Ed and I had long discussed trying to have our second child when Hudson was about two to two and a half years old. For some reason, I’d gotten this spacing in my head as “perfect”—just enough time to let Hudson get a little bit of independence, maybe get potty trained, move to a toddler bed, and just not feel quite so much like the world might be falling apart if all the attention weren’t directed at her. So we figured we would start trying sometime in the spring of 2010. So come January, I was already plotting what clever way we might announce a second pregnancy, since we’d already used the cute blog/ultrasound trick. I was thinking what cryptic status I might post on Facebook that would cleverly give it away. I wasn’t crazy about having another December baby (so much going on during that time already), so we figured we’d wait until April to start working on it. And then the trial I was working on got continued until June. The last thing I wanted was to be in the middle of my first trimester during trial, so we decided then that we’d put it off until then.
And then Hudson died. And we were no longer thinking about a brother or sister for her, but about another child that would become the oldest, but would really never be the oldest. A child whose parents would be radically transformed people, people who had suffered the worst loss imaginable. A child who would never know his or her older sister, never know the joy of her impish smile, never hear her contagious giggle, never experience the bond of warmth and protection that an older sibling can offer, that Hudson surely would have offered.
During the early days after Hudson died, I didn’t know if I could even think about that child. Ed and I both said that while we knew we wanted more children, when we thought about being the in the hospital delivering another child, all we could think about was crying. We ultimately decided that while our plan for our family had been most horribly and irrevocably altered by fate, we still wanted to move forward with it, mangled as it was. For the same reason that we wanted to have Hudson, we knew we wanted to have more children, and soon—our love for one another was so incredibly great, all we wanted to do was share it with children.
As fate would have it, our timing was perfect. I am pregnant, due May 24, almost exactly two and a half years after Hudson was born. Except Hudson is not here. She will never get to be the big sister. She will never get to have her picture taken leaning over to kiss her baby sibling in the hospital or holding the baby on the couch under close supervision from Mommy and Daddy. She will never get to experience the mischief of teasing a little sibling mercilessly. She will never get to stand up for her little brother or sister in front of others who might tease them. She will never get to help Mommy bake her little brother or sister a birthday cake. She will never get to be a maid or matron of honor or honorary groomsman in her brother’s or sister’s wedding. She will never.
As you might guess, my emotions are all over the place. Don’t get me wrong-- they are not mixed. There is no part of me that is not glad that we are pregnant, happy that we are having this baby, already counting the days until this little one is in our arms. When we saw this little one’s heartbeat last Friday, I felt the first flutter of excitement in my own broken heart since Hudson died. But as you can tell from the last few days’ posts, there are just so many parts of me that are still so acutely grieving my oldest child. I am grieving the life we had planned for her, for our family. I am grieving the cheerful, carefree manner in which we were able to enjoy our pregnancy with Hudson. I am grieving the fact that for the rest of my life, I will have to celebrate the birth of one child within a week or so of remembering and mourning the death of another. I am grieving the fact that this announcement is so very bittersweet—this little one deserves to be welcomed with nothing but pure, unadulterated joy, but so very sadly, that kind of joy just does not exist for us. Not right now, at least.
There is no doubt in my mind that this baby will bring healing. That it will help renew us. That it will bring back some of the joy that was stolen from us when Hudson was so cruelly yanked from our lives. That gives me hope.
We have such a big job ahead of us. I can’t even begin to imagine how we will do it, but I know we can and we will. We are determined to be the very best parents we can possibly be to this baby, even if we can never again be the parents we were to Hudson. I have to keep reminding myself that there is no more that I can do except to take it day by day, or sometimes only minute by minute, or breath by breath. I am grateful, already, for the unconditional and overwhelming support that I know we will receive during the next agonizingly long seven and a half months, and that I know we will continue to receive for many moons after that.
We love you, our sweetest Hudson. We will never stop missing you or grieving the hole that your absence has left in our hearts and our lives. You will always be our first. You will always be our oldest. You will always be our precious girl. We will always be however many we are, plus you. You taught us so much and you keep teaching us every day and we are so grateful. We are so very sad that you will never get to meet your little brothers and sisters, but we will tell them all about you, and they will love you, too.
We love you, little baby. We haven’t decided on your in utero name yet, but we can’t wait to meet you soon. We are so very sad that you will never get to meet your big sister, but we will tell you all about her. We know you will laugh at her pictures and her videos just like we do. We will always let you be yourself and we will always love you for you, no matter what. And we will try our best always to bring as much joy to your life as we know you will bring to ours.