The Stork Realityby Malena Lott
8 weeks: So they tell me I can expect to gain 20-35 pounds in the next 9 months, and I don�t even get a chocolate martini to wash down the news? This wasn�t exactly part of our 5-year plan. 20 weeks: These days it�s hard to tell whether the flutter in my stomach is the baby or nerves. I�m a bit awed at the miracle growing inside my ever-bulging belly, but I can�t help wondering about everything.
32 weeks: Ready or not, only one month left to go. Time to face The Stork Reality
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The Stork Reality
By Malena Lott
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
It began as a simple worry, one day creeping into the next
with no sign of the usual aches and pains that signaled my
natural cycle as a vibrant adult woman. On about the third day
or so, worry morphed into fear that I had fretted my period
clear away, contracted some terrible disease that killed my
cycle or, worse, been knocked up.
To make matters worse, a thunderstorm punctuated the drama.
Despite the downpour, I forced myself to go where I had never
gone before, back to the far corner of the neighborhood drug
store, past an assortment of condoms, promising more pleasure,
more lubrication and more colors, past feminine hygiene
products promising to make me "feel fresh again" to the rows
of neatly hanging pregnancy tests. Thunder cracked overhead,
rain hammered the roof. Flashes of lightning illuminated the
store. The smell of plastic and medicine and the blare of
cheesy pop music made me dizzy. I reached for the ledge for
support, sending boxes of stacked tests tumbling to the
ground. The models on the boxes stared up at me from the tile
floor. Four brands, four different models all with the same
expression - not elation, not panic, just solemn wonder. They
had each tried to capture that point of not knowing, the
moment between singular existence and motherhood. Theywere
The burly pharmacist, scooping pills on his metal tray, peered
at me with interest but didn't offer assistance. Sure, he was
fine with the aisles containing the powder for nasty athlete's
foot, diapers for incontinence, even creams for jock itch, but
all things on Aisle G made the man squirm and turn away. He
would have nothing to do with me, fumbling with boxes claiming
99% accuracy. The pharmacist likewise ignored the
pimple-faced teenager staring hopefully at the condoms.
Assuredly, the young man snatched one, turned to me with a
raised brow, and jolted toward the checkout lane. I had
neither hope nor confidence about what my purchase would
Still lightheaded, I scanned the back of a box. Urine sample.
Results in less than five minutes. One line meant I would
continue a chaotic career-driven existence. Two lines meant I
would need to re-evaluate my place in the universe. Baby on
Perspiring profusely, I hastily paid for the item along with a
pack of Trident and tramped outside into the early spring
storm, rain pelting my face like little stinging whips. I sped
the next two blocks to our home in Rolling Hills, a new
addition still full of carpenters and architects wrapped up
like Eskimos, finishing houses for the wealthy folks who would
On that drive home, crazy questions popped into my head like
fizzy champagne bubbles. Who am I? Why is this happening to
me? Why do Jake and I have sex so much? How could the Pill
fail me? Will I be a good mommy? Do I even want children? Will
Jake kill me for this? Until I bought that test, I had
accepted the person I had become, excess baggage and all. The
Taylor Montgomery the world knew as a 28-year-old advertising
executive at a prestigious agency in Dallas married to a
prestigious lawyer at a pricey law firm. Jacob Matthew
Montgomery, my amour, my playmate, was my only real link to a
life outside of work, work, work. On the social spectrum, we
were considered upper class Dinks - double-income, no kids - with
all the luxuries we'd worked so hard for. I'd already
achieved wealth several times what my father had known as an
insurance salesman in a small town where prayer was insurance
enough, and besides, prayer was free.
Jake hailed from the other side of the tracks, from a
white-gloved world in Houston, raised on prep-school standards
with a doting nanny and blessed with life's every indulgence.
Dissimilar backgrounds aside, Jake and I shared important
links. We were only children, with all of the traits, rich or
poor, that accompany only children, and second, our drive to
succeed. Independent. Vanguard. Gluttonous, even.
If asked, "Do you work to live or live to work?" I'd concede
the latter. Work, sex, travel - in that order. Work and play
blended in perfect harmony. First-class travel! Expense
account! Pottery Barn-style corner office! I relished my drive
home gazing at the outdoor boards my team designed and
spotting slogans and logos we'd dreamt up. I knew it was
surprising to actually like my job and not want to be
something else, but I enjoyed the macho benefits of the career
world. Golf with all the CEOs in town, football and (a lot of)
beer at the pub after a long day of squeezing the creative
I punched the garage door opener and watched the large hunk of
steel glide slowly upwards. I screeched into the garage,
jammed the gearshift into park, scooped up the brown plastic
bag and made a beeline for the master bathroom. I threw off my
wet jacket, and pulled my hair off my face into a hair clip.
Patient I was not, never had been. Perhaps one of those "only
child" traits, never having brothers or sisters to make me
wait around for anything, take my turn or share, for God's
I checked my watch. My lunch-hour was officially half over.
How time flies when you're going zonkers with a pregnancy
scare. Really, I didn't know why I was so paranoid. After all,
I hadn't known a perfect cycle in all my twenty-eight years,
so I figured stress was taking its toll on my more feminine
side. Well, I really had to pee anyway, so it wouldn't be a
Good thing the box only asked for four drops. That's about all
that made it into the supplied cup.
Thunder continued to rumble outside as I dropped my urine onto
the test panel and awaited the results. Three minutes tops, it
said, earlier if positive. Afraid my stern gaze would screw up
the results, I paced the house, picking up as I went along - a
half-drunk can of Diet Coke (mine), pretzel wrapper (Jake's),
boxers and underwear on the living room floor (impromptu romp
the night before). I re-arranged the towels and put new soap
out - the fruity kind that my husband hated - and flossed my
teeth. In the mirror, I caught sight of the test. It appeared
to be ... two lines. I peered closer into the mirror. A little
blurry, but ... I turned my head slowly away from the mirror
and studied the test. Two distinct cotton candy pink lines, no
doubt about it. "Oh, shit, shit, shit," I mumbled. "Shit,
shit, shit." I stepped out of the room, suddenly lost, unsure
where to turn or what to do.
I ran back to the master bathroom where The Test stood mocking
my independence. Could this be true? Could I actually be a
Something had to be done with The Test. I couldn't have Jake
just stumble upon it when he got home. I threw it in my
underwear drawer, then took it out and placed it in the
medicine cabinet. Then I snagged it and hid it in my walk-in
closet on the highest shelf. Then I took it down and set it
under my vanity table. Then retrieved it and perched it on the
TV. Then snatched it and stuffed it underneath my pillow.
Still not satisfied, I looked around the room and saw
dependable rag doll Molly on my bedside table.
Molly had been my confidant since I was six, when I begged my
mother to let me take her out of her closet so I could play
with her. More than fifty years old, Molly had red yarn hair - most
of it lost a generation before - and wore a stained blue
and red plaid dress with only half of the lace cuff. Maimed
with one arm and one eye, a shiny black button, and a
red-thread mouth, Molly's expression was one stitch short of a
smile. I knew Molly was the only gift my mother ever got from
her mother, my Grandma Helen who I never got to know, so she
meant something sacred to both my mother and me. I didn't have
to share Molly, so she kept all of her remaining parts. Molly
had been through more tragedy than her stitches could bear.
Her cotton held decades of secrets, three generations of
secrets. Molly had been through more tragedy than her stitches
could bear. Her cotton held decades of secrets, three
generations of secrets. "Hold this for me, Molls." I gave her
another secret, tucking the pregnancy test in Molly's dress on
her lap. I swore I'd tell Jake that night when we were in bed.
Still, I doubted what had really happened. Had I made an
error? All those silly commercials with weepy women say
mistakes are due to human error. But I followed the damn
instructions to a T and that Test detected the hcg hormone
that made those two lines materialize like magic. Searching
for something to discount the results, I suppose, I went to my
home office and logged on to the Internet and did a search for
pregnancy. Several hundred sites devoted to pregnancy! I
picked one at random and launched into what could only be
described as a different world. Pictures of round women with
large bosoms and even larger bellies, smiling and hugging
themselves, greeted me. Chubby babies covered the page leading
me to various links. My head began to spin again. I told
myself I could have the flu. It was the damn storm, that's
all. It couldn't be morning sickness.
My heart sank as I read that the pregnancy test could be
positive even one day after a missed period. Next I clicked on
"Week by week" and typed in "5 weeks." Through teary eyes, I
read. Week 5: How your baby's growing: The ball of cells
dividing in your uterus is now officially an embryo, about the
size of a seed. The next five weeks are especially critical to
your baby's development. The placenta and umbilical cord,
which deliver nourishment and oxygen to the baby, are already
What? Already functioning? Seeing it right there on my screen
made it seem almost possible. Not ready to give in, I shuffled
through my bathroom wastebasket clear to the bottom where my
used cotton balls and earwax-laden Q-tips lay to find the box
and scan for an expiration date. Surely the test had
malfunctioned on me. March, it read. March! That's this month!
Yippee! It's expired, and I'm safe! 2010, it said right next
to it. Oh.
I want my mommy.
I shoved the box back into the trash and moped to the kitchen
in a zombie-like trance. My last inane idea wishing so hard
for my period to come that sheer concentration would open the
floodgates. During the drive to the office I sent vibes to my
loins. A couple of times I thought I felt cramps. That
afternoon I escaped to the bathroom five times to check my
underwear for a sign from Menses. Each time, nothing. Funny,
I had hated my period until I didn't have one.
My creative meetings that afternoon were a joke. I slumped in
the leather chair and half- listened to a know-it-all account
executive drone on about a promotion. "They want to show the
crispness of their clothes compared to the competitors," Ted
"Ted, they sell polyester pants suits, for God's sake," I said
"They are polyester blend," he retorted. "I'll excuse that
remark and go on to some bigger news," he said. "Studio
Apparel, Inc. will soon have a baby clothes line. Better than
anything on the market. And high quality, Taylor," he said,
sneering in my direction.
For a second I thought he was staring at me because he knew.
Like he sensed it or something. We had little time to create a
campaign and I, an alien to the smallest of humans, would have
to pretend I knew all about babies and mothers. Exaggeration I
was used to, that's what advertising is all about; but this
just felt wrong. I wanted to raise my hand and object, ask for
another beer campaign, a boring car dealer campaign even, just
not a baby clothes campaign. The next few months I would be
absolutely bathed in baby research, baby models, baby
products. The timing of the whole thing was eerie.
After the meeting, my associate creative director sauntered
into my office, his usual smirk turned into a scowl. His mouth
pursed in disgust. "What happened to you? You look like shit."
I rolled my eyes. "Thanks a lot. I think I may be coming down
with something." I grabbed for a Kleenex and wiped at my
non-runny nose. "Am I not allowed to have a bad day? To look
like hell once in awhile?"
"Settle down, pussycat." He rolled his eyes at my drama. "It's
Friday, for God's sake. Besides, you were PMSing last week, so
you don't have an excuse."
"I try not to think how creepy it is you know my cycle." I
grabbed plain M&Ms from my candy dish and pelted him with
"If there's one thing I know, it's women," he said with a
wink, trying to catch M&Ms in his mouth. "Besides, your mood
is more predictable than the moon's cycle. Week one and two
relatively normal. Week three psycho-semantic and week four
bloated and neurotic." Allen tossed a candy back at me. "Can't
deny it can you?"
I cusped my hands over my bloated stomach, wishing I'd worn an
elastic waistband to work, though I didn't own any. "Take your
perfect hair and your perfect complexion and get back to work.
I'm sure you have some runt research you need to be doing."
Allen clasped his hands together. "Oh, this will be a fun one.
You do know what a baby is, don't you, Tay?"
"Yeah. Yeah. I've seen them on TV. Pampers commercials or
something." I popped a few candies in my mouth, then zinged
one off Allen's forehead. "I'm surprised you haven't made a
few on your many conquests over the years."
"Not that I know of, lady," he said. "Hell, who has time to
raise a kid with our shitty hours? I barely make it to the
bars before 10 p.m."
"How do the ladies wait so long? Poor things." Allen's
womanizing was legendary around the office. After he'd gone
through account service (where the cute girls worked),
broadcast production (where the loose girls worked) and
traffic (where the just-out-of-college girls worked), he
started preying on the college interns until the boss deemed
them off limits. Still, Allen was so damn charming even his
flings still had a thing for him, which really pissed off all
the other men in the office who hated Allen for being able to
get away with treating girls like shit and come off like a
Allen left me, but I didn't want the company of my thoughts,
either. The storm hadn't let up, and the gray skies only
darkened my mood.
That night after the rain subsided, I took a different route
home to see a newly lit outdoor board my team had developed
for Bowser's Brewery, the hottest after-work hangout for
working professionals. I'd been at ease with that campaign
because it was a part of me, the social scene with friends
after work, the life of the party every Thursday evening
during happy hour. My creative team excelled at social
mingling. My popularity grew with each martini and trip to the
karaoke mic. That led me to count the number of times I'd been
there while unknowingly pregnant.
Seven. That's how many times I'd been drunk to semi-drunk
since my last period. Not good. I envisioned Dr. Creighton, my
ob-gyn, shaking his head in disapproval. Well, nothing I could
do about it but worry for the next eight months.
There it stood, thirty feet in the air, displayed for all of
Dallas to see. My stomach lurched, but I wasn't sure if it was
nerves or the "flu." Each time I saw a piece of my work
produced, I feared it wouldn't measure up, that it would be
critiqued, that I might be deemed a failure. They were all I
had, the string of words that became copy, the pictures that
breathed life into otherwise dull, me-too companies. The
account executives would be all too happy to share with me the
client's opinions, to tell me whether it sent the minions
scrambling to the Brewery for fatty hot wings and ice-cold
beer. But that night I had something bigger on my mind.
I tapped my squared red nails on the steering wheel. Jake
would probably be tired from a long day in court. As I wheeled
into the garage for the second time that day, a conversation
we had some months before came back to me. His mother Lorna
had told him one of his cousins was having her first child and
none-too-casually dropped the suggestion that we got started.
After all, we'd been married three years, together eight, and
it would "stabilize" me to have a child. Lorna believed my
parents' dying when I was a teenager had traumatized me to the
point of emotion instability, unable to get close to them as a
result. Jake told her we were young and not to worry.
What he said to me later was, "Just what is the point of
having children, anyway? It's usually a selfish act on the
part of the parents. Carrying on your genes for bragging
rights for the next fifty years." Not exactly
Excerpted from The Stork Reality
by Malena Lott
Copyright © 2006 by Malena Lott.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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As a newly married woman who is excited and intimidated by the prospect of motherhood, this book was enjoyable and a source of comfort. Malena Lott describes Taylor's emotional journey from early pregnancy to birth in a way that is honest and humorous. It was like sitting down and talking with a big sister and realizing, 'Wow, if she can do it, maybe I can too.'
First of all, as a male, I have to say right off the bat that this is NOT the kind of thing I would ever read. Give me a thriller and I'm happy. But as a dad of three, my wife forced me to read this. I'm glad she did. It brought me back to that 'holy c**p' feeling when we first found out we were pregnant. The novel is told from the female POV, but I found it interesting how much of her feelings and concerns had mirrored mine. And those that didn't -- well, we're not mind-readers, so it's nice to get the scoop. But to be honest, this is an easy, breezy, pain-free read. What made it work besides the snappy dialogue was the honesty of the emotions, but especially the wit. Lott really has a fine sense of humor. A couple of times, I even laughed out loud. (Plus, there are a couple of PG-13 sex scenes that sure didn't hurt in keeping my interest!) I had my mom read this, too, and she loved it. I'd recommend it not to all moms and moms-to-be, but any woman, whether she plans on having babies or not. It's a very positive story with a strong female protagonist. And their husbands and boyfriends might like it, too. Just don't tell my drinking buddies.
To me, this book was very real. It reminded me of myself and my friends and the transitions we went through and conversations we had when the first of us started embarking on that life-changing path to parenthood. What on earth was ahead, we wondered? This book captures the journey you go through when you're young and the world is your oyster and suddenly - whether by choice or by surprise - life goes from being 'All About Me' or maybe 'All About Me and He' to 'Me Who?' Everything shifts when you see that second pink line, and this book does a great job of exploring the questions mommies face: How will this change my marriage? Will I be a good parent? How do I balance work and parenting? Should one of us quit our job to stay home? Will I ever have sex again? It was sweet and funny, and very real. I really liked the structure of the book, and getting to live vicariously through the ultrasounds and first tummy flutters. I also really enjoyed the story of Taylor's family history that is revealed throughout - like a mini multigenerational novel within a novel. This is Lott's debut novel and I am so excited to have a new author to look for. I am so getting this for all my friends for birthday and shower gifts this year.
Stork Reality is a fun read. As a working mother myself, I could totally relate to her emotional feelings throughout her preganancy and laughed out loud through out the book. I would recommend this book to any mother-to-be or mother who wants some down time to enjoy a great book!
I am in my late twenties, driving full speed in my career, and wondering how and when do I fit the start of a family into my hectic career. This book provided me with the insight I needed to make my own life decision. I was entertained, I laughed and I felt a bond with Taylor. I loved being right there every step of the way with Taylor during her life changing event.
I received an advanced copy and tried to read it with an open mind. As a mother myself, I felt the main character was detached and devoid of any sort of realistic qualities, engaging in predictable TV sitcom-style dialogue. Silly attempts are made to capture the reader's heart but the situations are simply overplayed unrealistic drama. One star.
In Dallas Jake and Taylor Montgomery are dinks (double income no kids) as they work hard (he is an attorney and she is an advertising creative director), love sex, and enjoy traveling especially on vacations. Neither of them planned on rugrats when they drew up their five year plan, at least no children until he made partner. However, feeling odd especially when he hums I¿m in the Mood for Love¿ and she is not, Taylor buys the notorious kit only to realize the strip turned pink. --- While Taylor adapts to gaining weight and no martinis with chocolate, Jake is beyond himself unable to deal with the nuking of what he once thought his perfect home. Work becomes increasingly difficult for Taylor. As Jake considers leaving his beloved wife on the grounds of mental cruelty, the couple begins to slowly adapt and reassess their values. --- THE STORK REALITY is an interesting look at how pregnancy alters, in this case nukes, the lifestyle of couples. The lead couple¿s adjustment is handled deftly but that also means less conflict once Taylor and especially Jake become accepting. The support cast seems interchangeable one dimensional nice carbs troupe with everyone supportive of the lead pair (kept waiting for a knife in the back from either his or her peers, but that never came). Still, in spite of the mellowing of everyone, fans will enjoy this relationship drama highlighted by a pregnancy torpedoing a lifestyle. --- Harriet Klausner
Taylor Montgomery and her husband Jake have a great life they love their high flying careers and each other. Then, the stick turns pink, and Taylor is faced with the reality that she will soon be a mother. Jake is less than thrilled with the news, but they adjust, and continue to adjust through nine long, well documented months in which their marriage faces tests, they learn how to be parents, and their professional lives undergo challenges and alterations even as Taylor's body does. *** Those of us who have never had children will probably struggle with this book, having little or no frame of reference. There is little plot, but there is a gentle humor that can transcend the barriers and give the childless insight and those who have gone through it an empathetic laugh. ***