Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Full Term

I am full term today. 37 weeks. Babycenter.com says this means that if I “go into labor now, his lungs will likely be mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb.” I’m so incredibly grateful to have made it to this point and am definitely looking forward to meeting Jackson sometime soon.

I only wish that my own mind could “fully adjust to life” as it is and as it is about to be. I wish there were a way for my heart and mind to reach “full term” as far as learning to live without my little girl goes. As ready as I am to meet Jackson and as happy as I am that he will be here soon, I am just missing my Hudson so very much. I miss her all the time, of course, but I suppose it is no surprise that during this time of incredible transition and sad anniversaries, I miss her more than ever.

We are almost as ready as we can be logistically speaking. The car seat is installed. The baby clothes are washed and folded. The birth plan is just about finished. The bags are almost completely packed. Tomorrow I’ll make some meals for the freezer.

But the diaper bag remains untouched. And Hudson’s (Jackson’s) room remains unchanged, with the exception of being full of piles of clothes and books and other gifts we’ve received for Jackson. The clothes she wore in the two days before she went to the hospital are still in the hamper. There is still water in the humidifier. There are still size four diapers in the basket at the end of the changing table. The crib mattress is still at the lowest level, suitable for a toddler. Every time I pass by there, I’m bothered by the sight, by all the mess—part of me would feel so much better, so much more prepared, if I could just get it all into drawers and closets where it belongs and have the room ready for our little boy (even though he won’t sleep there for several months). But I still can’t bring myself to do it.

I am in broken record mode, I know. I’ve hashed and rehashed these same sentiments over and over here and in my head for months now. But it doesn’t change a single thing about how I feel. I am as heartbroken and feel as lost as I have since the very beginning. I know there is joy coming and coming very soon. But I also know that all that means is that I will learn to experience the joy alongside this pain. It won’t make the pain or the missing go away. Nor do I want it to.

What I want is to talk to my little girl, to hear her voice, to hug her close. I am just missing her so much. I am as ready as I can probably be for her little brother to get here, but I am as unprepared as ever to live without her.

Oh, how I miss her. 


  1. Mandy,
    You are struggling with of the most intense motherhood emotions - grief of a lost child and nesting/preparation for the next child. But just like everything else over the past year you will figure this out with grace and strength. It reminds me so much of your struggle to move forward with your sewing table. You will find another solution here as well. A huge picture of Hudson for little Jackson to stare at? Or maybe a special shelf just for a few of her favorite things? Some framed artwork of hers he can admire while your changing his diapers? However you decide to do it, i know you will figure out a solution that honors Hudson and accepts Jackson.
    Much love this day, this week, this month.

  2. I think, maybe, it will be easier to deal with things once Jackson is here. When you have a tangible replacement for what you are losing by moving Hudson's clothes from the hamper (ie, baby Jackson's clothes to put in there), I think it might not be so hard. When you can put those size four diapers away, knowing that they will soon be used by your boy, it might not be so hard. It will never be easy. But it might not be so damn hard.

    Wishing you peace in these countdown weeks, Mandy. I am so glad that Jackson is coming soon, and so sorry that Hudson will not be here to greet him. I know you and Ed will find many special ways to introduce her and Jackson, and as corny as it sounds, I do believe that Hudson is watching over you guys and him. xoxoxox

  3. I hope that you will have Jackson in your arms soon, and that that somehow makes all this a little easier. I hope that "tylersmama" is right in that it will get easier to change things with all the natural change that comes with a new baby.

  4. I cannot wait to see and hear about Jackson, because I feel sure that at least lining the joy up alongside the grief will change things-not lessen the pain, but change it; not ever,ever replace your feelings for her, but augment them. I'm sorry, Mandy, so very sorry. (And hopeful, too.)

  5. I am so sorry that everything is so tempered with both longing and loss. I can only imagine how hard it must be to think of having moving Hudson's things.. of change.. of everything that this life should not be. I am thinking of you Mandy.. I wish I had sage words of advice, but alas I do not. I am wishing you so much light in the days to come.

  6. No advice, Mandy, just (((hugs)). I do think that perhaps 'when' you are ready to tackle those places, you will. The fact that you haven't. means that it isn't time yet. I cannot imagine the level of ambivalence (as if full term pregnancy isn't enough by itself) you feel at this time. You continue to honor Hudson magnificently!

  7. Just get a new diaper bag. That's one easy solution to that problem. As for Hudson's room, I like what Dabney said. You will find a way for Hudson and Jackson to inhabit that room together. I would take it very slowly and only as necessary and after Jackson is born. Of course, only you will know what it right. Thank goodness her room is not frilly pink, so other than making room for his diapers and clothes you don't really have to change much.

    The good news is that even as physical spaces change, there is still room in your heart for both Jackson and Hudson to fit without either having to make room for the other. That is the thing that is so very wonderful about love. It is flexible and can meet any demand placed upon it.

    Oh Mandy. This is too hard. I'm sorry you are in this place. I want your anxiety right now to be about whether Hudson's routine will be too disrupted and how you will manage bedtime with a toddler and an infant. She is so alive in the pictures it just doesn't seem real that she's gone.

    I am happy, though, that your arms will be full again. Full of the wonderful and warm and soft weight of little Jackson. I hope that feeling eases your pain just a little.

    Sending positive energy your way.


  8. The room will get organized when it needs to be. You'll do it when you're ready. You, Ed, Hudson and Jackson are always in our thoughts and prayers, Mandy.

  9. I can't imagine the pain of missing your sweet girl and I wish I could do something to help ease it. Be gentle with yourself. Maybe the diaper bag is meant to be Hudson's- how would you feel about getting a different one to use with Jackson? I wonder if being able to leave her things in it untouched might help. If not, maybe leave one or two of the items in there when you add the newborn essentials, so you'll have a tangible reminder of her whenever you open it? Same goes for the room- instead of worrying about putting Hudson's things away, maybe let it be OK that you're not ready and put Jackson's stuff side by side. If you need to clean some of her things out of a dresser or basket to make space, could you put some of those things in your dresser? You'd get to look at them every time you got dressed or walked into your closet.

    Just some ideas. This must be so incredibly hard and I'm so sorry. As you know, there is no "right" way to do any of this. Trust your instincts. You are a wonderful mom and you'll do what's right for both of your children.

  10. Mandy,

    Do whatever you feel you need to do...or not. Only you can know what feels right amongst the kaos.

    Jackson will make your heart surge with love when you see his wrinkled, gorgeous face...however I imagine it will extremely emotional for you that his big sister won't be there to meet him.

    I hope when the time comes the love from Jackson will envelop you....he has part of Hudson already inside him.

    I know how you feel, Dempsey's birth was bittersweet. I will be thinking about you.

    With love
    Diana Doyle x

  11. Hash and rehash all you need to, Mandy. We're here to bear witness. I echo what the others are saying. Sleep deprivation and necessity after Jackson arrives may make the necessary changes to the nursery more bearable.

  12. We are still here with you Mandy however you need. If it helps to have a couple of people assist you with the room preparations, I would be honored to help. Here...if you need me. Loving You Four...Renee P.