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Monday Exposé: She’s Having Her Baby by Lauren Sams

Today on Monday Exposé I’m showcasing She’s Having Her Baby by Lauren Sams as well as an extract from this novel which is published today.
Before I go ahead though, I wish to thank Nero Publishing for providing me with all the relevant information on this book which promises to be a cracker of a read.
“Such an enjoyable read it ought to come with a free pool lounger and frozen margarita. Fans of Jojo Moyes, Lauren Weisberger and Zoë Foster Blake will adore Sams’ novel. Like chick-lit only smarter, cooler and LOLzier.”—Meg Mason, author of Say It Again in a Nice Voice
Here’s the Blurb:
“What happens when your best friend asks you to carry her baby? Georgie Henderson doesn’t want to have kids, but her best friend, Nina Doherty, has wanted to have a baby for as long as she can remember. Sadly, Nina’s uterus refuses to cooperate. One drunken evening, Nina asks Georgie for the ultimate favour: would she carry a baby for her? Georgie says yes and spends the next nine months navigating the highs, lows, and many surprises of pregnancy.

With intense bacon-and-egg roll cravings and distant memories of what her feet look like, Georgie tries to keep it all together in her dream job as the editor of Jolie magazine. But Georgie’s smart, talented and pretty colleague Lucy, has her eyes on the digital future and Georgie’s job! With her best friend’s baby on the way and her life turned upside down, Georgie has to make some tough choices and reassess what matters to her.”
“She’s Having Her Baby is a fun, fast-paced, wonderfully clever and observant novel that should be required reading for the non-pregnant and the pregnant alike.”—Sloane Crosley, author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake
“Portrays besties, pregnancy and motherhood better than any book I’ve ever read.”—Summer Land, author of Summerlandish

Lauren Sams began her career at Cosmopolitan before moving to Girlfriend as deputy editor. She’s now back at Cosmopolitan as associate editor. She writes for Elle, Marie Claire and Sunday Style, and her work regularly appears on Daily Life. She lives in Sydney with her husband, daughter and two dogs. Elaine Benes is her spirit animal.

And now, here’s Chapter 1:

1
Week 1,
Day 1
Na na na, come on, come on, come on . . .’ I clutched the mic with two hands like they do on The Voice, kicked my shoes off and immediately regretted it, given the floor’s sticky state. I climbed atop the table in the middle of the room and kicked the songbooks out of my way, my foot taking a second to peel away from the vinyl top. It was just me, the mic and the music, baby.
‘George! Get down from there! Get down!’ Nina tugged at my arm. Why was she trying to stop this? I was on fire.
‘Neen! Get up here! Cause I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it . . .
Woo!’ I made a totally graceful leap from the table and Nina caught me, Baby-and-
Johnny style. Sort of. If Baby had had the grace of a newborn calf, say.
‘George! You could have hurt yourself. Come on, let’s go get another drink. I want to ask you something.’
I shook my head. ‘We haven’t even done any Sophie B yet.’
‘We do Sophie B every time . . . come on, it’s important.’
‘Is it about those shoes you bought on the weekend? I know they were on sale, but . . . I don’t know, Neen.’
‘Hey! Those shoes are awesome. I like them. And I keep my mouth shut when your shoes make you look like a hooker, so you should do the same.’
‘An expensive hooker, though, right?’
‘The best money can buy. Like Billie Piper in that callgirl show.’
We wound our way down George Street, looking for a pub that was still open. At this time of night, they were mainly home to grubby students and old men who had nowhere better to be. Nina and I stuck out like two well-dressed thumbs. Luckily, I had so many champagne bubbles floating around in me that I didn’t notice or care. We found the closest one and plonked ourselves down at the bar.
‘Second cheapest bottle?’
‘Oh, George . . . it’s midnight. I don’t know if I can do a bottle.’
‘Nina . . . it’s school holidays. You don’t have to work tomorrow.’
‘Yeah, but you do.’
‘I don’t have any meetings til eleven. I’ll do what I always do – go in, ask Fran for a coffee and have a nap-a-latte.Easy.’
‘A what-a-what?’
‘A nap-a-latte.
It’s a totally legitimate thing,’ I said, scanning the menu for our favourite bottle. Unsurprisingly, given that this bar served wine on tap, our beautiful bottle from the Clare Valley wasn’t there. Yellowglen it was, then. ‘You have a coffee, take a nap for like, twenty minutes, and by the time you wake up, the caffeine has kicked in and you’re feeling awesome. It really works. I actually wrote an article about it.’
‘That is a truly terrible idea. Someone is going to catch you napping.’ Nina motioned for the bartender. ‘Two glasses of the house sav, please,’ she said, casting one of her signature ‘I’m a teacher’ looks my way.
‘No, they won’t! I’m the boss. They’re all too scared to come into my office. Anyway, here’s to us and school holidays and drinking and . . . having lives, actual cool lives, unlike our dear departed friend Ellie, who cannot be with us tonight, or any night, because she is boring, boring, boring.’
‘George . . . give her a break.’ Nina was a lot more tolerant than me, especially when it came to our friend – my former best friend – Ellie, who got married, popped out a kid and, despite specifically promising not to change, became the kind of person who talked about their baby’s poo like it was their crowning achievement. And I mean Ellie’s crowning achievement, not the baby’s.
‘I did give her a break. I was fully on board with the whole baby thing. I organised her bloody baby shower, remember? I had to buy five different types of bunting for that woman. What is she, the Goldilocks of bunting?’ Even Nina smiled at that one. ‘But she’s so different now . . . she’s not the Ellie she used to be. We’ve talked about this so many times, Nina. She’s missed every birthday party I’ve had since Lucas was born. She Facebooked me last birthday. Not even a text message.’
‘Well, let’s keep in mind that there’ve only been two birthdays in that time, so it’s not like she’s missed a lifetime of them or anything.’
I stared at Nina, incredulous. Whose side was she on?
‘That’s not the point at all! Two birthdays is a lot! She’s meant to be my best friend. Well, second-best friend. You know what I mean.’
‘She’s busy, hon,’ Nina said, taking a sip of her wine and wincing.
‘Ugh, what is in this? The tears of dirty old mechanics?’
It was different for Nina. Ellie was really her friend-in-law – I was the link in their chain. To Nina, it probably didn’t feel quite so much like Ellie had gone completely bugaboo, because they weren’t as close. But to me, Ellie was now an almost entirely different person from the one I’d known at uni. If we met now, I wasn’t sure we’d be friends.
‘Busy?! I run a magazine. I work fifteen hours a day. But I still have time to call my friends and send them flowers and say happy birthday.’
‘To be fair, hon, your assistant sends those flowers,’ Nina said.
‘Because I ask her to, Nina. I still have to do the remembering.’
She rolled her eyes. ‘Look, we don’t have kids. I think it’s really hard for us to judge El – her life is totally different and until we have kids, I don’t think we’ll know what that’s like.’
‘Until you have kids.’ I took a sharp breath and tried to gauge exactly how insensitive that particular sentence was. I never knew if it was better for me to act like Nina having kids was still inevitable, as she’d once thought it was, or if I should avoid mentioning them entirely. Luckily for me, Nina simply focused on the George part of what I’d said.
Nina rolled her eyes. ‘OK, OK. I’m not taking the bait. I am not going to be that person who says “never say never” to you.’
‘And that is why I love you. Kids are cute, but the day my baby cousin shat on me was the day I knew motherhood wasn’t pour moi. You, however, will be an excellent mother.’
Nina smiled tightly and nodded. Shit. I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. There I go again, putting a big ugly Windsor Smith heel in it. Nina had been trying to get pregnant since she’d married Matt five years ago. The first year had been fine: ‘They say it takes at least a year for healthy young couples, so there’s nothing to worry about.’ The second year was harder: ‘They say there’s nothing wrong with either of us, but we just can’t get pregnant.’ The third year was their first attempt at IVF. Drugs, drugs and more drugs – and not the fun kind. One of the unfortunate side effects of IVF is that the drugs bloat you, sometimes making it look as though you’re already pregnant. Nina is a primary school teacher, and she’d had to deal with her fair share of guileless students – and downright idiot parents – asking when her baby was due. Then came The Experts – all the alternative medicine peddlers who claimed they had the secret miracle cure to Nina’s problem. If it was possible to get track marks from acupuncture, Nina would have looked like a junkie after all the needles she’d endured. She’d mixed foul-smelling powders into her morning cups of tea and popped more pills than the lead singer of a British boy band. She’d tried yoga, pilates and, inevitably, yogilates. She’d brushed her tongue, pulled oil (don’t even ask), inserted pessaries the size of small mobile phones into herself, and monitored her temperature every single day, multiple times, to check for miniscule changes that might make a difference. And still . . . nothing.
The last year had been pretty rough on Nina – after experiencing the giddy joy and relief of seeing two blue lines on a pregnancy test, she’d had a miscarriage at eight weeks. What do you say to your best friend when she’s lost the one thing she’s wanted for so, so long? It had been incredibly disorienting to see the strongest person I knew curl into herself like a doona. She didn’t come up for air for months.
After that, Nina had told me ‘it might be time to think of other options’. I wasn’t sure what those were – adoption? – but it sounded sad. It sounded like defeat. It felt awful watching my oldest friend go through heartbreak after heartbreak, even more so because it was something I couldn’t relate to at all.
I quickly made a lame joke to cover my insensitive tracks. ‘Well, it’s true. Look at how well you pull my hair back when I’m a bit vommy. Or how you knew it was time to end karaoke tonight.’
‘Ha! So true. Actually, it’s funny you mention that, because . . . there was something I wanted to ask you tonight.’
‘Oh yeah?’ I took an extra-large swill of the brassy-tasting wine, trying to drink it as fast as possible.
‘Yeah. You know you’re my best friend . . .’ she began, smiling nervously. I looked down at her legs – she kept crossing them over each other, left on right, right on left.
‘Yeeeessss . . . I have known that ever since we went to camp in Year 8 and you judged me for not wearing thongs in the communal showers, and told me I’d get tinea.’
‘I still can’t believe you remember that.’ Now she was shredding the paper coaster into tiny pieces.
‘I was so impressed! Still am. And you’ll be pleased to know that I now wear thongs in all public showers because of you.’
‘Well, my work here is done. Seriously, though, George . . . I have something important to ask. And, you know, I probably shouldn’t have waited until the end of the night, after three bottles of wine, but . . . liquid courage and all that.’ Nina made an O with her lips and breathed out forcefully.
‘Nina, what is it? Just say it. You can ask me anything. I promise.’ I tried my best to give an encouraging smile, the kind I give to interns who look like they’re about to shit themselves when they walk into my office.
‘OK, well . . . the whole pregnancy thing isn’t working.’ She gulped. God, were those tears she was swallowing? I placed my hand on hers. Nina was not a crier. The only time I’d ever seen her even close to tears was at her mum’s funeral, and even then she’d been able to hold it together. I assumed that after the miscarriage she had cried with Matt and when she was alone, but she’d never shed a tear in front of me. What was it like to stay so composed and strong in the face of grief? I couldn’t do it. Not time and time again. How could two people grow up side by side, but be built so differently?
‘Apparently there’s nothing wrong with Matt . . . just me. The IVF hasn’t worked because I just can’t stay pregnant. The doctors don’t really have an answer, but apparently my uterus isn’t the most
inviting place. No wi-fi connection. You know what kids are like these days.’ I smiled at her attempt at humour.
‘Oh, Nina. I wish there was something I could do. I mean, god, if I could have the baby for you . . .’
She raised her eyebrows. ‘Well . . . actually . . . you could.’
My heart began to pound. What’s that now?
‘Matt and I have been thinking that maybe I’m not meant to get pregnant. Maybe we’ll have a baby some other way. We’ve looked into adoption but it’s so expensive, and takes so long – it could be ten years before we get a baby, and we’ll both be in our forties by then. Or we could look at fostering, but that takes a long time too. And what if someone took our kid away? They can do that, you know, with fostering . . .’ She took a breath. Her legs were still jiggling away under the table. The last time I’d seen Nina this nervous, we were thirteen and she was telling me she’d accidentally taped over my NKOTB cassingle.
‘We have good eggs and sperm, but I just can’t seem to, you know, make it all stick together. We were thinking that maybe we could use a . . . a surrogate.’
‘Uh-huh.’ I tried to put on my best poker face and breathe slowly, normally. This is it. She’s going to ask me to be her surrogate. No, she won’t. Surely she won’t. That only happens in Katherine Heigl movies. Jesus fucking Christ, what if she asks? What am I going to say? There’s only one answer,right? Jesus fuck fuck fuck.
‘This is a really big decision, and I will completely understand if you say no. Obviously. It’s not like borrowing a dress. We will understand if you don’t want to do it or if you just can’t do it. And obviously you’ll have to talk it over with Jase. And he’ll probably have all sorts of questions, and . . . you know, we can answer them or a doctor can or Google can. But . . .’ Nina paused, looking into her near empty wine glass for that final kick of drunken confidence. ‘George, I know you don’t get this. I know you don’t want a kid, ever, and I think that’s great. Fuck, I wish I didn’t want one so I didn’t have to go through all of this. You’re the only person I could ask. And, I guess it’s good for Matt and I to know that you have no interest in babies, so it’s not like you’ll have this attachment to it or anything – I mean, I’m thinking way into the future now and we haven’t even really discussed it with you yet, I mean, not at all, but, uh . . . Sorry, I’m rambling. A lot.’ Nina paused, took a final swig of her disgusting wine and winced. She exhaled. ‘Bottom line: George, you know I want to have a baby more than anything. Will you do it for me, George? Will you be my surrogate?’
I finished the wine in my glass and reached for Nina’s. Empty.
‘Bartender? Two more, please!’
Nina gave me a deflated sort of smile. ‘It’s OK. You don’t have to answer now. It’s a really big decision – I would need time, too, if you asked me. And even if you say yes now, there’s counselling before you – before we – make the final decision. But you’re the only one I could trust to do this. Will you think about it?’ Nina was speaking like she was about to run out of words, or breath, or both, and her hands were trembling.
I nodded slowly, completely bewildered and feeling a little bit faint myself. ‘Sure. I’ll think about it.’
Fuuuuuuuuuck.”
She’s Having Her Baby can be purchased from the following links:

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