Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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The Conflicting Emotions of Infant Loss

Since my daughter Caroline entered this world, simultaneously conflicting emotions have become my life.

The incredible joy of meeting her was as present as the immense pain of knowing that she would not stay for long.

The relief that she would never again be in pain was mixed with the piece of my heart ripped out on the floor and lost, never to be found again now that she’s gone.

The pure happiness when someone compliments my pictures of Caroline twinges with the pain that I’ll never have any more pictures to display.

Before my loss, I never realized that happy and sad could coexist the way they do now.  However, between the joy and sorrow I have found something unexpected.

Peace.

I am grateful that Caroline chose me to be her mother.  Our short time together was worth every second of heartache, and I can’t imagine my life without her.  I don’t want to.

I am at peace with the sad undertone to my new life, because it shows how much I love and miss my daughter.  

I see how God has worked and continues to work through her.  She has accomplished so much and I am so incredibly proud.

Loving her is the highlight of this bittersweet life.

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Here’s to you, Caroline!

My husband spent months deciding on the perfect design for his tattoo in memory of Caroline, and he got it this week!

 
He absolutely loves it and so do I!  It is on his outer right calf, clearly visible when he wears shorts.  It is his first tattoo, and he chose a design for our very special little girl.

Caroline’s footprint is the actual size of her footprint at birth.  The sun is something we associate with Caroline;  she loved being out in the sunshine.  The 58 is because she lived for 58 days.  We are so thankful for all of that unexpected time.  There are six flames off of the sun for her six beautiful fingers on each hand.

While I have been able to wear necklaces in memory of Caroline, my husband has not had that opportunity.  He is not a necklace-wearing-type of guy.  This has been hard for a dad who is hurting just as much as I am.  He misses Caroline so much and is so proud of her.  Now he has a way to show the world that he is the father of an incredible little girl. 

Caroline is so loved by her daddy!


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Memory Monday

One of the first questions we received after Caroline was born was, “Who does she look like?”

At first I didn’t know.  Because of her syndrome, it was hard to compare Caroline’s features to those of her parents.  All I knew was that she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

As Caroline grew, it became clear that she looked more like her daddy.  She had his blue eyes, and when she slept near her sleeping dad, it was obvious that they were closely related.  

Caroline had the most beautiful locks of blonde curly hair that the nurses at the hospital pointed out as rare for a newborn.  Her curly hair was from her grandmother.

One feature that Caroline inherited from me was a gift of long eyelashes.  She had naturally curled, dark eyelashes like her momma.

It was fun to see who we saw in Caroline, but it didn’t matter to us who she looked like.  She was her own person, our sweet, strong daughter who fought to spend time with her family.


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A Grief Test

Today I received an invitation to a good friend’s baby shower.

I am so happy for this friend, but my mind immediately began to race.  “Could I handle a baby shower?  It has almost been a year since Caroline passed… I’ll have to go to a baby shower eventually.”  Then I looked at the date of the shower.  May 17th.  The weekend after Mother’s Day and the weekend before Caroline’s heaven day.  

Of course.  Right in the midst of the time that I am most likely to be an emotional wreck.

I then asked my husband if I could handle a baby shower.  “Probably not.”  There was my answer.  As much as I want to go, I’m sure it would bring me to tears.  Every second of a baby shower would be a reminder of what I’ve lost.  I want this friend’s baby shower to be a ball of happy and don’t want to detract from that.

I called her to talk to her about it, and she understood.  She even offered to take time out of her short visit to meet up with me outside of the shower setting.  I had been afraid that she wouldn’t understand, and was so thankful that she did.

I could have put my grief to the test of a baby shower, but thanks to an understanding friend, I won’t have to.


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Memory Monday

Caroline loved playing with her hands.  On ultrasound she always had her hands near her face, preventing us from getting a 3D image of her beautiful profile.  When Caroline was born nothing changed – she continued to keep her hands up by her face and they were always so interesting to her.

One day, Caroline truly discovered her hands in that she found a way to get one of those precious fingers in her mouth.  It looked like she was just resting her hands in the usual position because five fingers remained outside, but she managed to get an index finger in her mouth and was sucking away.  It was truly one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  She was so content, sucking on a finger and loving life.  As a baby should get to do.


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Memory Monday

Last Easter was the happiest Easter that I can remember.  Caroline was dressed in a sparkly, fluffy dress adorned with flowers and we propped her in the corner of the couch for pictures.  The pictures that we captured that day showed Caroline in the most alert state that she had been in since we left the hospital.  

Easter meant so much more than it ever had before.  We knew that our time in this world with Caroline was limited and Jesus’s story gives us hope that we will be reunited in heaven.  I also identified with Mary in a way that I never had before.  She knows what it is like to lose a child.  To wish that you could die so that your baby could live.

Last Easter, we celebrated the amazing gift of Caroline’s life and the unexpected time we were able to share with her.  She is our greatest blessing.