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The following is a guest post from S, a reader and friend, who would like to remain anonymous at this point. 

When there was only silence where there should have been a heartbeat I was alone in the exam room, but for my OB who was quietly explaining my options as she studied me with concerned eyes.

I had thought it was a routine appointment, so I told my husband it wasn't necessary for him to drop everything, cancel an important meeting, and travel uptown to my doctor from his downtown office. For some, the 10 week appointment is important because it's there that the first ultrasound is usually done. But for us, it wouldn't be my first ultrasound but my third, and it wouldn't be the first time we heard the baby's heartbeat, but the second. So this appointment didn't feel particularly groundbreaking to me, and I was fine to go alone.

But when there was no heartbeat this routine appointment turned into something that was anything but. Still sitting on the exam table covered from the waist down by a white sheet, I fumbled for my phone, called my husband, and broke the news. He left his office right away and came to pick me up so I wouldn't have to go home alone.

All of a sudden, everything was different.

Almost four years before that awful day two months ago, we stood in front of friends and family and joined our lives together. And I knew then that bad things would happen to us, because they do over the course of a life, but it's really a big leap of faith, isn't it? You choose someone who you like and love, who you respect and enjoy, and you get married and you hope that things will be good and happy and trust that you will be able to hold hands and face the hard things together.

But it doesn't always work like that, of course.

Which is why, in the midst of our grief and confusion and fear, I also found myself thankful. Thankful that we were able to love each other and support each other through what was the darkest moment in either of our lives to that point. That we were able to give each other what we both needed, even if what we sometimes needed was to be alone for awhile. Somehow, my husband knew when to let me cry without saying anything and when I needed him to tell me, yet again, that everything really would be ok and that we would have the family we were meant to have. I had always been the more optimistic one in our relationship but he took over that role so seamlessly, and when I so needed him to, that it still surprises me that it hadn't been this way all along.

I have found that sometimes the hardest moments of my life are the ones that bring the most clarity. And what I saw when we pulled ourselves out of the sticky sadness and started moving forward is that our marriage had suddenly become more textured. We are the same people we always were, but our experience fused us even closer together, bringing an extra strength to our bond that wasn't there before, because we hadn't needed it to be. It reaffirmed for us that the choices we were making about our life and our family were the right ones and that wherever we go from here, we go together.

And for that, I am grateful.

Thank you, S.

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Do you agree that the hardest moments in life and marriage are the ones that bring about the most clarity? Do you think that marriages can grow stronger for having survived difficult times?

here year3Previous Posts on the Here Year/Marriage:

The Here Year.

The Here Year Month #3: Marriage.

The Here Year, June: Marriage (A Design So Vast)

On Marriage & Age.

"We Are a Work-in-Progress." (A guest post)

"She's got my back, and I've got hers." (A guest post)

What My Therapist Said About Marriage.

4.003 Days of Laughter (& Counting) (A guest post)

The Marriage & Sex Question.

The Best Thing I've Done For My Marriage?

Why Do Married People Cheat?

The Best Thing I've Done For My Marriage?