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If at First You Don't Succeed...

Before trying to have kids, I'd never failed at anything. Though I still believe in planning and hard work, it was something else that brought me my two beautiful boys.

by Emily Liebert

My parents always told me that I could accomplish whatever I put my mind to as long as I worked hard enough. Surprisingly, I listened. So when my husband and I decided, after two years of marriage, that we were ready to have kids, it never occurred to us that we couldn't make it happen. Sure, we'd heard stories from friends and family about how it took so-and-so a year to conceive. But, obviously, that wouldn't be us.

Three months later, when I held my positive pregnancy test in the air like a badge of honor, neither my husband nor I were particularly surprised. Immediately, we told everyone in our family, and I called my OB/GYN to make what I assumed would be the first of many appointments over the next nine months. The following morning, just for kicks, I took the second test from the box. I figured a little confirmation never hurt. Only this time, the test read: NOT PREGNANT. Huh? It felt like an affront. How dare the pregnancy test speak to me that way! Clearly, it was wrong.

Only it wasn't. And that was my introduction to the "chemical pregnancy"—a term applied when a woman miscarries less than a week or so after a missed menstrual cycle. Naturally, my husband and I were discouraged, but we were not defeated. Sure enough, three months later I got pregnant for the second time. But, again, I had a chemical pregnancy. I started to get anxious.

After seven months of Clomid with no results, I decided I needed something stronger, better, something that would work. Enter the IUI. A dozen of them, to be precise. And still, NOT PREGNANT. Why was this happening to me? I was working hard at it! According to my parents, that was the secret.

In the meantime, it seemed like everyone I knew was calling me with the "exciting news" that they were expecting. Everywhere I looked—on the street, on TV, even at my own family gatherings—all I saw were women with swollen bellies. I was a failure; something I'd never been before. We turned to IVF. Three rounds. Roughly 200 shots. The result? One more chemical pregnancy. I hit an all-time low.

A Change of Plans

That's when a flash of inspiration hit. Adoption! Why hadn't I thought of it before? My husband and I wanted to start a family. It didn't matter to us whether or not the child was genetically related. I almost felt silly for having wasted so much time and money pursuing fertility treatments and hyping myself on hormones for so long. I started to research adoption agencies that day.

In April 2009, we attended an information session at our chosen agency. Squeezing each other's hands through the various speeches, we knew our prayers were finally going to be answered. For the next four months, we worked feverishly to fill out stacks of forms, collect character letters from friends and colleagues, and complete our home visit, among the many requirements in the adoption process. We were trying to sprint, knowing full well that we were running a marathon. By August, we were finally dubbed an "approved and waiting family." They told us 15 months was the average wait time. Of course, we hoped it would be shorter, but were comforted by the fact that the result could be nothing but positive.

Two Curve Balls

Two months went by and we heard nothing from our agency. We went about our lives as usual until the morning of October 15, 2009. As I lay in bed, waiting for my husband to get out of the shower and head to work, so I could do the same, the phone rang. I picked up and heard my OB/GYN's urgent voice: "Emily, my colleague delivered a baby yesterday. The mother wants to place her child with a loving family. If you and Lewis want the opportunity to adopt him, come to the hospital right now."

Suddenly, our marathon turned into the sprint we'd unknowingly been preparing for. Four days later, we took home our son Jaxsyn. One week after that, I got pregnant the old-fashioned way with our son Hugo. Two boys, nine-and-a-half months apart. I dare you to try to make it happen!

If we've learned anything from this experience, it's that you can work hard, you can set forth a plan, and you can hope that it will produce the desired outcome. The thing is, life throws curve balls. In our case, two. The most wonderful curve balls we've ever fielded.

EMILY LIEBERT is the author of Facebook Fairytales and the novel You Knew Me When. She lives with her family in Westport, Connecticut.

PHOTO: Emily with her sons, Hugo and Jaxsyn.

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