What Happens When Your Child Asks About Their Deceased Sibling?

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Most parents are concerned about emotional and physical development when it comes to their children – when’s the right time to talk about the birds and the bees? How to handle menstruation concerns? How to deal with male puberty?

Some parents take it a step further and try to map out their child’s financial future – will there be enough money for college? Do we have enough savings? Are they expected to stay inside the home past 18? Those are very important and sometimes, the talks come more fluid and naturally than expected.

But what happens when your child asks about their deceased sibling? Then what?

Last night, Bear was being his little rambunctious self late at night. He didn’t want to go to sleep and we accidentally overstimulated him so he was very wired. He kept pointing to the lights we have on our balcony and up to the sky. Naturally, I asked him if he saw his big brother Ethan and he responded with a simple question:

Where?

The innocent question knocked the wind out of me and to be honest, I’m still recovering from it. (I did tell Bear Ethan was one of the stars in the sky.)

You see, it’s been a discussion between Maks and I for the past several years on how to tell our children about their oldest brother who died in infancy, and why he’s included on our annual Christmas cards. I equate us talking about it and planning it out as the famous I Love Lucy labor episode – everything’s all planned and ready to go until it actually happens, then all hell breaks loose.

 

I’m fortunate that for now, Bear is too young to understand the concepts of life and death, Heaven and Earth, so on and so forth. Him being this young is only a temporary advantage. As anyone with children can tell you, they grow up fast and a lot can (and will) change right before you.

Right before Bear was born, we did purchase a book – Someone Came Before You. We barely got through it before we had to put it away. Maybe one day, I can finish reading the book without breaking into hysterics and I can explain to Bear that while he is our second child, he is just as loved and cherished as our first.

Mommy,Daddy, Ethan,Yoda
Our maternity shoot with Bear and Ethan Molly Bear.

So, let’s open it up for discussion…is there a way to talk to your child about death?

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I Should Have a Four Year Old

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I should be planning a birthday party. I should make sure the cake is made just right. It might be Paw Patrol one. It might be Thomas & Friends. I should have the numerous gifts picked out because although Christmas was just a short time ago, a birthday only comes once a year.

I should have local Mom friends who I regularly meet for coffee because we met at the preschool/day care where our children are best friends. I should be trying to figure out how to tell our parents not to give him that super-expensive toy that he doesn’t need and will probably only play with it once and just put the money in his trust.

I should.

But I don’t.

Because although I should have a four year old, I only have memories.

April is a so-so month for me.

You see, I used to like April. For some reason, it was always my favorite month despite my birthday in October. I guess April represents spring, a new beginning, and it’s closer to summer, which is my favorite season.

And five years ago, well, I didn’t like April that much.

I had my first miscarriage in April 2011. It was like I found out I was pregnant and a few days later, I wasn’t. At least the trip to the ER was pleasant and my EMTs were pretty nice.

I became pregnant with Ethan a short time later and everything was fine until it wasn’t. I went into premature labor on December 12th and gave birth December 13th. I’ve been pretty open about my loss so just check on the Ethan tab if you want to know more of the history.

My miscarriages will forever be tied to each other – my original April miscarriage should’ve been a December 2011 baby. Ethan’s original due date was April 20th.

I’m still friends with quite a few mothers from my April 2012 board. They’re amazing women and I love them dearly. Yet, I’m jealous of them. They’ve had four years with their babies, watching them grow into small children. I had two hours.

I keep wondering what Ethan would be into. Would he like carrots or would he hate them like his little brother? What type of music would he like? What would be his favorite book? I think Noddy would’ve been his favorite cartoon. I always feel a strong connection with this particular cartoon.

Every April I’m reminded that I don’t have a small child. Yes, I have Bear and I love him dearly. Bear, however, is a November 2013 baby. He’s not and will never be an April 2012 baby.

It’s one of those things I’m still coming to terms with and honestly, I think I’ll forever come to terms with. It gets easier over the years. It doesn’t hurt as much, but when it does, it feels like a Mack truck sideswiped me.

So yeah, I should have a four year old. Instead, I only have memories.

 

 

Future Baby Mama…Soon?

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It’s about that time.

To TTC.

I’m currently on CD 9 and I’ll start tracking my ovulation in a couple of days. Ideally, I would’ve already been pregnant with Rainbow Baby #2 and possibly, would’ve given birth. Life is funny that way. You have an idea of how you want things to go and oops, not quite.

I’m excited. The more round preggo tummies I’m seeing, the more I want to be pregnant again. I’m also little apprehensive. I’m 35 (yeah, really I am; Black don’t crack!), so time isn’t on my side nowadays. I was 32 when I gave birth to Ethan and just turned 34 when I gave birth to Bo. I’m officially AMA or Advanced Maternal Age. I hate that term. It makes me sound all geriatric.

I’m trying to get more in shape. I’ve been walking a ton (upwards to 20 miles a week) and I’ve recently began meditating to calm my spirit and my nerves (a great app called Stop, Breathe, and Think helps a lot). So whenever you hear me say I’m not trying to get on a diet or actively lose weight, that’s why.

I’m going to order the Fertibella again and see what happens. I don’t know for sure if it helped me get pregnant last time but I don’t know if it didn’t. A part of me wonders if I’ll be able to handle two small children under 3. A part of me wonders if this will be my only chance. I also wonder if my fibroids are also under control so it won’t impede with the growth of said baby.

I wonder, wonder, wonder.

So wish us luck! I’ll keep everyone informed of the progress of how it’s coming along. Hopefully, I’ll have some great news to share soon! ❤

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Be Alright

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What a difference a year makes.

I’m typing this post with a semi-sleepy Yoda on my boob. I’m sure you wanted to know that but you can’t deny I’ve been honest for this long so why hold back now?

A year ago, I found out I was pregnant and I remember I had a flurry of emotions go through me. The biggest emotion was relief. We were trying for a year. We both went through a battery of testing, all of them turned out normal. We were mentally exhausted (not to mention, physically) and we decided to take a break for a few months and start up again with medical intervention. I was researching IUI treatments at the time.

And then it happened. I remember it being a Thursday evening and I suddenly felt sick. I took a test and it was a pink dye one but it was also pretty faint.

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I showed M. the test and we pretty much had the same reaction – let’s not get our hopes up.

I retested the following Friday and the test was no better.

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We decided since my period was going to come by Monday morning, we’ll test then. I remember I could barely sleep the night before because I was so nervous. I was either pregnant or I was going to delay trying again for a while. It was pretty much black and white.

And then this happened…

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My only reaction was running into the other bathroom where my husband was, jumping up and down, yelling, ‘We did it! We did it!’

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My first bump pic at 4 weeks. All bloat and fat there. But damn, I look good.

Crazy. A year ago I found out I was pregnant and started this blog shortly afterward. A year later, I have this to show for:

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This was taken sometime last week.

Future Baby Mama

For those wondering, Future Baby Mama is the title of a Prince song. I love Prince. Have you ever seen him perform in concert? Ah-mazing! You really need to go check him out sometime in this lifetime.

It’s Hump Day, Bump Day…let’s goooooooooo!

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How far along? 38 weeks, according to LMP.

Weight gain/loss?  None. No weight gain at all entire pregnancy.

Symptoms: A ton of Braxton-Hicks. A ton. They tend to occur at night for whatever reason, leading me to believe that I might go into labor in the middle of the night. A return of nausea and vomiting which is not sitting well with me at all. I’m actually slightly nauseous as I type this. I read it was a potential labor symptom but guess what? I’m still pregnant so I might have to call bullshit on that one.
Mood: Tired and anxious.
Sleep: Not much. Been getting up to go pee a lot more now.
Best moment of the week? Hearing news that Yoda is officially locked and loaded but now it’s just a waiting game.
Sex/Name of baby? Boy. His name is definitely Bogdan (Bawg-dan). Bogdan Michael.
Food cravings? Nothing really.
Belly button status? Still an innie but shallow.
Movement? A lot of it. Very active when I first wake up and throughout the day.
What you miss? Sleeping through the night! Getting up to pee several times really sucks!
What are you looking forward to? Bringing Yoda bear home from the hospital. I’m really looking forward to what motherhood will bring.
What are you nervous about? I just want my baby to be alive and healthy.