Last year I did a recap of our Christmases past, and I thought I would do it once again. Here is a recap of our Christmases as a married couple:
We had been married for all of 6 months. We had learned of DH's diagnosis of stage 4 cancer just two weeks before Christmas. Having just recovered from the 1st surgery to diagnose and biopsy, a week before Christmas we had our first day (of what would be many) hanging out at the chemo center as DH received his IV meds. We felt raw and stripped bare and yet full of life and purpose all at the same time. The shock was tremendous not knowing what was ahead. The hope and despair equally as jolting. The comfort and support that surrounded us from our community- family and strangers- was life changing. That year, DH decided he wanted to sing xmas carols together- it is a tradition that we have continued every year. So I printed out a ton of songs from the internet, and we sat by the fire xmas day and sang carols, and held each other.
The second Christmas I was home on break from grad school after living on campus far away from DH for nearly 3 months (we racked up lots of frequent flier miles during that time!!). It was wonderful to be home. DH was done with treatments (final surgery had been in June) and 6 months later, he finally had his umpf back. We traveled out of the country (the trip we had had planned for the previous xmas, but canceled when he was diagnosed) and had the most wonderful xmas.
Our third year of marriage, we rejoiced as we decorated the house for the first time. Year 1 we hadn't really decorated because we thought we would be out of the county for all of winter break, but instead ended up with doctors and chemo labs. Year 2 we were out of the country and so we didn't decorate, and so year three was a time to celebrate just being home. The simple things like hanging lights, telling stories about each xmas ornament we hung and how it came in to our lives. It also was the first year that my FIL was living in the same town as us and so it was the first year we celebrated xmas with more then just the two of us.
Snow. Snowed in for days. Barely made it to the Christmas eve worship service. A quiet Christmas. We celebrated a 2nd year of having DH's father living near by. The grief was present as we had had our first miscarriage earlier that spring. The grief was magnified in that my baby sister had had her first child just before Thanksgiving, and the family was all together (across country in a different state than we live) oohing and aahing over the new grandchild over the phone. While the grief was there, and I was struggling with the fact that my estimated due date and the birth of my niece had come and gone and I was still not pregnant again. But I still mustered up some hope- assuming naively that the next time we got pregnant we would be home free.
Last year was our fifth christmas as a married couple. We had had our second miscarriage the prior spring and had moved on to IUIs. We had just had two back to back BFN from IUI #1 & #2 and were leading up to IUI #3. My spirit was very heavy last year. I wrote on my blog that "the darkness has settled into my spirit even deeper this year. DH had to drag me kicking and screaming into the holiday spirit this year. I am glad that he did- he pulled out all the decorations and I watched, as the fire roared and the xmas music played, I felt my spirit lift a bit." Even as I wrote that, and even though the grief was very very thick at this time last year. I was still hopeful that we'd get pregnant in 2010 and that the third time would be the charm.
So as Christmas 2010 was approaching and we were not closer to answers or a child, I felt the anxiety creeping in. In a strange way, the diagnosis of Endo, and the doctor advising us that IVF is our only option, was an early Christmas gift. Christmas is a hard time of year for infertiles, at least it is for me. Three Christmases have come and gone and we do not yet have a family of our own to celebrate it with. DH and I don't have any relatives in the area, so it is just him and I during the holidays. I've become a Scrooge at the holidays and I am convinced that IF is to blame. But finding out that mystery behind why we haven't been able to get pregnant and why I have been in so much pain- gives us some clarity, and makes the decision for us that IVF if the next step if we really want to try to get pregnant. And we know IVF has really good odds. Better than anything we have tried so far. As the Christmas approaches, I feel like instead of grief, I am feeling a flicker of hope. A hope that lets me believe that maybe, just maybe by next Christmas we make truly have a family or be well on our way.