talking with small children about death

When we sat down to plan Reece’s funeral, our funeral director looked at us and said, “It’s not very often we are planning a funeral for a child.” And it’s true. We went on to discuss how due to modern medicine (mostly), our society isn’t as familiar with childhood death as we were some time ago. We also aren’t as accustomed to the death of a spouse.  In the not-so-distant past, people got sick and died from things that we don’t routinely discuss anymore…things like pneumonia, polio, yellow fever, cholera.  It even was common to have a deceased person viewed in one’s home, versus a funeral home.  Death wasn’t a taboo topic, it was a fairly normal and expected topic.  More people worked in laborious jobs where accidents occurred more frequently. Many more babies passed away in utero or shortly after childbirth. Fewer treatments existed to rid bodies of diseases. In my own family two of my four great-grandfathers passed away, each with a wife and four young children left behind.  Death happened. It was hard, but it was part of what happened more regularly.  It still happens, but I believe we’ve become a bit tongue-tied around the subject.  Death still happens, it just takes a few more years (on average) to get there.

With my children, talking about death is of great importance. In our situation, I have only one child that will have any memory of either Terry or Reece. As hard as it must be to lose a sibling, I suspect for my children, it will be much harder to grapple with the loss of their dad.  After all, they have no memory of Reece being here.  And they’ll have very little memory of Terry.  However, they will always be faced with explaining that their dad isn’t here–Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, Dad-and Daughter/Son events.  You get it.  It’s important for me to try to get this right; to try to be cognizant of my kids’ need to discuss death with them, because it will come up whether I like it or not.  It will naturally come up in the safety net of our home and it will probably less naturally come up with my kids in social environments such as school, activities, and church.  People don’t want to discuss death, but they also have a curiosity about what-happened-to-so-and-so.  My hope is that I will have prepared them certain ways to be able to handle themselves when this occurs.

I watched this short clip the other day.  It is under two minutes long (so I recommend taking the time to watch it!) and captures kids talking about the loss of a parent.  It was touching to hear it in the kids’ own words…so simple, so real, so relatable.

After watching this video, I looked into the New York Life Foundation and their efforts to support bereaved children.  Their web page is found at:  Great resources abound on this site for family members, educators, and anyone who is supporting a bereaved child.  It’s worth checking into, should you find yourself trying to support children through loss.

I find myself on the cusp of deeper discussions with Britta.  In truth, my kids will remember very little from the time when their dad was here.  Their reality will be what lies ahead of us right now.  Still, these discussions will come up, looking quite different from what they likely would if my kids were older.  They will still have grief, questions, and natural curiosities about Terry and Reece.  I’m no expert, but my plan is to remain as honest and open as I can, while considering the maturity levels of my kids.

I respect that different people choose to handle things differently than our family in an effort to cope with loss and wade through the deep waters.  It’s truly a matter of surviving uncharted territory in life and it’s unique to each situation.  However, here are some things I have found helpful in our home:

1.) I don’t lie to my kids about death.  I avoid having to undo damage from making up stories that seem a little more tidy.  Death is real, it happens, it’s a fact.  It isn’t appropriate to discuss the details of either Terry’s or Reece’s situations at this point, but my kids (basically Britta for now) do know that Reece was ill and that both Terry and Reece had “owies”.  They know that sometimes, we can’t fix things here.  We also discuss that at some point, everyone will have something happen that can not be fixed here, but it happens for everyone at their own special time.  They know that sometimes, it takes Heaven to be fixed.

2.) We openly talk about Terry and Reece.  They are members of our family.  We laugh and joke about them and remember fun things that happened with them.  We incorporate their names into play and discuss the things they liked and disliked.

3.) We talk about Heaven…a lot.  I’ve really strayed from discussing Heaven in common contexts that are inconsistent with the biblical descriptions of it.  I completely respect that other people handle this differently; people I greatly care about.  However, we never call Reece and Terry angels.  People turning into angels after they pass away seems comforting, but in actuality, it never mentions this in the Bible.  Additionally, I don’t plan on reading books like “Heaven is for Real–for Kids” to them, until they are much older.  I don’t want them to assume that because that child had that experience, that is what they should expect Heaven to be.  My goal is to talk about what it might be like for Reece and Terry in Heaven with a biblical basis behind it.  At some point, they will be old enough to own their feelings and form their own opinions about Eternity.

4.) I am trying to get better at asking Britta about how she feels about her dad.  I can tell when she’s “off” and when it is likely because of his passing, but I also realize that it shouldn’t be up to her alone to bring up how she’s feeling.  I’m not going to somehow make her feel worse by bringing Terry into our conversation.  I know this reality for myself…I’m trying to translate my own feelings about discussing things into my approach on discussions with her.

5.) I try to let Britta guide the conversation.  She often interjects something about Terry or Reece in what seems like an “out of the blue” fashion.  I have found it helpful that when she asks questions about them to remember her age.  I immediately go to a very heavy place.  She, however, is four and thinks like a four-year-old.  I try to keep things as basic as possible and often the conversation leaves as randomly as it started.  One second she is asking about Terry’s passing and the next she wants to know if dinosaurs ate turtles.  Additionally, I resist the urge to drill down into her questions.  Once she has left the topic, I rarely try to get her back there.  I know she is processing, but it seems the more I ask, the less she says.

6.)  Many times I tell Britta, “I’m not sure.”  This response is often the best I can do and is perfectly acceptable.

I recognize that my conversations are catered to the needs of very small children.  This would be entirely different if my kids were even a few years older.  I still get a bit twisted up when I am discussing someone else’s loss with that person.  It’s a hard thing to do with other people, including kids, and it’s hard to know what to say, because there is no right thing to say.  Yet the hardest thing to have happen when you are going through grief, is to have no one say anything at all.






one long winter

I’m certain I’m not alone in thinking that this has been a loooong winter.  After the first of the year, Terry hit the road for his new job and traveled extensively throughout January and February.  And of all places…to sunny California!  In the midst of his travel, my beloved grandfather passed away (which deserves its own post) and since then, we have battled multiple colds, a bout with a stomach virus (which forced Terry to come back early one week), a household full of strep throat, and one very bad case of diaper rash which required a special trip to the doctor’s office and a prescription for some homemade concoction from the clinic called “poop goop”.  Seriously, those were the words that were printed on the label.  The weather needs no explanation.  With three small kids in tow, there have been many days where I decided it wasn’t worth the risk or the effort to bundle everyone up and go some place.  There was one week in January where all three kids had colds, Jude was up every hour of the night for multiple nights, school was cancelled due to weather so we didn’t leave the house for the entire week and by Thursday afternoon, I managed to fall down the stairs with Scarlett in my arms.  Thankfully, Scarlett was not injured, but I was fairly banged up.  Scarlett was so upset by my own tears after falling and so stir crazy from being cooped up all week that she literally sat on my bed and screamed at Britta and me for 45 minutes.  She capped it all off by heading upstairs and biting (yes, biting) our coffee table out of pure frustration.  At that point, Britta turned to me with a blank look on her face and said, “Maybe Daddy is coming home today.”  To which I replied, “Nope!  Not today.”  All I can say is uff da.  The week ended with Terry missing a flight connection, not getting in until Saturday afternoon and flying out again on Monday.  By the time Terry got home all I could say to him was, “I’m thankful that we will never have to live through January 2014 again and that our kids will never be this young again.”  Yes, it has been one long winter.  I promise I am sharing all this for more than my own need to vent and get sympathy.

It’s been a trying winter and in no small part due to Terry being gone a lot.  We are very thankful for his new opportunity, but I have been out-of-it as far single-parenting while Terry travels.  Truthfully, it’s an entirely different group of kids for me.  He hasn’t traveled like this since prior to Reece’s hospitalization.  Needless to say, I am out of practice.  Not only am I out of practice, but without Reece here as my helper while Dad is on the road, I’m way off.  It certainly makes me miss him even more.  Sure, Britta is nearly the same age as Reece was when Terry was gone before, but it’s just not the same.  The whole scenario has revealed many shortcomings I have as a parent.  And these shortcomings have reminded me over and over again about a post I wrote on Like Olive Shoots entitled 51 Things I Hope I Never Do Again.  That particular post has easily generated the most traffic on the blog other than the posts around the time Reece passed away.  It was written early on in Reece’s transplant as he really started becoming ill from the cord blood.  I remember sitting in the hospital wishing I had the same issues and challenges as I did on any ordinary day of my life.  I remember feeling trapped in such an obscure life place with no way to fix any of it.  Life felt completely out of control.  I promised when we eventually were out of the situation, I’d be a better mother…more loving, more compassionate, more creative, more tolerant…more whatever.  I promised I would remember how hard it was in the hospital and that, no matter what, our challenges at home would not compare.  While they don’t compare, the demands at home are still great.  The day-to-day can still be tough.  And you know what I’ve learned in the last 20 months?  I’m really not any better at parenting than I used to be.  I’m different at some things and I’ve changed quite a bit personally, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten any better at being a mom.  I have strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else.  But I had convinced myself during our time at the U of MN that I would somehow be better at “mom” after going through all of that.  Well, my perspective is now different and I’m still good at some things, but I need a lot of improvement on others.  The “needs work” category has never been more apparent than in these last cold months.

Actually, if anything, I may have gotten worse at the things I need improvement on.  I’ve realized that I’ve been pressed in many ways throughout these last few months and nothing surfaces more in pressure situations than the ugly things.  Or is that just me?  Maybe it’s just me.  When I’m pressed, I’m no sweetheart.  But I’m trying–wow–am I ever trying to work on these things.  In particular, I am trying to work on not having a short fuse with my children.  Most days are just fine but there are a few moments baked into the most random places where I really have to work hard to not lose my temper, with Britta in particular.  One such moment happened about a month ago.  We were having a great day and leaving the gym on yet another very, very cold morning.  Britta was dawdling as we got into the van (getting the kids in and out of the van is no small process with the three kids in car seats).  In my desperation to get her to pay attention and get out of the extreme cold (I could tell she was deliberately trying to disobey me by not getting into the van) I did not handle the situation well.  But even as I was strapping her into her car seat I apologized for losing my temper and told her as hard as I try, I’m not perfect.  I will always tell my children their only perfect parent is Jesus.  Period.  But it just felt yucky.  I felt like I should be past this–I should be beyond this.  I know what if feels like to wish you handled every situation well.  I have certain memories with Reece, in our every day life, that I wish I had handled better. Those memories, at times, torment me.  I know every parent has these moments; I’m not unique in this way.  I’m also not unique in avoiding them–they didn’t magically disappear after Reece passed away.  But I know the feeling of regret over them.  I know the feeling of grief over them.  Nevertheless, I have accepted that my other kids will experience my own faults just like Reece did.

As I got in the driver’s seat of the van I was deeply sorrowful over the way I handled myself with her.  Then the words came to mind, “…and love covers over a multitude of sin.”  Thank-you, God, for that.  And it’s so true.  It doesn’t make sinning any less wrong; I’m still working on many, many things that I need to keep in check.  However, I needed to remember that my loving actions greatly outnumber the not-so-loving ones.  Most importantly, I take those words to mean that Jesus’ love for me and my kids fills in the holes of my parenting gaps.  If nothing else, they will be taught that in my shortcomings, Jesus will never fail them.  I’m not trying to replace God.  That’s a big revelation for me, because it basically lets me off the hook of beating myself up over my failures.  I still grieve my failures with my children, but knowing I can’t be perfect helps.

Here’s the deal–there is blessing in seeing your child live their entire life.  I can speak to a much bigger picture than the average parent (one of the ways I am a different person and different parent than I used to be).  I know in a deeply personal way that Reece was not thinking of my parenting shortcomings before he coded or passed.  His last months with us demonstrated love and commitment and perseverance–both parent and child.  There was no heartache about time-outs or me losing my temper or the things that Terry or I did wrong in our parenting.  Our final exchange of words was tender and loving and that is a gift.  It’s also extended to me as grace in parenting my other kids to know that this Bible verse is true and that I’ve seen it in action.  It’s not worth beating myself up over a single moment in January 2014.  The picture is so much bigger than that; life isn’t lived in a single moment.  That is encouraging to me.  It releases some of the angst I feel over moments I had with Reece and also from the temptation to beat myself over similar moments with my younger three kids.

By the way, I’m so glad that I titled that post “51 Things I Hope I Never Do Again”, versus “51 Things I Promise to Never Do Again”.  Because I’m pretty sure I’ve done nearly all of them since I wrote it and that would just mean I broke 51 promises.  Lord, help me.

Birthday Season is upon us in our household.  Reece’s birthday is in two weeks.  I’m sure I’ll be posting about it soon.  If you think of us, we covet your prayers.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

we had a baby

Yes, we had our baby boy. He’s pretty awesome in every sense of the word. Life has been crazy and sleep-deprived, hence the big, long sabbatical from blogging. Somehow, we managed to space our kids in ever-decreasing age increments (three years, two years, sixteen months). From my vantage point today I would not say the sixteen month spacing is my favorite. It’s two babies in the house. Blessings, yes they are, but it is challenging. Wow, challenging doesn’t even really accurately describe it. Still, this isn’t our first rodeo and we recognize that things will ease up as we work through different ages and stages with our kids. I keep saying, “I know this will get fun at some point.” Right now, all the kids are fun individually, but I know when things start to gel, they will be fun as a group as well. I hope that makes sense. I’m not Complaining; I’m just…complaining with a lower-cased “c”.

I’ll spare the details of the birth and say that I gave birth to a healthy baby boy in mid-September. We named him Jude. His birth was the only one where we did not spend the entire hospital stay debating the name. That is because we knew we were going to have a baby boy several years ago and, if our strong feelings about having him were true, we would name him Jude. When I look back now I have such a fascinating picture of how our family was formed and when and where God let us know how our family would be completed is no exception to it. It’s too long of a story for the amount of time I have to type it all out tonight (hitting the hay early these days!). Perhaps I’ll get into it another time. However, the name “Jude” means “praise or thanks”. It is indeed fitting. I have much gratitude for all of our children. This boy, being our last child, has a name that sums up my feelings towards our being gifted with him, as well as Reece, Britta, and Scarlett.

The girls are fascinated with him and very “hands on”–which makes me nervous at times. Still, I’m glad they are excited to be big sisters and I feel strongly that Reece is aware of his younger brother (and excited about him!) as well. I don’t know how to describe that other than ever since his passing there are things that I feel deep in my soul to be true…this is one of them.

I’ve written a million blog posts in my mind over the past couple of months. I certainly needed the break from blogging and have found, yet again, clarity about writing. The last few months of my pregnancy were quite challenging on multiple fronts and being able to just “be” and experience it all was important. As we get our feet back under us, I plan on continuing to write. I just needed to get this post out there that we did have our sweet little guy and that we are busy, but surviving. Our life continues to be a challenging and often foreign concept to us–at times it seems unrecognizable. Nevertheless, the undeniable, tangible blessing of a new baby in my arms is incredibly grounding and certainly affirms that we are held in the palm of God’s hand.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
He gently leads those that have young.”
Isaiah 40:11

life with the littles

It’s been about a month since I last posted and I just can’t seem to get things on here more frequently.  I really enjoy writing and hope that I can figure out a way to make it a more regular event.  It is a true reflection of how busy things have been around here and how much time I have to myself these days. I’m not complaining–nope. It’s just a fact of life.

The summer has been flying by and I–unlike so many Midwesterners–am not at all sad that this is the case. I’ve never been a huge “summer person”–whatever that means. Mostly, I am antsy for this baby to get here and to be finished with the chapter of life entitled, “Pregnancy”. I’m trying my best to savor it, but it is getting harder and harder with each passing day. Pregnancy alone is fine, but combined with an active one-year-old who gets into just about everything, it is brutal. Pregnancy is one of those events in life, where you simply forget about all the ins and outs of it after you get through it.  I get to certain stages and have very little memory of what I experienced in previous pregnancies.  Additionally, I was so stressed out and distracted during my last pregnancy (plus, my parents and aunt were primarily chasing Britta), that I don’t recall many of the normal pregnancy-related happenings other than the crazy monitoring at the end.  I really can not remember back four years ago (or seven, in Reece’s case) to remember all the nitty-gritty details I experienced with Britta. Plus, I think I was spared (mercifully) from some of the aches and pains during the last pregnancy.  Even the fourth time around has its own set of surprises.  Still, one thing that I have experienced in all four pregnancies is this: I get tremendously excited when I see food expiration dates on packages that are either my due date or even beyond!  I’m not talking about cans of soup and boxes of Uncle Ben’s wild rice.  I’m talking about milk, cheese, and anything that, should you eat it past that date, it could really get your tummy turning.  That’s right–every time this gets me super excited.  You should have seen me buying milk at Target with the family the other day.  Terry just stared at me in bewilderment when I enthusiastically shouted out that the expiration date was only a day before our due date!

Since my last update regarding my pregnancy (found here), things have calmed down a bit as far as our doctors’ monitoring of the Little Dude (Britta affectionately calls him, “Pineapple”).  My follow-up ultrasound showed that he was measuring at the 40%–a bruiser in this household–and that they had originally had the wrong due date in radiology.  Basically, he was never as small as they originally thought and he made up for lost ground in the month between ultrasounds!  I go back in for what may be my last ultrasound prior to delivery (assuming all growth has held steady) in another week.  We’ll see what’s happening, but right now they are treating this as a, “boring, normal pregnancy.”  We’ll take boring and normal!  This baby is quite active and while Scarlett has no clue how her world is about to change, Britta loves feeling him kick around and is always proud to tell everyone that she is having a baby brother.

As one can imagine, these last few weeks are full of baby and house prep.  We have not become more efficient at front-loading our baby prep work with each successive pregnancy.  We must be clutch players or clutch parents or clutch whatever.  Actually, I am not a clutch kinda gal at all, so while I await the upcoming dates set aside to get this stuff done, I find myself nesting like crazy to try to control something…cooking, cleaning, and making lists of things for Terry to get done.  Which always goes over really well.

We haven’t been the epitome of health this last month either. Between colds, sinus infections, and reactions to medications, we are thankful to be a healthy foursome for the time being.  We spent one entire Saturday in the ER with Britta.  She had a fever the day before and woke up complaining of head pain.  We were advised to take her to the ER for fear of bacterial meningitis.  In the ER they initially suspected strep throat, but when the initial test results came back negative and her CBC revealed elevated bacteria levels, they felt there was enough ambiguity that they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out anything serious.  So, we immediately clicked into hospital mode and it fit like a glove.  We naturally began silencing beeps, finding supplies, understanding a disturbing amount of “hospital-speak”, and engaging in our regular, light-hearted, distracting hospital banter which is our joint way of coping with various amounts of stress, depending on the circumstance.  As the doctor was prepping us for the procedure she was apologetic and kept telling us she wouldn’t want her own child to have a spinal tap.  Confused as to what the procedure actually entailed and trying to gauge how worked up I “needed” to be in my own mind, I looked at her and said, “Is this as invasive as a bone marrow biopsy?”  She replied, “Oh goodness, no!!!”  Terry, as he always does, stayed in the room for the procedure (I rarely opt to do so).  Again, as the doctor was discussing the procedure Terry asked, “Do I need to gown up?”  She looked startled and said, “Oh no, it’s only me that needs to use a sterilized surface.  You guys really have seen a lot.”  The difficult part for us was the partial sedation she was placed on that lasted for hours afterwards where she was in an awake-but-somewhat-vegetative state.  We had never experienced this with any other child (full sedation is more like going to sleep and waking up normally).  Thankfully, the spinal tap results looked great and were negative for meningitis.  We were released in the evening and given a call the next morning saying that the overnight culture for strep came back positive!  We were humbled with the actual results and grateful it was nothing more.  The doctor was apologetic that we had to do the spinal tap and I was thankful we did it so we could be released of the worry.

One funny story came about from that night after we returned home.  As Britta came out of the sedation further, she acted almost drunk.  The doctor warned us about this as it is usually what happens.  (My gut reaction when the doctor mentioned this was to ask, “So you mean she’ll get slightly cocky and demand to sing karaoke?”  But I refrained.)  Sure enough, as she further awoke, she began to slur her speech when she started chatting with us and needed lots of help moving around.  It was a two person operation to take her to the bathroom.  So as Terry and I crouched down about eye-level with her sitting on the potty, she looked at me and said, “Mommy…Mommy is mean to me.”  (Again, sounding like a very drunk person and wobbling as she tried to maintain her balance.)  Terry, feeling badly that I was getting accused of being mean, chimes in and begins to say, “Britta, why would you say Mommy is mean?”  But she cut him off mid-sentence when she pointed to him and said, “And thaaaat guy!  He is mean to Scarlett!”  We couldn’t help but sit there and laugh.  She finally disclosed that we are mean for putting them in time-outs.  No, we do not put our one-year-old in official time-outs.  But Terry did use the verbiage with Scarlett recently after she maniacally crawled across the floor to bite Britta.  Just another day in the life with The Littles.

The week of July 4th (and 5th, of course) went really well.  We ended up spending those days at my parents’ home.  On July 5, we took the girls strawberry-picking.  It was fun and fitting as Reece absolutely loves strawberries!  They are one of the few things he ate on a regular basis–even in the hospital.  The girls enjoyed the time and we did as well.  As predicted, I did feel a sense of relief after that week passed and yet I found I was met with heavy, heavy feelings about a week later that continued throughout the month of July.  But I’m not going to blog about it today.

We are so thankful for the many people who reached out to us over the month of July and mentioned Reece to us.  People from many different facets of life reached out to either share a memory or let us know they were thinking of us and it means a great deal.  I continue to feel a sense of gratitude for what we are given and hopeful in the direction life is taking us.

“The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.”

~Max Lucado

yes siree, we make small babies!

It’s been interesting to be pregnant.  Although, when is it not?  And I, the Type A, competitive person that I am, have always mentally had a rank/seniority mentality on pregnancy.  If you see another pregnant lady and she is farther along than you, she gets the “win” of respect.  However, if she is less far along in her pregnancy, but onto a higher number of pregnancies than you (e.g. she is on her third and you are on your second), she pulls rank and thus gets props for being farther into parenting.  It is really dumb and, up until this post, never been revealed.  Needless to say, I am enjoying pulling rank lately.  Is this your first?  Nope, fourth.  Apparently, I am easily amused.  But after that part is over, I prefer to not get into more details than that.  Pregnancy is a public thing and I am at a loss for knowing where we fit in as parents.  Certainly, we are having our fourth child, but we never had much time with Reece, Britta, and Scarlett together.  We both agree that we manage three kids and that many days, Reece requires the most energy.  Still, we don’t know the management of three both physically and mentally.  It feels a little strange–we don’t fit in anywhere other than the chiseled out, unique place we have landed.

Moving right along, if you read along with Like Olive Shoots or you know our family, then you know that we have a history with IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) babies.  We had our 19-week ultrasound a month ago and, while most measurements were spot on, the head-to-abdomen ratio was 1/100 of a point out of normal range.  The head is smaller proportionally to the abdomen.  It is the trademark of our babies!  (And wow, has it been helpful come labor and delivery time!)  However, it was enough to send us back in today to get a repeat measurement.  This being our fourth time around, we knew to expect this and assumed we would be heavily monitored throughout the pregnancy anyway.  I went in for the ultrasound today expecting things to be pretty normal.  I was hoping that, for once, things would be straightforward.  I guess they are normal for us, because in consistent fashion, the baby’s abdomen has now fallen to the <5%.  Again, we are not overly worried, nor is our doctor, but it means that higher monitoring will occur.  The good news is that the baby is proportional, meaning that the head, abdomen, and femur (leg) measurements are all consistent.  Baby was measuring spot on the due date last month.  Now, all three measurements are consistently nearly a week and a half behind.  I had to remind Terry that Scarlett was already two to three weeks behind at this point.  This is usually what happens.  The 20 week ultrasound goes normally and then we start falling behind.  Reece was the only one of our three to have real threats to his health with the many things that were happening.  All of his complications have been considered random and neither of our girls experienced those same anomalies, despite their small sizes.  Hence, most of the size issues have to do with genetics.  (Ahem–I’ll give that credit to Terry who was also a tiny baby; I can not claim the same for myself!)  Reece dropped way off the charts right before the last month of pregnancy (measuring five weeks behind!), weighing in at 4 lbs., 2 oz.  Britta was never technically IUGR and remains our family “bruiser” at 6 lbs., 7 oz., although she tracked two weeks behind during the pregnancy.  This is comical, because she is tiny now.  She is our smallest of three small children.  At over three years old, her 2T shorts fit her perfectly this summer! She weighs 26 lbs. with all her clothing on and if she hasn’t yet gone to the bathroom!   Scarlett was our most consistently growth-restricted throughout the pregnancy and was born at 5 lbs., 13 oz.  Post birth weight, she is our biggest baby, although still not even to the 50% on most measurements.  In retrospect, while I ate well and did everything in a textbook, healthy manner with her (including exercise restrictions my last 8 weeks), I know the stress of last year probably didn’t help anything with her growth.  In summary, we have small kids and this fourth baby is no exception.

We found out last month that we are having a boy!  It’s exciting and complicated, but we are thrilled to meet him!  As it was with both girls, I only know the children I have, so it is hard to imagine yet another version of Terry and me.  With Britta, I could only picture Reece and with Scarlett, I could only imagine Britta as our girl.  So now, it is hard to think of another boy being in our family and having it not be Reece.  But he has a whole lot of cool cars, trucks, and trains waiting for him to play with!  Actually, I spend very little time thinking of that.  It feels vulnerable to start imagining him being with us, so I try to focus one day at a time.  If something should happen, I don’t want to have to erase the things I have envisioned for him.  It’s hard to do, but I guess that’s the way I’m coping with it.  Regardless, we are excited to be having another baby and this, very likely, will be our last.  I’m trying to savor this last pregnancy, but I sure could use a glass of wine these days.