When you didn't get what you wanted

I'm sure most of you read the amazing, emotional post my husband created in time for Father's Day. I am extremely lucky to have such a wonderful, supporting partner who has been by my side through thick and thin. I'm proud of him for opening up

We've been having some open dialogues about this whole process, especially in the last few weeks. In the name of full disclosure, I'm going to give you some medical details. We're counting down to our first IUI (inter uterine insemination) in July and I think we are both afraid to be optimistic. Dr. S says IUI is “less traumatic” for the sperm and they are more concentrated in an IUI procedure and closer to my (one tough) egg (yes, there have been lots of jokes about the traumatic thing) so it sometimes works for people when they don't know what else will help. It's also more in our price range than IVF. But, there are no guarantees we will even be able to have the IUI unless my body cooperates in a big way. I'll be more highly monitored this time, which means more doctor's appointments and more anticipation of things to come. I've said it before and I'll likely say it again, but this whole infertility thing is a big hurry up and wait game.

We were (naively) optimistic when we did the first (several) Clomid cycles. We really don't want the let down again if (when) we see the negative pregnancy test. I can even remember Dr. S saying back in August that “once we get you ovulating, you'll probably be pregnant in no time.” I refuse to think that one attempt at IUI will be the magic trick, since many women need 2, 3 or even 4 attempts.

I also know that IUI means heading back to UNC Fertility and Dr. M. I promise I am going to give him a shot when I go back. Maybe he was just cranky and needed a cookie the day I saw him. Maybe he'll be more involved now that I'm at least low-high tech. Maybe things will be different. Maybe I should take some cookies, just in case. Hmm... chocolate chip or peanut butter? Decisions, decisions.

One of my favorite books I love to quote to my students is Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. He offers a lot of general life advice for, well, everyone. One of my favorite quotes to ramble off to students used to be “Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.” When I read the book the first time, that quote just rang so true with me. Now, at the 10 month mark of my medically assisted portion of my infertility journey, it feels true once again.

I have experienced anger, heartache, frustration, sadness, melancholy, elation, hope and every other emotion on the infertility spectrum. I have experienced procedures I never thought I would have the ability to endure. I have experienced side effects and mood swings unknown before Clomid. I have experienced the cruelty of people who don't know how much it hurts when they judge me for seeking help for a medical problem. I have experienced anxiety and uncertainty waiting for test results. I have experienced the love and support of those around me who want this to work for us. I have experienced a connection with people I never knew were suffering in silence just like me. I have experienced a doctor who is wonderful and willing to go out of his way to help me and my husband. I have been experienced being dismissed by a doctor who doesn't seem to have time for me. I have experienced a renewed connection with my husband in the midst of all of this turmoil.

I am completely accustomed to not getting what what I wanted. But, how much experience does one person need? Viewing each of these obstacles as an experience to learn from and grow from provides a new framework for personal growth. But, on the dark days, the bad days, I'm tired of growing. I'm tired of searching for the silver lining and looking for the bright side. I want a baby. I know I have gained valuable insight about myself, my marriage and the friendships in my life. I know each of these experiences is making me a better, more empathetic person, but I'm tired of being on the outside looking in, always wondering what might happen next. When does experience stop and the rest of life begin?


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