This post is a bit hard for me to write. I hope you take a moment to sit next to me while I take you through why Christmas stings......just a bit.
When Manny and I got married in 2009, we immediately began trying for a family. Little did I know it would take almost 6 years. In the beginning I was naive, unstained, unmarked and unbranded and really unfamiliar with the term Infertilty. We started trying in September of 2009...I had timed it perfectly, we would get pregnant and make our announcement on Christmas day. Everyone would rejoice and be glad, blah blah, Christmas miracle blah blah. It didn't happen. Shortly after, I became OBSESSED with a Christmas pregnancy reveal. OBSESSED. Christmas would come and go and my arms were still empty. The hope had faded. Holidays didn't hold any meaning anymore and I hated them. Putting up Christmas decorations became physically painful, and going to church to see rosy cheeked children dressed in their holiday attire was like a stab in my stomach leaving me bloody, broken, weak, and shattered.
Then, I had a wise idea (sarcastic). Let's plan our first IVF (remember we ended up doing 3 IVFs), around the Holidays so we can announce our pregnancy for Christmas! Brilliant idea Marilyn. Just Brilliant (insert eye roll). Our first IVF failed. And I found out on Christmas day. I remember getting the phone call from my nurse late that evening....at 8pm. LATE for someone waiting so desperately to hear their test results from a blood test taken earlier that day. The nurse's voice quivered on the phone as she prepared to deliver the bad news...on Christmas Day. "Its negative", she said. I remember hanging up the phone and doubling over in agony, gripping my stomach as high pitched sobs quickly escaped my throat. My heart ached. ACHED. It felt like I was on fire, it pained soo bad. I imagine thats what acid feels like when flesh is introduced to it. I remember running upstairs and collapsing outside my master bathroom. Manny scooped me into his arms and we both held each other crying....
Our second IVF was similar, but I was becoming stronger at coping with the bad news. I became angrier. I no longer cried. My wounds had begun to heal into deep crooked scars that I would gently visit in grief and sorrow as the holidays passed each year.
In 2015, I finally had the chance to announce our pregnancy during Christmas. Even though they all failed every Christmas before, I was insistent in announcing my pregnancy for Christmas. It was my dream. I could taste it. And I did. It wasn't without hesitation, without pain. It still felt unreal, like a lie, almost as if a theif would come and steal it during the night and leave me lifeless and deflated.
Even though this is our second Christmas as a family of three, I would be lying if I didn't admit that during the quiet hours when I am alone, I sting a bit. I can still see those crooked scars. I gently visit them in silence and I remember Christmases past, praying, hoping, waiting, and brokenness.
When I hold Mila, I hold MY miracle. That is what Christmas means to me. Not just the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ born of a virgin.....but my Mila, born of a woman who wished and prayed for her so badly. A woman who had lost all hope despite of the brave mask she would put on each day, and peel off each night. A woman who was never diagnosed with the reason why she couldn't get pregnant. A woman who year after year felt broken, shattered, and was just a hollow vessel floating around. Then flashing forward before THAT woman got pregnant through her THIRD IVF, she decided to STOP measuring what she didn't have with every holiday passed. That woman decided to piece her self together....slowly, but she did. That woman became a warrior. A strong, solid, bold, fearless warrior. That woman was me. I felt like an Olympian. I still do.
As I snuggle my girl this Christmas, pools of tears stream down my face in gratitude, my crooked scars fade again, and the sting is less.....stingy. But I still remember.
To all my beautiful warriors who find themselves with empty arms this Christmas, I am with you. I hold your hand in mine, your head on my chest, and we cry together. I love you deeply. Keep fighting, find strength, cry out loud, and stay bold. You aren't alone.