Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel

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Memory Monday

We arrived home two days after Caroline was born.  It felt so good to be home and cradling Caroline in my arms.  The grandparents cooked everyone dinner and we started to settle into our new routine with our newborn miracle baby.

We have two cats, and their names are Nelson and Booda.  Nelson is a little grey cat, weighing about 7 pounds.  Booda is a large black cat, weighing about 18 pounds.  We did not know how they were going to react to Caroline.  Since we didn’t think we would be bringing her home, we hadn’t tried to prepare them at all.

When we walked in the door, Booda noticed Caroline immediately.  His eyes became very wide and he watched from a distance, curious about the new family member but cautious.  It took Nelson a few hours to notice Caroline; once she let out a cry he looked around with big eyes, trying to find the source of that strange new sound.

Over time, Nelson grew a soft spot in his heart for Caroline.  When I would rock her, Nelson would come sit on my lap to be close to her – something he never did before.  Booda played the role of the jealous older sibling.  He sulked over the attention he was no longer getting, but I think all the visitors we were having also made him anxious.

With the use of some aluminum foil, we were able to make the cats disinterested in Caroline’s bassinet, although Nelson would still try to jump in from time to time.  The cats hated that we would lock them out of the room at night, but we couldn’t risk them jumping into her bassinet while we slept.

It was rare to be able to get a picture of Caroline and her kitties, but there are a few that we now cherish.  Although there were times of jealousy, I think they both loved her.  I wish I could have watched them all grow up together.


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Memory Monday

When it came to nighttime, we broke all the rules.

Caroline was always a little fussy in the evenings, but eventually she would settle down and go back to sleep.  She breathed best on her side and with the bassinet at about a 30 degree angle.  We used blankets to prop up the mattress so that she was at a good angle, and rolled blankets beside her so that she couldn’t roll to her back or belly.  As a newborn she liked to be swaddled in her sturdy fleece swaddle at night, but soon we transitioned to long sleeved footie pajamas at night instead.  We’d then place a blanket over her to keep her warm.

I know that none of this is how you’re supposed to put an infant to bed, but it worked for Caroline so we went with it.  We learned so much from her – she followed her own rules and as we learned what she needed, we adjusted.  When you’re the mom of a baby with Trisomy 13, the parenting book has to be thrown out the window so that you can find creative ways to best support your child.

I would pull the bassinet up close to me, listen to Caroline breathe, and we would both drift to sleep.