Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Memories, Shock, and Learning to Live: The Second Anniversary Perspective

I don’t know how my memory knew to keep detailed files of those days, but it did. Somehow it took scrupulous notes even before it knew what was going to happen.

Like, I can remember conversations and thoughts I had. I can remember certain things I looked at. I remember the smiles on people’s faces. The second glances and stares; none of those things ever really playing a part of the big picture.  And then I can remember the feeling of my pounding heart, the chills, the nervous sweats, the physical feeling of grief’s hand pushing me into the ground. 

This was taken only in an effort to capture
my baby belly one last time. I had no
 intention of sharing it with anyone.
Here I am on September 11th, 2012 -The morning after we began our spiraling descent.  The obvious thing you see here is a saddened face, and Hudson’s lovie – never to be squeezed in his tiny hands, but if you look closely you’ll see shock. Lots of it. When I look at this picture I think about how clueless I was at that time and how in shock I was. I’ve learned now  those two go hand in hand. My mind was still reeling from the day before and trying to process the timeline of events. When you jump from the mountain top to crash in the valley I guess you’re likely to be disoriented… and I was.

This picture was snapped by my husband just after the nurse escorted us to our delivery room, handed me my hospital gown and all of the literature I still haven’t read. In this moment I was trying to figure out how I would muster the (emotional) strength to slip on that gown and sit in some compliant manner on that bed to which I was about to deliver my stillborn baby. I still don’t know how I did it. Shock was on my side as I answered the intake questions and then swallowed the pill to begin induction.
Moments of that day are etched into my heart as immediate tear triggers. Not the expected ones like meeting Hudson for the first time. The unexpected ones – like the sound of the strong heartbeat on the monitor in the room next to mine. Or the moment I began screaming “NO, NO, NO!” right before my son was born. My body was in the worst pain of my life but the pain registered in my heart spoke those words.
Hudson was born very early the following morning on September 12th, at 1:38 to be exact. Though his soul never entered this World his body did and that was a surprisingly quiet and peaceful entrance aside from my physical state. At 1:38 am I met Hudson and I met the Peace of God in a brand new and profound way. God held me in his hand as I held Hudson in mine. If ever I’ve seen a miracle- this was surely it.

Every time I look at pictures of myself in the hospital I see it. I see God’s plan - that simple hospital band around my wrist. Who knew that right then and there I was wearing the purpose of Hudson’s life.  Little did I know that later that day I would stare at that bracelet with enormously fond feelings.

Saying good-bye to Hudson
Leaving the hospital and heading home to figure out life wasn’t real impossible at first. Even his burial service that following Saturday wasn’t impossible.  Really, in that time the blinds weren’t completely closed. There was still some shock and the near constant company of others that held the blinds open for a little light to seep through.

And then Monday came. I’m certain the shock was buried in the ground with my baby on Saturday, or else maybe it hopped into Brady’s truck and went to work with him on Monday. One way or the other Monday morning came with its shovels burying me into a darker pit – one that no one invited me into, no one accompanied me. No one even showed me the door to get out.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and so forth were much like Monday. I remember very little from that week and the weeks to come. My mind’s rolodex took minimal notes from that time.  I do recall anxiously checking the mail every day hoping to find at least one more “Thinking of You” card. Once I had one in my hand I would run to my couch to read it. I think I felt like maybe that person was sitting on the sunken cushions of the couch with me and in that time I wasn’t so alone. I remember when my sister came over and I stepped outside to talk with her. My words turned to sobs quickly and so there wasn’t much conversation but it was light outside. I remember the outside and it was light. It stuck out to me like a brand new sensation.  A really foreign one, actually.

In my history books the month of September, 2012 has been scribbled on by a black marker.

October sticks out in my mind as the month I attempted to live again. Little things like taking pictures of Dawson, going grocery shopping and wearing make-up on an almost daily basis entered my life again.

November was a rollercoaster of a month. One day I would think, wow, I haven’t cried yet today! And in the very next moment I would come across a baby item or get a diaper coupon in the mail and that was it.

December left me with a few good memories; like being able to talk with a fellow mother who was about to deliver the baby she carried that was not compatible with life, or the evening that Brady and I were able to remember Hudson’s life along with other grieving parents during a ceremony at the hospital. In December I remember feeling horribly stagnant. Christmas meant presents and I wanted nothing to do with them. I told Brady and I asked God so many times that all I wanted was to make a difference, to find purpose.

In January I remember the nagging, itching, drive-me-crazy feeling of needing to do something.  I also remember driving past the hospital weeks before my due date and crying because all I wanted was to go deliver my baby, an alive one, like I should have.  January meant Hudson’s due date was near and that God was up to something. Something that I look at now and still can’t fully wrap my mind around.

Today as I look around and see my time consumed with bracelets and emails, I hear people talk about Hudson and God and what the two of them have done together it baffles me. How did that day of sheer hopelessness, grief and shock become this? How did that bracelet do so much? All of those memories – good or bad – I’m thankful for them. I’m thankful for the fingerprints of God left upon the calendar pages that year.

This week we celebrate Hudson’s birthday with joy (and some tears) knowing that his life matters and impacts the lives of others every day.

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