The day we left for the initial ultrasound appointment, Peter knew where we were going and he knew that when we got back we could tell him whether or not it was a sister. He was a bit taken aback when he saw me come home in tears and sobbing. But he timidly asked, "is it a sister?" I told him yes, but that she wasn't going to live. There was no more to that conversation.
While Tim and I talk about Emma a lot, the only time she really gets mentioned around the boys is when we're praying and she's included in the prayers. I know that Benjamin is still too little to understand, but I'm curious as to what's going on in Peter's mind.
When we've talked with Angel Watch, they've told us about the importance of being straight forward and using correct terms. They warned us about using phrases such as "she's sick" because then Peter might associate being sick (which happens to everyone) with death. However, I also don't want to push the whole situation on Peter too much. So we've approached it a few different times.
One time was in the car. We live near a store that does Mormon statues and they have a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on display outside their store. We drove by one day and Peter called out, "Joseph Smith!" I complimented him on his correct identification and then he said, "he's dead." I told him that yes indeed, Joseph Smith was dead. Since we were already on the topic, I decided to ask Peter about Emma.
Me: Peter, did you know that Emma's going to die too?
Peter: No, I didn't.
Me: Well, she is. She's going to keep growing inside of Mommy, but when she's big enough to come out and does come out, she's not going to live very long. And then she's going to die.
Peter: I not like that.
His last words broke my heart. I couldn't continue the conversation from there. That was a few weeks ago.
When Angel Watch came this last time, they left us with a children's book called Lifetimes. Just this morning I read it to Peter for the first time. I don't think the book did much to clear up Peter's understanding or anything like that, but it did get us talking about dying afterwards. So again I brought up Emma.
Me: Did you know that baby Emma is going to die?
Me: She is. Do you see how you have a nice big head? And Benjamin too? (Then Benjamin pointed out that I had a head too). And I have a nice big head too?
Me: Well, baby Emma didn't get a nice big head. Her head's going to be too small to let her live once she's born. So she's going to keep growing inside of mommy, and then when she's born, she'll only live for a little bit and then she'll die.
Peter: And us too?
Me: No, we'll keep on living. But we'll get to see Emma before she dies and take pictures with her.
Peter: And put them up there (points to the wall behind us)?
Me: Yes, we'll put them up there.
I don't think Peter quite grasps the whole idea of what's going on, but I also don't think it's a traumatizing concept to him, and I think that's what's most important. So I think if it's brought up again, yes, we'll talk to him about it. But if it's not brought up, we just might wait until after Emma dies to see how Peter's doing.