Is One Really the Loneliest Number?

Is One Really the Loneliest Number?

**This was the first post I wrote, and I still ask everyday: “how did this miracle actually happen to me???”.  There were so many variables that went into me actually conceiving.  I often wonder where I would be today without my daughter, and it makes my heart ache for those who have struggled and are struggling with the burden of infertility.  I pray for those women and men, that they may someday be fulfilled in some way or another.  Whether with a child, or with something that can make them feel as complete as they are thinking parenthood would.  I always say, that experience, those terribly dark and isolating days, are things I would never wish upon my worst enemy.  For those struggling, never lose hope that there is something out there waiting to complete you.**  Erica 4/28/2017.

We all have experiences in life that define us. Some joyful, some not so much, some a combination. For me, the journey to having our one, and only, child has shaped me into who I am today.

My husband and I tried for eight long years to have a baby. Eight agonizing years.  Six inseminations, four surgeries, one miscarriage, four rounds of In Vitro and countless shots and drugs. Add to that mix some marital strife, a hefty dose of guilt and self-loathing and upwards of $50,000 that we did not have squirreled away, all charged to credit cards. Meanwhile, our friends were having babies left and right. With my tunnel vision all I could see were pregnant women or new moms pushing their chubby, blush-faced, beautiful babies in their “of the moment” strollers. All of my life was supposed to lead up to this. This is what a young, seemingly healthy woman should be able to easily accomplish, right? My body had let me down. And it had let my husband and our families down, or so I thought. Now what was I supposed to do with the rest of my life?

But, guess what? That fourth and final round of In Vitro? The one we decided to “what the heck” try because we had three frozen embryos taking up storage space…the one that my miracle-worker doctor recommended that after a seemingly unsuccessful transfer on a Monday to come back for another transfer on a Wednesday…the one that took 30 minutes when it should have taken five…that was the ticket! That was all it took. Imagine that. Our family of two (plus two adorable fur kids) was about to grow to a family of three (plus two adorable fur kids.) Unreal. Amazing! All we ever said was that we would have been overjoyed to have had just one child.

I gave birth to an absolutely gorgeous and healthy baby girl. It felt like Christmas morning. We were in complete and utter awe. It worked! Fast forward through the postpartum depression and anxiety (to be discussed in a later post, yay!) to a gorgeous and healthy 6 year old. She was always so happy on her own. Always quite content to play by herself; like she was born to be an only child. Just recently she has begun asking for a sibling to play with, to teach and to love. My husband and I declined birth control, we said we would see what happened. No emotional room left for more IVF (or financial room, for that matter). Yet, no more pregnancies to date, with my stage iv endometriosis the likely culprit.

So, back to my title question: Is one a lonely number for a child…or for mom and dad? Well, we are choosing to find the silver linings. A wonderful friend of mine who is an only child said to me “Think of it this way: it is quality over quantity.” And boy, did we get quality. I always joke that this is what we get for all the money spent!  Those silver linings abound, I have the spare time every day to be in wonder of this girl. We are forming a wonderful friendship, we can travel, spend a bit more money on her and ourselves (sounds a bit shallow, I know). After all of the heartache we went through to have this miracle, we now have the capacity to embrace every moment of joy with her.  Aaaand the not so great moments; she is still a kid, you know?? I will sometimes catch a glimpse of her and have that Christmas morning feeling all over again. How did we get so lucky? Did this really happen or am I dreaming?

My husband and I are blessed with loving families and wonderful friends who feel like family. We will surround her with those who love her. We will do what we can to make her number of one not feel lonely. I always thought one of the main reasons I wanted a child was to have someone there for us when we are old, to carry on our family.  But, there are no guarantees in life. Some children do not outlive their parents. Some children choose to separate themselves from their families. When it comes down to it, all of our numbers are one. We, alone, live our lives, start to finish.

We consider ourselves as some of the lucky ones. Others who have endured the pain of infertility have no reward at the end. They have to live and cope with that emptiness. They have to find something to fill that hole. We have one child and that is absolutely not the loneliest number.

Not by a long shot.

  • Amy says:

    So beautiful.

  • Kristin Allen says:

    oh my gosh, erica…i’m crying as i write this! i had no idea…wish you felt that you could’ve shared some of your heartache with your big sis, but i get it. you are so eloquent in your writing & that picture is just perfect! looking forward to more of your writings. i love you very much…oxoxo

    • Suzanne Wodehouse says:

      To my daughter, Erica, who I always knew, should have been a writer. Your description made me cry as much when I read it as when you were going through it. No one can understand unless they have been in your position. I said I would be o.k. if it didn’t happen, but now I can’t imagine life without her. We are all truly blessed. We love you so much. Can’t wait to see what’s next on the blog. xoxoxo

  • Stephanie Patton says:

    I love this concept! Such a spot on description what infertility puts you through. I strikes me that we were going through the same sorts of treatments at the same time, and we never really talked about it. I’m so sorry that I didn’t speak up, but that’s the thing… infertility makes you feel like you’re the only one, right? Best of luck with the blog and if you ever need a guest post about raising a kid on the spectrum, let me know 😉

  • Kelly says:

    Beautiful post. It’s never about the numbers, always about the love and it seems you have more than enough of that to fill her world with joy.

  • Bernadette M Horvat says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an amazing writer. I am so very blessed to be a one & only. I actually had a sweatshirt I wore for far too long that announced it to the world- “only child”. There is something very magical about having your Parents’ undivided attention & support, the backseat all to yourself, Christmas morning all for you, and the ability to carry yourself quite well at the big people table, from an early age. Even as an adult, I reflect on my childhood still as a wonderful, treasured time, never wishing if only I had a sibling. Embarrassingly, I actually do not like sharing my Parents with my husband or children- especially at Christmastime. Loving the blog! xo

  • Lindsay says:

    I’m going through this right now. We have one amazing 3.5 year old after 4 years of treatments. Trying for a second has been equally as difficult. I love this post – it helps immensely. I look forward to reading more!

  • Linda Baronowdkus says:

    Sugar Cookie, I knew that was you. Amazing writing, Wonderful Mother, There is nothing like it. Wait until you are Grammy. Enjoy every blessed minute. Love Linda

  • Susan Petruzzi says:

    I have had the privilege of living across the street from this ‘only child’ I called “baby neighbor” until I no longer could call her “baby”. She has morphed to fit her new term of endearment: “my best neighbor ever.” When I see her and play with her, I don’t think of her as an only child’. I see this amazing girl that is funny, polite, entertaining, confident, bold, inquisitive and a down right joy. I am not sure if she would have been a different child if she had more siblings but as far as I see this ‘only child’ has the world at her fingertips. I say this not because she is privileged in anyway but I say it because she has all the inner qualities that are priceless and can’t be bought. I can tell this because I want to be near hear. I enjoy her company and that is what relationships of all kinds is all about.

  • Amy says:

    Beautiful. As a Mom to an “Only”, too- one is definitely not the loneliest number. Whether you have only one- or many (!)- every child is a blessing. Thank you for sharing!

  • Mary says:

    Erica, this is beautiful. As an only child, growing up I wished for siblings too; but as an adult I treasure that time I’ve had with my parents. The relationship I have with them is something I am very thankful for.

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