… and on those desperate, low days, I would comfort myself with the thought of that day when I would take a pregnancy test and I would see a positive result and I would know that we were on the way to growing our family. I loved imagining the happiness. It brought me through.

The real deal did not disappoint.

This might sound new-age-y and weird, but I knew I was pregnant. I laid in bed last Sunday night and I couldn’t sleep and I was confident that it was because we had accomplished our mission. I was determined not to test early, not to get too excited, but I did make sure that I had a two-pack of EPTs in the house for the day that would inevitably arrive when I could find out for sure that my intuition was correct.

On June 13, I went and got my hair cut… like 6 inches cut off. I told my stylist, “There’s this weird superstitious part of me that is thinking, the last time I got pregnant I had short hair…” a statement which got a few laughs because it is truly ridiculous.

I was planning to head up to see the Hubs in Yakima that night, and I had to run home after the hair cut appointment to grab a few things, and I thought to myself, “There’s this two-pack of EPTs…”

And as I peed on that stick I was thinking, as I’ve thought many times before (I’ve probably peed on at least $100 worth of pregnancy tests in the last 11 months), “This could be the day that I get that feeling…

And this day, I knew it was true.

I forced myself to keep my eyes off the test for at least one minute (it required two), and then I just happened to glance and it was a plus sign.

A plus sign, dammit.

This time I did not drop a single eff bomb. I laughed and I cried and it was almost as awesome as I’d imagined it. The only thing that would have made it more awesome was if the Hubs had been there to laugh and cry with me.

We’ve been talking about how we would break the news to our family and friends when Baby Dub Dos aka Bullet made their first appearance. It was determined that our homebrew hobby would be the vehicle for the news, and we would present people with bottles of Conception IPA. So, I made an impromptu label, slapped it on a bottle of our latest batch, and headed up to Yakima to break the news to the Big Bear.

That part was just as awesome as I’d imagined it, too.

And as predicted, This changes everything… again.

Screen shot 2013-06-15 at 8.50.10 AM

The back label reads:

After months of anticipation, the Dubs are pleased to announce the release of their latest batch of “homebrew”… Conception IPA!
Enjoy the heady aromas of long-awaited good news.
Savor the flavor of a mission accomplished… most likely in a trailer park.
A full body can be expected…
February 2014!

Alcohol: 0% for the next 9 months

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Another one bites the dust – 8 months

This morning I woke up and I knew what I’d be writing about.

Hudson would be 8 months old today.

I can hardly wrap my mind around it. Whole babies are made and born in this amount of time (although it isn’t ideal). My sweet SIL will be having her baby at some point this month. Another good friend was due last week and is trying any and all methods to induce labor. My brother and his wife are almost out of the 1st trimester.

But we don’t have our baby, and she would have put all other babies to shame.

I allow myself a little bit of self-pity from time to time, a little “Why me?” moaning and groaning, a little petty and spiteful and small thinking because if I don’t let that out I tend to get a little angst-ridden. My sister and I were talking the other day and I just couldn’t help but unleash this particular beast: “Hudson was prettier than any other newborn ever, and she would be more adorable now than any other 8 month old.”

Every parent thinks that their baby is the most beautiful thing ever created, but I am the only person who thinks this and is absolutely correct.

Today I cross off another milestone, another mini-birthday for our daughter. I embrace the reality of her absence, I yearn for the life I should be living right now, and I miss her so, so much.

Last week, I was chatting with some girlfriends about this whole business of getting pregnant again, and I realized that if I do not get pregnant this month, then my husband and I will not end up having a baby to bring home in 2013.

For some reason, this is wildly unjust in my mind.

For some reason, this is a milestone that fills me with panic.

For some reason, 2013 coming and going without Baby Dub Dos arriving seems too unfair for me to fathom.

I’m getting whole worlds of advice from people about how to make this happen. Lay off the caffeine, reduce your stress level, ease up on the intensity of your workouts, “just have sex for fun” (this is the direct advice of my doctor), practice meditation, repeat a fertility mantra 100 times a day, etc. etc. etc. I could do every one of these things, plus the 1000 things I’ve managed to stumbled upon in various Google searches, and I would still be at the mercy of a headstrong sperm and a lazy egg and a uterus with a mind of its own and a trillion other factors I have absolutely no control over.

Just relax and let it happen.

What about the passing of 2013 would make not having a baby right now more unjust than it already is? Our perfect, precious daughter died. The last number on the calendar being different doesn’t do anything to soften that blow.

I welcome a baby into my fertile womb.

Years changing, time passing, months and milestones between Hudson’s life and death and the present moment, it is nothing but time. Time is not an elixir that softens the pain of Hudson’s absence from our world. Every day, we get further from the moment we lost our baby. Every day, we get closer to the day we welcome our next. And with each day, we are better equipped (from sheer practice) to handle this reality. But it doesn’t make losing Hudson any less awful.

I envision the light of the universe passing through my body, cleansing my mind.

I miss our baby. I have missed her every day for 8 months. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life. It doesn’t get easier, it just gets further away. Another baby won’t make it better. I’m already putting WAY too much pressure on Baby Dub Dos, before he or she is even conceived.

Sometimes, it is good for me to just face these bald facts head on, no spin attached. All the positive affirmations and meditations and lights of the universe could not bring Hudson back to me. All the caffeine-free, less-strenuous activity-filled days between now and Baby Dub Dos won’t put a dent in the fact that Hudson only lived for three days. I desperately long for motherhood as it is meant to be experienced, but the fact of the matter is, I’ll never experience motherhood that way, because my firstborn died.

I’ve gone too long without writing about Hudson, I think. Writing gives me the ability to process, to reconcile my thoughts and my reality, all without the expense of therapy. If I go too long without writing, I actually start to feel tension in my chest. And as I write this today, I can feel that tension begin to release. Facing my darkest thoughts head on is oftentimes the only way to banish them.

I’ll never experience motherhood the way it is meant to be experienced, because my firstborn died.

When that thought is just nagging at the back of my mind, it can eat away at me unaddressed for days on end. But when I type it and stare at it and realize that it is part of my world now, I can deal with it.

I will experience motherhood in a deeper, richer way… because of Hudson.

Life is not fair. In case we needed more evidence: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian will have a daughter in a few months, but I won’t have my one-year old.

And yes, if I don’t get pregnant this month then I won’t have a baby in 2013.

Everybody send all their positive energy and fertile thoughts and “Dear Jesus please put a baby in Erica’s uterus” prayers my way.*

If I don’t get pregnant this month, then I will have Baby Dub Dos in 2014.

What’s another month? What’s another milestone?

It’s only time.

*In all seriousness, I do know that there are many people who pray for the Hubs and I daily, and for this I am so very very thankful. On the days when I have a particularly hard time “not stressing” about the whole business of trying to conceive a sibling for our daughter, I remind myself of the thousands of positive and fertile thoughts being sent in the general direction of my uterus, and I think, “Well, that’s gotta be enough to override my stress, right?” So thanks for taking some of the pressure off. It means more than I could ever tell you.

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Insult, meet Injury

I had been thinking that 2013 was our year. That it is all downhill, or maybe uphill (whichever is better in the end!), from here.

And then Hudson’s six month birthday rolled around, and then yesterday, the six month anniversary of her death.

Half a year has gone by, and I’m not “all better.” Not by a long shot. My life right now is the limbo between Hudson and Baby Dub Dos, regardless of how hard I’ve tried to fill this space with new experiences, new accomplishments, a focus on hope.

We went to my niece’s dance recital on Saturday. Armies of adorable little girls dressed like tiny mice and puppies prancing in a quasi-organized fashion across the stage…  that kind of entertainment was fun for families, but not ideal for me in my present emotional state. Then, our seats just happened to be directly behind not one but TWO families with small babies, who were basically being waved in my face every time I took a break from watching the adorbs on stage.

I’m going to pretend that my tears during one “Ballet 1” number were due to my love for the art of the dance.

Then yesterday rolled around: the six month mark from our daughter’s death, and a Monday to boot. The Hubs and I both are battling some grody winter bug, and neither of us slept well the night before. Hello, recipe for disaster. As we did our nightly routine, I started to cry the unprovoked tears of the perpetually heartached. The Hubs did me a solid, just holding me wordlessly while I let the tears silently roll down my cheeks and into my hair, the silence broken occasionally by one of those wheezy sobs that sometimes escape during a quiet cry. When it felt like words were necessary, I just said, “I’m tired of waiting around for my life to do what it is supposed to.”

This life is not easy.

Today I awoke with a more hopeful outlook, a desire to make the most of this day since I don’t get it back. I was excited to come home to my husband and enjoy a little less bummed out evening. But I had to stop at the grocery store to grab a loaf of bread and some olive oil, and ended up in the checkout line of one of those “overly friendly” people, one I’ve been avoiding since Hudson’s birth and death because she was the type to ask about the baby.

Sure enough. When I got up to the checkout, she greeted me like an old friend and asked me, “How’s the little one?”

I’ve written before about these awkward encounters. You feel apologetic, and inauthentic. You can’t always serve up the story with a healthy side of tears and full explanation, but then you over-analyze the encounter and wonder if you should have provided more information, made more or less eye contact, explained what happened. The “10-items or less aisle” isn’t the place for a retelling of those three wonderful days that were my life with Hudson.

So I just said, “She passed away.”

“What?”

“She only lived three days.”

“Oh… I didn’t know… I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

It’s okay?! It is far from okay. Later in the brief, uncomfortable encounter, I had to say that, “You know, it’s not OKAY, but you shouldn’t feel bad for asking.”

I drove home replaying the scene in my mind, wondering how I could have presented the situation differently, wishing I could have just skirted the truth and said something like, “She’s the most beautiful baby ever born.”

I’m also struck by how I always say “She passed away,” not “She died,” or “She only lived for three days.” I’m sure there’s some sort of insight in that word choice, but I’m too exhausted to explore it.

So I guess I’m not “over the hump”. I am doubting that there is such a thing as a hump in this thing called grieving. Looking back at the last six months, I can vaguely detect a gradual upward trend… but in the minutia of the day-to-day, you really just have to take ’em as they come. This has been a hard week – every time I have an encouraging moment, its been met fairly quickly with a cruel counter from the universe. Weeks like these, you have to be patient, laser focused on the positives you can cling to, a one-moment-at-a-time existence that can be completely depleting.

But there ARE positives to cling to. Sometimes they are as small and sweet as the embrace of my husband, crying into his ever-growing beard. Sometimes they are as big and grand as a family trip to Maui for my thirtieth birthday this coming April (THIRTY!). And there are small and medium sized positives that sneak up on me in the day when I’m least expecting them. The challenge is to be on the look out for these, to revel in their simple beauty, however brief.

Some of the most beautiful things in existence only grace the earth very briefly.

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Six Months

Hudson would have been six months old today.

I thought about skipping a post about this – after all, I’ve commemorated each of these milestones, and at a certain point don’t you run out of things to say about what you’re missing?

No. You don’t.

This isn’t just a lifetime without our baby. This is a world without a person.

I woke up feeling melancholy and sad. I even went so far as to post something a little “poor me”-ish on Facebook, something I try to avoid at all costs. Readers of this blog have hopefully noticed a trend, an overarching theme when I write about Hudson. I always try to end on a positive. Even before Hudson died, this blog featured posts that were a little “poor me”-ish about the physical and emotional tolls of pregnancy. But I always tried to end on a positive note, because I figured that at some point in her life, Hudson would read this stuff, and I wanted to be sure that she never for a moment felt like I resented being pregnant with her.

Now, I try to end on a positive note for myself. I write about Hudson, and it is a pep talk for myself. I try to be genuine about how much this whole thing sucks… but I also try to dig into my heart and focus on the beauty of our experience, because there is a lot of it. It’s muddy and tear-stained, but it is there. That is where I have to focus.

I’ve written before about songs and lyrics that get me thinking about Hudson. One that has resonated for me recently is “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. It was the “first dance” song for my husband’s sister this summer, and on that late summer evening by the lake,  I couldn’t contain the gut-punch sobs, thinking about how much I want Hudson to know she was wanted.

I wanna call you mine
Wanna hold your hand forever
Never let you forget it
Yeah, I wanna make you feel wanted

There are times when my brain works in really messed up ways, creates these little nagging guilts that give me that yucky high school angst in my stomach – like malevolent butterflies. One of those messed up thoughts is that Hudson didn’t live because she didn’t know how badly we wanted her. I wasn’t trying to get pregnant when Hudson came along. She was an “accident”, but not the kind that breaks your C-4 and C-5 vertebrae – she was the kind of accident that changes what you want and puts your whole life in perspective.

Now, we can try to get pregnant, and we are going to try to get pregnant, something we never would have imagined doing before Hudson. Baby Dub Dos is already star of my dreams and my hope for 2013. Now, I sometimes worry that I want BDD too much.

You can always find something to worry about if you let yourself.

You create all these little mini milestones for yourself, to break down a lifetime of coping with something this earth-shattering. We’ve done our time, six months is up. All my calculations have counted on us getting pregnant in one try, or as the Hubs puts it, “One shot, one kill.” That would mean Baby Dub Dos would arrive in September. That’s really pushing it for a summer baby. What if we aren’t so lucky? A fall baby? A couple of months of trying pushes us back even further… Damn it, I better have a baby this year.

So here we are, and six months is this huge milestone on a number of levels. Six months old, and Hudson would be past what the Hubs calls “the useless baby stage”. I’ve seen six month-olds, and they’re awesome. Hudson would have been the most awesome. Six months is halfway to a year – one year-olds are hardly babies anymore! And of course, six months is significant because it’s green light time for Baby Dub Dos, too.

I can hardly believe that we have made it this far. That half a year has passed since our daughter was born. That we are these people, and we are functioning, and that we are even happy, and hopeful. We have so much to look forward to, and I truly do naturally tend towards thoughts about the hope for the future. But some days, like today, I find it hard to get past thoughts of all that we are missing. And I am missing Hudson like crazy today.

Some days, it is harder to end on a positive note.

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A weekend of reminders

This was a weekend full of reasons to miss our baby. It took me a little by surprise.

We have made it through several months now without Hudson. August, September, October, November and December, all have passed without having our firstborn daughter at home with us. Some weeks are better than others. The holidays came and went, and despite a few tear-filled days, we survived. This last week, I started a new, exciting job and I’ve been so caught up in that opportunity that even the thought of Baby Dub Dos started to take a backseat.

Temporarily.

Because this weekend, I was hit smack in the face with missing our girl from so many directions I was left reeling, missing my baby, and wanting a baby.

We went to the one-year birthday party of our friends’ daughter on Saturday. She’s a spunky, beautiful, fun little girl with amazing parents, and we certainly wouldn’t have missed her party. But to kick things off, there was a video slide show (set to the best sappy tunes) that featured pictures of this sweet little gal through the first year of her life. I was doing pretty good until the pictures from the holidays. Then I started to choke up, and had to stop watching and look around wide-eyed to prevent tears from running down my cheeks.

Then, today I was in the car with my husband on the way to the grocery store, and overheard on the radio that some country music star named their daughter Hudson.

Come on!

Then at the grocery store, I caught sight of a couple from our birthing classes. They weren’t there for the last couple of classes, but they stay in my mind because they weren’t going to find out what they were having. They had a girl.

I’m missing my girl like crazy this weekend, and I’m also missing out on being a mommy. Even though no baby could ever be Hudson, I still wouldn’t mind being pregnant right now so at least I’d be that much closer to experiencing motherhood the way it should be experienced. So here I sit, missing our daughter, missing our baby, missing A baby, and wishing I were pregnant as of yesterday.

Without the new job as a distraction, this would be the only thing I can think of: Baby Dub Dos. As of this month, we are given the all-clear to start trying for Baby Dub Dos.

I realize this puts a lot of pressure on my baby makin’ parts (and on the Hubs!), publicizing the status of our baby attempts in this way. But lets face it, everybody knows that’s our top priority. We might as well have everybody we know rooting for us along the way.

This was a weekend of reminders. Reminders of what we are missing and reminders of what we have to look forward to.

Reminders of what is important.

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To New Beginnings

The year 2012 is in the books, over and done with. Thank God.

I am sure it hasn’t gone unnoticed that I’m a fan of lists, goal setting, etc., so you can imagine how I embrace the concept of New Years Resolutions.

I love them.

I spend considerable time on the dawning of each new year evaluating my life and where I’ve come, evaluating the coming year and the opportunities I want to seize. Some of my resolutions make repeat appearances (you know, eat better, exercise more, drink less, etc.), and some are more specific to the year and what is going on in our life at the time.

Last year, my resolutions were about a healthy pregnancy, creating a life for our daughter, investing in my friendships and relationships with more intent.

You can’t very well set a resolution to lose 20 pounds in a year when you’re certain to gain at least that.

This year, I didn’t spend a lot of time in reflection on the year that has passed. It was momentous. What more can be said? Beautiful, amazing things happened, and awful, heartbreaking things happened. We have lived through five full months without our precious Hudson, and somehow we are still here to see 2013 and we still have hope for more beautiful, amazing things to happen this year than awful, heartbreaking ones.

Instead of a list of personal goals and resolutions for the year 2013, I talked with the Hubs today about what we want to work towards together this year. We create a life together, as a team, and our shared vision helps direct the things we want to work on as individuals.

That’s not to say that the old standbys to eat better, exercise more, drink less went unmentioned (More Salads in 2013!).

Here’s to healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy wallets and healthy relationships in 2013.
To the year of Baby Dub Dos (fingers crossed).
To the year of new career endeavors.
To the year of making a difference.
To the year of creating a new kind of home for our children.

Our lives were changed forever by the life of our beautiful daughter, Hudson Ruth. The year 2012 brought her to us and took her away from us. The best thing in my life came last year, and better things are sure to come in this one.

To 2013!

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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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