Here are the spiritual/emotional details of Caroline's birth:
On the eve of my scheduled c-section I was feeling a lot of anxiety – nervous about surgery, wishing we didn’t have to go to such invasive measures to get our children to earth. The worst possible scenarios kept trying to play themselves out in my mind. Thinking back to that evening and the following day of Caroline’s birth – a couple of things stand out in my mind. Little drops of comfort and beauty that I see now as gifts from God, evidences of His tenderness and care – one of them delivered in the words of a priesthood blessing.
And another that played out in a dear little exchange that we had at family prayer the night before the baby was born. Upon learning that his dad had been fasting for me and the baby, Henry decided to join in – not a moment of hesitation or thought for his own comfort or the sacrifice of meals foregone. “I’ll fast breakfast and lunch tomorrow, mom.” He told me matter of factly. I was touched and thought he was darling as could be…but if we’re being totally honest, a little skeptical that he would stand by his resolution the next morning when the rising sun brought a new day’s appetite. You who know my boy know he is nothing if not an enthusiastic eater. While I was laying in the recovery room after my surgery, I received a text from my mom letting me know that she was on her way to pick Henry up from school and that they would be coming to meet Caroline soon. She also commented on the sweetness of how he had skipped breakfast that morning and refused to take a lunch to school. He had, in fact, fasted for me and the baby sister he had not yet met. Like I needed one more thing to cry about!
Also on the night before surgery I asked my dad and Nate to give me a blessing. Most of what Nate said is now a blurry bunch of assurances, but one thing stands out with singularity. He blessed me to remember that there would be influence and support from the other side of the veil, angels who would have a particular interest in making sure the delivery went smoothly and that our child came to us safely. I found so much comfort in that thought – And felt the fulfilling of those words when, for a few moments, that bright, sterile delivery room was sacred space. I felt peace and presence bigger than what I could contrive. It was as if I could feel the hands and hearts of my grandmothers and their mothers and theirs around us,
I felt what I had recently read in an Eastern Fertility meditaion, “smiling ancestors watching over a new life. Offering gifts and visions and guidance, promises and blessings...because they saw in my child the one who would pick up their banner and carry the best of what they stood for into the world.”
I imagined it to be something like a favorite Kershisnik painting.
I just marveled at the good fortune of our dear little Caroline who was, I believe, given a most gentle and encouraging send-off from the pre-mortal side of the vail by people who know her, who will stay close by, and whisper her name in support and affirmation throughout her life…and received on the mortal side of the vail by parents who are absolutely silly in their adoration of her, siblings who prayed for her to join our family for 2 years prior to her conception, a brother who fasted for her safe arrival, a sister who will hardly let a squeak escape her lips without rushing to her side. What a blessed little link in an incredibly powerful chain. All of it made possible and vital by the priesthood power that seals individuals to one another in many ways defying the separation of time and space.
The significance of these connections has found great weight in my soul over the past few weeks.
I also have to say a bit about my dear mom who I am so thankful to be connected to. She honestly could not have been more angelic during those first few weeks. From the minute she arrived at our house the night before surgery, I just marveled at her kindness and love. I knew my kids would be in the most loving hands while we were in the hospital. I knew they would get to the places they needed to be, I knew their library books would get turned in, their lunches would get packed, their clothes would get washed. And more importantly, during a time of big transitions and uncertainty, they would be loved just as fiercely as gently as could be. When we got home from the hospital there was a darling, handmade, "It's A Girl" sign in the front window. There was a batch of homemade granola and a loaf of banana bread. There were a few new coloring books and quiet activities for the kids. The house was clean. And for the next few weeks my mom would text me every single morning with the same question, "How can I help you today?" She was an honest to goodness angel. There would have been WAY more tears and WAY more crises without her help. There were so many hard things about that time - and knowing that I had her support gave me incredible courage and perspective. I can't wait to help my own daughters when they have babies - that is an incredibly tender bonding time for a mother and daughter.
And our little Caroline? It is just amazing how much influence one tiny person has over this household. Her sweet words and smiles captivate us. We'll be driving in the car or going about our afternoon routine and if one of the kids hears her cooing, they'll run over to her and watch her and talk to her. This morning I had to call Henry downstairs probably seven times. When he finally came down, I was a little irritated, "What were you doing up there?! You've got to get out the door for school."
"Sorry, mom. I was just snuggling with Snook. She's soooooo cute, it's hard to stop!"
And the other day when Caroline got upset Lily ran over to her, "Oh baby! Were you sad 'cause no one was listening to yah wahds?? (your words) I'm' listening, Snookie, I'm listening!"
Sometimes Nate and I will lay in bed at night with her between us and talk to her and look at her and my eyes just fill up with tears. I feel so lucky to be able to experience another baby.
She has "bewitched us body and soul."