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Why I Still Feel Hopeful About My 20th Fertility Treatment

I’ve been through a lot of fertility treatments. I’ve done twelve cycles of Clomid and timed intercourse, three IUIs, three IVFs, and a donor frozen egg transfer. All failures. In the midst of IVFs resulting in negative pregnancy tests, I remember there were several times I wanted to give up, that I thought it just wasn’t going to happen. I remember every crushing disappointment when a cycle wouldn’t work.

Couples going through infertility understand disappointment. At the start of a new cycle, there is this hope they have, that maybe, just maybe, this next cycle will be it. That a pregnancy will finally happen that will result in a baby. Couples remain hopeful through the monitoring appointments, through the daily injections, the mood swings and discussions with the insurance company. Even when every other cycle before this one was negative, there is that hope held out that this one will be different.

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Infertility is ultimately a lesson in hope and disappointment, and many of us cycle between the two for months, and in many cases, for years.

Every new treatment I have been through has given me the anticipation that this one is different, and therefore will be successful. When I was first “diagnosed” as infertile back in 2009, I was told I had low progesterone and was given five tiny pills to take during a certain time in my cycle. Ironically, I was never given progesterone until my first IUI. But back then, I thought that this was the cure. It gave me hope. When I sat on the ledge of the bathtub after that first medicated cycle and saw the single solitary line on the pregnancy test, I was disappointed for sure, but knew it just might take a couple cycles.

How much more disappointment could one person possibly endure when trying to have a child?

In 2012, when we made the decision to see a fertility specialist, I remember wringing my hands in the waiting room to see the doctor. My husband was furrowing his brow, bent over filling out the questionnaire with a generic pen and all I could think about was, this was science. This was the big game of medical intervention and that when I arose from this, I would be pregnant. Maybe the IUIs would work, or maybe we would get to an IVF. Lots of people got pregnant with IVF.

In 2014, we did our third and final IVF. My smile became pasted to my face, and I kept reassuring people that one of these times has to give. For the first time, the scales of hope and failure seemed to be tipping. I started wondering, horrified to myself, if this was even going to work at all.

We were given the option of using donor eggs, and suddenly, my faith in my body seemed to be restored. Maybe I couldn’t use my own eggs, but we could use someone else’s and that would still give my husband a biological child. I started throwing out the term “game-changer” when talking about the cycle. We had a new doctor, new clinic and new protocol. I was back on a small dose thyroid medication.

RELATED: Could a Genetic Mutation Be Causing My Infertility?

But that one didn’t work either. The pasted smile became a grimace. I didn’t think I could take any more heartbreak. How much more disappointment could one person possibly endure when trying to have a child?

In a little over two weeks, we are going back to the clinic in Texas for another donor cycle. Just a month ago, I was ready to give up, to throw in the infertile towel and call it quits. But the thought of quitting treatments scares me more than another failed cycle. So I am squaring my shoulders, swallowing my new pills and preparing to go back. I am using the term “game-changer” again, because technically it is. I have a new diagnosis of a MTHFR gene mutation, and I will be taking blood thinners. I have one of the most popular donors’ eggs.

Disappointment or hope? Every day, sometimes hourly, I cycle between the two. If infertility has taught me anything, it’s that none of this is in my control. No amount of fist pounding, or yelling will change the outcome. And even in the whirls of anger and sadness, I still feel hopeful that maybe this time will work.

Image via Getty Images

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