Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Thoughts on Heaven

I often find myself wondering about heaven.  I wonder what Caroline is doing and if she knows how our family is doing.   I think her great grandma Joan was there to greet her.  I imagine that in heaven, there is no concept of time and Caroline won’t have to miss us because all of a sudden we will be there with her.  I also think that she is wrapped in the greatest love.  I think children have a special place in heaven.

I wonder if we get a glimpse of heaven through dreams.  I often have dreams where I am simply an observer of events, or my perspective jumps around from person to person and somehow that is all normal.  I wonder if Caroline can sometimes take my perspective to spend time with me.

I wonder how old she’ll be when I see her again.  I wonder if we’ll be able to talk or if I’ll be able to rock her in my arms.  Or maybe the connection of our souls will be all I need to recognize my little girl.

I pray that Caroline is happy.  I miss her every second of every day.  Mom will be with you soon, sweetheart.


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Memory Monday

I will be devoting my Monday posts to memories of my daughter.  This is one way that I can mother her without her in my arms – by honoring her memory and reminding everyone of the amazing life that she lived.

I will start with a typical day.

My husband would wake me up around midnight.  I’d wake up in a haze that is only familiar to those who have been new parents.  Then I’d pump milk for Caroline.  Once that was done and the milk was labeled and in the fridge, I’d come downstairs for my shift with Miss Caroline.

If she was sleeping well, which she did often, I’d pull the bassinet up against the couch and listen to her breathing.  If she was breathing well, I’d try to get some sleep too.  If she was not, I’d try changing her position until she was comfortable.  Sometimes she would end up on my chest and we would nap together that way.  Sometimes I would stay up and watch her sleep.  She was so beautiful.

Like clockwork, Caroline would wake up every three hours to eat.  Because of concern about aspiration, Caroline was tube fed.  I would heat up the milk for her in syringes.  While the milk heated,  I was busy calming sweetheart down.  Any time that she started to cry was stressful because of her heart – she would start to turn purple because you aren’t breathing when you’re screaming.  Sometimes we’d go to her favorite spot in the kitchen and that would work; she loved to look up at the fluorescent lights.  Other times I would bounce her and walk around and that would work; she would get interested in what room we were in and calm down.  Sometimes making her “jello” would work; I’d wiggle her like a plate of jello on my knees and she liked the motion.  Once she was calm enough, I’d check the placement of the og tube to make sure that it was in the stomach (by listening with a stethoscope) and then would feed her with the warm syringes on a gravity feed.  Once that was done, there was no need to burp her because the milk went straight to her stomach.  I would then change her diaper if need be and get her back to sleep.  I would do this at least once more during my shift from midnight to 5 am.  The most calm nights, I could feed her without waking her up.  The most fussy nights, I would be up rocking her and watching television, doing my best to soothe her back to sleep.

At 5 am I was relieved by my mother-in-law, who was staying with us.  She was a great help in letting me get some sleep.  I would go upstairs to pump, label the milk, put it in the fridge, and then go to sleep.  Most days I was able to sleep until 9:30 or so.

Then I would get up and come downstairs, excited to hold my sweetie again.  Three days a week, a hospice nurse would come around 10 to check Caroline’s vitals.  Every time they were good and her lungs were clear.

After our nurse visit, I would pump again and take a shower.  Then I would come downstairs to watch peanut and get her into a new outfit for the day.  We had a chalkboard that we updated each day with “Caroline is ___ days old!” and we would be sure to take a picture with her and the chalkboard before the day was up.  We got into a daytime television routine of Frasier, then How I Met Your Mother, then Grey’s Anatomy, and then Ellen.  All the while, we’d be feeding Caroline every 3 hours and I’d be pumping every 3-4 hours.  Most days we didn’t get around to lunch until 1 or 2 pm.

Caroline was a content baby most of the time and slept well.  She would be awake for short periods, but slept often.  I loved our cuddle time in the afternoons.  Sometimes she would sleep on my chest with her arms sprawled out, comfortable as she could be.  She loved to nestle on my chest.  Her hair smelled wonderful, and I’d spend the day kissing her forehead and rubbing her back.  I was always telling her that I loved her and that she was my miracle baby.

My husband came home from work at 4:30 and would be itching for some father-daughter time.  I would let him take her while I helped with dinner.  They had a special bond that was clear when they were together – she loved being in her daddy’s arms.  However, she usually got fussy around 4-7 pm, so daddy also had to find ways of calming her down.  She loved a seat that he bought that played music, flashed lights, and vibrated.  She also LOVED the sunshine; he would take her into the kitchen and sit by the window, and the warmth would instantly calm her down.  We would eat dinner together, and then I was off to pump and go to bed.  My husband would wake me up around midnight after his night shift with Caroline, and we would start a new day.