Tag Archives: Hudson

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

 

 

 

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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

 

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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!

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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.

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Mommy & Daddy & Anson

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Mommy & Daddy & Hudson

 

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The day after the day after tomorrow

This is the way we think now.

It’s the 10th of February, which means tomorrow is the 11th of February and tomorrow, our daughter would have been 19 months old. And I bet she would have been excited about meeting her baby brother.

With her, this adventure would have been so different. Our yearning for a second child would be different, certainly. But our anticipation, the excitement of possibly completing our family, the boy-girl duo that would most certainly have been best friends and trouble makers for life… well, all that would have been awfully different if Hudson’s life hadn’t been so tragically short.

But without her, this adventure has been just that – an adventure. Not better or worse, but its own special thing. Bullet’s arrival the day after the day after tomorrow is an important event, regardless of his sister’s legacy. You might say we wanted him more because his sister left so soon, and you might say we’ve better appreciated this pregnancy because we know how tragically a pregnancy can end, but bottom line:

Bullet gets his own fanfare.

With just 2 full days left to face before his arrival, I have so many competing emotions that it is physically depleting. Or maybe that’s just 38 weeks and change of pregnancy making me so exhausted.

The day after the day after tomorrow, we will meet our son and begin getting to know him all over again, his life outside of the womb so much different than the life inside. We’ll see who he looks like. We’ll discover his quirks, and see first hand the expressions that accompany his vigorous movements. We’ll be aware of his presence in such a different way – kicks and squirms inside of me becoming cries and gurgles on the outside.

We’ll raise him to be the best of both of us, and we’ll celebrate him in ways big and small over the course of his lifetime. We’ll see new sides of each other – and we’ll fall in love with all these aspects of each other just as we’ve fallen in love over and over again in the time since we’ve known each other.

The adventure doesn’t stop at arrival, I know. There will be a day that I feel guilty for wanting to a break from Bullet. There will be tears of frustration and tears of joy and probably a few barn-burner fights between the Hubs and I. It won’t be all sunshine and roses and kittens. There will be poop.

Lots and lots of poop.

But the day after the day after tomorrow, “Life as we Know It” gives way to “Life as it Will Be with Bullet”, and I cannot wait for that life to begin.

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As the countdown enters the teens…

We have 18 days until Bullet is set to arrive on the scene. For the first time in this pregnancy, thinking to the big day, February 13, makes me think “Man, that’s coming up soon!”

I still have a lot to do!

A baby room to finish up. A house to clean. A bag to pack. A car seat to install. A book to publish.

We are READY in many ways. I mean, if my water broke today, we’d have all the necessities to bring Bullet home – a crib and diapers are the only real necessities, right? At 36 weeks pregnant and some change, Bullet’s parts should be pretty well in place and developed, though he might need a little extra monitoring and he might be a little bit skinny if he came today. The hiring of a house-cleaner last year has me feeling okay about the state of the domicile, though I’d like to have things a little more organized before the big arrival.

And then there’s the READY that I am emotionally. I cannot wait to meet this guy. I can’t wait to hold him, to see his first smiles, to hear his cries and giggles and coos and gurgles. I eagerly anticipate the perfect perspective that life gives you when the most important Thing in the world is your child. I’m ready for all of that.

Towards the end of our pregnancy with Hudson, we started getting asked “Are you ready to be done?” And of course, the answer at the time was “Yes and No.” I felt like pregnancy was mastered, and parenting a newborn was unknown, so how could I be READY?

This time is different. I am ready to be done, people. I’m big, I’m tired, I’m uncomfortable. But I am so in love with this little man that it seems trivial to complain. I just want to get my hands on the Bullet.

There are bad days when I cheer myself up by imagining the moment I meet Bullet for the first time, when they place my bleary eyed, blinking, disoriented newborn on my chest. I get clenched up thinking about it.

And it’s going to happen in 18 days.

Ready or not.

 

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Strong

When Hudson was growing inside of me, we described her as strong. Strong heartbeat at those doctor’s appointments, strong kicks and movements, strong personality without even seeing her yet.

When Hudson was fighting for her life at the NICU in Spokane, she fought strong. She held on for three days, gave us hope, made us a family. She was the strongest person to ever weigh in at just 7 lb. 14 oz.

When Hudson died, and we began our life without her, other people described us as strong. You’d be amazed at how strong you are when you have no choice but to be strong.

The Hubs and my love for each other is strong… was strong and grew stronger in the time we had to cope with after the loss of our beautiful, strong daughter. I saw the very best in my husband when I watched him love Hudson. He is the strongest man I know.

In the After Hudson, I worked on making my body strong. I wanted to be ready for the next child, for Baby Dub Dos, who would later be known as Bullet.

And we all know that Bullet is strong. He’s a little, growing, constantly in action He-Man, astonishing me sometimes with the strength of his movements. And just like big sis, he’s got a strong personality.

I am so grateful for the many displays of super-human strength I’ve been privileged to witness in my life. I am grateful for the strength of our son as he fattens up through the last weeks of this pregnancy. I am grateful for a strong spouse who can bench press over 200 pounds and comfort his crying wife. I am grateful for a strong bond to family, for strong friendships, and for strong legs to lug my expanding self up and down flights of stairs without needing to take a break.

Strength. A desired trait, whether it’s increased physical strength, strength of will, emotional strength. We get stronger with training, with practice. We become stronger through the trials we face in life. We draw strength from the people around us, and we become a stronger couple, a stronger family, and a stronger community when we come together to face life.

And I cannot wait to see how we come together and become stronger with the arrival of Bullet in February.

 

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Getting Ready for the Bullet – 2013 in review

The 2013 holiday season was distinctly different from 2012. Instead of feeling so much LACK, the significant ABSENCE of our precious daughter driven home with every Christmas moment, this year we were able to focus on the very tangible presence of our son. We could more easily keep the attention on what we have, and what we have to look forward to.

‘Twas the season of matching father-son attire.

We made seasons bright with tiny baby Nikes.

The halls were decked with an extra stocking for the Bullet, right next to Big Sis Hudson’s.

If I went into labor today, we would have all the essentials needed to bring Bullet home. A crib, a changing table, a car seat, plenty of diapers and onesies. We even have a “Rockin’ Ridin’ Bull” – Bullet’s first Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa Dub. Plus, a recliner for the baby room is being delivered this week. Essentials.

The better part of 2013 was spent feeling happy and warm and eager and wonderful knowing that Bullet was on the way. Starting on June 13, our HeartsFullofHudson made room for Baby Bro. Nearly 18 months removed from her birth and death, our hearts are still full of Hudson, but the sharpest edges of our pain have been dulled. There are still bad days, and hard memories, and sad reminders. Missing Hudson will be a very real part of my life until the day I die. But missing her doesn’t hurt as bad. It’s as if somehow, my heart has room for only the beautiful parts of our life together, and is little by little shoving out the hurt and bitterness and anger. Thanks, Heart.

The pieces of Hudson that are forever a part of me have been hard at work in 2013.

The Year 2013 was more than just the Year of the Bullet. It was marked with personal successes and milestones, career changes, and other assorted adventures.

Highlights: My 30th birthday trip to Maui. The purchase of The Bullet (our camp trailer). The wedding of one of my best friends. Hudson’s 1st birthday. Winning my first golf tournament. The arrivals of my Niece CMW and my Nephew CLS.

Lowlights: The Hubs’ summer in Yakima.

As always, I start the new year full of ambition, bursting with ideas of all the things I’ll do in the next 365. I spent a bit of time yesterday setting my New Year’s Resolutions, using some creativity to make a poster to hang on the wall by my bed as a daily reminder of what I’m aiming to accomplish in 2014. I go for a balanced approach, with goals in various aspects of my life – family, relationships, health, career, finances, household, personal development, etc. I already knew 2014 was going to be the best year of my life, but I’ve got a road map now for all the ways HOW.

And of course, the highlight of 2014, the primary focus and the Light of my Life, will be Bullet.

According to the Doctor, Bullet weighs about 3.7 oz and his feet are seriously large in comparison with the length of his body. He’ll be gaining between 0.5-1 pounds per week from now until delivery. Which means I’ll be gaining that much, too. Happy New Year!

This boy is active, people. Like his big sister, he’s MOST active at night, when he puts on a show for Mommy and Daddy by wiggling his butt around in circles and making my belly do weird exorcist-type stuff. However, I do not recall Hudson putting such a hurt on my internal organs. It’s as if Bullet sees my bladder and says, “What a nice pillow, let me just punch it down a bit!”

The Bullet will also be quite stylish. His wardrobe is bursting with tiny Carhartt, camo Uggs, track suits and overalls and those cute onesies that have bowties and suspenders on them (thanks SIL!).

We’re convinced he’ll be at least as big as his sister. With a nickname like Bullet (which Grandpa Dub has shortened to Bull), he had better be.

He’s got his own unique personality, but he is his father’s child.

Yes, 2013 was defined by Bullet Anticipation. And 2014 will be defined by his arrival. Discovering what this perfect human boy looks like, watching his personality continue to develop, experiencing so many parenting adventures with the Hubs… the next 6 weeks can’t go fast enough.

 

 

 

 

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Reflecting on moments lost

The other day, I mistakenly clicked on a link a friend shared on Facebook and watched this video.

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Yes, it is lovely.

Did you catch the birthdate? This little guy was born 2 days before Hudson.

I’m pregnant and hormonal so I blame the Friday morning waterworks on that.

But seriously.

We were robbed.

This video runs 6:54. Crying, laughing, sleeping, taking his first steps, trying his first solid foods, the video’s little hero has 365 experiences in less than 7 minutes that my daughter will never have. We got three days with our daughter, but not one single second of interaction like a parent SHOULD experience with their newborn. I think of the joy and magic that can be captured in a second, seconds I would give just about anything to experience with Hudson, and I realize how much we take for granted these tiny moments in our lives.

Something about the dates in that video, dates when seconds should have been blurring together in our sleep deprivation and new parent frustration, made me feel the distinct, harsh, jagged pangs of loss and absence that I had been able to blissfully ignore for the past 6 months or so. There is emptiness buried under the happiness of our son’s impending arrival, and I’m reminded of it at surprising moments by unexpected 7 minute videos.

We have seconds and moments to look forward to, and we’ll be wiser than to take them for granted. But sometimes I yearn for the missing moments in a way that takes my breath away.

We love our son. We love our daughter. We ache for our daughter. And these feelings can coexist in one, most-of-the-time happy couple.

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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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The Baby Room

After Hudson died, we relegated all baby-related things to Hudson’s room and shut the door. I couldn’t take the baby swing in the living room, ready for soothing the cries that never filled our house. I couldn’t handle the stroller by the front door, ready for the first jaunt outside with baby girl that never happened. I would walk by the baby room and not even glance to my left.

So much time should have been spent in that room that never was.

Then, some time passed. I went in the room and faced those things I never got to use, the clothes I never got to see Hudson wear, the toys she never laughed at. And I felt okay.

And then, we were pregnant. And then, it was a boy.

I’d left the room as is, just in case it’s a girl. But I knew it was a boy. The whole first 20 weeks I was gearing up emotionally for the day I would find out for sure, and I’d have to go into Hudson’s room and make it Bullet’s room.

I couldn’t do it all at once.

First, I packed up the girly toys and blankets, burp rags and bibs. That was easy enough. So I packed up the bigger girl clothes, the 18-24 month hand-me-downs that a generous friend gave us when we found out it was a girl. And that was enough for one day.

I knew the clothes and shoes would be the hardest part. I didn’t buy any clothes for Hudson, except for a few little Red Sox onesies and socks when we were in Boston for our babymoon. But I used to go in that room and look at all the clothes that we were gifted, and imagine what kind of craziness it would be to put our daughter’s tiny arms and legs through the sleeves and pant legs. Hudson has some very fashionable grandmas and aunties. The clothes and shoes? That was going to be its own day.

Last weekend, the Theatre I work for put on a big Dia de los Muertos festival. The Mexican “Day of the Dead” holiday is all about celebrating those we love who have passed away. I got a break in the day to go home and take a nap, but for some reason I couldn’t fall asleep when I got home. The Hubs was hauling our trailer down to the Dub Family Farm so I was flying solo. It was time.

I lit my Hudson candle, played some Damien Rice, and packed up the rest of Hudson’s things. The precious shoes. The matching sets, tiny little stretchy pants with adorable onesies. The dresses. The hats. The socks. The assortment of baby sunglasses. I lovingly unfolded and refolded each item before packing it away, sorted by size in the plastic bin I’d bought specially for Hudson’s clothes. I made it through the drawers, then moved to the hanging clothes. I made it through eight drawers and all the 3-9 month hanging clothes, “Cannonball” and “Older Chests” without shedding a tear.

And then I got to a newborn onesie set featuring the red, white and blue of the 4th of July holiday when she was due.  A precious, too-tiny-to-be-believed red and blue ruffly bathing suit, with a white terry cloth short-sleeved hoodie. I shed the first tears I’ve shed for Hudson since June 13.

All of Hudson’s clothes fit into one plastic tote. ONE. I couldn’t believe it.

We now have a room with baby things, but gender neutral baby things. We have gender neutral blankets in the closet. We have gender neutral toys, a whale-shaped baby tub. It’s ready to be Bullet’s room now.

Only one very girly thing remains. The walls, those carefully-chosen-shade-of-green walls, have the words “She believed she could, so she did”  centered above the crib. I can’t bear to take it down, to paint over it, even to peel the “s” off so it would apply to Bullet.

Someday, maybe, we’ll bring a little girl home to that room, and big brother Bullet will look over the crib excitedly at his little sister and look up at the wall and see those words – “She believed she could, so she did” – right where some homemade art of his name used to hang.

 

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