Title: The Magic Lily
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Why can’t Shelley get pregnant?
“Doctor, I just don’t understand why I can’t get pregnant.”
“Well, Mrs. Deluigi, I’m not sure what to say. All of your tests have come back normal. Medically speaking, there is no reason why you cannot conceive.” The doctor hesitated for a moment, thinking about how to word what he wanted to say. He took a deep breath and continued. “It would help if your husband came in and went through our routine fertility testing.”
Shelley sighed. “I know doctor, but no matter how many times I ask, he refuses. He knows that I want to be a mother more than anything, but he tells me it’s against his religion to undergo these treatments and it’s unnatural to have a baby that way and if God wanted us to have a baby, he would give us one.” Tears were streaming down her face by the end of her speech.
The doctor felt bad, but curiosity got the best of him. “What religion is your husband?”
The doctor was not thoroughly confused. He had successfully treated many Catholic families and many had been referred to him by or were counseled by their priests. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
Shelley sniffed, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand. “My husband was born and raised in Italy,” she began. “He moved to the United States about seven years ago. He was transferred here by his company. He never became a US citizen. He is still here on a work visa. Even when we married 4 years ago, he declined the green card he was offered. He is an old world Italian Catholic and he insists that only a naturally occurring pregnancy is God’s way. He won’t use any method of birth control except the rhythm method and says it is wrong to have ‘help’ in conceiving a child.”
The doctor was at a loss for words. He’d run into some unusual objections to fertility treatments in the past, but this was definitely the oddest thing he had ever heard.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, each lost in their own thoughts, when something started niggling in the back of the doctor’s brain.
“Mrs. Deluigi, if you could wait here one minute.” He hurried out of the examination room and went down the hall to his office. There was something he had read in the last few days and he quickly scanned his email for the link to the article. He found it in a matter of minutes, thanks to his efficient filing system, and the printer was soon humming. Less than five minutes after he walked out of the exam room, he walked back in, carrying a stack of papers in his hand.
Shelley looked at him curiously when he reentered the room.
“I just remembered this article I read a few days ago,” he started to explain. “It’s a new product, still in the trial stages, but in it’s first run of testing, it has been rather successful. They are looking for participants for the second round of testing. They want women between the ages of 26 and 35 who have been trying to conceive for at least three years and have no known medical reason for not conceiving. I’d say you fit the bill perfectly. I can’t make any promises, but if you can take this information home and review it and if it sounds like something you’d like to try, I will submit your file.”
Shelley looked very excited as she took the article from the doctor. “Thank you so much doctor! I’ll read this tonight and will call you in the morning.”
Pauli hated snooping through his wife’s things, but he knew he had to protect his secret at all costs. The last few weeks, Shelley had been acting different. She suddenly seemed more optimistic about having a baby and she wanted to make love more frequently. He knew she was up to something and he couldn’t risk not knowing what it was.
He spent a few minutes shuffling through the papers on the top of her desk. There was nothing new there. He sighed with regret at what he was about to do, but proceeded to pick the lock to her desk drawer, where she kept all her files.
He spent a few minutes looking through the files under ‘B’ for baby, ‘P’ for pregnant, ‘F’ for fertility, and ‘I’ for infertility. That was where he had found all her research in the past. But this time, he struck out. There was nothing new in those files that would account for her new attitude.
With a glance at the clock to make sure he still had plenty of time before Shelley came home from her weekly lunch and a movie date with her sister. He started with ‘A’ and went through every piece of paper in her files.
Forty-Five minutes later, knowing he would have to give up in the next 15 minutes so as not to be walked in on, he struck pay dirt.
It was filed under ‘L’ for lily. That threw him until he started to read the letter on the top of the file.
Thank you for agreeing to participate in our second level FDA Approval Trial. You have been selected because your medical history meets our criteria and you have agreed to follow the procedures for testing ‘the magic lily’ that are listed below.
1. You must take the magic lily pill twice a day, every day. Once as soon as you wake up in the morning and once just before you go to bed.
2. You must take an additional magic lily pill ½ hour prior to making love. For optimum results, you should aim to make love at least three times a week.
3. You must follow a healthful diet, refraining from any caffeinated items. You must also avoid all tobacco products, alcohol, and recreational drug use.
4. Once a week, on the same day at the same time, you must record your temperature and your weight on the enclosed chart.
In our first round of testing, 75% of the participants were successful in conceiving. Of those, 90% carried to full term and pre and post natal testing showed no ill effects to the mother or the baby.
The Magic Lily is an 85% natural pill with the main active ingredient being pollen derived from the lily flower.
There have been few side effects reported, including nausea, headaches, and, in a few rare instances, fever. Please report to your doctor immediately if you suffer any of these or any other unusual effects during this trial.
Your doctor has gone over all the medical and legal aspects of your participation in this trial, but if you have any question at any point, you can call our toll free testing hotline at 1-800-555-6354 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The trial will last 60 days. You have been shipped a bottle containing 180 pills. Any pills leftover at the end of the trial will need to be returned to us immediately.
Once again, thank you for your participation!
Pauli briefly leafed through the rest of the papers in the file, but didn’t bother to actually read them. The letter on top had told him all he needed to know and he knew he was in trouble. He quickly straightened his wife’s desk, returning the file to the drawer. He hurried upstairs to make a phone call to Italy, hoping he would be done before his wife got home.
He impatiently tapped his foot as he waited for the operator to connect his call. His impatience grew as he listened to the ringing on the other end of the line. He was just about to give up when a voice came across the line.
“Benito, it’s Pauli.”
There was a long moment of silence. Pauli felt the man’s guard go up even though there was an ocean between them.
“This better be an emergency.”
“Oh, it is. I assure you. What was the one thing you told me could ruin all of my planning when you sent me away from Sicily?”
“Are you telling me that your wife figured out she could ingest the pollen of the lily flower and negate the medication that is keeping you sterile?”
“In a round about way, yes. She didn’t exactly figure it out and she still doesn’t know my secret, but some researchers in America have discovered the potency of the pollen in relation to fertility. Shelley is participating in an FDA approval trial for a pill called “The Magic Lily” - I’m not sure exactly how long she has been taking it, but I’m thinking maybe two weeks.”
Benito sighed. “Pauli, I do not know how you continuously get yourself into these situations. I did not think your disorder effected your brain. This will be the second time we have walked down this road and it had better be the last. You are lucky you my sister’s son or I would not take care of your problem again. God rest her soul - she must be turning in her grave to know what a stupid child she raised.”
Pauli tried to defend himself, but Benito cut him off. “I will fix this problem for you. Take your wife out to dinner tonight. Make sure you are out of the house from 7 pm until 11 pm. The pills will be replaced with placebos. If the damage has already been done, call me again and we will rectify the situation.”
Without waiting for a reply, Benito disconnected the call.
Pauli sat for a minute, the dead receiver in his hand. He sincerely hoped it the ‘damage had not been done’ because he really loved his wife. He just could not give her a child. He refused to pass along the defects he had lived with since birth.
His reverie was broken by Shelley’s cheerful voice. “Pauli, honey, where are you?”
He took a deep breath, hung up the receiver, and walked down the stairs.
“Hello darling. I’m so glad you are home. Why don’t you let me take you out to dinner tonight. We haven’t been spending nearly enough time together.”