Sidney Sheldon's Chasing Tomorrow(10)

By: Sidney Sheldon&Tilly Bagshawe

How can you not miss it? What’s wrong with you?

What’s wrong with me?

By the time she put that same question to Dr. Alan McBride, she felt wretched and desperate.

“I suspect that nothing is wrong with you, Mrs. Stevens. But let’s run some tests, shall we? To put your mind at rest.”

Tracy liked Dr. Alan McBride immediately. A handsome Scot with white-blond hair and a naughty twinkle in his intelligent, light blue eyes, he was not much older than her, and didn’t take himself too seriously the way that so many senior doctors seemed to do. He also didn’t beat around the bush when it came to medical matters.

“Right,” he said, when Tracy’s test results came back. “The good news is, you’re not infertile. You’re ovulating every month, your tubes are all fine, no cysts.”

“And the bad news?”

“Your eggs are a bit crap.”

Tracy’s eyes widened. This was not the sort of terminology she was used to hearing from eminent Harley Street doctors. “A bit crap,” she repeated. “I see. How crap exactly?”

“If Ocado delivered you a dozen of them in a box and you opened it, you’d probably send it back,” said Dr. McBride.

“Riiiight,” said Tracy. And then, to her own surprise, she burst into laughter. “So what happens now?” she asked, once she’d regained her composure.

“You take these.” Dr. McBride pushed a packet of pills across the desk.

“Clomid,” read Tracy.

“They’re magic.” Dr. McBride positively glowed with confidence. “Basically they’re like those practice machines on tennis courts that fire off balls. Bam bam bam bam bam.”

“What’s all the bamming?”

“That’s your ovaries, shooting out eggs.”

“Crap eggs.”

“They’re not all crap. Try it. No side effects and it will triple your chances of getting pregnant.”

“Okay,” said Tracy, feeling hopeful for the first time in nearly a year.

“If you’re not up the duff within three months, we’ll go nuclear on the problem with IVF. Sound good?”

That conversation had happened three months ago. Tracy had just finished her last round of Clomid. If today’s test was negative, she would begin the brutal, invasive process of in vitro. She knew that millions of women did it, and told herself that it was no big deal. But deep down, IVF felt like failure. I’m a useless wife, thought Tracy. A faulty model. Damaged goods. Jeff should return me and trade me in for one that works. One with eggs that aren’t crap.

She looked at her watch. One minute to go.

Sixty seconds.

She closed her eyes.

She remembered the last time she’d been pregnant, with Charles Stanhope’s baby. Charles’s parents were rich Philadelphia snobs. They’d been furious when Tracy got pregnant, but Charles had assured her he wanted both her and the baby. But then Tracy had been sent to prison, framed for a crime she didn’t commit, and Charles had turned his back on her. She could still hear his voice now, as if it were yesterday.

“Obviously I never really knew you . . . you’ll have to do whatever you think best with your baby . . .”

Savagely beaten by her cell mates, Tracy lost her baby. She hadn’t told that to Dr. McBride. Perhaps she ought to? Perhaps it made a difference, even now?

Thirty seconds.

Warden Brannigan and his wife, Sue Ellen, had taken pity on Tracy and hired her as a nanny for their daughter, Amy. Tracy had saved Amy’s life, risking her own in the process, and had been granted parole as a result. She’d loved that little girl dearly. Too dearly, perhaps, for Amy wasn’t hers. Would never be hers. How old must she be now?

Ten seconds.

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