The day my fertility doctor told me and my husband that we needed serious medical interventions to get pregnant, I left the clinic and drove straight to a convenience store to buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a lottery ticket. Digging a penny out of my purse and scratching angrily at the ticket, I willed my luck to change.

Nothing. Not a cent. Of course.

I pulled out the plastic spoon and dug into the ice cream.

A few days later we started IVF, going back to that clinic more times than we could count. We practiced giving shots to squishy rubber balls, hung calendars with dates highlighted and circled on our refrigerator, and cleared space inside it for medications that needed to be kept cold. I became more comfortable putting my legs in stirrups than I ever imagined possible. The soft part of my belly and the insides of my forearms bloomed with tender blue bruises.

And I cried. I cried often and I cried hard – huge wet tears rolling down my cheeks as I prayed and bargained and searched my past and my husband’s in a vain attempt to make sense of what was happening. It wasn’t supposed to take a team of medical professionals, multiple appointments, thousands of dollars, endless phone calls to insurance companies, and countless painful injections just to get pregnant. Making a baby should be about lingering over dinner, glasses of fine dry wine, and Fleetwood Mac playing in the background – anything other than medical charts, blood counts, and hormone levels.

Between the tears and the shots, I worried about everything: How many embryos should we transfer? Two? More? What if we got twins? Triplets? How could I possibly manage with multiples? But what if we only transferred one and it didn’t work? What then? More rounds of IVF? And what if they don’t work? When do we stop? Do we adopt? Where would we adopt from? Domestic adoption? Or would we go abroad? If so, where? Russia? China? Ethiopia?

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