The way I pictured our day going after finding out we were having a girl (FINALLY!) was much different than reality. Really, I would have ditched everyone (the fifty boys I live with) and gone baby dress shopping. Instead we were faced with the news that our baby may be still born or live at most one year. It seemed more like she would only wear one dress.
However, we wanted to celebrate! (with heavy hearts).
We decided to continue with our plans to surprise the boys and skype/call family members with the exciting news. So we bought three extra girly princessy balloons and wrapped them inside a large box that we had the boys open to reveal what flavor sibling they would be getting:) I have a video but it is too large so picture the photo below and the boys screaming. If you have been to our house that should not be hard to do.
George: "It's a girl!" (running around screaming)
Henry: "Balloons!" (no clue what is going on, but also running around screaming)
Oliver: "No!!!!!! I wanted it to be a boy!!!!" (weeping and wailing)
Gill: "Ha!! Suckers!!" (If I had a football I would have spiked it. I mean c'mon, it's four against one people.)
Finally we consoled Oliver and told him that there is a baby girl that just found out she is going to have Oliver for a big brother and she is so excited! Ollie softened and decided he was happy to have a sister and adamant that her name should be Olivia.
So we rejoiced with family members and texted the good news to siblings and parents who also talked about how fun it will be for us to have a girl, listing off all the girly things that would soon fill the house. Later that night and the following day we broke the harder news to our family and enlisted prayers, fasting, care bear stares etc. Many tears were shed.
My sister Becky hopped in the car with her two girls and drove 10 hours to basically hang out with me and watch the boys during our hospital trip for the amnio and more ultrasounds. It was so fun and comforting having her there to eat Chinese food and candy while we processed and waited to process news.
Soon after we had a family home evening with the boys and told them the news about their baby sister. We knew for sure (compared to the what we knew about chromosomal defects), that she had a serious heart defect that would require intense intervention with grim statistics immediately after birth. We explained to the boys the physical aspects of the baby's medical problems and explained what we know spiritually about our baby. The younger boys did the usual once we really got talking (running laps and screaming) but George was able to listen and understand. We talked about how heavenly father has a plan for each one of us including gaining a physical body and having experiences that allow us to learn and grow (this was not new to him but a child dying is a different situation). Often a lifetime is measured in decades but in our baby girl's case Heavenly Father may need her to return back to Him much sooner. We talked about how she was likely a sword wielding (bad a**) from the pre-mortal existence, that is so awesome all she has to do is gain a physical body and Heavenly Father has a special mission for her to be one of our angels. If you are reading this, you know that I picture angels differently...my dad passed away in 2001 and I later photoshopped his face onto Obi Wan Kenobi, naturally that is how I picture my sword (light saber) wielding angel Dad.
This is also how I picture my sword wielding baby girl:)
Despite our knowledge of the plan of salvation, knowing that God is in charge and that there is purpose to our lives, we still have pretty bad days. I may go into more emotional stuff in another post but I can't begin to express how little I knew about grief and grieving until now. After one of those bad days, as we tucked the boys into bed and reflected on the events of the day Nate talked a little bit about trials. As Nate began to explain how we are facing trials and the purpose of trials etc. George sat up and said "Dad, this is really good I want to teach my kids about this, can I get a pen and paper to write it down?" George is barely 7 years old. Like he requested he got a piece of paper and a pen and summarized what his father was teaching him. This is what he wrote:
Not everyone reads first grader so I will translate: "It was the hardest thing my parents had ever been through. My Dad had to fire some people. The baby in my Mom's tummy was going to die. God gives us challenges to make us closer as a family. People either choose to get angry at God or get stronger."
We were impressed upon to say the least and immediately pinned it up on the boys' wall. I like to look at it sometimes when I have the urge to punch a stranger in the neck:) I can definitely see what the savior meant when he said that whole thing about being like little children.
So I tried going to the store with my sister to try and celebrate baby girl with some dresses but instead I broke down in the middle of Target staring at the infant clothes. So I decided that we would have pink in our house if it killed me. I bought a ton of fleece and made pink girly blankets for all of us so that we could celebrate in our own way, and honestly I just wanted to snuggle with my boys in some coziness. The boys came with me to the fabric store and helped pick out their fabric, now their beds are covered in pink polka dots and stripes, it's awesome. Henry will not sleep without his cupcake blanky.