Choosing Strength and Not Taking Life for Granted

A strong relationship is one that will stand the test of time. It will stand through difficult times, good times, and in between times. When people ask me how my husband and I have managed to keep our relationship so strong after 11 years, I tell them it’s because we’ve been to hell and back and we made the decision to stay strong, rather than allowing it to tear us apart.

For nine years, we’d been living the good life. Everything seemed to come so easily to us. Financial freedom, success, parenting, love…it was all easy. We knew we were fortunate, and that’s why 2010 was shaping up to be yet another banner year for us. We were living the good life with one another and our 18-month-old daughter. We were about to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We had several amazing vacations planned. My husband’s career had been taking off at warp speed for the past few years. I’d just landed my first huge freelance client, and I’d been staying home with my daughter since three months before she was born. We were happier than ever, more in love than ever, and having the time of our lives.

We made the decision to have another baby in 2010. Our good fortune continued to last as I once again became pregnant on the first try.  Our good fortune was unstoppable – or so we thought. When I was two months pregnant, our good fortune seemed to come to an end, and our lives continued to spiral out of control for the next five months. I miscarried our unborn baby on Mother’s Day.

A week later was our fifth wedding anniversary. The week had been much more than difficult and my husband decided I needed a night out to celebrate and try to focus on the positives in our life. We went to dinner and left our daughter with her aunt for a few hours. An hour into dinner we received a phone call that our daughter needed to go to the emergency room because she fell and had a gash above her eye and needed stitches. We left dinner and spent the next few hours with a bleeding baby in the hospital while she was tended to. She still has a scar above her eye.

I became pregnant again right away. A week after finding out I was pregnant for the second time that year, I miscarried again. The day was Father’s Day. A month later, I was pregnant again, despite the fact that we were using every form of protection possible. I was not emotionally ready for another pregnancy. I continued to have bleeding issues throughout the first and most of the second trimesters. I thought I’d lost the baby three times during that time frame.

The week before my 27th birthday we found out we were having another girl. We also found out that she had an echo in her heart and she might have Downs Syndrome. We were sent home with a package of information regarding DS, termination, and the decision to raise a child with DS or to terminate. We were scheduled to find out for certain if the EIF (echogenic intracardiac focus) was DS or just a calcium deposit in her heart – the appointment wasn’t for another three weeks.

Fortunately, our daughter was perfect and we didn’t have any difficult decisions to make. However, those five months were excruciating, one horrific event after another. It was during that time in our lives, when the worst things that had ever happened to us were happening that we realized we could blame one another or we could lean on one another for support. We chose to lean on one another and to support one another. We chose love. We chose to be strong.

Choosing to be strong for one another and together made our relationship even stronger than ever. We’ve grown even closer as a couple, which we didn’t think was even possible. We’ve fallen  even more in love, which we didn’t think was possible, and we’ve learned to appreciate all the good we have in our lives much more than we did before. We no longer take it for granted the way we once did, because we are now perfectly aware of the fact that our perfect little bubble could burst at any time, and we choose not to take our good fortune for granted.

The moral of this story is that you can choose to be a stronger couple, or you can choose to crumble in the face of adversity. Choosing strength is a good choice; it’s one you will be glad you made.


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