[SWP: Behind the Book] On Our Quest for a Baby, I Conceived a Book

I decided to write my memoir because I felt like I was carrying a secret. Going through IVF (in-vitro fertilization) felt like having an affair. I was living a double life. During business hours, I was a university professor, but, before work at 6:30 in the morning, I’d be at the blood and ultrasound lab. Then, in the afternoon, I talked on the phone to the nurses about my results. In the evenings, I did my injections. It was all-consuming, and we told no one besides a couple of family members. But then, when I almost bled to death after my egg retrieval procedure, I needed to talk about it because I was fighting for my life. I was in the hospital for five days and then out of work for two and a half weeks. I could have lied about why I was out of commission, but I suddenly realized that our infertility struggles were nothing to be secretive about. Was I not allowed to talk about our story because, god forbid, it involved reproductive organs?


I went into my emergency surgery as one person, and came out a completely different woman. When I was clothed, no one could see the long scar down my abdomen from the emergency surgery, so I didn’t necessarily need to explain my story, but I wanted to tell the world that I wasn’t the same.


I’d been a professional writer since college, writing for newspapers and magazines. I received my MFA in creative writing from Columbia College in my early twenties, and I’d written a novel as my thesis project. The novel was thinly-veiled autobiography because I was under the impression then that my life wasn’t exciting or important enough to write about as memoir. But our IVF experience taught me a lot of things, including the importance of self advocacy. I learned that that if I didn’t speak up for myself, no one else was going to, and when I felt comfortable speaking my truth, I felt comfortable writing my truth.


I published an essay in PANK magazine about our frozen embryos and the mental anguish of infertility, called “Nine Babies On Ice.” I felt a bit panicky when I published it because it was the first personal essay I’d ever published after years of hiding behind journalism and fiction. I thought that people would read about my crazy hormonal thoughts and think I was weird, but women who’d struggled with infertility read it and reached out to say thank you for capturing the frustrations of IVF treatments. It gained recognition from editors and agents, and it made me realize that our infertility journey could fill a whole book. That’s when Of This Much I’m Sure was conceived. It will be "delivered" on April 11, 2017.

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  • Kerri Sandberg

    Your book looks great, Nadine. Congratulations and good luck with it.

  • Michelle Cox

    Love this, Nadine. So glad you found the courage to tell your story. Think of how many people it will touch! Best of luck!