Christmas turned out to be very, very hard. And I had not expected that for some reason.
For most of the month I was truly enjoying the season and Ryan and I were soaking up the cozy evenings at home with the glowing Christmas tree and the peppermint cocoa, going through an Advent guide each week and playing Christmas music non-stop. Then the cycle from Hades came and lingered just long enough and acted just strange enough to give me a bigger than usual glimmer of hope of being pregnant. My silence since the last post tells the outcome of that part of the story.
I took a pregnancy test on December 23rd and it was negative. And I cried. I thought I had braced myself and that it wouldn't be a huge deal. But that whole week of wondering "maybe?" had been drawn out so long that it was more than I could take when I saw the negative. (My cycle ended up being 37 days long! Come on body- work with me here! Gee whiz!!)
On that same day we had a family gathering with my dad's side of the family. I felt a bit in a haze after having taken the pregnancy test that morning and crying on the phone with Ryan and trying to compose myself and stifle the weeping as my parents were about to come pick me up for the get-together. A dear cousin who lives out of state was there. God knit our hearts together in a very special way when I was young and she was an important part in me coming to Jesus. She has also experienced miscarriage and has written me some sweet encouragements in this time. We hardly had any time to really talk at the get together, but she gave me a gift before she left. She handed me a bag and told me it was "a gift in faith"- for our future children. I could have fallen apart all over again right there in the parking lot. She didn't know what had gone on that morning, but the irony of the gift and the negative pregnancy test was intense. When I got home I peered in to the gift bag to see one package wrapped in blue and another in pink. I couldn't bring myself to open them and decided to keep them wrapped up. I put that bag in the top of our closet where my collection of other baby things stays.
There were a few other things that happened around those couple days- an encouraging note from one of my supporters who experienced repeated miscarriages over the last 2 years and now has a precious new baby- and some other things that were difficult to swallow.
All of that to say, by the time Christmas Eve night came and Ryan and I were all cozy in bed, the flood waters broke through and I dissolved in to weeping. It wasn't until that night that I realized how sad I was, not just over not becoming pregnant this month, but about the fact that our baby that had been in me was not with us for this Christmas. I guess I was expecting that the saddest part was going to be not getting pregnant again. But then that deep longing and just so sadly missing our baby overwhelmed me. I would have been 5 months pregnant and we would have already found out if they were a boy or a girl. "It wasn't supposed to be this way" was all I could think. Christmas isn't happy when your baby is dead.
I remember November or December of last year being at the doctors office and we were anticipating possibly getting pregnant in December and the doctor said "Maybe you'll have a Christmas baby!" But there was no Christmas baby last year and there's no Christmas baby this year.
Christmas day I felt like I was in a fog again. I don't know if my family noticed. I think on the outside I looked normal, but on the inside all I could think was "It wasn't supposed to be this way". And I don't mean that in a "shake my fist at God" sort of way, but more in a way that it's another step in me mourning this loss. This was another milestone that we had to come to and that we had to pass without our baby, and the injustice of it and the wrongness of our baby dying was so tangible. I think mourning is about coming to terms with the reality of your loss, what that means in your day to day life, how it affects the important days of your family, and how you're going to go forward with that loss as part of your life. I needed to mourn our baby not being with us on this Christmas and knowing they will never be with us on any Christmas.
So that has made me think "Then that's exactly why Jesus came!"Jesus came to bring rightness and justice back to this sin-twisted world. Death exists because of sin. Evil, cancer, babies dying, war, broken relationships all exist because of the effects of the fall. And Jesus is the one who came to redeem us from that curse and give us a promise of healed life with him in his Kingdom. We get a taste of that now as we experience our present salvation and bits of his Kingdom already here, but it's still mixed in with the sin-broken life. What our entire being cries out for (even when we don't realize it's what we're longing for) is the ultimate redemption of all that sin has crushed in our lives and the full reception of Jesus as our own.....forever!
So even though this Christmas sucked and I spent Christmas Eve crying in my bed- I celebrate my Redeemer who came as a baby on that day because He is the only hope for no more tears, no more death, and a life lived with Him forever. I celebrate that fact all the more because of the heart-crushing devastation I have experienced this year. More than ever do I cling to him as my only hope and I long, oh! how I long for the day when I will simply be with him forever.....my friend, my love, my savior, my comfort, my Lord- Jesus.