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.
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.
From Chapter 5
I arrive at the naturopath’s office on time, which can be a miracle some days in Toronto traffic. Her office is on the second floor of a nondescript low-rise in midtown. I climb the narrow, dimly lit stairwell, butterflies unsettling my stomach.
The smell of incense hits me like a brick wall as I reach the last step, and I immediately flash back to a teenage Cassie constantly burning patchouli in her room, while the rest of us complained of headaches. Later, my dorm room neighbor at university tried to mask the smell of his pot by burning incense all the time, too. God, I hate that smell. I hold my breath while I look at the office numbers, searching through the blue haze for 206.
Walking down the hallway, I notice the incense burner smoking away beside an open window. One quick look out the window shows nothing flammable or human below, and after a glance around to make sure no one is watching, I casually knock the incense and its wretched smell out the window. Feeling better, I straighten my shoulders and walk confidently to the end of the hallway. I nearly laugh out loud when I see a hand carved wooden plaque attached to number 206. Serenity LaFleur, Naturopath.
Okay, Abby, you can do this. I push the door open.
“Oh … my…” The room is painted with swirls of deep purple, and wispy lilac gauze flutters in the window. Lavender tickles my nose. The ceiling twinkles like the night sky and a large beanbag occupies one corner, with a clipboard resting on top. A huge, heavy purple curtain divides the room in half. God knows what’s behind that. I feel as if I’ve walked onto the set of a seventies porn movie.
“I’ll be right there. Please have a seat and fill out a form,” says a voice floating out from behind the curtain.
“Um, okay.” I look around. Sit down where? My eyes settle on the beanbag, which appears to be the only thing that can support a person. I don’t remember the last time I tried to sit on a beanbag chair, but it was probably in grade school and I definitely wasn’t wearing a pencil skirt and heels. I shift my legs in an attempt to shield the naturopath from an indecent view of my underwear and hear the distinctive sound of a ripping seam. I sigh and pray the tear is small enough that I can return to work without an emergency repair.
As I glance over the fairly standard medical questionnaire, I madly try to imprint every image and sense of the room so I can accurately retell it to Jack and Jules later. I make quick work of the form. History of infertility in the family? No. Major health issues? None. Any drug use? No way; total prude. Ever been pregnant before? I wish. Menstrual cycle? Here’s the doozie: anywhere between eighteen to forty-two days. I flip to the second page and realize we are past the “standard” medical questions and into the frequency of bowel movements, description of cervical mucus, sexual positions used while attempting to conceive, days of the week we have sex, and how I feel during a full moon. Jack and Jules are never going to believe me.