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A micro-preemie fights for survival in this extraordinary and gorgeously told memoir by her parents, both award-winning journalists.
Juniper French was born four months early, at 23 weeks' gestation. She weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces, and her twiggy body was the length of a Barbie doll. Her head was smaller than a tennis ball, her skin was nearly translucent, and through her chest you could see her flickering heart. Babies like Juniper, born at the edge of viability, trigger the question: Which is the greater act of love -- to save her, or to let her go?
Kelley and Thomas French chose to fight for Juniper's life, and this is their incredible tale. In one exquisite memoir, the authors explore the border between what is possible and what is right. They marvel at the science that conceived and sustained their daughter and the love that made the difference. They probe the bond between a mother and a baby, between a husband and a wife. They trace the journey of their family from its fragile beginning to the miraculous survival of their now thriving daughter.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Thomas French is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and the Riley Endowed Chair in Journalism at Indiana University. He is the author of Unanswered Cries, South of Heaven, and the New York Times bestseller Zoo Story.
Table of Contents
Authors' Note xv
The Tunnel 3
Part 1 Creation 5
Part 2 Blood 57
Part 3 Zero Zone 105
Part 4 Dark Star 189
Part 5 Sky 277
The Hatchling 307
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having heard both Kelley and Tom speak at nursing conferences, most recently Kelley at the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, I knew I had to read this book. As a NICU nurse with 41 years experience, I have lived the experiences described within this book from the nurses' side. At NANN, Kelley was the most erudite, insightful and inspiring speaker at that conference, describing in detail her experience as the mother of a 23- week preemie. The focus of her talk was in large part how important the nursing staff was both in the saving of her daughter Juniper's life but in helping her navigate the terror of having a preemie as well as becoming that baby's mother and all that entailed. Her talk gave so many insights into the Ming and heart of a mother of a baby in such a tenuous state. The book was equally amazing. Juniper: the girl who was born too soon is the story of their life as a couple and their journey to parenthood that took a long and arduous detour through an NICU after their baby was born 16 weeks early. This book written by both Kelley and her husband in alternating chapters and with their alternating point of views. The prose is amazing, evoking every wild emotion you would imagine as the story of a preemie who frankly beat the odds and did so in spite of a plethora of severe complications, which plagued her hospital course. I was left cringing with every turn for the worse even though I knew that Juniper is alive, well, and thriving. I was left crying at the heart wrenching descriptions of the wild swings of emotions these people lived through with every complication and set back. I was personally schooled by what both helped and hindered these parents as they lived through the ups, downs, and uncertainties of Juniper's first 5 months of life. Both authors are journalists who now teach journalism in Indiana. They bring all their skills and talent to the telling of this very personal story.
MY REVIEW: This book is absolutely mesmerizing! I grieved and prayed and cried along with her parents, Kelley and Thomas French. Tom was a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and he and his wife, Kelley, are both award winning journalists. So I expected impeccable writing when I read about the authors. Such a tiny tiny little warrior, Juniper fought through what seemed like too many obstacles. Tom and Kelley had to sit helplessly by and watch the doctors and nurses work their magic. I taught a Preschool for Developmentally Delayed in a public school in North Carolina and many of the children in my class were preemies. Tom and Kelley worried that Juniper, or Junebug as they called her, would also have developmental delays. They longed to hold her and were terrified to hold her. They watched as cubicles became empty and blankets were drawn over a lump in the incubator. They knew they could be next. Any day. Any moment. They had longed for this child, this daughter. Juniper is the answer to their dreams. Readers simply must read this book. It would definitely be appealing to those who have also experienced life with micro-preemies and/or preemies. I had three perfectly normal daughters, but found this book to be breathtaking! I rated this book 5 stars and give it the highest possible recommendation. I received a copy of this book from the publishers and netgalley in exchange for my honest review.