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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dear Caroline, it has been six months

Dear Caroline,
      My precious girl, I cannot believe that it has been six months since I last held you in my arms. It seems like a very long time. In many ways, it seems like forever. Six months ago my heart felt so full, everything felt complete. It just seemed so right, to have our family of three all together. That day was the absolute best day of my life.
     Last night in the darkness, I remembered. Six months ago, on a Monday afternoon, we went to the doctor's office for our weekly checkup. It was June 16. The doctor checked your mommy, and then we were able to hear your beautiful steady heartbeat. How I loved hearing that sound! Everything seemed to be going just fine. We were so close to 35 weeks, and you had already made it so much farther than I ever expected! Your mommy was so proud of you. On our drive home from the doctor's office that afternoon, I remember telling your daddy that you were such fighter. Even though they told us many times that you would be born early, you just continued to grow and thrive each week. We scheduled an ultrasound for the following Friday, and your daddy and I could not wait to see you again. 
     That night, your mommy took a nap around 6:00pm on the couch. I did that so often when I was pregnant with you. We always enjoyed that quiet peaceful time together! It was in those moments when I would feel you move the most. But when I woke up an hour later, I just knew that something was not right. I was terrified. Only a few hours later I began to feel the contractions. In the darkness I called the doctor, and he wanted us to come in to the hospital to be checked out. It was so unexpected. I felt so unprepared. I was just not ready to meet you yet. Even though I knew you could come at any time, I guess I just felt in my heart that we would have more time. Caroline, I knew that when the time came I would meet you, and I was beyond excited for that moment. But at the same time sweet girl, I wanted so badly for you to stay safe and alive inside me forever. It was in my control to keep you safe when you were inside of me. When I felt you kick, I knew that everything was okay. When I heard your heartbeat, I knew that you were still alive. When I touched my belly, I knew that you were growing bigger and stronger But once you were out, everything was beyond my control. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that I could do to save your life. It still eats me up everyday that I could not save you. I would do anything to bring you back to me. I hope you know that my precious baby. Your mommy would give anything to have you back in my arms again, if only for just one moment.

     Today I cry tears. I cry because the pain in my heart is so real and so deep. I never knew that my heart could hurt so intensely. I never knew how often my arms would ache. Caroline today your mommy cries for the six months that we have lost. Not only did I miss out on that joyful moment of carrying you out of the hospital, and bringing you into your new home. But I have missed out on your first cry, your first smile, your first laugh, the first time you clapped your hands, the first time you made silly noises, your first bath, your first time going to church, the first time you lifted your head all by yourself, your first roll, visiting your grandparents and aunts and uncles, the first time you sat up, and dressing you up in all of the pink dresses you could have ever imagined. I cry because I will never be able to watch you become Daddy's little girl, and I will never be able to snuggle you by the Christmas tree. How much we have missed my sweet daughter. I understand that I will never have those special moments with you here on this earth, but it does not make the reality any easier to accept. It breaks my heart because it is impossible for me to even picture the future. You see my little Caroline, you will always be a tiny baby to me. Even on that day years from now, when it should be your first day in Kindergarten, I will only see you as a tiny precious baby. I will remember your perfect little face, with all those beautiful tiny features. I will remember your perfect little nose, your silky soft skin, and that dark head of curly hair. I will always picture those five long skinny fingers that gripped my hand so tightly. I will forever remember those little ears, which hopefully heard your mommy's quiet whispers of love. But that is how I will picture you, as that sweet, perfect, and innocent little baby. Because I will never be able to watch you grow up.

     My heart breaks when I think about all the many milestones we have already missed, and it pains me even more to think about the ones we will loose in the future. Your mommy had so many hopes and dreams for our new life together. It seems that as each day moves forward, and as each month passes by, those hopes and dreams are slowly extinguished one by one. Instead of rejoicing in your growth and accomplishments each month, I realize exactly what we are missing. The reality is that I miss you. It is truly just so plain and simple. I miss you with every breath that I take. Not a moment goes by where you are not on my heart and on my mind. I think about you constantly, and my body aches to hold onto you once again. I know that they often say that "absence makes the heart grow fonder". Well that saying has proven to be exactly true. The longer we are apart my sweet girl, the more that I miss you. 
     Each night before I climb into bed, I kiss your tiny face on a picture that sits right beside my bed. It is as close to kissing you goodnight as I will ever get. Then as I snuggle up with your blanket, I say a prayer. I ask God to hold you close, and to let you know how much you are still loved. Some nights I still catch myself reaching for a bedtime book to read to you, only to find that it is no longer there. I miss those peaceful moments before bed, when everything felt complete. Now as I close my eyes to sleep, I try and picture you. It brings a smile to my face as I think about you playing up there with all of the other beautiful babies. I know you have so many wonderful friends up there to keep you busy. You mommy looks forward to that day in heaven, when I can just sit with the biggest smile on my face as I watch you play.
     Today your daddy surprised me and took the day off from work. It was so special to have him stay home with me. I cannot imagine how hard the day would have been if I was sitting home alone. But instead, we spent time talking about you. We remembered all of the special moments that we were able to share together as a family. Caroline, you have brought your mommy and your daddy so much closer together. There is such a special bond that we share, now that we have walked down such a difficult path. I am so incredibly thankful for your daddy, and what a huge blessing he has been in my life. I just know how much he loves you, and how much he misses you too. He would have taken such great care of you, and I know that because of how lovingly he cares for me. We wish so badly that our family of three was complete right now, but you will always hold the most special place in our hearts. Your mommy and daddy love you so much precious Caroline, and we thank you for teaching us the importance of real love. It is not a love that comes out of selfish motives. But rather a love that comes straight from the heart.

      As I think back over the past six months I realize that we have come so far. I know that I still have so far to go in this grieving process. I know that I have good days, where I can smile and laugh and truly enjoy life. But I know that I have absolutely awful days, where the only thing I can do is cry. There are days when the grief is in my throat, and the tears threaten at any moment. There are days when my arms ache and my heart feels so tight. There are days when the anxiety overcomes my every thought and my every action. There are days when I am just completely sad. It is like an ocean my Caroline, where the waves are always present. Some days those waves are very small and gentle. They silently and slowly wash over my feet. But then just as softly and quietly, they are pushed back into the ocean. Some days those waves are a little bigger, and they lap over my feet with strength and power. Those days the waves come a little faster, and they only disappear for a moment before the next one sweeps in. Then there are the days where the ocean is churning. On those days, your mommy knows it is beyond my control. The waves come crashing onto the shore with such power and might that they knock me right off my feet. The waves hit one after another, with no break in sight. When those days come, I feel helpless against the sheer force of the waves. 
     But no matter how the waves hit, I do know one thing for sure. Your mommy is being held up by the strength of the Lord. On those days where the waves knock me off my feet, and I have no strength of my own to stand up again, I know that God will reach over to me with His mighty hands, and pick me up. Some days He lifts me high above the waves, and I can watch them crash to the shore from above. But other days he sets me back into the midst of the waves, and holds me up against each one. He never allows the wave to knock me over and carry me far away into the swirling ocean. I am so thankful for His strength, and His faithfulness to me. I know that even on the gentle and calm days, He is standing right there beside me, watching me enjoy the soft ripples at my feet. I am so thankful to have a God who truly cares about me, and who knows exactly where I am at each moment of the day. He knows exactly what I need each second of the day, and He never fails to provide it.
     Caroline, how I wish that today I was celebrating my six month old baby. I wish that I was able to dress you up today, and give you an extra big hug. I wish that we could do something special to celebrate you, and give you so many six month old kisses. But today we will go and visit your grave. Your daddy and I will bring you a special little Christmas tree. Today we will choose to remember what a blessing that you are in our lives. Today we will choose to cry tears over all that we have missed, and we will choose to cry tears over all that we will continue to miss. Today we will have an aching sadness in our hearts, because the truth is you are not here with us. But today we will remember your beauty, and all of the things you have taught us. Today we will thank God for your life, and that he chose us to be your parents.
     Happy six month birthday my precious little girl. Your mommy loves you more than I can ever say. I just pray that somehow you know just how much I love you, and how much I wish that I could give you a special hug today and every day. I love you sweet Caroline. Until we meet again...


Caroline Joy Mulder
June 17, 2014

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