On a bright morning in San Francisco, Holly Finn sits in a parking lot, her car swaying in the wind. Avoiding eye contact with passers-by, Finn shoots up.
She shoots up hormones.
Leuprolide Acetate, to be exact.
"To prep my body for embryo transfer, I will do this every day for three weeks — though not always in my car," she writes. "It makes me feel like a badly behaved chauffeur."
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So begins Finn's Byliner Original, "The Baby Chase: An Adventure in Fertility." Chronicling three years of in vitro fertilization treatments, Finn's book reads like a mixture of "Bridget Jones's Diary" and a medical book. It's packed with facts and figures, but it sings when Finn dives into her emotions.
Throughout the piece Finn, who is not married, veers off on little tangents that seem unrelated until she loops them back to her larger narrative.
Finn, a writer and communications director of the Skoll Foundation, a company that provides support for social entrepreneurs, was 39 when she started IVF. At that age, she points out, "the odds of getting pregnant are conspicuously slim." She hadn't waited to have children for any particular reason; it seems she just lost track of time.
"I gave too much time to the wrong men," she writes. "I smoked in my twenties. I preferred red wine to sparkling water. I ate too much milk chocolate. I liked limericks. I know all the wrong I've done."
Humor and wit permeate Finn's text. It humanizes her, placing her in the group of women who are willing to try almost any means to get pregnant.
It also helps lighten the story's pervasive feeling of grief and struggle. In a series of telling chapters, Finn lays out the expenditures of her procedures, the strikingly low possibility that she will get pregnant and the daily regimen she must slog through. "Over the course of about eight weeks, there are some 30 shots, 130 pills, 30 hormone patches, 10 blood tests, and 10 ultrasounds," she writes.
"The Baby Chase" is a primer for all things baby. Finn draws readers in with the way she introduces personal anecdotes, while her research provides a deeper understanding of the billion-dollar infertility industry.
Finn writes about a graduation address in which Sheryl Sandberg bemoans that only the top 15 percent of jobs in this country are held by women. She believes that number should be more like 50 percent.
In Finn's mind, working women should give just as much thought to what it takes to start a family.
"Any credible conversation about female aspirations today," Finn writes, "especially one that urges women to lean way into their careers, should also talk about children — and not just as an aside." ($1.99, most platforms)Copyright © 2015, CT Now