Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Memory Monday

Caroline had the sweetest personality.  She complained very little, even when her body was failing her.  She was happy to be passed from person to person, making it easy for everyone to hold her who had any desire.  When someone came to visit, holding her was usually a strong desire.  I am happy that everyone who wanted to hold Caroline got the chance to bond with our special, beautiful baby girl.

One thing that Caroline did not like was having her clothing adjusted.  Diaper changes were not her favorite – she did not like being exposed as some babies do.  Most of all, she hated the touch of a cold stethoscope.  Her nurses always did their best to warm up the stethoscope before taking a listen, but she still complained about having her clothes disturbed.  My husband and I got very good at listening through her clothes for the “puff” in her stomach to check that her feeding tube was in position.  She was much happier when we were able to keep her clothes on while feeding her.

Caroline loved cuddles.  We spent many hours together in a rocking chair or on the couch with her on her side pressed against my chest.  She loved looking around at new surroundings.  She loved the feel of warm sunshine.  She loved music.  She loved showing off her many girly outfits.

I love and miss everything about my sweet, precious daughter.  See you soon, Caroline.  Mommy loves you.

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Caroline Bear

Look who arrived just in time for Christmas!  Thank you to Molly Bears for the beautiful bear.  She weighs 7 lbs, 6 oz, what Caroline weighed the day that she passed away.  Feeling that weight again brought tears but also happiness to have such a beautiful keepsake of our daughter.  My husband took a picture of me holding the bear for the first time, and I am so glad he captured that moment.

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I love you, Miss Caroline.  We will be holding you tight in our hearts this Christmas, sweet girl.


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Sunshine from Caroline

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I have some exciting news to share!  Remember about a month ago when I told you that my husband won a contest with Target?  Last Friday, they helped him to fulfill his dream!

We brought the toys that we had collected, about 150, to the local children’s hospital in Caroline’s name.  We were met by a truck full of toys sent by Target, which brought our total to over 2000!  It was a huge donation that is going to help kids facing a tough time to find some joy.  Doing this in her memory has been so healing and has helped our family through our first holiday season without our daughter.  We are so thankful both to Target and to everyone who sent in a donation.  It means so much to us!  Our little girl is such an inspiration and changes the world for the better every day.

Below are a few more pictures!  Even more pictures with more details can be found at www.fb.com/sunshinefromcaroline.

 

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Memory Monday

I kept a journal for Caroline during my pregnancy and her life.  Not this one, but a paper, feel-in-your-hands journal with questions for my doctor’s appointments as well as letters to my precious baby girl.  I recently took it out to find my genetic counselor’s card, which inevitably led to some reading of my time with my sweet daughter.  Today’s Memory Monday is an excerpt:

12/18/13: Hi sweetheart.  Your mama has had a lot of hip pain recently but you were more active today which was reassuring and made me happy.  Today we did some Christmas shopping – got my mom a bracelet and got my dad a spatula for grilling.  Getting a present for your daddy has been difficult – I have a few ideas but nothing has worked out and I’m running out of time!

Today I made you a preemie sized tutu with green and purple tulle and pink ribbon with purple flowers.  It came out really pretty and it’s too beautiful for the onesie that inspired it so I have to get one that will better match it.  I am glad to have an outfit ready for you if you come early.  It feels like picking out your prom dress and your wedding dress and your mother of the bride dress because it may be the only outfit you wear and I want it to be beautiful just like my baby girl.

Loving you always,

Your mommy,

Kristina


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Memory Monday

I didn’t know real exhaustion until after Caroline’s birth.  I went into labor overnight, so my husband and I got no sleep the night before Caroline was born.  Because of this, we started our marathon at a disadvantage, as many parents do.  In the hospital, nurses often came in to check on me as well as Caroline, and it felt like a time warp.  If the nurses didn’t write down the time of Caroline’s next feeding, there was no way I could remember.  Time is an enigma in the hospital.  My husband was so exhausted that I watched Caroline for the majority of the next night so that he could get some sleep.  I was still running on the adrenaline of Caroline’s birth and the wonder at how well she was doing.  The next day, grandparents helped me to get a little sleep, but there was so much planning to be done!  We were taking our little girl home!  We didn’t even have a car seat.  We couldn’t stand the thought of having a car seat installed in our car and driving it home empty, so we figured if we needed one, we would go out and get one.  Kindly, the hospital was able to give us one.  We continued making plans for hospice care, all the while taking care of our beautiful Caroline.

When we got home, time was less of a warp.  We started to get into a routine, but Caroline liked to be awake and fussy around 2-4 am.  My husband and I worked together to learn how to calm her.  I learned that he has infinite patience when he’s exhausted, and I do not.  At one point when I had gone several days on little sleep, I was looking for a pen to label my breastmilk.  I couldn’t find one, and I crumpled into a pile and broke down into tears.  At that point I knew I really needed some sleep – a simple problem felt like the world crashing down.  My husband, on the other hand, never got frustrated the way I did.  He always asked if I needed help, even when I was snapping at him.  I really don’t think I could have done it without him.

One night, I was so exhausted and Caroline would not stop crying.  This was a serious problem, because when she cried, she wasn’t breathing, and when your heart is in bad shape, not breathing is not good.  I was walking around with her and bouncing her, because looking around at different rooms and feeling the motion often soothed her.  As I walked around with her, I was telling her, “You are driving your mommy crazy, do you know that?  Yup, driving mommy crazy.  Calm down baby girl!”  Eventually she did, and I kissed her goodnight as we both tried to get some sleep.

I felt bad later for telling her that she was driving me crazy.  Who says that to their baby?  However, I think it was a moment that we needed to have.  I would never get to tell her as a teenager, so in my exhaustion it came out.  Strangely, it is one of our mother-daughter moments that I most treasure.


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Working Mom

“The pictures of your baby are beautiful,” said someone walking through my office.

“Thanks,” I replied, with a fear of what was coming next.

“I don’t know how you can come in with that beautiful baby at home,” she said.

I smiled, not wanting to share my life’s story with this total stranger.

I wish I still could.

I keep pictures of me, my husband, and Caroline on my computer desktop at work.

Seeing those pictures every day is worth every awkward interaction in the world.

Love, love, and more love to you, Miss Caroline.