Ein Weihnachtswunder

A Christmas miracle

Dec 03, 2023Heike Felber

My sister-in-law sits on the corner bench, heavily pregnant. After giving the presents she lies on the sofa. Kicks move her stomach and a little foot becomes visible. Everyone is looking forward to the baby.

Later, when we're lying in bed at home, my husband says: "Let's try everything again next year, maybe we'll become parents after all..." I nod. "Yeah, maybe," I reply vaguely. And somewhere a star shines.

After Epiphany I will become an aunt. Overjoyed about the big gift, and also a little sad. I would like to be in the young woman's place. I hold my nephew and hope to experience this myself someday.

At the end of January I discovered a small wooden Christmas tree with colored balls in a hidden shop. He stands alone in the shop window, as if he had been waiting for me. On the top there is a carved nativity scene with a Christ child and a poinsettia. At home I store it in the basement. Will we ever celebrate our family Christmas with this?

And we go to the doctors again. Examinations, blood tests, questions. Everything looks good, no explanation for the unfulfilled wish.

After the laparoscopy in March, we have good conditions for further steps. But I would like to give us some more time until summer. Nothing again in April. I'm making a doctor's appointment for mid-June.

I'm feeling very good at the beginning of May. For the first time I'm really satisfied again. When I'm two days late, I take a test in the middle of the month. At first it doesn't look like anything, I can already feel the disappointment. And suddenly the second line appears, out of nowhere, unexpectedly, salvation. We can hardly believe it. We watch the test again and again, cry, laugh. We would like to take it slowly and tell the whole family about it.

I feel like I'm floating and waiting for my already scheduled doctor's appointment. The doctor is surprised himself. There is a heart and it beats. Estimated date is mid-January.

Finally it's our turn. Beautiful, carefree summer months follow, as if every day were a birthday or Christmas.

The belly is growing, the baby is doing well. We are preparing. In October the children's room is ready and I put the first clothes in the closet. We are looking forward to winter and the Advent season.

In November, completely unexpectedly, out of nowhere, the amniotic sac bursts. The world stands still for a moment. At two in the morning, it's raining, we'll call in an emergency. After the initial clarifications, I was transferred to a larger hospital. Lung maturity, wait and see. Insecurities and the belief that everything will work out, somehow.

It could start at any time or take weeks.

A few days later, a scream rings out in the rainy autumn evening. A brief greeting and then the doctors carry her into another room. "Go with him!" My second sentence, after "I'm your mommy."

Ten weeks early, 1750g miracle, wrapped in a diaper. Not in a crib, but in a warming bed in the neonatology unit. Wired, connected to monitors and with an IV. A few hours after the birth we really get to know each other. We will do it, everything will go well. "We wish you that you can grow well and come home soon! Maybe as early as Christmas..." we write on the wishing tree in the entrance area of ​​the department.

Doctor's interview. "Don't expect anything until January." Christmas at home? No, very unlikely. First palpation, taking on tasks yourself, kangarooing. It flashes and beeps. Lots of fears, but also a little baby with a big will to live.

Five days later I come home with an empty stomach and a breast pump. It shimmers in the living room. My husband put up my wooden Christmas tree with string lights. The Christ child on top. Only our child is missing. I burst into tears. Then we drive back to the clinic.

Commute. Cuddle. Pumping out. My husband is working again. I'm just going home to sleep. It's Advent time everywhere, we have longing. I'm trying to read a Christmas story, but the lightheartedness of the protagonists makes me sad. We have to say goodbye to our baby again and again; the separation feels wrong. Christmas is getting closer. Sometimes I take the train home in the evening. People with Christmas shopping everywhere, trees lit up in the front yards. This is my postpartum period and I should actually still be pregnant.

In mid-December I no longer have any energy. All neighbors in the room are allowed to go home.

The hospital chaplain visits me. She talks about patience, I talk about my torn heart. She gives me a poem. Later, while pumping, I read through it and try not to cry. Waiting for the big day.

At some point it means, possibly between Christmas and New Year. Better than nothing. "I'll come home to you... When the year ends..." sounds from the car radio.

Our son is getting bigger and more stable, learning to drink on his own, the feeding tube is removed, the cables are removed, and then he is moved to a normal bed. Two and a half kilos.

Five days before Christmas, suddenly the good news: if everything goes well, we will be released tomorrow. Final examinations, measurements. One last, quiet but lonely night without a baby at home. Prepare everything.

Euphoric, we go to the hospital the next day with the empty baby seat. In the elevator we are asked whether a child has been born. Yes, and it's finally coming home. A few hours later we carry our baby out. Well wrapped up, he rests peacefully in the baby seat. We meet the pastor in the hallway and I smile at her. The time has come, the long wait is over.

“Coming home for Christmas” takes on a whole new meaning. Now we are ready.

After five weeks we will become real parents again. Five long weeks, a short pregnancy and a long time trying to have children, and now we're bringing home a baby.

Christmas Eve. The whole family comes together. My parents, my siblings, their children, my grandmother. Everyone is happy and scurrying around the apartment. Our little Christmas miracle, our greatest gift, lies blissfully asleep under the tree.

And somewhere a star shines.

This year on December 20th we will once again be particularly grateful for a special homecoming five years ago.

For A. Thank you.

Written by: Olivia Badraun Di Liberto

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