Last Christmas, I was 31 weeks pregnant and we thought we were only a couple months away from holding you. I felt you squirm as I held your newborn cousin against my belly. Last Christmas, you wanted chips and guacamole, peanut butter and jelly on toast, and dark chocolate to eat. You decided to do pilates at bedtime, because you were always a night owl like your big brother. Last Christmas, I stuck a shiny green bow on my belly and said I had to wait a little longer to see the gift inside.
Exactly one month after Christmas Eve, we saw you for the first time. We never heard you cry, or saw your eyes search for ours. Still, we loved you with that same love any parent has who gazes upon their child for the first time, a love that is stronger than death and separation combined. We held your body here on Earth as Jesus held you in heaven. Exactly one month after Christmas, we held you and kissed you for the last time, and watched them take you away.
Today we celebrate Christ’s birth. We worship the Lord as His servant David did, because while you will not return to us, we will go to you. We also celebrate that you existed and lived months before you were born, even if you never took a breath. We celebrate that you will always be our second baby boy, our son. We will always love you and remember you, even if we don’t get to be with you again until the next life. So Merry Christmas baby, you are celebrating with Jesus Himself!
As some of you might know, I’m currently going through a miscarriage. It happened at 10 weeks, but our baby had stopped growing around 5 weeks and my body refused to let go for several weeks. I’m the type of person who tries to do it all even when I shouldn’t, and I over exerted myself the last couple of days. Last night, I ended up in the emergency room after losing an alarming amount of blood in a short amount of time. Fortunately everything checked out ok, but it was a wake-up call that I need to stay home, rest, and heal. Sometimes I get so wrapped up with taking care of other people and responsibilities that I forget to take good care of myself.
We’ve now had two pregnancy losses in one year, and in the physical recovery from each as well as tremendous grief and trauma, I have said yes at times when I should have said no. Since I dislike confrontation, I have allowed a few people to disregard my well being for their own self-serving desires. Every day I put on a brave face and pretend this is how my life is supposed to be, and every day I feel that empty space in my heart that reminds me it should be much different. I push myself hard to do everything I used to when I need to make changes that allow me to go at my own pace and grieve. I am exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I ask you all to please not take it personally if I say no or change plans in the coming weeks. Instead, I hope you will trust that I know and need to do what is best and most important for me and my little family right now, and that it looks much different now than in years past. We will be staying at our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas this year, and we won’t be traveling or doing any other strenuous activities until my body is ready for it.
After experiencing a stillbirth, a miscarriage feels very different. This tiny human never developed enough for us to see any tangible body, but I believe every life, no matter how small and physically developed, has a soul component that is whole and eternal, and I believe this little soul has joined his/her brother Finn in heaven. Finn can introduce me on that glorious day when we are all reunited. I’m sad that we don’t know if this baby was a boy or girl, and whether he/she would have had brother Jaxton’s eyelashes or brother Finn’s dark hair. We planted this small tree in memory of our little one we never got to see.
Over three years after we started trying and almost one year after we thought we would be bringing a baby home soon, it seems like we are no closer to that happening. However, we know God works in ways we can’t see and often outside of our comfort zone. Our journey might not look the way we thought it would and it might not be easy, but we will continue to grow abundantly in faith. We still take hope in God’s promises for our lives and family, however that might look, and we rest in His peace that surpasses all understanding. I have been repeatedly amazed with just how much people have shown they love and care about us this year. Thank you for everything, and please continue to keep us in your prayers during this especially difficult time of year.
If my Finn was here, I know I’d be spending money on him this Christmas, on his birthday, and throughout the year. With that in mind, I try to allocate that money in his memory. This year, I chose toys that I would have given him, and donated them to a ministry (Mission Southside) which allows parents who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy toys to pick out Christmas gifts for their children. It makes my heart happy to know some babies around Finn’s age will have some extra fun Christmas morning because of him.
Truth. It is so, so difficult. I can hardly walk into a store without seeing “Baby’s First Christmas” stockings and ornaments. During the holidays there is a huge focus on families and togetherness that only magnifies the fact that mine will never be together in this life. In the midst of merry feel-good Christmas music I can only handle in limited doses, and holly jolly everything, there is is a big gaping hole in my life where my baby boy should be. It doesn’t feel calm, bright, or joyful. I have hope, but it’s not of the earthly variety as circumstances just seem to be looking increasingly down at the moment. Loneliness, grief, and despair. It’s like “Blue Christmas” on repeat. No, I haven’t forgotten the true reason for the season. In fact, it represents the hope I am desperately clinging to, but the reality is that I am human with human struggles and emotions, and right now the Christmas I’m experiencing is not exactly made for the Hallmark channel. It can’t be wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow. It’s Good Friday and I’m mourning because I haven’t seen the resurrection yet.
Today you will light a little white candle
And say aloud your baby’s name.
For one fateful day, your life was changed
The holidays will never be the same.
Today you will light a little white candle
And hang an ornament on a special tree.
Who would have though you would be in this place?
Sharing your baby as a memory.