Mothering Caroline Grace

learning how to be the mom of an angel


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Memory Monday

Caroline’s aunts and uncles on her daddy’s side drove out to visit us for a few days.  They were so excited to meet the niece that they didn’t know they would get the chance to meet.

Caroline is the first girl cousin in the family, and her two cousins were excited to meet her as well.  One asked his mom, “Can’t they just fix her heart?” after being told how Caroline would not be with us for long.  When I heard of this, my heart ached for him and for my family.  I wish it were that simple.

When everyone arrived, they were so thrilled to hold Miss Caroline.  Although they were nervous about her breathing, they all did well with keeping her in a good position on her side.  Her younger boy cousin was shy around her because of her cleft lip and palate, but her older boy cousin held Caroline and said, “I’m so glad we came.”  Caroline’s aunt works in children’s clothing and brought all of the New England sports gear for Caroline that we could not get here.  We dressed her in a Patriots onesie that was of course, pink.  The Patriots were the one team that I really called my own growing up, so it was special for both me and my husband to dress Caroline in her home team’s outfit.  She still kept her girly look with a matching headband.  Caroline was always in style.

This weekend we celebrated a Superbowl win, and I think Caroline was cheering with us, from heaven.  For some reason the Superbowl without her was so hard.  I cried myself to sleep every night this weekend missing her.  We were supposed to see our team win as a family, and I couldn’t shake the thought that she should be wearing another Patriots outfit, one that is much bigger.

I love and miss you, baby.  So much.


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Memory Monday

Last year, we passed out Halloween candy.  An orange shirt with a black cat and “boo” printed on it covered my small but present baby bump.  We smiled as each trick-or-treater came by, dreaming of taking our baby out to trick-or-treat sometime soon.  I was just starting to feel what might be kicks, but I wasn’t sure.  I was so excited to start feeling my baby move.

I was anxiously awaiting our 20-week ultrasound, coming up on Thursday.  All we knew at that point was that our baby had a great heartbeat and my stomach was growing the way that it should.  We were anxious to see a glimpse of our baby and find out if we were having a boy or a girl.  According to my husband, it was a boy because apparently men in his family only have boys.  I thought it was a girl.  I knew the diagnostic aspect of the ultrasound but I pushed my fears aside and thought that since everything had been fine, we had nothing to worry about.  If there was something wrong with the baby, we would maybe need more medical care but we would do whatever we needed to do to help our baby thrive.

We had no idea what was coming.

The last moment of blissful ignorance was during our ultrasound.  The tech asked us if we wanted to know what we were having, and she told us that it was a girl!  We were so amazed and happy.  My husband thought about dancing with her at her wedding in that moment.  I thought about talking her through boy trouble.  The tech was kind enough to give us that moment of pure joy and listen to our stories of how spoiled she would be as the first female grandchild.  She was such a miracle.

My grief is coming full circle.  I have no idea how to get through this week.  A year ago on Friday, we got the worst news of our lives, that there was something wrong with our baby.   A year ago on Saturday, we got the crushing diagnosis.  I haven’t been writing as much this past week because I get to the keyboard and freeze.  I don’t know what to say.  There are no words.  I miss my daughter.


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Memory Monday

Yesterday you would have turned 7 months old.  I can’t help but wonder what we would be doing together and what you would look like at that age.  Instead, you are forever just shy of two months old.  Time has flown by at the same time that it has creeped forward.  I miss you so much, sweetheart.  I lied on the couch holding your urn yesterday because I needed to hold you.  It wasn’t the same.  Your beautiful soul is not in those ashes.  It is in heaven, where I can’t go yet.

When Caroline was born, we didn’t know how much time we would have with her.  We were thrilled when she was born alive and we were able to make some precious memories with her.  My husband’s parents were already in town, but my parents hit the road when my water broke.  They drove through the night but still had about 6 more hours of driving left when Caroline was born.  I hoped and prayed that Caroline would still be with us when they arrived, so that she could meet all of her grandparents.  I brought a picture of our cats to show Caroline so that she had the chance to meet her kitties if she never made it home with us.

My parents made it to the hospital in time; Caroline was still alive!  We took many pictures in the hospital and Caroline did not go one minute without being held for those first few days.  We took chalkboard pictures with Caroline, first documenting hours with her, and later on days.  Those first 24 hours were the hardest.  There were a few times where I thought I was going to lose her, tears streaming down my face, but she held on.

The grandparents had left for the night, and my mom called in the morning.  After some pleasantries, she asked, “How’s the baby?”  I was so happy to be able to say, “She made it through the night.”  We arranged for the grandparents to all come back to the hospital that day.  The nurses continued to coo over Caroline and be in awe over how well she was doing.  God showed me a miracle in my daughter.  Those first days with Caroline are the happiest days of my life, and I would do it all over again for her.

 


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Grief Caught Up

I had big plans this weekend, starting Friday afternoon, so although I knew Friday was Caroline’s half birthday, it didn’t really hit me then.  Instead, Monday was so hard.

I felt it from the moment I woke up.  That pressure on your chest that goes along with the greatest grief a person can come to know.  I packed the stuffed bear that the funeral home gave me in my bag to take to work, because I knew it was going to be one of those tough days where I need to hold something in my arms.  I really don’t care if anyone thinks I’m crazy.  I’m not, I’m just grieving in my own way and if I feel like I need a bear in my arms, I will take it.

During my drive in to work, some song that was a little bit sappy but had nothing to do with Caroline brought me to tears.  I had a grief explosion of ugly crying in the car.  There is no controlling those explosions of grief; when it happens, you just have to feel it and try to get through it.

I left work early because I had reached my capacity of getting work done for the day.  I didn’t have any more in me left to give.

Thank goodness for my husband who was there for me when he got home.  His hugs and the way that he is happy to bring up Caroline in conversation help to keep me going.

Missing you, peanut.