So we decided to tell the boys about baby Auburn a few weeks into the pregnancy. There were several reasons to wait but none of those reasons had anything to do with getting closer to the magical safe zone. I wanted to tell the world about our rainbow baby, but I also wished that I could go 40 weeks without even knowing I was pregnant. I wanted to tell people, but I couldn't stand the idea of all possible reactions:
- Excitement over the new baby meant that people would think Alaska didn't matter any more.
- Relief meant that they thought we were over our daughter.
- Worry meant that they were thinking we might lose this one, too.
- Hesitation meant that they were judging us for trying again, for not being satisfied with the blessings we have.
Essentially, any person who I shared my news with was potentially going to piss me off (especially if they were happy for us). I knew that this was ridiculous and also part of the territory, so I reached out for help. A fellow mom who I met through an online support group for pregnancy after loss reminded me that my new baby deserved to be celebrated just as my other children were. I knew this for myself as I tried to balance the hope and joy and fear and love that comes with pregnancy after loss, but I hadn't acknowledged that others could celebrate our new baby without taking away from Alaska. I needed a couple of weeks to work this out before others knew about our new baby, so it was a relief to wait.
I painted a rainbow and "Big Sister Alaska" on a onsie and put it on one of the bears that we got after Alaska died. When the boys saw it and worked out what it meant, they were crazy with excitement. Elliott bounced around and yelled, "My wish came true!" I knew that this was his wish because he had shared it with me a few weeks earlier. He wanted another person to join our family. Someone that we hadn't met. A sibling who lived.
We talked about how we hoped that baby Auburn lived. The boys knew that anything could happen, but they definitely helped me go forward with hope for the short week that we had before we found out that baby Auburn was gone. We looked forward to the possibility that baby Auburn would be with us to celebrate his big sister's birthday on New Year's Eve 2014.
On the night of Elliott's 9th birthday he said that his birthday wish was that Auburn was ok. And then I had to break his heart with the news that I had hoped we could save for the next day. Some parents choose to keep early losses from their children. I understand the need to protect them from more pain, but I wouldn't change our decision to celebrate Auburn's short life as a family. He's part of us, and I wouldn't feel complete if Auburn was a secret. I'm also not sure at what point in Auburn's life it would be acceptable to include him as part of our family other than the very beginning. It's the only way I know when it comes to my babies.