A LITTLE PREGNANT by Linda Carbone


Our Memoir of Fertility, Infertility, and a Marriage
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An affecting chronicle of one couple’s nearly decade-long struggle to have a baby. Writing alternate chapters, Carbone, a book editor, and Decker, a freelance writer, have produced an astonishingly revealing account of their experiences during years of infertility. Their attempts to conceive a child began in August 1986, and their daughter, Julia, was born in January 1995. Between those dates, Carbone had two miscarriages, was diagnosed with and treated for endometriosis, had some ten surgical procedures (hysterosalpingograms, hysteroscopies, laparoscopies), and Decker had surgery to remove testicular varicose veins in a futile attempt to improve his sperm quality. When conventional medicine did not help, they turned to chiropractic and acupuncture. In vitro fertilization failed, as did the GIFT procedure, whereby sperm and egg are united not in a petri dish but in the Fallopian tubes. Adoption appeared to be their only remaining option. Meanwhile, with their sex lives regulated and mechanized, Carbone had fallen into a fantasy romance with her fertility doctor, and Decker’s performance anxiety had sent him to a therapist and to a sperm bank for donor sperm just in case. Their drama reaches its climax when the birth mother they eventually locate changes her mind about giving up her baby for adoption at the very last moment, but the very next day a pregnancy test shows that Carbone is herself pregnant. What makes this couple’s story unusual is that it’s the husband, not the wife, who is desperate for a child. In Carbone’s words, “I just followed the script Ed handed me. This was his show.” What is surprising also is that this articulate couple, who reveal so much here, apparently didn—t share their feelings with each other as these events were happening and rarely discussed their infertility during the years it dominated their lives. For six million similarly afflicted American couples, the lessons to be learned from this candid account are as much about love and marriage as about infertility. (First printing of 30,000; author tour) (For another look at infertility, see Liza Freilicher and Jennifer Scheu with Suzanne Wetanson, Conceiving Lac: A Family Story, p. 691.)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-87113-751-8
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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