Like many newly married couples, my husband and I had many dreams together.  We dreamed of a big family and after being married nearly 5 years we had our first child.  In 2009, we were pregnant with our third child, following a miscarriage early that same year.  I became very ill, quite suddenly; consequently, she was born almost two months early.  We discussed getting my tubes tied at delivery, but had not really had time to think and pray about the consequences and finality this surgery would bring.  I was so sick, magnesium flowing through an IV as I waited for delivery of our baby girl.  I had a definite urge to sign the paperwork and have the surgery done while I was already having my 3rd c-section. 

This, is where my story of loss, regret and a lot of pain began. I remember laying in the hospital bed recovering and feeling a weight of immeasurable guilt. For years, I would pray about it.  I would live with a void, a silent pain very few people ever knew.   

"Who doesn't know what it's like to smile thinly and say you're fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain? There isn't one of us not bearing the wounds from our own bloody battles"  -ann voskamp

In 2012, three years later, I was at a yearly exam and discussed my feelings with my doctor.   I thought, being over 35, having had three c-sections, and having had pre-eclampsia, she would say I made a smart decision. That something she'd say would make me feel better.  Move on.  But instead, she told me about a specialist that did tubal reversals and that I needed to see her sooner than later.

My husband and I began praying.  We asked close family and friends to pray.  In 2013, we would visit this doctor for the first time.  It took almost two months for me to call for that appointment . What would people think?  How would we ever pay for it? What if ?  I had so many doubts, yet I felt God was calling us to follow this path 

After extensive praying and testing,  I had surgery done in the fall of 2013.  Our chances to get pregnant were not high, but we kept praying for God's plan to be known.  We prayed for courage to follow.  To be obedient.  We prayed for healing. I wanted more than just a chance to get pregnant, I wanted to repair my body.

Months would pass.  I wouldn't get pregnant naturally. We kept praying. We had more testing.  We started fertility treatments and months later we were still not pregnant .  I went through so many emotions in those years.  Not feeling worthy to have another child. Guilt.  Inadequacy.  Hope. Defeat. Up and down my emotions would go.  I would keep seeking Him.  I would keep asking Him to make His plan evident.   

April 2015 came and we finished our last unsuccessful round of fertility medication.   I gave it all to the Lord.  I finally felt at peace.  Sad, but peaceful.  I knew we had followed Him.  Trusted Him. And through all of it, I had grown so much in faith. I felt like the journey had been His plan all along.  The lessons I would learn.  The fears I had faced.  He had brought me near to Him in so many ways. 

And then on May 18, 2015, I would see a very faint line on a pregnancy test.  The first month without medicines or treatments or timing.   Just God and His miraculous provision and timing .  

I would go on to have a rather challenging pregnancy.  Pre-eclampsia again.  Bedrest and another premature delivery.  

On Christmas night, I met this sweet angel weeks before her due date; yet her story began so many years before that night.  For so long I felt like something was missing.   She was missing.  Truly God has already written all of our stories and we just need to trust in His plan and His time.  

As we celebrate the birth of Christ tomorrow, we will celebrate her birth and life as well.   As I hold her, I am reminded of the peace, the hope, and the love I only know because of Christ.  I know so many people have stories that are similar.  I pray you will hold tight to the promises only He can give.  I know the pain you may feel.  A silent pain, that perhaps you feel no one else can understand .  Take heart, because you are not alone.   He is the hope and the light.  

I sit here still in awe of our Christmas miracle. Thankful for His undeserved love and grace.  I would never change our story for something easier or different.  I no longer live with regret.  I know that every broken feeling I went through and every step I took into the unknown, I grew closer to Him.  And there is no gift greater than that.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.   They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.    They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Sharon McKeeman has started a project called turning mourning into joy.  Please follow this link to read more beautiful stories of hope.