Here I am at a Starbucks in June.
It's strangely quiet in here due to a busted sound system and as I type, the only sound is the click of my keys and the occasional whir from the barista making a frappacino for the next drive-thru customer.
In other words, it is pretty much silent and, therefore, music to my ears.
You see, I just left a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment filled with noisy window air conditioners, three tiny people (all of whom were screaming at some point in the last half hour), two dogs, and a husband watching MTV's "The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros" on full-blast.
Silence is golden.
I'm here to write. As fast as my little fingers can type before Starbucks closes at 9:30 and I have to re-enter the noise.
There was a time when silence was awful. It was the sound of grief, of losing a child, of an empty home and empty arms.
Now, I crave silence. The moments of quiet where I can recharge my frazzled self and regroup.
I used to feel guilty about that. About needing a break from the little miracles that were bestowed upon us after Callie died. I had prayed and longed for children more than anything. What I wouldn't have given to have that chaos in my life.
But after my third rainbow baby, our sweet little Hudson, that guilt is gone.
As a 'seasoned' mom, I know now that guilt has absolutely no place in my life. That grief-filled silence only made more room in my world for the noise. It grew my patience, super-charged my batteries, and prepped me to embrace the hot little messes that were to come.
I'm human, nothing more. And so, I need quiet now. And I am grateful for both the noise that means I am so blessed with children and also the peaceful moments that I need like air to fill me back up and make me the mom I aspire to be.
I say this all as a preface to the introduction of our sweet Hudson to this little blog. I had the best of plans and intentions. I wanted to write poignant words about his birth and his first month, and now his second, just like I'd done for his big sisters before him.
But it didn't really go like that.
Instead, it's been very noisy. Both literally and figuratively.
Hudson's birth story is a simple, yet still sweet one. Nothing dramatic or crazy. He came on the date he was scheduled to come (despite my desperate wish that he would come early to ease my discomfort) and gave us absolutely no trouble during his birth. Although he was breech like his big sister, Lila, the entire pregnancy, Hudson surprised us right before he was born during his c-section when the doctor let us know that he had flipped head down at some point since the last sonogram a week or two prior.
When they pulled him from the womb, he cried right away. A sweet little cry that definitely sounded more 'boy' than his sisters had. (Isn't that funny how boys can sound different even from birth?) He was 7 lb, 7 oz., a lucky birthweight and our biggest baby so far. His sisters got to meet him soon after birth and were a little shy/freaked out about it but soon grew to absolutely dote on him. We were so lucky to have our favorite nurse, Cindy, there once more for the birth of our last little rainbow. It is crazy to me that the ONLY times we have seen her have been on our very worst and very best days of our lives.
That first day and a half were pretty magical and special. They were filled with a calm, sweet peace that I think was heaven sent from our guardian angel.
And then day two struck.
And boy did Hudson let us have it. He cried and cried and cried some more. Second day syndrome, the nurses called it. That time when babies want MILK and moms haven't gotten any in yet and so babies are PISSED OFF about it.
Yeah, Hudson was hangry as hell for about 24 hours and we barely made it through that little spell with our sanity.
Days 3-7 were back to being pretty nice. Big sisters, Charlotte and Lila, gave us some trouble as they adjusted to the new baby but all-in-all everything was all good and we couldn't believe that we had a little baby BOY to call our very own.
So of course, we had to go and mess with that nice little thing we had going.
I don't want to bore people with the ins and outs of the big fat pickle we got ourselves into (and I've shared a lot about it on social media already), but the short story is that after house hunting for a single family home for several years, we were going to take a little break for a bit after Hudson was born... until we saw a house we thought could be THE ONE.
We went under contract on "THE ONE", sold our townhouse, only to find later that the new home was not what it seemed and we decided to walk away after an alarming inspection that couldn't be resolved with the seller. I cannot tell you how stressful it was to be recovering from a c-section, attempting to calm a suddenly very fussy newborn baby, trying to keep a home clean with three kids and two big hairy dogs, having to pack up and leave the house all the time to show the home, and then to pack it all up and move, not knowing where we were going next! To top it off, it was the end of the school year which is the busiest time for John so it was stress, on top of stress, on top of stress. There were a lot more micro-dramas that occurred (including a pipe leak!), but I have already mentally moved on and do not want to even go there ever again. Eventually we decided to purchase a new construction home (ready in October!) and we have now settled in to an apartment (a little bitty one!!) temporarily until it is complete.
The chaos that all of this created filled every moment with noisy turmoil and very nearly drove me right over the edge. I was frazzled and worn completely down, fighting to stay positive in the middle of so much yuck. John and I bumped heads and were grumpy with each other and I didn't love the mom I was being to the kids. There was no down time, no regrouping, nothing but pushing forward, putting out fire after fire.
I hate admitting to all of these feelings after the birth of our sweet little Hudson, but that's what I was doing... just getting by. Day by day, minute by minute.
I had a completely different, very glossy version of this post written because I felt a little guilty writing about this time in our lives in an honest way. I don't want Hudson to think I was unhappy about having him. That couldn't be further from the truth!! But, as he will learn one day, being a parent is hard and sometimes babies are colicky and sometimes you try your hardest to make the best decisions for your family and things don't go like you planned. And you just have to get through it the best you can. In the end, I erased the glossy version and started over because it want to remember this just the way it is, even if it isn't picture perfect.
God has a plan for us, I just know it. I questioned what and WHY, WHY, WHY many times, but I do know there is a plan. I read on the internet once (so of course it's true!) that cardinals are signs from lost loved ones in heaven. I can't tell you how many times I saw cardinals at different moments along this journey and I truly believe it was Callie checking in and showing us our path (even though it wasn't a fun one). Right up until the last moments in our townhouse...
...I had spent the day cleaning it out with my mom and Hudson wrapped tightly to my chest. At some point while I mopped our empty living room I realized how quiet it was and stopped. The enormity of the fact that we were leaving this place, our first home, finally hit. Those walls had seen our happiest and worst moments. We crossed the threshold as a married couple, brought home a second puppy, and happily built a nursery for Callie in our earliest years there. When we came home without her, we closed the door to her room and sobbed. Slowly, I learned the way that light spilled in loudly into some rooms and softly into others as I studied photography under that roof, healing my grieving heart. Shortly after that, our home was filled with cries of newborn Charlotte, and then Lila, and so very recently, Hudson, whose nursery we had *just* finished. Those walls had heard so much. Laughter. Weeping. And everything in between.
And there I was, in the center of that quiet home, mopping it up for someone else. A new family, that would make new memories there. A tear or two slipped down my cheek, but then the moment was gone, because I knew that one of the greatest lessons God had been trying to teach John and I through this all is that "home" has very little to do with your physical surroundings and shelter and much more to do with the people inside of it.
As we drove away that afternoon, I turned back to take one more picture of our family in front of that red door. At the end of the street, there in one of the small, scrubby trees that the builders plopped in front of the townhouses in our neighborhood, was a bright, red cardinal.
And wouldn't you know it...
..the cardinal flew from tree to tree, following us up the street until we got to our house and then flew away.
It wasn't our house anymore. Our "home" was right there in the bodies of the squiggly, noisy family of crazy people sitting on the front stoop trying to take one last selfie.
Hudson, buddy, I'm so sorry that your birth story is all tangled up with this stuff but that's just how it is. I wanted to write you the fairy tale version, but if there is one thing you need to know about your mommy, it is that I can never be anything but real with you. You will hate that I think sometimes (maybe lots of times), but I hope that you also love it too. If you read this one day, I want you to know that the best part of this crazy time in our lives was you. Even though you fussed and cried and kept us up at night, it was you. And would I do it all over again?
Yes, without reservation. Because of you and because good things are in store for us, cutie pie. This is just the crazy beginning to something crazy wonderful. I thank God for you and your sisters and Daddy and our doggies and all the noise you bring to my life.
So, with all of that being said, I will end this with a few nuggets about your first and second months and I promise that from here on out, I will do my very best to do your time capsules on time. (Just help me out with that by giving your mommy some nice long naps every once in awhile, ok bud?)
Hudson's One Month Time Capsule:
We can't forget that, this month:
- We called you our little 'squeaky wheel' because every time you eat, you make a squeaky noise VERY LOUDLY. The doctors say you have something called laryngomalacia, which is completely harmless and will go away with time. It is certainly hard to be inconspicuous while nursing you! One day you won't make this little squeak anymore and we will be sad that you have grown up so much!
- Sorry to tell you bud, but this month you got your first zits. (or so we thought!)
- You LOVE to be held and rocked and one of your favorite things to do is to be worn in a carrier by mommy.
- You had your first coo and smile on May 22nd! You have no idea how much joy you brought your tired mommy on that day! You have given us sweet smiles, with the hint of cute dimples, every day since then (in between all the fussing! What's that all about?!?)
- Your sisters love you so much and each took their first turns holding you in this first month.
Hudson's Two Month Time Capsule:
- Uh-oh, turns out that baby acne was actually a very severe case of facial seborrhea (cradle cap). Your rash got kind of scary looking for a little while and mommy worried and worried about you. To treat it, we rubbed coconut oil on your face in circles every night. You smelled like a little macaroon! It cleared up significantly after that but we are still at it!
- It was during this month that we packed up your sweet nursery and moved into the apartment. Now that we are here, we are having a great time and we are finally getting to settle down and focus on fun things. I know you won't remember this place, but I think your mommy and daddy will look back fondly at it one day!
- Every night around 5:30, you have a 'witching hour' where you like to cry and give Mommy and Daddy a hard time for no good reason. Most of the time, Daddy will walk you around the apartment until you settle down.
- You love your swing, hate the car, and like sucking on a paci but have trouble keeping it in your cute little mouth sometimes.
- The smiles continued this month! We love 'talking' with you with your sweet coos. You smile especially big when we sing to you.
- The biggest smiles come for your big sisters though. Lila loves to talk about you and Charlotte smothers you with love (almost literally). When she tries to make you smile, her voice goes up about 200 octaves and turns syrupy sweet!
Hudson, we love you to the moon and back. We can't wait to see what your third month has in store for you!