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Infertility: You Can't Always Get What You Want

When I was in 6th grade, I was very shy. In fact, I had exactly two friends. I wore big glasses that, to this day, I can't figure out why I thought they looked good on me at the time. I had braces that had (*shudder*) black bands on them. My choice. I was into 4-H, more specifically in the dog competitions. To show my love for dogs, I wore this Rottweiler T-shirt every week to school. I was a good student so naturally I was labeled as stuck up, a nerd, a loser. Funny enough, there are probably people reading this that remember how I was in middle school.

Unfortunately, with all this awkwardness, I had to take it one step further and develop the biggest crush on one of the most popular boys in school. And here is the thing: I actually thought that with enough perseverance, I would eventually go out with him. (Spoiler alert: I never came close).

RELATED: Dear Infertile Friend, You Are Not Alone

I remember reading a teen magazine one day and finding an ad for this book called "The Get Him System." (Apparently you can still buy it for around four dollars.) The book promises that you will nab that guy you really want. "Use our system! Tips and tricks for getting the guy you've always wanted!"

So obviously, I knew I needed that book. My best friend (one of my two friends) wanted in on it too. We split the cost and shipping fees and I impatiently waited the four to six weeks for the book to come in the mail.

The day I got it, I raced home, opened its discreet paper covering and relished it. It was a bit thinner than I imagined, but I was sure it was filled it with the secret that would get me this boy.

Infertility is maddening because you start to feel like you are doing the same thing over and over, all the while thinking the next time will be different.

I sat on my bedroom floor and started paging through it, my smile slowly starting to melt into a confused grimace. "You are special and one of a kind!" it read. "Just be yourself! Guys love it when they find a girl who is real and true to herself. There is really no secret to getting that boy to notice you. Be yourself!"

"Be yourself?" My forehead wrinkled. That was it? That was what this book was telling me to do? Be myself?

"What kind of bullshit is this?" I said hotly, "Screw being yourself!" With that, I launched the book across the room and it landed with a loud thump in my trash bin.

It's been eighteen years since that fiasco. The glasses were replaced with contacts and eventually surgical correction. The braces are gone and I've moved on from that boy to my husband of seven years. But that's about all that's changed.

In the throes of infertility, I desperately wanted an easy fix. Maybe a book called "Get Pregnant Fast—Use our system!" I got more angry and impatient as the years went on. Some women learn humbling peace during this time; me, I got more pissy. It's probably the reason that in a span of three years, we went through three IUIs, three IVFs and two donor transfers. Boom, boom, boom. One after the other. Just like the 12-year-old wanting the secret to get the popular boy, 29-year-old me just wanted to get pregnant already! It obviously wasn't that hard, being that every other girl seemed to have a baby. Back then, I misconstrued the book as one that would have some magic secret of dating someone very unattainable. I was so disappointed to learn there was no secret.

Like infertility, I had to be taught the hard lesson: You can't always get what you want. Sometimes you will go broke doing treatment after treatment. You will be faced with the thought of: What if it doesn't work? You can tax yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually.

I am eight weeks pregnant today. I, in no way, feel like my journey is over. I try to not be the downer, but I know realistically how many women have miscarriages. I hope I go on to deliver this baby. But I might not. I have people telling me to think positive, to enjoy this time. They haven't had the experience I've had. They haven't had to face a possible child-free-not-by-choice life. They haven't had to drain their accounts for treatments.

RELATED: Another Failed Cycle

Infertility is maddening because you start to feel like you are doing the same thing over and over, all the while thinking the next time will be different. Treatments can work the first time for a lot of women. But not for some. There are those, like myself, that fall into the tiny percentage that either treatments don't work at all, or it takes so many cycles that people start wondering if you are ever going to face facts.

For people like me, not finding the right treatment protocol or diagnosis can make you want to hurl the infertility guide book across the room. You feel cheated. You paid the money, you waited an allotted time, and all you've end up with is disappointment. I speak for myself tentatively, because I am cautiously holding onto my first pregnancy. But I also speak for others. The ones who aren't "doing OK" with their infertility. I hear you.

I once saw an anonymous quote someone used to describe how infertility feels. When I read it, I broke down crying.

"The best way I can describe infertility is to ask a parent to imagine a world where their child did not exist. I live that reality every day."

Image via Twenty20/alesha_macarosha

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