Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Another Anniversary

As of today my husband and I have been married for 3 years.  

It is amazing what we have been through together in 3 years.  One year ago we went shopping for clothes to wear to our daughter’s funeral.  Two years ago we made plans to have a baby.  Three years ago we said, “I do.”  Little did we know how soon the challenges would come.

It’s difficult for me to celebrate today because of the proximity between Caroline’s heaven day and our anniversary.  It makes me sad to think that I will always struggle to smile on our anniversary.

I want to take a moment to thank my husband for always being there to support me, even when things got hard.  Really, really hard.  He is my partner in life and my best friend.  I love you, husband!

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Heaven Anniversary Recap

The past few weeks have been incredibly hard.  I found that the days leading up to and following the anniversary of Caroline’s death have been harder than the day itself.  I think that was because my husband and I stayed busy together that day.

We started the day by going out to breakfast together.  We then came home and made a plan for the rest of the day.  I finished putting together the pinwheels that we planned to bring to the infant section of a local cemetery.

  
My husband then had the spontaneous idea to donate blood in Caroline’s memory, so we went down to the blood bank to do so.

After donating, we drove around until we found an infant section of a cemetery to decorate with our pinwheels.  It brought up a lot of emotions.  Caroline’s ashes are currently at home since we don’t plan on settling in this area, so a cemetery trip was something we weren’t used to.  My heart hurt for each of those parents and the children gone too soon.

  
After placing our 13 pinwheels, we went to an art fair in town that we had stumbled upon last year.  It brought back the memory of my husband purchasing a piece of art that said, “Don’t cry because it is over… Smile because it happened.”

We then went to dinner at our favorite brick oven pizzeria, and finished the day by watching Caroline’s favorite movie, Frozen.  I used to watch it with her while she cuddled with me in her rocking chair.  She loved the music.

We spent the day honoring Caroline and finished it with some tears and a prayer for Caroline.  We love her so, so much.

I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do this every year.  It’s still so surreal. The physical nature of the emotional pain leaves me reeling.  My heart and arms ache for my baby girl, and they always will.


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My Perfect Flower

Caroline has spent a year in heaven.  I imagine that time does not exist in the same way there and we will be with Caroline before she realizes that we are apart.

One year ago, I read Caroline the book I wrote her as she passed away in her mommy and daddy’s arms. 

This anniversary has been so hard because losing my perfect baby girl is the hardest thing I have ever done.  All of the difficult memories have flooded back to me.

I try to remember that she is now in a place where there is no pain and no suffering, but my arms and heart still ache.  I wish more than anything that we could still be together.

Miss Caroline, your mommy loves and misses you every second of every day.  You will always have an incredibly special place in my heart.  I love you!


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Memory Monday

I loved Caroline’s hands.  

Caroline had an extra pinky on each hand.  When our maternal fetal medicine doctor saw the extra fingers on ultrasound and pointed them out, I was shocked and scared of how her hands would look.  I didn’t know how beautiful six fingers could be.

Caroline’s right hand had the classic trisomy clenched fist.  Her left hand was different; her fingers were always curled but never clenched, and her fingers did not overlap on that side.

My favorite view of Caroline’s perfect hands was when she reached towards me.  I’d then pick her up and those beautiful hands would soon relax, opening from their usual position.  Oh how she loved being in mommy and daddy’s arms!


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Memory Monday

I have a rocking chair that we got when it became clear that Caroline was coming home.  My parents picked it up for us while we were still in the hospital.

I spent many hours rocking her to sleep in that chair.  She loved to feel the movement.

The rocking chair had a footstool that rocked along with the chair.  I would often put my feet up.  One of our cats, Nelson, would often sit on my shins while I rocked Caroline.  He always wanted to be close to me and Caroline, and tolerated the back-and-forth motion to cuddle with his mommy and little sister.


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Why I’m Celebrating Mother’s Day

Last year, by no less than a miracle, I was able to spend Mother’s Day with my daughter.  That makes this Mother’s Day my first one without her.

I have been bombarded by articles in these days leading up to Mother’s Day, seeing titles similar to “Surviving Mother’s Day as a Bereaved Mother” and “Ten Ways to Support a Loss Mom on Mother’s Day.”  It has made me wonder if I’m crazy.

Am I insane to be excited about Mother’s Day?

Perhaps it’s a lack of experience with this holiday after Caroline’s death, but I am excited for the day that celebrates my motherhood.  

I want to celebrate that my body kept her safe.  I want to celebrate the beauty of her birth.  I want to celebrate that I fed her.  I want to celebrate the diapers I changed for her.  I want to celebrate the cuddles and the love.

The love that didn’t end with her death.

Caroline has completely changed my life.  Everything I do is an attempt to make her proud of her mom down on earth.  I am her mother every day, nurturing her memory and loving her.

That is something that should be celebrated.

I am an amazing mom.

Is it beyond hard to face life without her in my arms every day? Absolutely, but I am proud of the mother that I have become.

I hope Caroline is proud of me too.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms with empty arms.  You have just as much of a right to celebrate your motherhood this weekend as the moms with their arms full.  Arguably, more of a right.  Stand proud and remember that you face the impossible every single day, and your motherhood always shines.  Your love for your children is an unstoppable positive force unleashed on the world.  You and your motherly love deserve to be celebrated.


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Memory Monday

We were so excited to show her off!  

It was my birthday and Caroline was still with us, doing well!  It was also the day of my scheduled postpartum visit to the OB.  We didn’t know if Caroline would make it to that appointment.  The odds told us she would not.  But here she was, so sweet and very much alive.

My family of 3 came to the appointment.  My OB was running behind as usual.  I never minded because he always gave attention as if you were the only patient on his schedule, and if that meant waiting, it was fine with me.  We sat in the waiting room, with Caroline in her car seat until she was ready to be held instead.  

Other patients asked how old Caroline was and said she was beautiful.   I got to feel like a normal mom for a little while.  I didn’t mind overhearing one woman telling her husband that “that baby has a cleft lip.”  Caroline had the opportunity to show people how beautiful and happy she was.  The cleft lip never held her back.

Finally we were called to an exam room.  Mike proudly held Caroline in his arms, and my OB was so happy to see her!  I think he was amazed at how well she was doing.  We took a chalkboard picture of Caroline and the man who delivered her.  She was 40 days old that day!

We returned home after my appointment and celebrated the day with some orange creamsicle cake.  It was a sweet end to a sweet day.