Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caroline Stayed

"Two isn't any better than one. We should have a couple more kids."

Back in 1989 our two boys Ben and Joe, then 8 and 5, were the joys of our lives. But when Tom said those words to me one night as we were talking about our family life together I was not surprised given the fact that he'd had a lonely childhood, being raised an only child. It was meant to be, that we'd have more. I'd been having the baby craving but didn't want to say anything. I ALWAYS have the baby craving.

After a sad miscarriage, God sent us Cassie. JOY! I've already posted about her, in October. Fabulous funny Cassie!

Now it was time for us to pray and hope for another child, so Cassie would have someone to grow up with, the way the boys had each other. We humans tend to think we can plan things any old way we choose; we tend to be dense.

Another miscarriage. Another tailspin. Another time that God graciously pulled me up and out of heartbreak and pain before I could crash and burn. Times like these reveal just how much God is loved, husband is loved, wife is loved, kids are loved, and friends are loved. The pulling together and support......but that's for another post.

Six months later I found myself pregnant again. Dare I hope! I did, and to my horror, right at the same number of weeks where my other two miscarriages had occurred, the familiar symptoms appeared. No. NO! Please, no.

Tom and I went outside, under the kitchen window, on a little white bench, and I cried. He cried, his arm firmly around my shaking shoulders. I so much wanted this baby. My arms needed her. My heart needed her. Our family needed her. "I guess we've taken our fertility for granted," said Tom, the practical one. I could only nod, and feel the utter emptiness, the heavy sadness. I trust in God's decisions for my life, I do. However, coping is not always easy.

Well, I fully expected this baby to leave. In anguish I waited. I hoped, I prayed, I cried, I talked, I was silent. Another doctor visit. "What? Everything is fine? I don't believe it. I can't believe it. I have to guard myself." My poor mind wanted to do cartwheels of joy and clam up in fear all at once. But then, I heard it: her heartbeat. Strong, clear, fast. A living baby!!

"Don't get your hopes up. Wait until you feel movement," I instructed myself. Defensive guarding.

It wasn't long before I felt that little bubble, that flutter we moms know so well. Caroline grew, she stayed. She didn't leave us, she stayed.

Twelve years ago I went into labor at night, heading to the hospital at eleven o'clock. Two hours later, Caroline came into this world hollering to beat the band. She didn't want to be held, to eat, to be bathed. I think she wanted to go shopping.

After she and I settled into our hospital room Tom went home and told the boys, who were taking care of the sleeping three year old Cassie, that they had another sister. They nodded happily, and fell right back to sleep.

Me? I slept for a few hours until Caroline needed my attention. Delighted, I tended to her needs, then peacefully counted her long fingers and toes again, and decided her head was about the size of a softball. I kept my tiny pink daughter right there on my chest until the sun came up. I was so 'high' that I could do no more than doze a little.

I prayed a lot that night, prayers of gratitude, of thanksgiving, of wordless, tear drenched emotion. "Thanks for letting this one stay."

Caroline turns twelve in May. She's my sensitive child, the one who teaches us to slow down, to notice the little lovely things, to appreciate the deeper side of life. She's athletic, smart, clever.

She can find just the clothes and accessories she wants and save money at the same time. A very good trait in a little girl!

"Thanks for staying, Lima Bean!"


Pam said...

What a lovely tribute to your lovely TMBBITW II! I didn't know about the miscarriages... how heartbreaking. We are all glad that Caroline refused to go! I have always thought it was so nice that you had two boys to grow up together and keep each other company, and then so nice and orderly, two girls to grow up and keep each other company.

God is good.

Happy birthday a litte early, Caroline!

Cherie said...

Thanks, Pam. It did all work out quite nicely, didn't it.


Anonymous said...

The waiting is emotionally draining. I am happy Caroline stayed also!!

Sweet post, Cherie!

liz crumlish said...

what an emotional roller coaster. You are so good at sharing things that come from the deep.
Our second child treatened to miscarry right up until 23 weeks - I spent almost every other weekend in hospital with bleeding. I willed myself not to get attached, not to build up hope. Impossible! But she too held on and is a beautiful sunny eight year old whirlwind - praise God. Thanks for helping me revisit those scary days in order to count the blessings.

Cherie said...

Yes, Liz, roller coaster is a good way to put it. You are right - Impossible to not get attached.

Thank you for sharing about your second child! So glad she is brightening your world as well as all those around with her sunny self!

Blessing counting is quite important, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Love the pics of Caroline!!! Who is the little girl she is holding? The one of her on the wall is cool! Tell Caroline I am a shopper too!! I'm happy she Stayed!!

Cherie said...

Hi Ash!! I gave Caroline your message. She smiled. The little girls she's holding is one she and Cassie babysit now and then. Cute lil thing.

tshsmom said...

Beautiful tribute!
I, too, needed this post to jog my memory into counting our blessings.

We waited 14 years between our 2 children, with 1 miscarriage. God, in his infinite wisdom, picked the perfect time to bestow the gift of our son on us.

Marianne Elixir said...

Thanks for sharing from such personnal depths. It is comforting tosee how God works in others lives. Though thankfully we have not had fertility problems, I know that it could be taken at any time (After Soren's labor I almost had to have a hysterectomy). It's fun to see your all the pics of your lovely family...and I do recognize you!

Lisa Smith said...

What a tear jerker! Thanks, Caroline, for being such a great baby (I know you're now grown but will always be mama's baby) The pain of miscarriage is so overwhelming. I think it can help to increase our gratitude. It's hard to believe that if the babies we'd lost were here, the babies we have might not be. God has an amazing plan! I've been there in that hospital bed crying those tears on several occassion myself!

Cherie said...

tshs, I'm glad your son was given to you, too!! Our oldest child is 14 years older than our youngest. Just another thing we have in common. ;-)

elixer, I'm glad you recognize us! Yay! I'm glad that my personal stories are comforting for you. We humans do need one another that way.

Lisa, I knew you'd understand, too. Yes, God's plan is utterly amazing. We stand amazed.

IndianaJones said...

we have/are facing the same pains but these words
"I trust in God's decisions for my life, I do. However, coping is not always easy"
those are the ones that jumped off the page and fed my soul...thank you. it is good to be reminded.

Cherie said...

Summer, I'm glad it helped. It can be pretty rough, can't it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of your heart.