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Seventeen years ago my husband and I went on a hike in Patapsco State Park. We’d been married a couple of months and were talking about life like you do when your future is on a fresh path and things seems so new.

I remember it clearly. There was snow on the ground and we started talking about kids. It occurred to us that we could start a family anytime we wanted, and we decided that day we were ready.

It was an exciting moment, but it took years to accomplish. First we had trouble conceiving, then we had a miscarriage, and then another and then, after a month of bed rest, another. Finally, we were handed over to a fertility specialist. He did all sorts of invasive, uncomfortable tests, but he couldn’t find anything seriously wrong. So he told me to take baby aspirin and progesterone and try again.

That’s when we finally conceived Maggie. She was born 14 years ago today. We named her Margaret Hope because we never gave up hope.

The years between that hike in the woods and the day Maggie was born were very, very long. Time crept buy while we waited for our family to begin. But the 14 years since have flown. I look at Maggie today and wonder where my little armful of baby went.

And when I think back to that hike in the woods and those three long years, I smile. We had no idea what life had in store for us that day. A little patience and a lot of prayer landed us a family more full than we ever imagined.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 12, Adam, 12, and Jonah, 8.