Nine years ago, life in the Byrd household changed for the better — our son Charlie was born.
Although Charlie has an older brother and sister, he is the first of my three children with my wife, Krystle. And he’s a rainbow baby.
Krystle is a survivor of three miscarriages, including one pregnancy that lasted until the fourth month. It was the second time she became pregnant, and we could barely contain our excitement as we headed to the doctor’s office to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. But that office visit ended in heartbreak when the doctor couldn’t find our baby’s heartbeat.
They conducted an internal ultrasound, and it confirmed our fears. We had lost our child. The staff did their best to console us, and then sent us home with instructions to return to the hospital if the miscarriage didn’t naturally continue on its own.
It did that very night. I did the only thing a husband can do in that situation — I held her in my arms and we cried together until the miscarriage was over.
We buried our baby a few days later. We decided she would have been a girl, and we named her Silver Ann.
After a period of mourning, we decided to try again but to no avail. After a few years of having no luck, we started trying all the old wives tales tricks for getting pregnant, and nothing. And after five years of trying, we resigned ourselves to the idea that we just couldn’t naturally have children. Ultimately, we told ourselves we’d adopt a child when the time was right.
We opted to focus on ourselves. We both started eating better, and we started to exercise. I lost about 60 pounds. Krystle lost nearly 100.
At 4 a.m. one morning, Krystle woke me up. She was standing above me, and she was angry. In her hand was a pregnancy test. It was positive.
“I just lost all this weight, and now I’m gonna gain it all back,” she complained.
We made an appointment with the doctor’s office to confirm our at-home test, and it was true. We were pregnant again.
I remember how scared I was when the time came to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Krystle and I held hands tightly as the doctor moved the microphone equipment over her stomach — and there it was. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. Thump, thump. A rapid little heartbeat. We somehow managed to keep our composure until the doctor left the room, and then we broke down sobbing tears of happiness in each other’s arms.
That little heartbeat turned 9 on Friday, and he was followed two years later by Annalise and two years after her by Willow. Willow was actually due on Charlie’s birthday, but came a week later, so I’ve got another birthday party to plan for a soon-to-be 5-year-old.
I always take a few moments on Charlie’s birthday to remember Silver Ann and the struggles Krystle and I went through just to get where we are today. It’s been a rough road, but every time I look at Charlie and his sisters, I’m reminded the journey was well worth it.