Almost exactly nine months ago, my editor called to urge me not to get pregnant. It's not that I'm reproductively profligate, nor had I asked for her advice. Rather, she'd read through the manuscript I'd just sent, realized that I was most likely leaning towards using some of the seven frozen embryos leftover from my various IVF procedures, and thought she should offer some professional advice.
Turns out, she'd just come from a meeting with the sales and publicity departments at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, my publisher. These literary, august sorts enthused about my book, letting her know they thought I should clear my schedule for early August. They wanted to send me out in support of it, they said, and anticipated pitching me far and wide. My editor got excited and, after hearing her excitement, I got excited.
The only problem was, I had already begun taking hormones to prepare my body for a frozen embryo transfer. Each evening, at exactly 7p.m. according to explicit instructions from the fertility clinic, I'd been injecting meds into my thighs, making sure to switch legs on alternating nights according to the nurse's advice about best results, venous health, and a bit of her personal superstition. I'd already had a couple of preparatory gynecological exams, some vaginal ultrasounds and a few blood tests. Even harder to imagine myself successfully getting through again in the future, I had finally convinced my husband that the three IVF-enabled children we already had weren't necessarily all I'd ever want. I told him of my newfound belief that frozen embryos weren't biomedical material but potential children. I explained my moral dilemma and lack of faith in scientific research being the best end for these seven particular embryos. He listened patiently as I compared them to our kids, repeating that at one time Sophia, Anna and Lily had existed at this exact cellular stage. Still, he urged me to wait, think really hard, and then we'd talk.
Months turned into years, and still, I kept bringing it up. On vacation and at our kitchen table, before having sex or during The Sopranos. I couldn't get the embryos out of my mind until, one day, Gary agreed to the frozen transfer. So, like I said, I'd called the fertility clinic, seen the doctor and began medication for the transfer that would have occurred two weeks after my editor called and convinced me to think real hard about life nine months hence.
And here I find myself today, my book's official on-sale date. And while I still have those seven frozen embryos and no clear idea of what I'll end up doing with them, I certainly don't have J.K. Rowling's book tour schedule. It's nobody's fault, really. Plans change all the time and I'm thankful for the great publicity and reviews I've already received, for my upcoming readings, and the September 23rd appearance on CBS Sunday Morning, one of my all time favorite shows. I know it'll get busier in September, and that the book turned out great. Still, I wish I'd been more of a pro nine months ago, less swayable. I wish I'd had more faith that if I did indeed end up pregnant, I'd figure out a way to work hard on both my book's and my baby's behalf.
Instead, I'm at home today, in the absolute quiet of my house (my daughters are at the all-day, everyday camp I'd found to keep them occupied while I, as I imagined, made countless appearances, charmed the pants off interviewers, hosted TRL and had my makeup tweaked in various green rooms). I think I'll head over to the bookstore to see if they've unpacked the boxes from FSG, whether the books are on display, and how they're selling. I also think that tonight, as my husband and I drink some champagne to celebrate publication, I'll ask what he thinks about our frozen embryos. I'm sure he'll be relieved not to have to talk about my book for a while.