Today we found out, for what seems like the umpteenth month in a row of fertility treatments, that we are once again NOT pregnant. I was supposed to test this morning, and because I knew it was Annie’s birthday, had decided earlier in the month that I would wait until tomorrow. But I had been experiencing what I thought were pregnancy symptoms the past few days and thought, “What a great birthday present a pregnancy would be?” So at 6:30 a.m., I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to take a pregnancy test. After three minutes of anxiety and desperate prayers, it was confirmed that we are still not pregnant.
For those who have never experienced infertility, it is impossible to understand the grief that each month brings. For 2 1/2 years we have been trying for a sibling for Annie. For the past six months, I have let my world revolve around it. Praying to God each month not to let me get to what would have been another due date without a pregnancy. Our last loss was in August. Our due date was April 6. So this morning I faced this year’s greatest fear. I sat on the floor in our bathroom and let myself feel the warm tears stream down my face. I didn’t sob, I just let my tear ducts do the work. And for the next five minutes I let myself be numb to everything else but those tears. I composed myself, disposed of the little white stick with only one line, (I am starting to hate those little white sticks) and headed upstairs. I wasn’t planning on telling Mike. Not today, not on Annie’s 3rd birthday, a day that should be filled with nothing but celebration.
So I crawled back in bed with my husband. Our morning routine started and before long Annie was in bed with us. We sang her “Happy Birthday” and gave her birthday kisses (well, we give her kisses everyday, so not really different to her than any morning). And then I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I couldn’t bare the weight of my sadness, the hopelessness on my own, not today. So I told him. There is no word to describe the disappointment and despair that instantly appeared on his face. We have gone through this monthly, so each month seems harder than the last. I told him I was sorry I told him, that I couldn’t bare not to tell him though, and said we needed to focus on all that we had to celebrate today, an amazing three-year old! But still the sadness hung over us both.
Here’s the thing: For months and months and months, I have been obsessing over giving Annie a sibling. SomeONE that will love her, teach her, and want to be just like her. SomeONE that will admire her, play with her in the park, and share a room with her. SomeONE that will be there to look out for her when her parents aren’t around anymore. SomeONE to laugh with her, someONE for Annie to make smile and to bask in the joy that Annie brings. ONE person. I have let something I cannot control affect my life. I have obsessed over the fact that I can’t bring ONE person here for her.
And then this morning something miraculous happened. This next sentence is going to make me sound totally insane. I opened Facebook. There were already twenty something messages and posts from others dedicated to celebrating Annie, to wishing her a happy birthday.
“Happy Birthday to the coolest kid I know”
I can’t believe this little nugget is THREE! Miss that smile and her infectious giggles! Happy birthday, Bean!!
“Happy Birthday to my main squeeze!”
The outpouring of love that we have received on our daughter’s third birthday has been overwhelming. On a day I started out feeling so helpless, you made me realize that Annie already has so much. She may not have a sibling YET, but she has touched so many lives and so many have touched hers. She has only been here three years. Just three years! And I never imagined she would be so loved by so many.
My husband posted the following message today.
Today, Colleen and I celebrate our daughter, Annie, on her THIRD BIRTHDAY.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIDDO! THREE YEARS OLD?!?! Incredible how quickly time flies! Unending thanks to all who have sent birthday wishes today and for the unfailing support that you have given over Annie’s lifetime. Colleen and I are so fortunate to have such a loving family – and Annie also fortunate for having so many aunts and uncles!
Oggi Colleen ed io festeggiamo il TERZO COMPLEANNO di nostra figlia, Annie!
TANTISSIMI AUGURI TESORO! TRE ANNI!!! Quanto vola il tempo! Mille mille grazie a tutti voi che avete mandato gli auguri oggi. Vi ringraziamo di tutto il sostegno che ci avete sempre dato nel corso della vita della pupa. Colleen ed io siamo fortunatissimi di avere una famiglia che ama e che dà così liberamente – e Annie è anche fortunata di avere così tanti zii!
In just hours 178 people liked it. My phone has been buzzing non-stop since the moment I woke up, with messages, texts, emails, voicemails. You didn’t let an hour of our day go by without reminding us of the love that fills our daughter’s life.
I’m still praying for that ONE little person to add to our family. I have been blessed by five bonds that only siblings share. But today you made me realize that Annie will never be alone. She will never be without love. When she was born I was so scared of what the world would think of my daughter. Would they include her? Would they bully her? Would they turn away from her? Would she ever be loved by others outside of our families? I am not scared anymore. One of my friends posted this today, “celebrating the birth of a child that is the source of so much happiness makes me feel so lucky to be part of this extended family. love u 3.” It brought tears to my eyes, but what really struck me was “family.” And as soon as I saw this, it clicked. I have been burying myself in stress, sadness, and hopelessness that I can’t give her the family I have planned for her. But our Annie has been like a magnet for love, and because you all share in her joy, because you don’t turn away, because you have embraced her in a way I never knew possible, I am confident she has the most incredible family already.
Happy Third Birthday Kiddo! We are so proud of you, love you so much, and can’t wait to see how you make our family grow in the next three years!