Tag Archives: milestones

I’ve been here before – Halfway Point

Today, we are 20 weeks pregnant.

And that’s halfway, people. It’s all downhill from here, right?

Now, I realize that the first four weeks or so, you don’t really know that you’re pregnant, so the last “half” of this pregnancy will probably feel much longer than the first. But I don’t care. This is a huge milestone and I’m pumped that we made it this far.

I’ve talked about halfway points before… both while pregnant with Hudson and while waiting to get pregnant with Bullet. I can’t get that Nike Running computerized voice out of my head – “Halfway point!” – and it’s been going through my mind all morning. I’m ready to sprint to the finish line but trying to remind myself to enjoy the route, to look around, to savor every month, every week, every day of this pregnancy.

A lot of things are different this time around, and many are the same. I am so fortunate to have relatively easy pregnancies… the worst maladies that a pregnant woman can complain of seem to skip over me entirely. I’ve been able to dodge many of the emotional pitfalls (knock on wood) that could snag a woman going through pregnancy after a loss. I’m still itchy, I’m still overly tired, I’m still prone to tears over a music video or an Oklahoma news clip.

But I’m more, too. I’m more conscious of the life I want to create for our family. I’m more forgiving of the neglectful parent, I’m more capable of smiling around pregnant women or new babies, I’m more patient with the passing of time. I’m more aware of my love for this half-grown little human, who was formed in love and wanted so very much.

There’s no “It’s all downhill from here” in the grieving process… our love for the daughter we lost will always be, and her absence will always hurt, on some days more than on others. But on this day in October, with half of Bullet’s Womb Time behind us and the best of things to look forward to, I have a milestone to celebrate and no problem with celebrating it.

Halfway point. 20. Weeks. Completed.

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Show Off

Last night, I definitely felt Bullet kicking from the outside.

I was lying in bed reading my latest book in The Hangmans’ Daughter series, resting my hand on my recently coconut-buttered belly. It was faint and fluttery, no where near the emphatic kicks that our very active daughter would give me towards the end of our pregnancy with her, but hey, we’re 18 weeks.

“I’m pretty sure I just felt Bullet kick from the outside!” I exclaim to the Hubs, who is reading in bed beside me, probably some wartime conflict novel.

He immediately reaches over to get a piece of the action, resting his strong hand on my belly.

Hudson used to freeze when the Hubs would try to feel her kicking and moving. It was kind of amusing, like maybe she thought she was in trouble. How could she tell it was her father’s hand and not my touch?

So we half-anticipated that Bullet would be the same – frozen under the disciplinary hand of his (I’m sure its a boy) father.

*Kick*

“Did you feel that?” I ask, hopeful.

“Was it right up here?” the Hubs asks, putting a little more pressure with his thumb, where the kick had landed.

“Uh-huh!” I laugh, because this is awesome. Sharing this with my husband is priceless, a memory I don’t want to forget.

He pokes a little harder with his thumb, trying to get a reaction from the Bullet.

*Kick*

This time in the middle of his palm. As if to say “Oh… you gotta be quicker than that, Dad!”

We laugh together, and my eyes well up with tears, because I’m thinking of how precious this memory is right now, and also about how precious these moments were with our daughter. I think to myself, “I need to be sure and write about this, make a note of the date that we first felt the Bullet move from the outside,” milestones and mental keepsakes that I am thankful I can never misplace.

Documented here for the Bullet’s lifetime.

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Tightrope: or, How to Tell ToysRUs that your baby is dead

Oh boy… We’re due for a blow up.

What the f*** is this?

What the f*** is this?

Yea. This was the last straw.

I won’t pretend that I’ve had a great month:

  • I was supposed to come home from Maui pregnant, and I didn’t.
  • The Hubs is working out of town, leaving my mid-week with WAY too much think-about-my-personal-shit time.
  • The month of May brings with it Mother’s Day. Eff that noise. I tried to be positive about it. I really did. The day itself wasn’t that bad, but gearing up for it was.
  • I found out about a gazillion other people are pregnant, and I’m feeling like, WAY behind.
  • This last weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, which was Shower Weekend 2012 during our pregnancy with Hudson.

Two big celebrations from last year came and went this year and I did a pretty good job of suppressing/diverting my attention away from my grief and loss.

Don’t think about it and it won’t hurt so bad. Reframe it so that you can function without people giving you pity-faces all day.

And then, yesterday happened. We got home from our Memorial Day camping trip with the Dubs, all stinky and greasy and unshowered. The trip was uneventful as far as emotional breakdowns are concerned, but I did find myself thinking (more than I ever have before) about what this trip would have been like with Hudson in tow.

Sweet, chunky, ferocious, hilarious, smart, wild-haired, ten-month old Hudson.

Bouncing around in the truck as we hunt for good spots for Morels.
Giggling by the fire.
Getting passed from grandparents to aunties and back again.
Sticky and dirty from her first taste of marshmallows

So I’m getting ready for bed and I think, just briefly, about the Hubs’ Aunt C, and how this was the first time she’d seen me since Hudson died, and how she gave me the “How are you doing?” that means more than just “How are you doing?”

And I got so damn mad.

I’m so tired of people feeling sorry for me. I hate having something in my life for people to feel sorry for me about.

I got so mad I cried.

So then the Hubs needed to know what was wrong, and the floodgates opened, and this morning I awoke with puffy eyelids for the first time in a good couple of months.

Damn.

But I recover. I function throughout the day. I even allow myself to watch the video my good friend (who had her baby boy the day after Hudson was born) posted on Facebook of her son taking his first steps, and only fleetingly did I think:

Hudson could be walking by now.

I get home from work and I go for a run and I have a generally mundane little lonely evening and then I go check the mail and you know what?

ToysRUs can suck it.

I’ve complained before about how little “market research” is being done by Big Retailers as far as child development goes. They caught wind that I was pregnant and now they are assuming that I have a “Someone Special” who will be “turning one”. They never did get the memo that my baby, my perfect precious daughter, didn’t live to come home with us, and that she will never turn one, and that I’ll never get to throw her a birthday party or sign her up for “Geoffrey’s Birthday Club.”

I’ve gone this whole 10+ months without writing an angry letter. ToysRUs might just end up at the ass end of one. Their marketing tactics are invasive and they aren’t even that good. Haven’t they noticed that I haven’t spent a dime there since June of 2012? Have they not seen my uncompleted registry lying dormant for the past 10 months? Did their research department not realize that hardly any parent can go 10+ months without buying at least one ridiculously overpriced “Baby Einstein” toy?! I’m going to give those incompetent, unobservant market researchers a piece of my mind, dammit.

Of course this isn’t all ToysRUs’s fault. I have been walking a tightrope of emotion, compartmentalizing all of my worries and sadnesses and frustrations and rages. I’ve been hyper-aware of “what’s appropriate”, of “keeping it together”, of not being somebody that you have too many reasons to feel sorry for, of not breaking down or giving anybody reason to side glance or whisper about me. ToysRUs and its giant, brightly-colored postcard were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But eff it. They are going to hear from me anyway.

Sometimes when you’re angry, you just need something to point it at.

I’ve got a cartoon giraffe with a stupidly spelled name in my sights.

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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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