Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Dreams

I had a dream that I had them both.

Caroline was alive in my arms and baby girl was thriving in my belly.  Caroline was still herself, the feisty personality I remember, but she had grown.  She had her physical challenges, but had made some progress.  She could more clearly indicate what she needed and had learned to breastfeed.  She was bigger but could still fit comfortably in a wrap carrier.  She was my daughter and she was so perfect.

We went together to my OB appointment.  My OB was shocked to see Caroline but was amazed.

I woke up before I could lose her again.  I reveled in the feeling of having Caroline with me being normal and real before the tears came.

Oh Caroline, how I miss you.  Thank you for visiting your mother in her dreams.  I know you are always with us.

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Making Plans

It’s official: I’ve started making plans for this baby.

Yesterday I made my first two purchases. I bought two outfits for next summer (hopefully I bought the right size!) and ordered cloth diapers.  Cloth diapering is something I really wanted to do with Caroline, but with the uncertainty and stress, making the purchase and learning something new did not happen.  My husband is humoring me in trying cloth diapers this time and I think he’s going to like it!

Anyways, this is a big step for me.  Although various screenings have been negative, we have not yet had our anatomy scan, our diagnosis milestone with Caroline.  Yet I’ve made some purchases already for this baby.  I am trying to look to the future and be optimistic.  I am making plans and hoping that my dreams are not crushed.

This point in the pregnancy has been difficult for me.  I am starting to feel movement but it is still very subtle, which leads to panicked moments of, “I haven’t felt her move in a few hours, what if something happened?”  Then I feel something which keeps me satisfied for a little while, but then the cycle starts again.

Caroline’s movements were always very subtle.  I wonder if this baby will take after her sister or have boxing matches with my bladder?  It is too soon to tell.

Caroline, I love you.  I miss you.  Please watch over your sister and mom as we get through the next few weeks.


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Mothering Another

This blog has always been a way to reflect on what it means to be Caroline’s mother.  This space is filled with memories, love, and the struggles of parenting a child who is no longer physically here.  A change is coming to our family that will bring more memories, love, and parenting struggles.

We are expecting our second child, another little lady!

We are so excited to add to our family!  However, it is very scary when you have firsthand experience of how fragile pregnancy and life is.  We hope and pray for the chance to parent this child here on earth and to have the chance to tell her about her amazing big sister.

Thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we embark on this journey for a second time.


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NILMDTS Remembrance Walk

My husband and I are attending the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep remembrance walk in Colorado this year.  Our registration is paid and plane tickets are booked!  I am getting more and more excited for the weekend that will be all about Caroline.

We ordered custom tees yesterday that we will wear during the walk.  They are awesome!  On the front is a picture of the sun (which Caroline loved) with her name and “Beloved Daughter, Trisomy 13 Miracle.”  On the back, we wrote, “Proud Parents Walking for Caroline and Trisomy 13 Awareness,” followed by a beautiful picture of our baby girl.  We made sure to include that Caroline had Trisomy 13 both to raise awareness and in hopes of meeting other parents at the walk.  I can’t wait for the shirts to come in!

We are so thankful for the photographs taken by NILMDTS and the support they have provided.  I am so grateful to the photographer who sat in the hospital waiting room at 3am waiting for Caroline to be born.  The NILMDTS Facebook page has also been a great source of support in our grief.  I anticipate that the walk will be lovely, and can’t wait to spend it honoring Caroline’s memory.  We love you, Miss Caroline!


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Remembering Her Sweet Soul

Caroline had a sweet demeanor.  She was such a content baby, never fussing as she was passed from person to person.  She loved to be cuddled and warm.  She loved snuggling with mommy and daddy.

As she grew, she became more alert and we got to know her beautiful blue-gray eyes.  She explored the world around her with those eyes, and loved taking in the sights when we moved from room to room.  We took pictures at home that captured Caroline’s alert moments in a way that no one else could.  However, our amateur photos had lighting and color issues that could use a professional’s touch.

We decided to have a photographer professionally edit our favorite photos taken at home.  She went beyond our expectations by removing Caroline’s feeding tube from some of her pictures.  Caroline hated that feeding tube.  The edited pictures now capture Caroline’s free spirit in a way that you could not see with that plastic tube taped to her cheek or her chin.

 
I am very protective of my pictures of Caroline.  Second to my memories, they are the firmest link to my time with the sweetest baby in the world.  I find myself looking at this picture often every day, still amazed at the beautiful miracle I was blessed to meet.  Through this photograph I can feel the love in her eyes and remember how it felt to stroke her hair and kiss her forehead.

Every day apart is impossibly hard, but I am so honored to be Caroline’s mom and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Her sweet soul inspires me every moment of every day.


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Year 2

I have entered year 2 post-loss.  I thought it would get easier but it hasn’t.  In fact, lately grief has taken a firm hold.

I haven’t been sleeping well and the past few days I’ve been very low.  Struggle-to-get-out-of-bed, achy-heart, nothing-is-very-funny kind of low.  It’s scary to have come this far and still have days where the pain is so fresh.  Last evening I felt like I couldn’t breathe and needed to get out of the house.  I went shopping and bought myself a pair of jeans.  I was down another size, which normally would have been very exciting for me, but it still wasn’t enough to make me smile.

My husband and I have been so bored in the evenings lately.  I know that if Caroline were still with us, our evenings would be anything but boring.  That hurts, the way our plans were ripped away from us.  We were so ready to start filling our house with children.  When Caroline was with us, our home was so busy and noisy and perfect.  I miss that.

I miss Caroline so deeply.  She is still, and possibly always will be, at the forefront of every thought.  I feel her presence in the sunshine that she loved.  I ache to hold her in my arms. I yearn to see her play and grow up. I love her with every ounce of my being.

I have heard that year 2 can be harder than year 1, since the permanence of it all starts to really sink in.  It is still too early to judge but I can see how that could be true.  For those of you further along this journey, has this been the case for you?


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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!