I truly believe that my daughter is more valuable than any other child. You should think the same about yours. I think that is a great starting point for being a parent.
I realized that Anny and I have not honestly shared our story, and there might be someone who wants to or needs to hear it. We know many people who "just tried once or twice" to get pregnant, and while we are always elated for them, it always reminds us of our journey.
Be forewarned, I write about my sex life in this post, but I assure you that part is brief. There some details will be more than you ever wanted to know about me and my wife, but they are not gory or gruesome. There are details of our lives that I keep to myself, believe it or not. Feel free to hit the "back" button on your browser. I'll have a cute Abby picture post later this week.
As a quick refresher: Anny and I met in the summer of 1999. We knew each other for about six months before she was completely bored and called me to go to Baltimore for the day. We became close friends shortly thereafter. We were best friends by the start of summer camp in 2000 and began dating around mid-summer (I'm sure I could dig up the date if I had to). In 2001 we were engaged and married in March of 2002. (The last date I know without a doubt!)
In 2003 we made a trip for Presidents Day to visit Paul and Sarahlynn whereupon they told us that they were having a child! Anny and I were of course elated, but our tone of conversation quickly changed, even before we boarded the airplane to head for home on Monday. We had obviously talked about having children before we were married, that is the responsible thing to do. We had joked and talked about timing and names and all of those silly things that hopeful people do, but something changed with that monkey picture that was so neatly wrapped for us that night. All of the sudden a switch went off for Anny, and we had to talk through that.
Shortly thereafter we had to talk through all of the even-more-fun-than-poking-yourself-in-the-eye (at least to a 24 year old man!) conversations about how many children, how could we afford such a burden, how big of a house would we require for our brood, et cetera. Some of these conversations were wonderful and fun - let's have six children so that they can all play hockey together and not have to play with others! - but some were very hard - if I make $X.00 and you make $Y.00 but we need $X.00 + $Y.00 + $Z,ZZZ.00 to make this happen, how do we make this work? A big question that we had to jump through was whether or not there was a chance to pass on my kidney disease to any offspring we had, because that was a big deal for me. I checked with my nephrologist on this one and we're safe.
We talked each other off of a couple of ledges over the course of a couple of weeks and decided that we would join Paul and Sarahlynn in their joyous time and get pregnant and have children at around the same time - maybe about six months apart, but certainly close enough to share a wonderful bond with each other and make everyone in the world gasp at how perfect they would both be.
A month went by after Anny went off of "the" pill with nothing - no baby, no period - nothing. We were young and enjoying "trying" to make a baby, so we didn't really notice. Another month went by and Anny got to questioning things, but I was still having fun sex more often than before, so I saw nothing really wrong. Month after month went by with nothing to show for our efforts but a happy husband and a growing-depressed wife. Don't get me wrong, I was disappointed, but for a male who spent my work life revolved around children, I was getting my cute-kid fix often without having one of my own. Heck, I had even picked up a second job at the church working with youth, so I was really happy.
After Ellie was born things really ramped up and
For almost a year (this was over the course of 2004-2005) we were under the care of a professional fertility clinic - subscribing to their very strenuous schedules and tests, all of which are "normal" as a part of the program and I think are designed to prove to them that you really want to be a parent. Anny would drive from Manassas to Fairfax and back, before school began, three or four times a week for blood tests and other tests, and we drove to different places as necessary (luckily on weekends mostly) for Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) treatments when her body was "ready" for that step in the process.
We went through the process three or four times - I could tell you from bank records - without any success at all. I was ready to have conversation about adoption or being Childless-But-Happy, as many people are, but every time it came up we got into huge fights that ended with one of us in tears and the other steaming mad. The role changed each time, I think. I will not say that it took its toll on our marriage as it does to some other people, though. I think that because of our "failure" we had a lot of honest conversations that people tend to avoid, and that continues now. (Silver Lining, or something like that.)
In 2005 we moved from Manassas, VA to Maryland. I moved in March and Anny had to stay back in VA until school was over in June. We had made the decision that this was best for us as a married couple, though would mean tricky times for procreation. Meeting up at the IHOP twice a week in Vienna was not exactly ideal, though I might have made the offer on more than one occasion! We decided to stop what we had been doing and start from scratch when we were settled in on the other side of the river.
Anny moved up to join me in Maryland as soon as school let out, and my Aunt moved out of the house in August, right as school was starting for Anny. Not an ideal situation - new school, new year, new everything - to start things back up, but the fertility clinic had a location close to her work. So we started the process of IUI again during the summer. On the first time "back in the saddle" we had success and got to see our little "Smudge" (which began Abby's own site).
During the process of repeated IUI treatments we kept things to ourselves and a very small group of people who knew - supervisors at work and a few friends. I am not sure if that was a blessing or a curse, though. It was harder for me to keep things quiet - as is obvious because I keep a blog, and hard for Anny to talk to other people about it because of the intimate privacy that is associated with it.
Bottom line - Abby is the only thing in the world that Anny and I have ever truly yearned for or wanted. She is our everything.
*This post was originally written in a defensive stance. Someone whose sense of humor is not tolerated around me anymore called Abby an "accident" while she was playing. I wrote this post shortly thereafter. I realized that I did not want Abby to ever read this and have it come across as negative, so it has been re-written. Some of the sentiment may still remain, and I hope that you will look past that. Thanks.