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Day 10 of “12 Days of Christmas” with Nicki Salcedo

Nativity

About two and a half years ago, I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child. The message did not come from an angel, but a little plastic pregnancy test. Actually, three pregnancy tests because I couldn’t believe I was pregnant again. My three older children were finally at an almost manageable stage (ages 5, 4, 2) when I found out we would have one more.

I am not ashamed to tell you I cried when I found I was going to have a baby. I had recently started a new job. I was working on my third novel and revising another. I had laundry to do. I had dishes to wash. I was scared. I was afraid that I couldn’t be a good mother to a fourth child. Reason told me that I could not handle anymore disorder. What would happen to that fourth little baby in all our chaos? I kept thinking, “I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t manage as it is. How can I manage more?”

On top of that, my doctor considered me “advanced maternal age.” That means I’m old, and they wanted to heap worrisome tests on a mother who worried when things were fine. If worry was an Olympic sport, I could gold medal in it. My husband and I agreed to forgo the extra tests. And wait. And while I waited I did what I’d done the three pregnancies before that: I was sick every day. Not morning sick, but morning-afternoon-night sick. Not only first trimester sick, but sick until the day I delivered. And I waited for that day.

Twelve days before Christmas, I gave birth to a baby who came into the world quietly.  It snowed all day. I took that as a good omen, but days later I was very sick and back in the hospital. Without my baby. While I knew that I needed to get better, I also knew that I needed to get back to my kids.

On December 23, I told the doctor I was leaving the hospital. I missed my kids. I needed to see them. Even now reflecting on it, my body braces for the pain of their absence. Two days before Christmas, I got to go home.

That night after everyone went to sleep, I sat by the Christmas tree with the baby. I held her to my breast. Instead of feeling close to my baby, I felt close to someone long ago named Mary.

Maybe no one thought it worthwhile to document her worry or fear. It is possible that she was sick during her pregnancy and the trip to Bethlehem exhausting. Maybe the manger was the last straw for her. Maybe she was filled with doubt and “I can’t do this.” More likely she was stronger than me, more cheerful and more patient. The moment I looked down at my child, I felt a voice inside of me saying, “I can.” I felt a trembling happiness unlike any other I’d felt before. Maybe Mary felt that way.

I thought about my mother holding me as a child. I thought about my mother’s mother. I thought of my mother-in-law and my sisters. I thought about how each of us was once someone’s miracle. And that miracles are born despite fear and difficulties.

Do you know the circumstances of your birth? Was it lowly and in a manger? Did you have a good mother? Did you struggle? Maybe you are adopted. Maybe you will choose to not have children. Maybe you cannot find meaning in a Nativity story. I hope you do.

The circumstances of your birth and what you will become aren’t always related. The road to Bethlehem was difficult, but now, wherever you are, you are a miracle.

Merry Christmas.

Laura Drake - December 21, 2012 - 7:39 am

Nicki, What a beautiful post. I’ve had a hard time this year, getting into the spirit. You’re post just brought the Holidays to me.

Thank you.

Liz Flaherty - December 21, 2012 - 8:03 am

A wonderful post.

Terri Osburn - December 21, 2012 - 9:30 am

Beautiful. You. Your story. Your babies. Thanks for sharing this.

Nicki Salcedo - December 21, 2012 - 9:31 am

I’m traveling for work today and feeling a million miles away from my family. Christmas music is playing in the airport and lots of people are excited to get home. There is life. Happy and sad. Happy and sad. Thank you for stopping by, Liz and Laura. Merry Christmas!

Nicki Salcedo - December 21, 2012 - 9:33 am

Hi Terri, thank you. I’m pretty excited about getting to hug my mom tonight. She is also my miracle.

Susanne - December 21, 2012 - 10:19 am

Just lovely.

Irene - December 21, 2012 - 1:13 pm

This brought me to tears. Love it. And love you- you’re a super mom. :-) wishing you, your monsters, and “what’s his name” a very merry Xmas. Xo

Jean Willett - December 21, 2012 - 4:10 pm

What a heartfelt bonding moment for you and your baby. Thanks for sharing, Nicki. It’s beautiful.

Nicki Salcedo - December 21, 2012 - 10:46 pm

Happy Christmas, Susanne.

Irene, merriness to you and yours.

Thanks, Jean. Back at home and much cuddling tonight!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - December 22, 2012 - 2:38 am

Lovely post, Nicki. Glad to hear you made it back home to your little miracle monsters. Happiness and merriment to you and yours this Christmas.

Nicki Salcedo - December 22, 2012 - 9:14 am

Wishing you happiness and merriment, too! Thanks, Carol.

Laura Templeton - December 22, 2012 - 4:24 pm

Whst a lovely post, Nicky. Thank you.

Nicki Salcedo - December 23, 2012 - 12:23 am

Thanks for stopping by, Laura. Per usual, I was going to write about a different topic, but recent events changed how I reflected on the holidays. Happy Christmas.

Sylvia Romero - December 27, 2012 - 11:53 pm

That was a really unique story. I told my kids the story of the day I gave birth to them so that they can tell their children. Thanks for sharing. Now ill have read my kids your story so they’ll know more about their family.

Nicki Salcedo - February 19, 2013 - 10:44 pm

Sylvia, I missed your comment. So glad you shared your stories with your kids. It is necessary to know where we came from. If we asked everyone in the family, all the stories would be so different. Thank you so much for stopping by.

I Don’t Want Christmas » It's Only A Novel - December 16, 2013 - 11:26 am

[…] year I told you my nativity story. But this year there are no miracles unless you count tears. Unless you count the flowers and food […]

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