He Still Matters - Including Onyx in Lazuli's Birth

In the weeks leading up to Lazuli's birth, I was really anxious about how Onyx could be included. There's not a handbook on how to navigate birth after loss (or maybe there is? If so, please let me know!) so I had to be intentional about finding my own, meaningful ways to make sure Onyx was present.

Here are some of the ways Onyx took on his big brother role at Lazuli's birth:

Door Sign - I had heard about other loss families using signs at their birth and thought it would be a great idea to make one of my own. I wanted to be really intentional about the language that would be used on the sign though, so it took me a while to come up with what it would say. A huge trigger for me is when Onyx is referred to as a "loss", so I decided to refer to him as a "big brother" and "member of our family" on the sign. My hope was that those who came into our room would read the sign and use the same language that we use to refer to Onyx. I decided to add a rainbow to the sign for a few different reasons, but primarily because I think the term "rainbow baby" is becoming more known so I figured it was an easy way to get our story across without diving into all the details. Adding Onyx's picture was important for me as well, as I feel like it humanizes him and our experience.

Onyx's Bear - Onyx's bear sat on the window seal in the room where Lazuli was born and in the room we were moved to postpartum. The bear holds Onyx's ashes, so it felt right to bring it with us.

Going Home Outfit - "Going home outfits" were a hot topic in my due date groups on Facebook and while I honestly didn't care to spend a bunch of money on an outfit for my baby to wear one time, I liked the idea of choosing something special for Lazuli. Choosing an outfit for her to wear home felt especially significant because Onyx never got to wear clothes and we never got to take him home from the hospital. What I ultimately decided on was an outfit that says "little sister" on it.

Hand Me Down - A special addition to Lazuli's going home outfit was having her wear a hand me down from Onyx. We had planned to cloth diaper Onyx and I had ordered his first newborn diaper the week before he was born. The diaper arrived in the mail the day we were discharged from the hospital after he had passed away but it surprisingly wasn't a negative thing for me, in fact, it kind of served as a symbol of hope that one day we would be able to use it. Taking Lazuli home in what would have been Onyx's first diaper was bittersweet.

Onyx's Photo - We placed Onyx's photo next to his bear while we were at the hospital. As I stated above, I think when others see his photo, it humanizes him and our experience (for others) so I like to include it whenever possible.

Onyx's Lamb - After Onyx died the hospital gave us a bereavement box and inside the box was a little stuffed lamb. I slept with that lamb the first month after, as it reminded me of Onyx and it gave me a little bit of comfort from the "empty arms syndrome" I was experiencing. I made sure to pack the lamb with and included it in Lazuli's social media announcement photo.

I wish Onyx was physically here to meet his sister. I wish we could have had some grand moment of him walking into the hospital room, sitting on the bed with me being told "this is your baby sister". But because that special moment was taken away from us, I had to find other ways to include him and even if those ways weren't necessarily noticed by everyone else, I feel like I did the best I could as a #secondfirsttimemom.