The Crying Holiday: The best yet worst present

Announcing pregnancy on Christmas day is the worst present a struggling couple can receive. Christmas is supposed to be a joyous holiday and when pregnancy news is announced it leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. We want to be happy for the Holiday as it an amazing start to the salvation story of Jesus. However, it has also forced us to think about the birth of Jesus all holiday season. Toying with our emotions of whether or not God will give us a miracle child. Then, bam, out of no where and announcement of a happy couples pregnancy throws us off our game and our already tense holiday that was hanging in the balance falters. We have the Christmas blues and must now find a way to either A: keep up the charade of a joyous Holiday or B: Retreat home where we put on our pjs and curl up under the covers vowing not to come out until well after the New Year sometime in Spring.

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely happy for the mother-to-be. However, it is going to take me a while to put on my graciously happy for you not at all sad that I am still not pregnant face. Given the close personal relationship with the mother-to-be, I would have hoped for a more sensitive approach to such news. Not in the middle of Christmas celebrations.

My husband and I spent the rest of the evening in tears and trying to ignore the pains of infertility.

It is hard not to judge. I know as a Christian we aren’t supposed to judge, but it isn’t always easy. Especially when you want to be parents. You see the teenager that is pregnant out of wedlock, the woman on welfare with her 3rd baby by a different man, the mom who is a drug addict, etc. You can’t help but think… why? Why do they get to have a baby and I don’t?

Then you have a couple who has also been struggling with fertility issues (Although not as long as you have.) where one of the couple (or both) is opposed to adoption. When they get pregnant…it cuts like a knife. You know that you are willing to adopt, but adoption is expensive. You are still trying to conceive while opening up your heart to God’s will to adopt a child in need…then wham! the couple who won’t even consider adoption gets pregnant within 3 months of trying fertility treatment.

Your heart sinks. Especially when the announcement is made on Christmas and you know it’s a pregnancy you can’t avoid. You are going to be there for the next several holidays, the baby shower, etc. You are stuck with this pregnancy. Merry Christmas, you’re an aunt-to-be….but you’ll not a mother yet.

The best yet worst present.

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Creating Life: Precious Sorrows in Fragile Joys

My belief is that life begins at conception. I base this knowledge on my own personal experience as well as what I derive by my faith and biblical text.

I have loved every child my husband and I have had before they were conceived and before they were inevitably lost. Perhaps my judgement is clouded or perhap its thge judgement of those individuals who have never wanted a child so badly who want to believe that life doesn’t begin at conception.

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

The first miscarriage, I was fully convinced it was a girl. I just knew it in my heart. It was the only time that I had enough of the pregnancy hormone during a pregnancy for a home pregnancy test to work. I had already named her. It was not the best time to be pregnant, but I didn’t care. I hadn’t realized at that point that I wanted to be a mother but one that seed was planted I was excited. I made it to about the 12th week when I miscarried. Part of me thought it was best. I wasn’t ready to be a mother. It wasn’t finished with my schooling and the timing was’t right. I thought maybe it was blessing in disguise. A thought I still come to and regret. A thought that makes me feel that all the subsequent misscarriages and infertility issues are my fault.

For those of you wondering, I named her Emma.

Miscarriage #2 came in December of 2009 right before Christmas. I had sneaky suspicion that I was pregant. I didn’t have a positive pregnancy test, but I had plenty of symptoms. I was working a Christmas Dinner at the Ariel when it happened. I worked an entire 16 hours shift on my feet before going home. The blood loss was tremendous and I was faint. When I went to the doctor the next day, she confirmed my fears. I had made it to about 12 weeks. She scheduled me for an ultrasound and an appointment with another doctor for after the holidays. It was one of the most miserable Christmas Days I can remember. Ella was about 6 months old and I couldn’t lift her as she was over my weigh limit. Not too mention all the family asking about when we were going to start our family. It was a trying holiday. I named this one Ethan.

Miscarrige #3 happened while I was employed at the French Art Colony. It occurred early during the rehearsal process of Alice in Wonderland. I had not made it very far that time. The doctor estimated about 6 weeks. I contribute this miscarriage partly to the stress I was enduring at work.

Miscarriage #4 happened in the fall of 2012. I had thought I was pregnant again. When we went on vacation in August I had been really careful to not drink alcohol or use the hot tub, etc. Anything that might increase hurting the potential fetus. I miscarried 2nd week of September. I was at work and I knew immediately something was wrong.  So tiny but clearly identifiable.

We have thought since then that we are on the right path.  I went to a new doctor who found a tumor on my left ovary.  The tumor had been identified as a cyst by a previous Doctor.  I was told it would go away on its own.  It didn’t. It wreaked havoc on my hormones and engulfed my ovary.  They were unable to separate the tumor from the ovary during my surgery, so they took both.

During the fall before this surgery, I had a dear friend lose her baby.  She was born, but did not draw her 1st Breath.  Beautiful Lily Mae.  I couldn’t imagine the pain that my friend felt.  I knew the pain I felt when I lost that 1st baby Emma Mae…I couldn’t imagine giving birth to a daughter and immediately giving her up to heaven.

God uses these angels for miracles.

I have grown stronger in my faith during this ordeal. It has brought me closer to God.  I think a wonderful woman who was courageous enough to encourage other to share their storis and testimonies.  “Dear God: Why Can’t I have a Baby?” by Janet Thompson is a must read book for any individual (male or female) struggling with infertility.

My husband and I sing a song to each other sometimes by Fats Waller called Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now.  A particular line sticks ot to me: “All my opinions have changed somehow, Old-fashioned as can be!”

The song is about romantic love, but I think it is very reflective of love in general.  Ten years ago I would  not have felt so strongly about life beginning at conception, but today I do.

Back to Jeremiah 1:5.   I believe what God says to us. Just like any Father or any mother for that matter, he has planned for us and dreamed of us before our conception.  My future baby or child will know how much his earthly mothe and father love him as well as his Godly father. However, I fear that they will never know how great that love is before conception.  (I would have never known without my personal struggles.)  I love a child not yet conceived so much that I have changed medicatons, take shots twice daily in my stomach, pray daily, changed my diet, etc.   I love my child enough to accept that it may not be my biological child.  God has a plan.   I am teaching myself to be patient and to undestand his purpose and timing.

Until then, he has done some wonderful things for me. He has brought me closer to four wonderful women of faith Jill, Laura, Tabatha and Tabetha who have struggled in their own ways and who show support to our journey daily in a variey of ways.

My hope is to touch at least one person who once thought that life did not begin at conception.  I am not arguing pro-abortion or pro-life.  That is between you and your maker.   What I am hoping is that an individual thinking of having an abortion instead of giving their baby up for adoption will take a few seconds to think what if I sacraficed my wants and thought about the child 1st?  Or maybe the individual who doesn’t understand why someone who miscarries at 6 weeks would be sad and thinks they should just get over it.  I am hoping that this just shapes some thought and discussion.  Most importantly, I hope it provides support out there for another individual struggling.