I woke up on the 14th with some concerns about how I was feeling physically, and went in to the hospital to get checked out. When I got there, we found out I was having contractions every 2 minutes, but I wasn't feeling them yet. I was also 90% effaced and 1 cm dilated. My OB, who happened to be at the hospital when I got there, and the nurse we've been working with the whole time of Caroline's diagnosis, who also happened to be working when we got there, recommended that I go ahead and check in to the hospital and wait things out, because it was likely I would deliver sooner rather than later.
Cameron and I were slightly in shock. We were not expecting Caroline to come so soon, even though we knew it was a possibility. We immediately set into motion getting our support system informed. My mom booked a plane ticket on the soonest plane, and our local friends swept into motion to help us in whatever way they could.
I didn't progress very much throughout the day. I was slightly uncomfortable, but not enough for it to really phase me much. We had several friends stop by during the day to check on us, offer support, bring us food, pray for us, and anything else we needed. We are so blessed. My mom's flight came in on time in the afternoon, and some wonderful friends of ours brought her to the hospital from the airport. Once she was there, you can imagine the scene. Lots of hugs and tears and some "Thank you for not giving birth yet!," comments among laughter.
Later that evening, a bunch of people from our church came by to pray for us and offer their support. My room was full of people, and the love and prayers flowed freely. We are so incredibly blessed.
Around 7:45pm on the 14th, I was given a labor-enhancing drug to help me progress since I wasn't really progressing as expected. A couple hours later, I had dilated to 3 cm, and a couple hours after that I was at 5 cm. It didn't take long after that to get to the pushing stage. Cameron, as a first time dad, wasn't sure what to do with himself. He was so sweet and trying to do whatever he could to help. I felt like I was being mean to him telling him to stop doing things or demanding him to do other things, but he says I was being very nice, especially for a woman in labor. Haha.
Caroline Grace was born at 1:58am on December 15th. She came into the world with a smile on her face. I like to think that she saw Jesus come for her right before she came to us here on earth, and therefore came to us with that remnant on her face. We didn't get any time with her here on earth before she went to be with Jesus, but we know we'll love her just as much when we see her in Heaven. She was precious to us anyway, and we're grateful for the time we did have with her in my womb. I will never forget her or my time with her, or the time we got "with" her after she was born.
We were able to get some pictures of her and with her, and I will treasure them as a reminder of her and all she is. She is not just my daughter, but an inspiration for many, a witness of God's faithfulness and love, and the reason we have learned to love and trust the Lord more fully through this season of our life. I have had innumerable people tell me that our story has touched them, inspired them, or brought them closer to the Lord or back to Him. I say this as "all she IS" because she is an eternal being, just as we all are. She has left her temporary home and gone to her eternal one, but she still "is" our sweet Caroline.
I will never regret any of our decisions. I will never understand fully how much God has done for us. I cannot fathom how much more He will do in the days, months, and years to come, all because of little Caroline. I feel incredibly blessed to have been chosen to be her mother here on earth, and to know I will see her again in Heaven, waiting with her Heavenly Father for us, her earthly parents, to join her.
I know I will mourn her loss. I already am. I know I will miss her. I already do. I know I will wish she was here with me a little longer. I already do. But I also feel joy and peace in abundance. I am amazed at God’s grace and comfort once again. I am awed by His goodness in such a trying time. I know He is faithful and will continue to help us heal and grow as time goes on without our little baby girl.
I also know there are a lot of people mourning with us. I want you to know God’s grace and comfort as much as we do. God is amazingly good and gracious. Please let Him be that for you. Please don’t let this time with Caroline harden your heart, make you question God’s goodness or His plans for you or us. Caroline isn’t here with us on earth, but she’ll be waiting for us in Heaven. We don't mourn without hope, because as sad as our earthly loss is, our Heavenly gain is infinitely more than all we could hope for. I want you all to see her there. Make sure you’re going to be there too. Email me if you have questions about that.
God has provided so much during the past few days. He has worked things out I didn’t even know needed working out. He has orchestrated things to make them happen in the best way possible. I laughed a little bit when I realized my last blog post was entitled “I want the best.” God probably smiled a little bit when He saw me writing it. He knew what was coming and said, “I’m giving it to you.” I am so glad I serve such a kind and loving God. He knew what I needed, what I could handle, and who I needed around me. He gave me everything I needed.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us, loved us, and prayed for us during this whole process. I know we’ll still need it in the coming weeks and months, but I appreciate and treasure all of it so far as well. This blog is not done, either. I’m sure I will keep writing for a long time.
I’d like to share some pictures of our dear sweet Caroline, and of her with us. I hope you can treasure them as much as I do.