Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Memory Monday

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday they came.  Since Caroline was so stable, her nurses came just three days a week for about an hour to check her vitals and be there to support us.

Caroline hated having her vitals taken.  She was not one of those babies who want to be loose and free; instead, she preferred to be comfy cozy in her jammies and wrapped up in a blanket.  It was even better to be cuddled in mommy or daddy’s arms.  So when a nurse came to check her heartbeat, her respiratory rate, and her lungs, she certainly protested.  She did not want that cold stethoscope anywhere near her.

Every exam I asked the nurses how she was doing, and every time her vitals remained stable.  Every exam I asked if her lungs were clear, since I had been told that they would likely fill with fluid due to her heart condition, and the answer was always that they were clear.  Caroline was full of miracles.

Caroline’s nurses were there to answer any questions we had, from cleft palate care to baby rash.  I would have read all of the parenting books I could get my hands on, but I didn’t think I would take her home so I couldn’t bear to read them ahead of time.  I was so grateful to have Caroline’s hospice nurses as a resource.

Because of the quality nursing care that we had, we were able to spend all of our time enjoying and loving our sweet baby girl rather than wondering how she was doing or what to do when she pulled out her o-g tube.  We were able to take care of Miss Caroline and show her all the love in the world.  Every day I am thankful for the time at home with our beautiful child, and for everyone who helped to make it possible.

Missing you so much today, sweetheart.

Mommy loves you.

 


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Memory Monday

Caroline’s hospice nurses helped us to make memories with Caroline.

They brought plaster to make molds of her hands and feet.  It was quite the production – the two of them were in our kitchen, trying to mix the molding material to the right consistency.  My husband gave them a bowl to use and on the first try it hardened almost immediately.  The second try was slightly more successful.  The cats were very interested in trying to sniff the material while we plunged one of Caroline’s hands and one foot into the mold.  I was nervous about the hand mold, because Caroline’s sixth finger was so delicate, but we gave it a try.  It turned out that the hand mold was the only one that came out well.  We were able to remove her pinky from the mold with no problems!  We then filled the mold with plaster and let it dry.  The extra pinky was not replicated in the plaster, but we still have the mold of the rest of Caroline’s hand.  It is beautiful, but missing a piece.

Since we had so many problems with the plaster molds, the nurses found another keepsake to make.  It was a picture frame where one side is clay to make hand and foot imprints.  We did this one on our own when Caroline was 4 weeks old.  I had the hardest time getting the clay flattened out in the frame and ready for prints!  My husband helped me and finally it was ready.  We brought Caroline into the kitchen and my husband rested her in the cat beds.  She looked so comfortable!  We pressed her hands and feet into the clay and wrote that she was 4 weeks old.  We then baked it to harden the prints.  That frame now proudly sits in our living room.

The final act of great kindness by our hospice nurses was to arrange a photographer to take pictures of us as a family.  She volunteered to take pictures at no cost to us because she had lost children too.  We set a date for the pictures and arranged Caroline’s feedings around it so that we could remove her og tube for the pictures.  We picked out a few outfits – a sailboat-themed outfit was up first.  It was incredibly adorable and my husband found a matching shirt that was blue with white sailboats in contrast to her white with blue sailboats.  I picked out a white shirt to wear for those pictures.  We didn’t know how many more outfit changes we would get out of her, especially since we had to schedule the photo shoot during her typical fussy time.  However, we got to the park and she was incredibly calm for the pictures!  She loved being outside and feeling the sun on her skin.  We ended up getting two more changes out of her, into a ruffled romper that I had bought before she was born for pictures, as well as a flowered onesie.  Since Caroline was so calm, we were able to get some pictures with my parents as well, who were visiting.

Those pictures were taken the day before Caroline died.  We are so grateful for them.  I couldn’t wait to get them once they were ready.  It was hard knowing that they would be the last new pictures of my baby girl, but I am so thankful that we have professional family photos.

Thanks to our hospice nurses, we have beautiful ways to keep Caroline’s memory alive in our hearts.