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Byrd: Time nears for momentous 1st birthday

Klark Byrd

Tuesday will mark a momentous occasion for the Byrd family as our son, Charlie, turns 1 year old. In the brief time since his birth at St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson, he has already grown and learned so much. My wife Krystle and I are just as awestruck by him today as we were the day he drew his first breath.

For us, Charlie represents something we once thought impossible. In fact, we had even come to terms with our belief that parenthood would only be attainable through adoption. While there is nothing wrong with that and while it remains an option we may choose to exercise in the future, the desire to have our own flesh-and-blood child was very strong.

Seven years ago, our dream nearly became a reality when we discovered that we were pregnant. Krystle even took two pregnancy tests just to be sure. The results left us excited.

Once the doctor's office confirmed the pregnancy, we shared the good news with our families and Krystle began a daily regimen of prenatal vitamins.

We arrived at the doctor's office for our three-month checkup brimming with enthusiasm. We anxiously awaited the moment when we'd hear the baby's heartbeat, but the doctor was unable to find it. He asked that we return for a transvaginal ultrasound and assured us that everything was OK.

The failure to find a heartbeat left Krystle worried, but I told her that we had nothing to worry about until the doctor told us otherwise.

When we returned for that next appointment, we were more than ready to hear the heartbeat. We smiled at each other as the first images lit up the ultrasound monitor. I held her hand tightly while the technician did her job. A few minutes into the exam, we saw the first picture of our baby. We listened closely for a heartbeat, but none would be heard.

The couple that had excitedly walked into the doctor's office that day walked out in despair. The technician had called for the doctor, who told us our baby had stopped developing at six weeks gestation. Krystle was going to miscarry.

I learned that night what it felt like to be helpless as I watched and did my best to console the woman I love as she miscarried our baby. She wept and screamed. I held her in my arms and wept with her. It didn't matter how strong I was because I couldn't stop the miscarriage or her pain. I could only whisper "I love you."

Everyone who knew we were pregnant told us we were having a girl. In our time of grieving, we named our daughter Silver Anne. We mourned our loss.

After quite some time had passed, we decided to try again. So we tried. And we tried. And then we tried some more. Our efforts were futile. We even tried taunting Mother Nature by declaring we didn't really want a baby, but that didn't work either.

After years of failing to conceive, we thought we had two options: adopt or try in-vitro fertilization. Krystle disliked the idea of conceiving with the help of doctors and decided to relegate that option to a last resort should her biological clock near its final tick. We simply gave up our dream of becoming biological parents together.

On our wedding anniversary in August 2011, I accepted a job offer from The Dickinson Press. About a week later, Krystle started having strong abdominal cramps. Looking up a list of causes on the Internet, we thought she either had a bladder infection or at worst, a tubal pregnancy. Opting to cheaply rule out pregnancy, we bought some tests and took them home.

At 4 in the morning, I awoke to Krystle standing over me shaking a test and saying, "I'm pregnant!" I scoffed, telling her the test was probably faulty. I asked her to use the second test later in the morning. It confirmed the first.

We nervously attended our doctor's appointments, only becoming excited about the pregnancy after hearing Charlie's heartbeat for the first time. We wept tears of happiness that day.

After 36 hours of labor one day past his due date, Charlie arrived and took his first breath.

This past year has absolutely flown by. We've watched Charlie grow from newborn-sized diapers to size 4. He's learned to roll over, sit up, crawl (at a sprinter's pace, mind you) and walk. He feeds himself and loves watching Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. He doesn't know it yet, but he's benefited from the love we had to share with Silver Anne.

We're excited to celebrate Charlie's first birthday, and to celebrate our strength as a couple. We may always wonder about our daughter, but we'll always marvel at our son. In beating the odds, Charlie reminded us that hope springs eternal and dreams do come true.

Happy birthday, Charlie Byrd. Here's to another year of learning, laughing and loving.

Byrd is the news editor for The Dickinson Press. Email him at or tweet him at klarkbyrd.