Expecting, Ann Lewis Hamilton
Published July 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Paperback 352 pages
A mom, a dad, a baby…and another dad.
Laurie and Alan are expecting, again. After two miscarriages, Laurie was afraid they’d never be able to have a child. Now she’s cautiously optimistic — the fertility treatment worked, and things seem to be different this time around. But she doesn’t yet know how different.
Jack can’t seem to catch a break — his parents are on his case about graduating from college, he’s somehow dating two girls at once, and he has to find a way to pay back the money he borrowed from his fraternity’s party fund. The only jobs he is qualified for barely pay enough to keep him in beer money, but an ad for the local sperm bank gives Jack an idea.
Laurie and Alan’s joy is shattered when their doctor reveals that Laurie was accidentally impregnated by sperm from a donor rather than her husband. Who is Donor 296. And how will their family change now that Donor 296 is inarguably part of it?
We meet Laurie as she’s going into labor. She knocks on her spare bedroom door to ask Jack to take her to the hospital because her husband is not answering his phone. So Jack’s not the husband or baby’s father, this is awkward! Who is this dude?
We then flash back to Laurie’s first conception and her first doctor’s appointment. Laurie is a blissful and naive state of pregnancy that is short lived due to an early miscarriage. Having lived through that moment of waiting with your doctor to hear a heartbeat and then not finding it, I can tell you that Lewis tells an excellent story. I really appreciated that we flashed between Laurie and Alan’s feelings and experiences of the miscarriage. I think the story that men could tell of pregnancy loss is much more emotional than most people would expect.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Watching the person I love more than anything in the world have the remains of what was supposed to be our baby scraped out of her.”
That’s brutal and its honest. So we watch Alan not only deal with the grief of the child they lose but also how does he support his wife through her loss? I found myself really emotional reading this part of the book on their behalf. Poor Laurie gets pregnant again and miscarries again, this all leads eventually to a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Alan and Laurie decide to try fertility treatments and she gets pregnant yet again. From here on this felt like a totally different book to me-not in a bad way and maybe its just because I was less emotionally involved with my own memories.
Interspersed with the chapters from Alan and Laurie we begin to meet Jack. Jack is a screw up. He’s “borrowed” against his fraternity funds and turns to sperm donation to pay the money back. I’m glad we met Jack, but for me it was a bit harsh to have his chapters thrown in with Laurie and Alan’s early story. I think I would have flowed better for me if we’d met Jack after Laurie and Alan actually turn to IUI.
But anyway, Laurie and Alan learn that she’s not actually pregnant with Alan’s biological child, but Jack’s. Alan and Laurie have very different ways of handling the news-which is not surprising, but that didn’t keep me from getting really frustrated with Alan! I wanted to reach into the book and shake him at times. Laurie wants to get to know Jack, but Alan feels Jack is an intruder in their lives and really transfers that onto the unborn baby. Poor baby! Jack was definitely a bit of a mess, but he turned out to be a pretty likeable mess for me.
The second half of the book felt much less real to me, but I still enjoyed it. I was totally wrapped up in the end waiting for this baby to be born! Expecting definitely made me think more than I expected (ha!) to about this kind of situation. How would it feel to carry a baby that was not your husband’s on accident? How would a marriage survive it?
All quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition
Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark for this advanced read copy in exchange for an honest review.