SynopsisAbigail 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.
From Chapter 12
My assistant Scott appears like a mirage at my door. I stare at him. Do I dare trust him? How badly do I want a child? Can the office gossip keep silent? Maybe we should skip a month. What would happen if we were a few hours late with the needle? Am I willing to risk it?
“Scott,” I begin, very hesitantly. “Scott, I need to tell you something.”
“Here it comes. Wait – let me sit down for this. Okay.” He grips the armrest and I see his knuckles go white. I would have expected him to be gleeful at finding out what I’ve been up to, but instead he appears nervous.
“Actually, I need to ask you a favor. How are you with needles?” What if Scott passes out and I have to call the ambulance with my pants down? Try explaining that away.
“Are you doing drugs?” He arches a perfectly tweezed eyebrow.
“Piss off, Scott. No, I’m not doing drugs. I just need help with a hormone injection. I can’t quite reach.” I gesture toward my derriere.
“Hormone injections are easy. My neighbor down the hall is getting them for gender transformation surgery. Hang on, are you…?” He trails off and looks me up and down.
“I’m not becoming a man. I don’t know how you guys walk around with those–” I gesture to the general area of his crotch “–things. No thank you. Look, this is really personal and extremely private. I need to know I can trust you to keep this a secret.” Scott is nodding furiously. “Seriously, Scott, you are not exactly known for your discretion.”
“It hurts that you think that of me, Abby.” He holds his hand up to his forehead and sighs dramatically.
“Give me a break. You happily tweeted the bra size of the last Ms. F&F.”
“Okay, I’ll give you that one, but come on; she was a double-d–”
“Scott, this is for real. I will kill you if this gets out.”
He nods eagerly.
“Fine. The truth is, I’m–”
“Oh my god, you’re dying. You have cancer and only a short time to live. Oh, the insanity. It’s a cruel, cruel world. So young and no time left.” He whips out a pink handkerchief from his breast pocket and fans himself. I fix him with a sober glare, waiting for him to run out of steam.
“Are you finished?” My serious gaze prompts him to pantomime zipping his lips. With a sigh, I continue, “Scott, I’m not dying. I’m trying to get pregnant.”
“What? You’re not dying?”
“No, I’m fine. I’m – well, not just me – we’re, Jack and I, are a tad … reproductively challenged. But it’s okay, we’ve got ourselves a membership at a fertility clinic.”
“Fertility clinic? Wait, this means you’re going to be a mom. My little Abby is going to be a mom.” He claps his hands together loudly.
“Hush,” I hiss. “I’m not pregnant yet. Can I trust you to keep this between us?”
“Of course, honey. I’m just so glad you aren’t dying. This place would be rather lonely without you.” His somber expression gives way to a glimmer of hope. “Can I be Uncle Scott? Please?”
“Please, Abby, please. I’ll take your secret to my grave.”
I crack a playful grin. “I thought you might actually be Auntie Scott.”
“Auntie Scott; I love it. I can’t believe I get to help make a baby.”
“Whoa, I only need you to give me a needle – not your swimmers.”
He mimes slapping on a pair of latex gloves, eyes gleaming with mischief. “Bend over, boss, I’m going to enjoy this.”
About Jen Cumming
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.