Wednesday, April 13, 2011

36 Weeks - about Noah

Since learning of Amelia's condition a little over a year ago, Tim and I have agonized over many things. If one thing has proved to be particularly difficult, is the best way to explain it all our son Noah.

At the time of her diagnosis, Noah was just 1 1/2 years old and barely understood that there was a baby in Mommy's belly. Each night in his bedtime prayer, we prayed for baby Sisa (he couldn't pronounce Amelia at first). We cherished every hug & "belly kiss" he gave her, wondering all the while, "How much of this does he really understand?" "How much of this will he remember?" "Will he remember his sister at all?"

We resolved ourselves to be honest with him when he asked about her, keeping it simple and as "un-alarming" as we possibly could. We questioned if we should have him with us at the hospital on her birthday and in the end decided, yes, he should have the chance to meet his sister. As it turned out, he was in the room when she died. Looking back I have often wondered, was she was hanging on just to meet him?
In the following weeks Noah would wander into "her room." One day,  wondering just what he was up to, I followed him in. He was looking at her picture! He pointed right at a famed photo of her and said "sisa."
He only saw her for a few short hours in the hospital and on the day of her funeral yet, he recognized her in a photograph.
He remembered her.
I cannot describe to you the wave of emotions that came over me in that moment.

Noah loves to look at pictures of her and to visit the cemetery, which we explained is a place we go to remember Sisa, rather than where she is buried. At first we had told him we were going to see Sisa, but that was just confusing when he could not actually see her there. We have told him that she is in heaven with Jesus but I just am not sure how to explain that her body is still here...
So far he has asked us very few questions but has made numerous references to her and statements about her. Some make me smile, others break my heart in two.

We had intended to wait until our 20 week ultrasound to tell Noah about our pregnancy, in hopes of avoiding confusion between this new baby and our Amelia, but he figured it out on his own (still baffles me!) and asked if there was a baby in my belly as we were reading his bedtime story.
Much to our surprise, he has never confused the two of them.
He has however asked some difficult questions about Sam.
The most heartbreaking of questions...
"Sam come home with us, Momma?
he come stay with us? at our house?"
I told him yes, but I'm not sure if I was very convincing. Most days I am not convinced that he will be coming home with us. I pray that he will. I think that he will, but I don't know that he will. How can I make that promise?

And still, the joys far outweigh the sorrows~when I remember the promises my Lord has made to me, to our family and to each of us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future. 
Jeremiah 29:11


CynthiaS said...

That is awesome that Noah recognizes his sister! I can relate to most of this post. Makayla and Hannah also knew we were expecting again before we told them, I don't think kids are given enough credit, they just KNOW things.
I still hear the girls talking in their room about what they will do with the baby IF she gets to come home and IF she is not an angel baby. It's never easy to hear but I'm glad they have been given an understanding.

Kara said...

Lots of tears reading this one Melissa. So true, so fresh, so heartbreaking. My kids are all a bit older so they have understood more. But it is still heartbreaking that they have "need" to understand such things. Yesterday, I was looking at a photo of my 3 year old at Karinne's grave - "smelling" her spring flowers. And I thought "oh how I wish he didn't have to know all of this at such a young age." BUT I'm SO glad that he does understand. And that he wants to visit his baby sister's grave and smell her flowers.

Oh, how I pray that all of our rainbow babies get to come home to stay!

bethany actually said...

This post moved me, Melissa. Noah's a special kid, and very blessed to have you and Tim as parents and Amelia as his sister. I'm sure he's going to be a great big brother to Sam, too.

IK said...

Oh... this touches me so much.

Today it is three months, that our little Valentina left us.
Her sister Leyla just turned two now, I guess she experienced everything in a similar age as Noah and she surprises us again and again with similar moments of understanding.
Last week I received a present. It was a copy of the little hat, that we burried Valentina with. Leyla has only seen her with it once for some minutes, after she died. She has never seen a picture of Valentina with this hat.
Now she woke up on the morning after I had unwrapped the little copy-hat the night before and had left it on the table next to my bed, she opened her eyes and immediatly pointed on it saying: Nia! Nia!!
She was so excited about it and knew exactly that it belonged to Nia. She knows her. They might have a tighter relationship than what we thought was possible.

Rachel's Mama said...

It's so hard to know that our other children have lost someone too...I know that they will be better people for having Rachel as a sister though and I am positive that is true for Noah - and for Sam. God has a plan in all of our lives and He puts our children with us for a specific reason. You are such a good Mama to all your children. Noah sounds so sweet! love you

Jennifer said...

It amazes me how perceptive young children are. The love their siblings. All of my kiddos wanted reassurance that we would get to bring Amelia home and did not rest easy until we did. I guess I did not rest easy either. Lots of love!

Brooke said...

That is so amazing! I love that he just knew...but I have struggled with the same things...trying to BELIEVE that this baby will come home...when I'm not quite sure if my heart of heart believes that he will....

Rejoicing that your pregnancy and baby are healthy...and believing in God's promises for both of these rainbow babies.

Unknown said...

It is indeed heartbreaking and touching all at the same time when our children talk about and remember their sibling in heaven. I know it breaks my heart sometimes and other times I'm so thankful they remember her and talk about her. I'm glad Noah remembers "sisa" I feel kids understand a lot more than we do about life & death and heaven. :)

Jenn - aka honey or mom said...

It's all very familiar to me. We're so blessed that our new baby has come home, to stay... And it is so sweet that the kids, who never got to hold our Noah, still talk about him, even more so, making distinctions between baby Noah and now baby Jonathan. Your Noah will keep Amelia in his heart and teach Sam about her. It'll be sweet to watch.