I can see why our situation would evoke feelings of pity in some. But pity feels very different than compassion.
I think there's a misconception that Mike and I are somehow missing out on "real happiness" as parents because Caroline is not a typical child. Yes, there are some heart wrenching and devastating moments--all related to battles we wish Caroline didn't have to fight. But she's still the same child who once inspired "Congratulations!" after her birth.
We're on a different path and that's okay. Our challenges, expectations, and milestones may be different, but Caroline is still our pride and joy.