I just realized I've had my blog for just over a year now. My first post was written December 5, 2005. In honor of that first post, I bring it back to you again, with new added commentary at the end!
We decorated our Christmas tree the other day. It was a beautiful, poignant moment as the memories of the past several Christmases flooded my mind. This year as we put the tree up, my adorable, almost 8 month old son played among the lights, clad only in a diaper. As I looked in wonderment at my little miracle, I couldn't help but remember the empty arms and accompanying pain of past years and the hope this year represents.
My husband and I married in July of 2000. By that first Christmas together, we felt strongly it was time to have a child, so we started trying. That first Christmas was full of hope and the promise of things to come. The following Christmas, 2001, we were almost a year into our trying to conceive a child and had suffered a miscarriage at Thanksgiving time. The doctor told me it was just a chemical pregnancy, but to me it was more. To top it off, we had found out we had fertility problems and who knew if we would get lucky again. That Christmas was sad, but I was sure that by next Christmas we would either be holding a new baby or at least be pregnant.
Christmas 2002 found me in the darkest place I have ever been. There was only blackness, hopelessness, and despair. We were now almost 2 years into our journey of trying to get pregnant. We had done seven, yes seven, unsuccessful rounds of fertility medications. We had been told our chances were slim that we would ever get pregnant on our own. Anguish overwhelmed me. All I wanted was a child, somebody to wake us early and then run down the stairs in excitement. Instead, we could sleep in as long as we wanted. There were no real surprises under the tree. And I was Scrooge. Not a speck of holiday cheer could be found in my soul. I teetered on the brink of losing my testimony, feeling lost, alone, and abandoned by my Heavenly Father. I understood the true meaning of Christmas, but it was lost on me as I wallowed in despair.
Changes occurred by Christmas 2003. We were still not pregnant, but I had found hope. We’d taken some time off from trying to get pregnant, started seeing a different specialist, and were feeling optimistic all around. It was still not an easy season, but I had hope, and after the previous year, that was a good thing.
Finally, Christmas 2004, I was 23 weeks pregnant and we had just found out it was a little boy. Mark would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I would tell him nothing – I had already been given the greatest gift and he was growing safely inside me. And now we come this year, Christmas 2005.
My son, my miracle Camden, sits playing among the lights as Mark and I decorate the tree. In the background, we have Christmas music playing. We’ve put on the lights and our themed decorations and are now pulling out our special ones. We started a tradition that each year we buy an ornament or two which reflects the events of the past year. We unpack them and begin hanging them on the tree. The Vernal temple representing the year we got married. A dog representing the adoption of our puppy. A teacher ornament a student gave me. The meaningless balls of 2001 and 2002 that we bought quickly to carry on the tradition. And this year’s special ornament reading “Baby’s First Christmas 2005.”
As we hang these on the tree, Camden starts to fuss. He’s had a cold and I’m amazed he’s been good this long. I pick him up and begin to dance around the room, holding him tight. As I do, tears roll down my face. I remember the pain of Christmases past. And I see the hope of Christmases to come. No longer will our house be silent on Christmas morning. Camden won’t know what it means this year to get presents. He won’t really care. But in a few years, he’ll run eagerly down the stairs to see what Santa brought him. There will be no more sleeping in on Christmas morning and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think of the pain of the past and then the hope this little boy represents. And I send a prayer of thanks heavenward. He’s my miracle, my evidence of Heavenly Father’s love for me. I hope I can teach him the true meaning of Christmas. I hope I can raise him right. I hope I can be a good mom. Most of all, I hope Camden never doubts how much he is loved and how much he was wanted.
As we decorated the tree this year, 2006, many of the same feelings came back to me. We added this year's special ornament - to remember the angel we lost. As we do, I send a prayer heavenward - that Camden will have a sibling and know that joy. After our recent loss, I am even more grateful to have Camden. This year he's 19 months old. And instead of watching calmly while decorating the tree, he's in the middle examining each ornament (and pulling them off the tree). Again, we danced around as we listened to Christmas music. And I delight in his belly laughs as we spin in circles. He looks at me with a face full of adoration and love. With that, the Christmas spirit enters our house.