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.
The Frenches, Pulitzer-winning journalists, put forth a love story about their daughter, with highs and lows throughout and moments of sheer joy that will keep readers involved until the very last page. This achingly tender memoir is also a roller-coaster. Juniper French was born weighing just 575 grams (the mass of in pennies, or a bottle of Gatorade) and was the length of a Barbie doll. She fought with every breath. Her parents kept watch; they sang, they read, they were mesmerized. Thomas even read the Harry Potter series to his tiny bundle, as he did with his older boys from a previous marriage, hoping the protagonist's spirit would be emitted in every syllable. In alternating chapters, the Frenches recall trying everything to conceive, then later trying everything to keep their baby alive. For nearly seven months, they lived in and out of the hospital while family, friends, and colleagues maintained a tight network of support. The narrative sparks a need to reassess the meaning of a miracle, and the story will resonate for days after the last word. With sharp prose, honoring the simple and the profound, this book should be in the hands of every parent indeed, of everyone.