As most of you know, Caroline came home on September 19th. She is curled up on my chest as I type! We were so thrilled to introduce Whitaker to her. He was beyond excited and couldn't wait to get his hands on her. Though he doesn't know his own strength, I am amazed at how much he loves her already. The tenderness in his voice melts my heart every time he talks to her.
This is my favorite picture of the introduction!
We are currently in sleep deprivation survival mode, but it beats the hell out of NICU survival mode so you won't hear any complaints from me.
The last 5 weeks (really more like 8 if you count hospital stays) feel like a dream to me. With so many new experiences and emotions thrown at me, I was completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with fear, with love, with exhaustion, with information.. you name it and I probably felt it.
Now that the fog as cleared, I have had to time really stop and think about a few things. One being that I couldn't believe what a humbling experience this has all been for so many reasons. The loss of control perhaps being the largest make up of that... but also that I kept saying that we were humbled by all of the prayers and love that poured upon our family. "Humble" is the only word I knew to describe what I was feeling. And because I am a talker and not really a one word kind of gal, this has been really driving me a bit crazy. How monotonous on my end to say thank you and how humbled I am to EVERY single one of you that has just paused throughout their day and thought kindly, prayerfully, HOPEfully about Caroline.
So I went and looked up what the word humble really means and by definition it doesn't even really describe how I feel. I don't feel inferior or insignificant, though I do feel meek. Even still, when I say I am humbled, what I really mean is thank you for showing me your heart. Because that is what I have seen over the last 5 weeks, people's hearts .. and in a way that I have never experienced before.
I love the five languages books that breaks down how people show and receive love differently. I am so thankful that I have read it so that I could recognize the love that has come my way in all forms. When people open their heart to you, each presents it differently. With gifts, with words of affirmation, with acts of service, and with quality time. (Side note: the 5th is physical touch which I got from snuggles with my children). I am not kidding when I saw the love in all forms. Quality time with friends and family when I needed so desperately to laugh instead of cry. Encouraging words from friends that I never expected to hear from and of course from those that are more present in my life right now. Acts of service by those so willing to help out with Whitaker or bring meals. And of course all the amazing gifts, no matter how small or how large -- they all showed the giver's heart. I had one friend that was willing to sit with me at the hospital for hours when she thought I couldn't drive yet. I'd embarrass her if she knew but I cried when I realized her intent. The notes from friends that were too far away to be present will flat out make anyone bawl. The care packages, the e-gift cards, the texts, the phone calls, the visits, the help around the house, the meals, the LOVE. It was and is still so overwhelming.
And here we go... Mary-Peyton goes a bit religious on you.. (Im normally a lot more private in my faith).
So many times throughout the first 2 weeks of the NICU but especially on that Tuesday night when things went south for Caroline and I was there to witness it, I was so at a loss for words that I couldn't even find the words to pray. So my prayers were very simple, "God, you know my heart". And in return, I have a beautiful, healthy girl and He showed me everyone else's heart too.
Today is my 31st birthday. I have never felt more complete. Thirty-one will always be the birthday of reflection and remembrance. It marks the time in my life when I know exactly what it is important in this life and how I will live to return the "open heart" kindness that I have felt over the past 5 weeks.
Caroline is thriving and is on her way to match her big brother's sassiness. Thank you to all for following our little journey. It is insignificant in comparison to what many others experience.