Shawnee Barton
We can’t claim to love our daughter any more than other giddy new parents love their babies, but all the pain and effort has certainly made us appreciate Charlie just a little bit more. We have fewer complaints about things like sleepless nights, endless dirty diapers, and loss of privacy. At one time or another during our infertility battle, I dreamed of having to deal with all of those blessings.

Knowing our little girl and being in her life feels like the ultimate privilege. Still, the heartache of repeatedly failing to conceive aged me. The lines on my face have deepened and my spirit is heavier. I am not grateful for the challenges we faced, and I wouldn't want to do this again.

But on the other hand, if any one variable would have been changed—if we had gotten pregnant the first month or year that we tried, if we had stayed with our original doctor, or even woke up five minutes earlier on the morning of the egg retrieval—we wouldn’t now have Charlie, her silly giggles, unique smell, up-for-anything attitude, or any of the other miraculous characteristics that make her who she is. And knowing that has given me some peace.

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