Christmas carols blaring, vehicle overflowing with gifts – my husband, 2 year old daughter and I had just set out to head 4 hours north for a solid week of Christmas-ing with our families. This Christmas was extra special because on our way, we scheduled to stop and have our 8 week ultrasound so we could surprise our little girl (and families) with the exciting news that she would be a big sister! Life couldn’t be better – we were so happy! But as we pulled into the parking lot of the fertility clinic a wave of dread suddenly washed over me. I quickly shook it off and contributed it to the round-the-clock morning sickness I had been experiencing along with all the IVF medications endured over the past few months. But with each step we took into the clinic, that sinking feeling in my gut grew worse until the heavy sound of silence in the ultrasound room told me exactly what I was afraid of. There was a baby, but there was no longer a heartbeat.
That Christmas was the worst of our lives. The 6 Christmas gatherings we attended over the next seven days were a blur. For our relatives and especially our two year old daughter, we wore smiles just to stop the tears from falling – inside we were crushed. As soon as we returned home, we packed every reminder of Christmas away hoping it could erase everything we had just been through as though it never happened.
Two years and another traumatic miscarriage has taken place since that somber Christmas. I wish I could say I’ve completely healed from my miscarriages but in all honesty, I haven’t. I’m not sure anyone truly does. I still think about those babies every single day – I’m not sure I will ever stop thinking about them or wondering who they would be. But, there is something about the holidays that magnifies the fact that we are missing those babies.
This year, as the Christmas season quickly snuck up on me, I found myself on my annual Christmas shopping weekend with my Mom and now four year old daughter. While we were browsing through a store admiring all the beautiful decorations, I noticed a bright shimmer of light in the corner of my eye. I walked over to where the light appeared and found a Christmas tree decorated beautifully with crystal angel ornaments. The sunlight bounced wildly off each precisely cut edge of the ornaments creating beautiful rainbow reflections that danced all over the room. I started to tear up and quickly bought two – each to represent a baby we lost. Though those babies were transparent to everyone but us, their existence reflected onto every aspect of my life.
Our Christmas tree is a symbol of our life. We collect ornaments from events in our lives, special places we have been, vacations and milestones we want to remember. The bulbs don’t match, there is no color coordination or theme. To most, it probably looks like a mess but to us it is beautiful because each ornament holds so much meaning. I carefully placed those two crystal angels into the ornament collage of our lives in remembrance of our two babies that don’t get to be with us this Christmas. The ones whose faces we will never see Christmas morning. The ones who will never smile reluctantly for a Holiday card with their big sister or try their hardest to stay awake Christmas Eve to sneak a peak at Santa. Even though we don’t get to see those babies experience the magic of Christmas, whenever the light catches those crystals, I like to think it is their way of being here with us. Their mom, dad and sister. Their family.
Though Christmas time holds a lot of reminders of my miscarriages, those two angel ornaments give me peace. Their reflection reminds me to reflect on all we have been through but also all we have to be grateful for. They remind me what a true miracle our daughter is and help me find comfort in knowing she will grow up having two guardian angels to protect her. They help me remember that during the dark times, light will find a way to reflect into the parts of us that have been broken.