As I tearfully packed away a drawer in the nursery, at the very bottom under the hospital blanket was this tray. Along with the single angel wing, this was another one of the sussies my mom gave me the week of Hudson's due date. I put it in a special drawer with his hospital and funeral service keepsakes. Today, I needed this little sign from him to know it's okay and to give me hope for her.
Big things are happening on this journey and it's not just my growing belly. My faith over fear mantra has been prevailing for the most part. Hadley has been moving around more and more, now her movements can be felt by hand as well. I have my fetal heart monitor and I use it about once a week, at times that I need that little extra reassurance between appointments that she's still there. I've been actively trying to enjoy this pregnancy, trying not to wish the time away to just let it be October already, and allowing myself to prepare for Hadley's arrival little by little. This weekend we took big steps that were full of happiness and excitement in the moment but afterwards it did bring on significant emotions. We bought her crib, the glider and ottoman, and some pieces of decoration for her nursery. At almost 22 weeks, I let myself go there.
I went there with Hudson. I purchased a rocker and picked out a crib but we were waiting until his room was done to bring it home so it wasn't yet another thing to store during the renovations. I had all of his décor ready to hang and assemble but I didn't get to do it - at least, not the way it was supposed to be done.
For her nursery, I decided I needed a different rocker because the one I had purchased previously, well that was his. It was the place I went to rock in anticipation for him, then became the place I went to mourn him, to feel close to him. For Hadley, I need something different. I reached a place of acceptance, where I was ready to relocate it. I moved it from the nursery to the guest room, this way I still have it when I need some "Hudson time." As the nursery will slowly transform from his place to hers, that rocker in a different room will still give me a place that is mine with him.
I pulled out the changing pad I had for Hudson and it still had his cover on it. I love that cover but it's not right for her. I replaced it with hers to make sure it fit correctly, that I liked the look of it with the wall color and her bedding. It was perfect but then I felt guilty. What do I do now? Do I pack his away? Do I put both of them in a drawer until October is closer? Do I leave it out and begin to replace? I have slowly started the switching out process.
Over the past few days, I have gone in as I feel ready and pack away a little at a time. In a large box is everything that sat on that dresser for Hudson. Today I removed his special lasso rope cattle brand of HJS from the wall and replaced it with the angel wing painting from the One Wing Foundation's auction event a few weeks ago. My grandmother won it for me as a special gift. It represents his legacy, it is a symbol of hope, one of comfort and of strength. I have kept pieces out that I plan to integrate with Hadley's things. In the closet, clothing for her is beginning to appear. I've moved his clothes over, but soon, I'll need that hanging space and more will join the Hudson box. As I pack things away, I take moments to pause. To look at everything individually, to feel each item, to read the words on certain keepsakes, to express the emotions this brings. I hug things tight to my chest and allow myself to feel everything that comes with the reality of preparing for another child after the death of the one who came before. All of these little things meant for him, the boy who isn't here.
However, in a way, preparing for her brings fresh perspective and an enthusiasm again. There is joy mixed with the uncertainty of the unknown. It is all met with a little hesitation because you know, what if? Faith over fear. Faith over fear. Faith over fear.
Speaking of conquering fear, we've been traveling quite a bit this past month with Hudson's birthday weekend escape to Boston and Cape Cod, a visit to see family in Wisconsin and a wedding in New York. The grand finale happens in less than one week when we will land in Frankfurt to explore the Bavarian region of Germany into Austria. At six weeks pregnant, Max came home to say he had found a great deal on airfare. We entertained it just for fun and then thought, nah, we'll wait until next summer when maybe we are ready to travel again post-baby. Perhaps an early 5 year anniversary trip, we thought. Then we kept thinking about it, and had the flights on hold just in case. I was nervous about overseas travel in my second trimester, for no reason in particular other than the what if something happens? Traveling had nothing to do with the cord accident that ended Hudson's life. In no way was that related to any of the travel we did during that pregnancy. However in Pregnancy After Loss, you are aware of all kinds of different ways a baby may not make it. There is hypersensitivity and analysis to every little thing you do - in your head, and in the thoughts of others.
At my eight week appointment, we talked to my doctor. She said go. I had a list of "buts" and excuses and questions. To each of them, she said go. She told us we can't live in fear, we can't position ourselves within ten minutes away from the hospital at all times. She won't let me travel past 28 weeks, but for the timeframe of 22-23 weeks when I'm experiencing the "sweet spot" of pregnancy, she said go. She said to enjoy this opportunity, a European Babymoon, the special time together experiencing new places. She said at this point, hypothetically, if something were to happen again, this trip would not be the cause of it. Her confidence and her assurance gave us peace. Therefore, we made our decision to go. So we are. We are defying fear and living life to the fullest.
We have an appointment on Thursday to see Hadley again via sonogram and to meet with our high risk specialist for the first time, then to meet with my doctor following. It will give me peace to have this appointment before we leave because I have now started to have anxiety about going. Several have inquired if it's safe and what my doctor thinks? As if this was a decision we made lightly without a thorough conversation with our doctor. These questions from others have stripped away the confidence that our medical professional gave us with the certainty to go and do, to live without fear. I'm trying to regain that again so that I can enjoy our babymoon exploring new experiences with my husband. I will enjoy it because Hadley is with us, along with Hudson watching over.
As soon as we get back, we will have another appointment with the high risk specialist and that will start the weekly visits. As it stands, I have 15-16 more weeks to get through until we will induce for her arrival. That's roughly 105 or maybe 112 days of little victories to keep surpassing. There are some emotional milestones to get through between now and then, such as the second anniversary of his due date approaching and the 33 week mark when last time, our life was flipped upside down.
If you are a religious person, I ask for your continued prayers for Hadley and for our strength to keep choosing faith over fear.