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Author's Chapter Notes:

Nick gets some surprising news. Alyssa and Sean visit a fertility clinic.

Chapter 15- Joy and Pain

Throughout the entire next two weeks Nick immersed himself into his work at the studio, devoting almost every spare moment he could to Kina and her album. He told himself that he was doing it just because this was the very first of his artists to begin recording and he wanted to make sure her finished product was completely kick ass. In reality though, he knew deep down that he was using his work as a distraction from his personal problems. Number one on that list being the make out session he’d shared with Alyssa at Kina’s dinner party. As much as he tried to push the memory out of his mind, he realized that it was nearly impossible. Every time he closed his eyes he could practically still feel her soft lips pressing hungrily against his and her hands traveling up and down his back and weaving into his hair. God, it had been hot. But also completely wrong. He had to admit that he definitely felt guilty about taking advantage of Alyssa’s weakened emotional state. He knew that she was going through a lot right now with Sean and her struggles to get pregnant and to make a move on her at that moment was pretty shitty of him. But in his defense, the first kiss hadn’t been premeditated at all. It had just been one of those caught up in a moment type things and to be fair she definitely hadn’t pushed him away. If anything she’d encouraged him with her response. Nick didn’t have to wonder at all about whether or not Alyssa had enjoyed their kisses. I think her knocking over and breaking one of the wine glasses was proof enough, he smugly thought.

He hadn’t called or spoken to Alyssa since that night. Nick wasn’t really sure how to go about contacting her again. The old Nick would not have hesitated to call by now and probably would’ve had her in between the sheets and bragging to all his friends about it. Things were different now though. He was older, a little wiser, and oh yea… married. He’d almost forgotten about that one. Although lately the strange relationship that he and Shayla shared seemed nothing like what a proper marriage should be. Granted, compared to Alyssa and Sean’s growing marital problems, his and Shayla’s troubles seemed petty in comparison, but things were tenser between the two of them than ever. In the past few weeks, Shayla had definitely been running hot and cold with him. One minute she’d be distant and aloof, the next she’d be hugging and kissing him. Her behavior had definitely struck him as odd, and experience told him that something was going on in that head of hers, but he just couldn’t quite figure out what it was. He supposed that he couldn’t have been helping very much either. His vow to stay away from any kind of a physical relationship with her after the birth control threat hadn’t exactly worked out according to plan. For the most part he’d done a pretty good job at avoiding any kind of sexual encounters with his wife and he’d been damn proud of himself, but there had been a few occasions where he’d slipped. Being as close as they were, Shayla definitely knew exactly what to do to push all the right buttons, and well… he was only a typical man. He’d spent the last few hours after these said occasions praying to God that she was still taking her birth control pills. As it was, she hadn’t mentioned the pregnancy topic once since they’d came home from Tahoe, which worried Nick a little bit.

So, when Nick came home from the studio early one afternoon and found Shayla sitting at the kitchen table waiting for him with a plateful of cookies, he could practically feel his stomach plummeting. Something told him that the other shoe was about to drop. “Uhh… Hey babe. What are you doing home from work so early?” he asked a little uncertainly. The last time she’d shown up early it was after the paparazzi pictures of him and Alyssa had surfaced. He decided to lighten up the mood by cracking a joke. “I promise I didn’t do anything controversial to earn you another vacation from work this time.”

Shayla just laughed his attempt at humor off. “No, you’re not in the doghouse this time I promise. I decided to take the afternoon off. I think I’m going to start taking a lot of time off actually.”

“Uhmm ok…” he warily responded, wondering what exactly that was supposed to mean. He wanted to ask, but he had a feeling that was exactly what she wanted him to do, so he resisted. Instead he changed the subject approaching the cookies with a critical eye. “You baked?”

“Yup,” she proudly replied. “I made your favorite, macadamia nut.” She pushed the plate of warm cookies underneath his nose as if to tempt him with it. He could tell just by the smell that they hadn’t been out of the oven long.

Finally admitting defeat, he reached out and grabbed one off the plate. “Okay, so like an idiot I’ll bite. Shayla what’s going on? The cookies? The afternoon away from work? You’re not exactly Martha Stewart, you know.”

Shayla just laughed as she stood up from her seat offering it to him. “Is there something wrong with doing something nice for my husband?” she innocently asked.

“No, just you don’t do these kinds of things often.” Only when you want something, he mentally added as he settled down on the chair.

She stood behind him, placing her hands on his shoulders. “Okay, you got me,” she finally admitted. “I actually have some news I want to share with you and I’m hoping that you take it well, so I thought if I made you cookies it might soften you up a bit.”

Uh oh… Nick’s heart rate nearly tripled as soon as she mentioned the word ‘news.’ He had a feeling he knew where this was headed and he wasn’t sure if he liked it one bit. Please don’t let her say what I think she’s going to say, he silently begged. Somehow he wasn’t very surprised by the next two words that came out of her mouth.

“I’m pregnant,” she blurted out. “I know it’s not what we had planned, but here we are. And I know you weren’t thrilled with the idea originally, but I’m hoping that now that it’s upon us, it kind of grows on you. I’m a little more than a month along. I just found out earlier today.” She paused for a moment to give Nick a chance to respond to the news, but Nick didn’t know what to say. His tongue seemed to be glued to the roof of his mouth. He couldn’t believe this. “Nick? Please say something. You’re scaring me.”

“H-how did this happen?” he stupidly asked, finally finding his will to speak.

Shayla just smirked. “Well Nick, when two people love each other very much –“

“Don’t try to be cute,” he interrupted. “I can figure out that much. I mean how as in how did you get pregnant when you’re supposed to be on birth control to prevent this from happening?”

She shrugged her shoulders innocently. “I don’t know… Birth control isn’t one hundred percent. Things like this happen Nick.”

Nick scowled in her direction. “I just find it pretty damn ironic that just last month you made a comment about birth control not being one hundred percent effective, and now gasp you’re mysteriously pregnant! In fact, if I remember correctly you even said something about forgetting pills?”

“Nick, that was completely a coincidence! Are you trying to insinuate that I purposely got myself pregnant just to piss you off?” Her mock innocence was really beginning to get under his skin.

“Seems rather convenient doesn’t it? And you’re the one who said it, not me! Do you have a guilty conscience or something?”

That’s when Shayla began the water works. “I can’t believe you’re being such an asshole about this!” she began to cry. “Here I am willing to sacrifice my career for this baby and you don’t even seem to want it! It’s not just my fault Nick! I didn’t exactly get pregnant on my own over here. You did your part too.” She made a sniffling sound. “And to think… This baby was probably conceived that week we spent in Tahoe when everything was so great. I can’t believe you’re being so unsupportive! It’s not like we were just messing around and you accidentally knocked me up. We’re married for Gods sake! Is it that big of a deal?”

“It is when I’ve repeatedly told you that I don’t want kids right now! Maybe in a few years, but most definitely not now. I’ve got a huge year up in front of me with my record label and the guys and I have been talking about maybe starting another album. A baby just does not fit in with my plans right now,” he argued.

“Well, you better change your mind, because like it or not the fact of the matter is that I’m pregnant and you’re going to become a father,” she simply stated. “It’s a little too late now to decide that a baby doesn’t ‘fit into your plans.’ And there’s no way I’m having an abortion, so I guess you’re just going to have to get used to the idea.”

Nick sighed as he buried his head in his hands. He had to admit that she did have a point there. He could accuse her of anything he wanted, but the truth was that it wouldn’t change the current situation one bit. She’d still be pregnant, and he’d still be a father. All of a sudden he felt panicked and he knew that he needed to get out of there. He needed some time to do some serious thinking. Without saying another word to Shayla, he got up from his seat and picked his keys up from the table where he’d left them.

“Where are you going? You’re not running out on me right after I just told you I was fucking pregnant, are you?” Shayla frantically asked.

“I need some time alone now,” he muttered. “I need to figure some shit out.”

“So, you’re just going to leave?”

“Yea… Pretty much.” Without bothering to say another word he turned around and marched out the door.

It wasn’t until he was safely in his car and a far enough distance from home that he let himself pound his steering wheel and frustration. What the fuck am I going to do? he wondered. I’m not ready to be a father and Shayla is definitely not ready to be a mother. All he could think about was how fucked up the poor child was probably going to turn out.

“Daddy?” the young girl asked as she entered the room. Nick grinned as soon as he saw her. She looked absolutely ridiculous in a long flowered dress from her dress up collection and a large, floppy, straw hat over her blond curls. Around her neck, arms, and fingers was just about every piece of plastic jewelry from her Pretty, Pretty, Princess game. Topping off the ensemble was a pink feather boa around her shoulders. She was gripping one of her favorite teddy bears and a pink plastic tea cup.

“Yes, princess?” he asked, kneeling down beside her.

“Rusty and me want you to play tea party with us. Puh-lese?” Her cute rosebud lips formed into a perfect pout.

Nick sighed, realizing that he couldn’t possibly say no to that face. His daughter definitely had him wrapped around her little pinky. “Okay Serena,” he agreed. “Lead the way, but only if I get to sit next to Rusty.”

“But Rusty wants to sit next to me,” Serena insisted with a hand on her hip, but then looked thoughtful. “Maybe he
can sit in the middle.”

“I think that’s a good compromise.” He took his daughter’s hand and let her lead him into her bedroom where she already had the entire tea party all set up on her play table. Several of her dolls and stuffed animals were already seated.

“You can sit over there.” She pointed to an empty spot near the head of the table.

Nick kneeled down at his spot and next thing he knew he was pretending to eat plastic muffins and sipping imaginary tea from plastic cups while holding a conversation with the stuffed unicorn on his left. “No Daddy!” Serena cried as she saw him grab his tea cup with both hands. “You have to do it like this!” She expertly picked up the tea cup like a proper young woman with her pinky up in the air and everything.

He laughed, but imitated her much to his daughter’s delight. She clapped her hands together and grinned before snuggling into his chest. “I love you Daddy.”

“I love you too princess.” He went to wrap his arms around her back to complete the hug, but immediately paled as he felt nothing but air.
What the fuck? he wondered, trying again only to get the same result. He glanced down at her and noticed something seemed different about her. She seemed paler… Thinner…

That’s when it hit Nick. His little girl was fading away as if she were only a ghost. Before his eyes she began to appear more and more transparent. “Serena? What’s going on? Serena?” His voice began to rise in panic.

Serena never answered. In a few more short moments she had faded away completely leaving Nick sitting there alone in the bedroom surrounded by stuffed animals and a plastic tea set…

Nick’s eyes popped wide open, the panic from his dream still freshly coursing through his body. He sat up wide in bed for a moment, unsure of where he even was until he realized that he was in the bedroom of the condo where he had crashed the night before. The dream he’d just had was not a new one. It recurred every so often, although as time passed it came less and less frequently. No matter how many times he dreamt it though, it always left him feeling extremely freaked out. He hardly ever dreamt about Serena anymore, so why tonight? Duh asswipe… Your wife just announced to you that she’s pregnant and you’re feeling just a tad bit unsure about taking on the fatherhood role, he reminded himself. He sighed as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. If anything the dream reminded him of exactly why he wouldn’t be a good father. Look at how Serena and her mother, Katie, had wound up. He always found that he dreamt of Serena, but never Katie. Maybe because as close as he had gotten to Katie throughout their short lived marriage of convienence, he’d never loved her.

Pushing all thoughts of the past aside for the moment, he realized that he had bigger problems to tackle in his present. He’d run away to the condo for the night to do some serious thinking about this pregnancy bombshell that Shayla had dropped on him, but he had to admit that he felt just as helpless as when he’d arrived. He still felt that he’d been deceived by his wife, but what could he really do? File for divorce? That would really be shitty under the circumstances even though it was fucked up what she did to him. He vowed to himself that if God forbid he ever did wind up having children, he would do whatever was in his power to be a better parent than what his parents were to him. And to divorce his child’s mother before the child was even brought into the world would be even worse than his parents. He had to at least give things with Shayla another shot. If not for himself, but for the baby Shayla was carrying.

Which would mean he needed to completely forget about Alyssa and those few kisses they had shared. He needed to nip that in the bud before things got even more complicated. He admitted that a slight part of him actually wished that she’d dropped by the condo that night as well by pure coincidence, but she hadn’t. It was probably a good thing she hadn’t. It had been wrong to initiate that first kiss at all, but now with Shayla pregnant with his son or daughter it made him feel even guiltier. Was he actually accepting this fatherhood crap? All he knew was that he needed to set the record straight with Alyssa if he was ever going to feel at ease again around Shayla.

He glanced at the clock. It was a little after nine on a Saturday morning. He hoped that he wouldn’t be waking Alyssa up, but he decided to take the chance in dialing her number. He’d been pretty cowardly in not really offering any explanation to their kissing afterwards, so he figured now was as good as any time to apologize.

The phone rang three times before Alyssa finally picked up. “Hello?” she answered a little groggily.

“Hey Lyss. It’s me. Did I wake you?”

“Not exactly. I was awake. Just lying here. What do you want?” Was it just him or did her tone just sound a little cold there.

“Just to talk,” he explained. “We haven’t spoken since the dinner party. I was just wondering how you were doing.”

“Same old. You?”

Nick hesitated choosing not to tell her about Shayla being pregnant, at least not yet. He knew she’d be upset by the news and didn’t want to bring it up until he had a chance to apologize for kissing her at the dinner party. “Yea… I hear you. Not much here either.” He paused, taking in a deep breath. “Look, I actually called because I know things kind of ended weird with us and I wanted to apologize for that. I don’t know what came over me in the basement, but it was wrong for me to take advantage of the moment like that. I swear I’m not that type of guy anymore and you probably think that I really haven’t changed, right?”

“It’s not just your fault Nick. I didn’t have to respond like I did, so I guess I’m just as guilty.” She sighed. “We both know what we did was wrong even though it certainly didn’t feel that way at the time. I don’t want to cause problems between you and Shayla. I feel like I’ve done enough already.”

“And I don’t want to make things even worse between you and Sean. The two of you have enough complications right now,” he admitted. “I’m not even sure how or why it happened. It just did and I can’t explain it. Maybe we should just chalk it up to being stuck in a moment or weird lighting or something, and put it behind us?”

There was a slight hesitation in her voice. “I think that would probably be for the best. And while we’re on the topic of putting our past behind us, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since the party. This is really a tough decision for me, but I think it’s probably the best thing for the both of us.”

Nick held his breath, knowing Alyssa well enough to know where this was going. She’d changed in so many ways, but in others she was still the same. “I think that maybe this friendship thing that you and I have going on isn’t such a good idea,” she continued. “Izzy was right. You and I, we just can’t be only friends. Maybe if things were different we could, but we’re married! I mean this time yeah, it was only just a few kisses, but what about the next time? You know as well as I do that this is only going to progress the more time we spend around each other. Just look at our history! It happens every damn time. Sean already isn’t thrilled with the amount of time that I’m spending with you, and he’s partly right. It is inappropriate. I know that we’re going to bump into each other from time to time because we’re in the same circle of friends, which is okay. I think we can be cool with each other in social situations. But the phone calls, the hanging out together, the personal conversations… All that needs to end now before we get in over her heads again.”

He sighed, but he had to admit that she had a point there. He already got the impression that Shayla wasn’t thrilled with them hanging out and now with Shayla being pregnant and all, his loyalty had to lay with his wife and child. It was his responsibility as a husband to do the right thing even if it meant sacrificing his friendship with Alyssa. “If that’s what you think is best,” he reluctantly agreed. “I hate to give all that up because you really are a cool person Alyssa, but I also don’t want to sabotage your marriage either. No friendship is worth that.”

“Thanks for being so understanding. I didn’t think that you’d take it this well,” she admitted.

“Yea, well… a lot of things have changed for me in the past twenty-four hours,” he cryptically replied. On the other end of the line Alyssa’s eyebrows rose in confusion, but he continued to explain himself. “Shayla’s pregnant. Personally, I think she conveniently forgot to continue taking her birth control pills, but I can’t prove that. Whether I like it or not, I’m going to be a father, so I have to change my priorities around a little bit.”

Alyssa sat there stunned for a moment trying to digest the news. She knew how devastating this was for Nick who had such strong feelings against fatherhood at this point in his life, but still if faced with the opportunity wanted a chance to do better for his children than his parents did for him. Then there was the fact that this was another constant reminder that everyone else around her, but herself was able to get pregnant without any trouble. “Wow… Nick I don’t know what to say. I’d say congratulations, but I know you’re not very happy about it. You should be though. A child is such a precious gift that unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with. So, next time you’re thinking how unprepared you are and how much you really didn’t want this, take a moment to think about the men who would kill to be in your position right now.” She hadn’t realized how emotional she was getting until she felt her voice break slightly as she tried her hardest to hold back the tears that were threatening to explode.

Nick immediately felt guilty listening to Alyssa’s reaction. How could he be so insensitive to act like he didn’t want this child when Alyssa and Sean were literally trying everything underneath the sun in order to get pregnant? “I’m really sorry Lyss… That was a real asshole thing for me to say. You’re right I should be more grateful. It’s just that I feel a little bit deceived right now. I-“

“Nick I have to go,” she interrupted him, not being able to hold back her tears any longer. Not even bothering to say a proper goodbye, she pressed the button to end the conversation and flung her phone across the bed before burying her head in her pillow and letting the sobs finally escape. It wasn’t fair! Why would God allow Shayla and Nick to be blessed with a child and not her and Sean? They’d have made much more suitable parents. Why was this happening to her?

That was the exactly the position that Sean found her in as he entered the bedroom with a towel around his waist, fresh from the shower he had been taking throughout her conversation with Nick. Since their fight after the dinner party they had reconciled, but their relationship had been tenser and more strained than ever. Seeing his wife sobbing hysterically though filled Sean with concern and he rushed to her side. “Alyssa? What’s wrong? What happened?”

“I just got off the phone with Nick,” she managed to hiccup between sobs.

Sean’s eyebrows immediately knitted into a frown at the mere mention of Nick’s name. “What did that asshole say to you to get you this upset?” he angrily asked, assuming the worst.

“Shayla’s pregnant!” Alyssa tearfully reported. “I don’t get it Sean. Why them? Why not us? We want this so badly, and you want to know the ironic part? Nick doesn’t even really want to be a father! They weren’t even trying and it happened! Meanwhile you and I are doing everything that we possibly can to become pregnant and nothing seems to work for us! I’m getting sick of going through this. Why can’t it just happen already?”

Sean’s expression turned sympathetic as he stroked her hair. “I don’t know babe. I ask myself that all the time. But I guess we just have to be patient. Everything happens for a reason, right? We just have to keep trying and keep up our faith.”

“I can’t even picture Shayla as a mother,” she continued as if she hadn’t even heard what Sean had just said. “I mean she’d probably break a nail or something just picking a baby up. I kind of feel bad for that child.” She paused for a moment, switching gears on the conversation as an awful thought filled her mind again, the same thought that had been lingering in the back of her mind for weeks. “Do you think that maybe the reason why we can’t seem to get pregnant is that maybe there’s something wrong with one of us that’s preventing it from happening?”

“I don’t know,” he honestly answered. “But didn’t your doctor say that we shouldn’t start to panic until we’ve been trying for at least a year?”

Alyssa nodded. “Yea, but I don’t know Sean. I just have this feeling… Melanie offered to give me this name of a fertility clinic that she and Kevin went to. She was able to get pregnant with Julian because of fertility drugs. Maybe we should at least check it out.”

Sean looked wary. “I don’t know Alyssa. Fertility drugs have a lot of side effects. Look at all these women who take them and wind up with like quintuplets or something. How would you handle a multiple birth with me going to Iraq? Even twins would be rough for one person.”

“Okay, maybe fertility drugs aren’t the answer, but there are other options. And maybe there isn’t even anything wrong,” she pointed out. “Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable at least ruling out the possibilities? It wouldn’t hurt just to go for a consultation and find out some more information. Get some tests done and find if we’re making a big deal out of nothing.”

Sean had to admit that she made sense and he could see how important this was to his wife. Even though he wasn’t completely comfortable with being poked and prodded by doctors he’d do it for her and the chance to hopefully conceive a child by the time he was sent to Iraq. “If you feel that strongly about it then I guess it couldn’t hurt.”

Alyssa’s eyes lit up behind her tears. “Thanks for being so supportive Sean. I really feel like this is something we need to do. I’ll give Melanie a call and look into getting an appointment.” She sat up and wiped the tears from her eyes. Now that they’d actually made the first step to try and get some help, she had to admit that she did feel much more relieved about the whole baby situation. She had a good feeling about this decision.

Getting an appointment at the Lakewood Fertility Center was a lot more difficult than Alyssa had imagined. Melanie had failed to mention that it was one of the best fertility clinics in the nation and at first when Alyssa had called; the receptionist reported that they wouldn’t be able to see her for a consultation until the beginning of July.

“No, you don’t seem to understand. My husband is being deployed to Iraq and he might be long gone by then,” she tried to argue. “We need something as soon as possible.” She hated dropping the ‘my husband is fighting for our country’ line, but sometimes it did work and she was desperate.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Robinson, but we’re completely booked. You’re going to have to wait like everybody else for an appointment,” the receptionist told her. “So should I pencil you in for July 7th at 2pm?”

Alyssa felt her frustration level beginning to mount and she realized that she only had one last card to play. It was a dirty one and she hated to do it, but she was sure that Melanie and Kevin would forgive her. “You know I’m very disappointed. I was referred here by two very well known friends of mine who had nothing but wonderful things to say about your establishment and how accommodating and helpful you were to them throughout their struggle to become pregnant. You were highly recommended. Guess I’m going to have to tell Melanie and Kevin Richardson just how poorly I was treated. They won’t be very happy, especially with all the money they’ve donated to you.”

“Did you say Richardson? As in Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys?”
“I thought I did. Do you have a problem hearing?” Alyssa smiled to herself as she saw her plan was working.

“Not at all. Hold on a moment.” She could hear some faint music being played in the background as she waited patiently. The receptionist returned a few minutes later. “Okay, I have a cancellation for next Wednesday. Is 4:00 good for you?”

“Four is perfect. Thank you very much.” Alyssa hung up the phone and rolled her eyes to herself. Okay, so she’d been a little bitchy, but she’d gotten what she wanted, right? And she knew that Kevin and Melanie wouldn’t be upset that she’d done a little name dropping. It was something she always hated to do back when she was dating Nick, but it did sadly get results.

So a little over a week later when she and Sean were led into the office of Dr. William Beard for their initial consultation, she was more than prepared for it. Sean had even arranged to get out of work a little early today just for the occasion. Dr. Beard was exactly what Alyssa had expected. A tall grey headed man with glasses and much fitting to his name a carefully trimmed grey beard. As they entered his office and he shook both their hands and offered them both a seat at his desk, she knew that she was making the right decision.

“It’s nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. What brings you here today?” he asked, as he settled behind his desk.

That’s a stupid question, Alyssa thought to herself. Obviously I’m here because I can’t get pregnant. “Well, we’ve been trying to have a child now for a while now and we’re having some more problems than we expected, so we’re just a little concerned about our chances. We want to rule out any unforeseen problems,” she answered.

“I see. How long have you two been trying?”

Alyssa and Sean exchanged a glance. “Almost eight months now,” Sean replied.

Dr. Beard looked at the two of them. “The two of you seem young and in good health. How old are you?”

Alyssa brushed back a lock of hair. “I’m twenty-eight.”


“Any major health problems in the past?”

“No,” they both answered together.

“What was your primary method of birth control before you began trying to become pregnant?”

Alyssa felt as if this was directed at her so she swallowed. “I was on the pill.”

“For how long?”

Alyssa pursed her lips. “I was on it steadily since I was about twenty-five. I was on it previously when I was about twenty-one. I took it for almost two years and then I didn’t really need it anymore, so I went off it.” She blushed a little. Even though he was a doctor and she knew he needed to know these things, she still felt a little funny revealing so much to a perfect stranger.

Dr. Beard sat back on his chair and looked thoughtful. “Well, I’m going to start off by saying that your age and general health are definitely on your side. It’s very rare that I get a couple in their twenties who are already having trouble conceiving, but it does happen from time to time. I know you’re concerned, but just so you know typically most doctors recommend that a couple continues to try for at least a year before seeking help. It’s also recommended that you’re engaging in intercourse at least two or three times a week on a regular basis.”

“I’ve spoken with my gynecologist about my concerns and she’s said pretty much the same thing,” Alyssa interrupted. “We’re just overly concerned because my husband here is in the military and may be deployed to Iraq in the near future, so we were kind of hoping to get pregnant before that happens. We would like to rule out that there are any physical problems that are preventing us from having children together.”

“Understandable,” the doctor nodded. “Although physical problems again are rare at your age, but we’ll do our best to find out what’s going on. Do either of you have a history in your families of any problems conceiving?”

“No,” she answered.

“Your sister can’t have kids though,” Sean reminded her.

“That’s different Sean. That was a result of circumstance. It wasn’t biological.” She turned towards Dr. Beard to explain. “My older sister Megan had both her ovaries removed as part of a treatment for ovarian cancer.”

Dr. Beard nodded. “That would most probably have nothing to do with your chances of conceiving. Well, the next step in the process would be for the two of you to come in for a follow up appointment if you choose. During that time you’ll both be examined and we’ll run a few tests. The tests will take a while for us to get back the results, as we need to send them out to a lab. Usually we recommend you make another appointment in approximately two weeks later to discuss the results and our next course of action based on the results. Any questions?”

“I know you have no idea what could be wrong at this point, but what would those options include?” Alyssa curiously asked.

“Depending on the specific problem, treatment can range dramatically. In most cases we’ll start you off on fertility drugs. If they don’t work there’s always surgery. Worst case scenario, we start thinking about in vitro or the use of a surrogate,” he explained.

In vitro? Alyssa exchanged a frightened look with Sean. She knew how expensive the process was. Could she and Sean actually afford something like that?

Seeing the frightened look on their faces Dr. Beard gave them a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry. I highly doubt that the two of you will be candidates for in vitro. I see no reason why you shouldn’t have any trouble conceiving naturally albeit maybe with the aid of fertility drugs.”

“Thank you for meeting with us today doctor,” Alyssa graciously told him. “My husband and I need to talk things over a little bit, but you’ve been a big help.”

“Not a problem. Good luck to you and I hope to see the two of you again soon. It was nice meeting you.” The three of them stood up as Dr. Beard ushered them out of his office.

“I think we should do it,” Alyssa whispered to Sean as soon as their feet entered the hallway. “What do we have to lose? So, we go for the tests and hopefully it’s good news.”

“I don’t know Lyss. It sounds a little bit of an arduous process. I might be sent over to Iraq before we even get very far,” Sean pointed out.

“It doesn’t mean we have to stop trying on our own,” she insisted. “Look, we’ve tried pretty much everything else, but this, so it can’t hurt, can it? And okay, say you do get deployed before we get very far. At least we tried, right? So what do you say? Please?”

“Fine,” he insisted, not being able to ignore his wife’s pouting. “I just don’t want you to get your hopes up.”

“Too late!” She threw her arms around him and kissed him. “Come on; let’s go schedule an appointment for us to go for our testing. Hopefully I don’t have to use Kevin and Melanie’s names again to get another appointment before July.” She seemed so happy that she was practically skipping towards the receptionist’s window. Sean had to admit that it was the happiest he’d seen her in a long time.