Hailee is getting very excited about her little sister growing in my belly. She draws baby sister pictures and shows them to her (my belly). She talks to her. She kisses her. She tries to tickle her. She tells anyone who will listen that she is having a baby and “it’s a girl!”
Then tonight, as we were driving back from dinner, Hailee said, completely out of the blue, “Baby girl is not going to die.” Chad, my mom and I were all slightly stunned by this comment. Hailee then repeated herself, “Baby girl is not going to die.” The way she said it was almost as if Hailee was making a request or asking for reassurance. All of us got quiet. How are you supposed to respond to a comment like that?
Inside, my heart broke for Hailee. I wanted to tell her, “Yes, that’s right Hailee. Baby girl isn’t going to die! She will live and grow and you and she will have a lifetime of memories together!” But I can’t say that. Because we just don’t know! There are no certainties in life anymore.
And what makes this situation sadder is realizing that my little three year old also knows that life is tenuous. What other three year old would ever make a comment like that? Unless that child has experienced loss and death in their life? My heart aches for her. I wanted to protect her from all the pain and hurt in the world, but before she was even completely potty trained, the deepest pain in the world came into our home, into our family, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Hailee seems to have more understanding that Charlie’s death means he’s not coming back. She used to say, quite frequently, “Charlie come back ok?” Now, instead of telling us he’s coming back or asking us if he is coming back, she’ll say, “I want Charlie to come back.” To which I will respond, “I wish he could come back too.”
She may tell me, “Charlie died. He’s at Jesus house.” And I’ll nod and say, “that’s right.” Then Hailee might say, “I’m going to go to Jesus’ house too!” And then I’ll tell her she’s not going anywhere! And then she’ll whine and say she wants to go to Jesus house with Charlie and I’ll tell her, “someday. But not for a long time.” Then I hug her tightly to me.
Overall Hailee seems to have adjusted well. She IS happy. She IS thriving. But she’s also trying to wrap her brain and heart around the experience of losing her little brother. And that’s not easy for a three year old to do!
I also think about whether or not this little baby girl in my belly will survive or not. I think about it more frequently than I’d like. I’ve told Chad I don’t think I could handle losing another child. But what causes me the most anxiety around that thought is wondering how losing another child would affect Hailee. Hailee deserves another sibling! She deserves to be three and carefree. She deserves to live a childhood free of the fear of death!
As I continue in this journey, I’ve come closer to reconciling myself to the fact that Life Is Not Fair. But when I see how it affects my daughter, it becomes a much harder pill to swallow. I pray and hope this baby will work out. I pray she will come home in our arms and grow and live. We could all use the healing a rainbow baby would bring in our life. I especially want this for Hailee. I want to make the world a safe, hopeful place for her. I want Hailee to have a happy ending!