Loss During the Holidays

By Amy Mason
Please learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.amyemason.com.

For most, the holidays are times for pure celebration and rejoicing. In the midst of the busy holiday bustle we want to stop for a moment and address, recognize and respect one of the saddest realities that some of us face in our pursuit of motherhood: losing a baby. It may seem a little strange to be talking about this topic during the holidays but for some women, this Christmas will mean coping with the grief of a miscarriage or the loss of a child. At Cloud Nine, we truly believe that motherhood is a sisterhood and sometimes we need to come around our sisters who are heartbroken. While we all wish it were never so, pain and loss can be a part of being a mom. If you’re experiencing this kind of loss this season, we want to extend warmth and love to you this Christmas.

It was six years ago, a week before Christmas, when I lost a baby. I was blessed to be a Mama already to a beautiful boy, but my husband and I longed to grow our family. We tried and tried. For almost a year I was disappointed month after month to find out I was not pregnant. Then November came and I started to feel weird. I just had a period, I thought, but I felt pregnant!? I was shocked when the test came out positive! However, at my doctor’s appointment, things didn’t look right. For a few weeks we did blood work and the numbers weren’t climbing fast enough. Finally I was referred to a specialist. I should’ve been about 8 or 9 weeks pregnant by this point. The ultrasound showed no sac but instead a huge cyst on one of my ovaries and it was diagnosed as an ectopic pregnancy. I went from the expectation of a new baby to the uncertainty of a precarious pregnancy and the almost certain loss of this baby. My doctor called me that night to talk about the seriousness of this situation and that I needed to go to the hospital the very next morning to terminate the pregnancy. All the time I felt the panic rising up in my chest and my dreams of a baby disappearing into the darkness.

I wanted this little baby so badly. I didn’t know how I could force myself to go through with terminating the pregnancy, even though I knew the outcome would be critical for both of us. The next morning was December 18th, exactly one week before Christmas. It was a beautiful, crisp clear and sparkling morning. But inside my heart was heavy, dull and dark.  My husband and I drove to the hospital and tears streamed down my face the whole time. I didn’t know if I could go through with the procedure. My body was in motion one way but my heart was pulling another. I knew the severity of the situation. This was a morning where I had to walk by faith and not by sight. I couldn’t see the path ahead, not with my eyes blurred with tears or my heart blurred with pain.

Right away, my blood was drawn by a technician and my numbers checked again. Then I was brought into the exam room. I tried to pull myself together as I waited for the nurse. I’m convinced now, she was an angel. She walked into the room and took one look at me and threw hear arms around me in a warm understanding embrace. Her presence was like sitting next to a warm cozy fire. Her name was Dawn and I’ll never forget what she said to me. She told me my numbers were already dropping, my body already beginning the process of miscarriage. She also told me she could never ever do this job if she thought for a moment there was a chance this was a viable pregnancy. Then she said this, “This time next year, you’ll be back here with a little baby.” I dared not even hope.

I had the chemotherapy shots. I cried and grieved. The week leading up to Christmas was slow and difficult. And then, Christmas Eve morning I woke up puffy-eyed and stumbled to the kitchen to find it was snowing. The ground was already covered and huge white puffy flakes were falling from the sky. Everything was washed clean in that beautiful white snow. My heart was still in deep pain but that Christmas ended being so magical. The darkness of my grief in contrast with the beauty of fresh snow and bright white lights - it was the season where my grief turned to hope of fresh life.

One year later, I sat in my living room looking at the lights and watching snow fall fresh again but this time with my newborn son cradled in my arms. Out of the emptiness of my womb came the possibility for new life. The grief in my heart for the child I lost grew in me a capacity and enjoyment of the preciousness of the gift of another son. I thought about Dawn. I smiled as I remembered her words.

For some of you, you may be grieving in this season where everyone else is celebrating. I know what that’s like. You may be wishing for the gift of life and finding emptiness instead. Mama, I know. It is so hard to give when you feel empty, to receive when you feel broken, to celebrate when you feel loss. The hope of Christmas is that into the emptiness, came a baby.  Into the darkness, came life and warmth. Into the brokenness came hope of healing and new life, new love, new joy. I hope for those of you experiencing loss in this season that the firelight is a little warmer for you, the twinkle lights a little merrier, the gifts a little sweeter, and that hope falls fresh on you like soft snow.