Ms. Conception Synopsis:
Abigail Nichols has tried everything from rash-inducing herbal creams to acupuncture in a desperate, last-ditch effort to get pregnant. Wedged into her iPhone schedule among new business pitches and rebranding design meetings is Abby’s ovulation cycle, along with potential opportunities for illicit afternoon quickies. With all of their hopes and savings on the table, Abby and her husband Jack enter the whispered world of fertility clinics.
Along with a meddling mother-in-law, competitive pregnancies, and constant obligatory sex, Abby’s baby-track mind conspires to ravage her career, her marriage, and her sanity. One thing she knows for sure: a healthy sense of humor (and the occasional glass of red wine) is the best coping strategy. One thing she wishes she knew: whether it will be enough.
Ms. Conception is an honest but light-hearted novel inspired by the ups and downs of fertility treatments and the emotional burden that rests on those trying to conceive.
We are at Dr. Greenberg’s office at exactly ten o’clock. Ordinarily I’d be early to such an important appointment, but history has taught me that punctuality is not worth it with this man. I quickly change into my hospital gown, and Jack is handed full hospital gear to wear as well, including booties and hair net. He heads to the jerk-off room for what we hope will be his last deposit. Lovely Nurse happens to be on duty in the IVF suite. She walks us through the procedure and sets me up with an IV for the sedation.
“You won’t be completely out, but you won’t feel much. Put it this way, it’s like having twelve margaritas: you’ll know you’re in pain, but you won’t care.” She pulls Jack off to the side to have a discussion.
“What was that about?” I ask as he returns to my side with a smile.
“They just wanted to know if I was squeamish. I guess a couple of guys hit the floor each month and they want to be prepared. I told her I’m fine.” We are not the only ones who have a retrieval today; there are two other couples ahead of us. We pull out our books but find we can’t concentrate.
Suddenly the music in the suite changes from the local Top 40 radio station to a classical channel, as Lovely Nurse injects what she calls the “first batch” of sedation drugs into all the women’s IVs. The retrieval process must be relatively quick, since the first woman is soon helped out of the procedure room by her husband and Lovely Nurse. She looks woozy but wears a hint of a smile, either drug-induced or because she knows she may be one step closer to becoming a mom. The procedure room gets cleaned up quickly and the second couple heads in, a petite woman and a very tall linebacker type. Okay, we’re next. Jack squeezes my hand and I close my eyes, feeling suddenly quite relaxed. I’m liking these margaritas.
A few minutes later the door to the procedure room flies open, and out comes the football player with Lovely Nurse leading the way. The color has drained from his face and he looks ready to vomit or pass out. She dumps him in a change room, barks at him to keep his head between his knees, yanks the curtains closed around him, and rolls her eyes in exasperation. I’m pretty sure I hear her mutter “pathetic” as she passes. I have to agree with her. I mean, come on buddy, all you have to do is sit there and hold your wife’s hand. She has had weeks of needles and drugs and is now having her eggs surgically removed. I open my mouth to say something, then realize that Jack has gone a few shades paler. I squeeze his hand and he takes a deep breath as he meets my eyes. I’m sure he will be fine. He’d better be fine.
Jen Cumming Bio:
Jen Cumming had two dreams: to be a mother and a writer. The first was much harder than she’d imagined, but it gave her plenty of material for her second dream. Now she’s realized both and traded drug cocktails and early morning line-ups at the fertility clinic for juice boxes and evening PTA meetings.
Jen’s latest dream is to live in a small village in France and eat croissants. Being allergic to wheat might hamper that dream, so in the meantime she does her best to balance life with two young children and run a business with her husband in Toronto. She loves to spend time at the cottage in the summer, ski in the winter, and travel whenever she can.