Caroline Elizabeth Dugas

Caroline Elizabeth Dugas
October 6, 1999 – December 23, 1999

Contact Name : Dorothy Meeker-Dugas and Jeff Dugas
From : Florida
Email : click to send

Her Story
Caroline was our first child. We could not wait for her arrival. While I was pregnant I would walk in the evenings and stroke my tummy and listen to soft music. I was so in love from the moment I found out I was pregnant.

At 24 weeks, we found out it was a girl, and we gave her name to her. From then on we called her by name. We would play with her and poke my tummy in the evenings and she would respond. People would say it was as though she were already here.
Caroline was 10 days late and weighed 9 lbs. when she was born. I nursed her and she gained a 1/2 pound each week. She was very social and “talkative”. She was very alert from the moment she was born – amazingly. She loved being held and did not nap much during the day throughout her entire short life- unless I was holding her. She would often fall asleep after nursing, and I would just sit on the couch and hold her. Every moment I had with her was paradise.

I was so overcome with love when she came into our lives. I never knew love like that was possible. I was looking forward to being a mother, but she just exceeded my expectations and brought the most boundless love into our lives. We thanked God for her everyday (and still do). At night after feeding her and putting her back to sleep, I would look up at the stars and thank God for Caroline. I was the luckiest person in the whole world. Even when I was exhausted, I was just so in love with her that no matter how tired I became, there was no stress that her wonderful deep expressive eyes could not relieve if I just looked into them and let them.

But I was always worried that something would happen to her, and this, I attributed to mild post partum depression. I was fearful that she would not make it to her teenage years. I wasn’t paranoid, but I had to often reassure myself that others’ kids had lived that long and mine would too.

My favorite moments with her were the times we sat on the couch after her feedings and “talked.” She looked up at me. I didn’t know who was looking deeper into whose eyes.

he would smile, and I would imitate her. She would make a sound, then I would make a sound. Then she would make a sound again, and this went on. And it was like we took turns. I had read in a parenting magazine that this is a good way to teach babies social skills, sharing and taking turns. It was just such a joy because she was only 2 months old when we started doing this.

These were my most special times with her. On the last day of my maternity leave, I was already “mourning” my time with her because of returning to work the next day. During one of our little “conversations,” that day, my eyes started to well up with tears, and she just looked at me. She wouldn’t take her eyes off of mine, and it was as though she was trying to “figure out” what my eyes were doing. Yet, at the same time it was as though she understood. I think she had a kind of wisdom about her. Either that, or it was the wisdom I found as a result of knowing her.

Both Jeff and I dropped her off the next morning at Rosa’s house. As we left, we were saying goodbye to Caroline, and I said to Jeff, “She doesn’t know the word ‘Goodbye’.” That was the last thing I said. It happened that day, on my first day back to work. She was at the sitter’s house and Rosa found her blue not even 5 minutes after she had put Caroline in her bouncy seat for a nap. The paramedics revived Caroline’s heart, and she was transported to a children’s ICU where she passed away very early the following morning. I was holding her when she died. She was 11 weeks old.

I feel such anxiety at what we went through at the hospital. We had no idea the whole time that it was SIDS. We just couldn’t imagine what had caused this, and it was all so unbelievable and shocking. As it unfolded, I kept thinking, “This isn’t happening to us.” It was as if I were standing outside of my body watching all of this happen. I believe part of me truly thought this was a dream. And the worst part came later when I realized that it wasn’t.

It’s also hard to talk about the days that followed because all I can remember is that I wanted to escape from all of this. I just wanted to run. We tried to find some sense and remember the holiday, and we made it a point to open gifts on Christmas Day (Caroline’s too) and share a nice dinner with our families, some who had already planned to be in town for the holiday. I suppose it is unbelievable that we spent Christmas Eve making her funeral and burial arrangements. But the whole ordeal is so awful anyway, I’d like to say at this point that the fact that it was Christmas did not make it worse. As any SIDS parent knows, it could not have been worse. It was what it was.
We love our daughter and want to know that we will again in our lives experience the kind of happiness she brought to us – although I guess it will be bittersweet. We talk to her everyday. We pray to God and to Caroline everyday for strength. I try to be hopeful, though sometimes it is not easy.

I am so grateful for this website and to have the opportunity of knowing that there are others out there who understand this emptiness and misfortune that we feel. I hope to find others who can tell us that it WILL get better. I want the day to come when I can remember my little “talks” with Caroline on the couch and not feel such a gaping emptiness.

God Bless all of you who are going through this. I hope to understand one day why something like SIDS happens- especially to so many who have done all the right things for their babies. I hope in the meantime that I can find acceptance. And, until then, just hope.