Breathe, Baby, Breathe!: Neonatal Intensive Care, Prematurity, and Complicated Pregnancies

Breathe, Baby, Breathe!: Neonatal Intensive Care, Prematurity, and Complicated Pregnancies


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Every year in the United States, 12 per cent of all births are preterm births, 5 per cent of all babies need help to breathe at birth, and 3 per cent of neonates are born with at least one severe malformation. Many of these babies are hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit. Annie Janvier and her husband, Keith Barrington, are both pediatricians who specialize in the care of these sick babies and are internationally known for their research in this area. In 2005, when their daughter Violette was born extremely prematurely, four months before her due date, they faced the situation "from the other side" as parents. Despite knowing the scientific facts, they knew nothing about the experience itself. "Knowing how a respirator works did not help me be the mother of a baby on a respirator," writes Annie. She did not know how to navigate the guilt, the uncertainty, the fears, the predictions of providers, and the responses of friends and family. In a society obsessed with goals, performance, efficiency, and high percentages, she discovered that the daily lack of control that new parents of sick babies face changes their lives. And that, for physician parents, it also changes the way they practice medicine.

Most of the articles and books written about premature babies and neonatal intensive care units examine the technological and medical aspects of neonatology. Breathe, Baby, Breathe!, however, is written in the voice of a parent-doctor and tells the story of Violette and her parents, alongside the stories of other fragile babies and their families with different journeys and different outcomes. With the story of Violette at the core of the book, the interwoven stories and empirical articles provide essential insights into the medical world of premature birth. This original and clever blend of narrative and evidence provides a new, experiential view of the way forward during a parental crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487523060
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 01/04/2020
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 1,001,522
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Annie Janvier is a professor of Paediatrics and Clinical Ethics at the University of Montreal, and a Neonatologist, clinical ethicist and researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine.

Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for their translation of Descent into Night by Edem Awumey.

Howard Scott and Phyllis Aronoff won the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for their translation of Descent into Night by Edem Awumey.

Table of Contents

Foreword by John D. Lantos and William Meadow


Part 1: Labour and Prenatal Counselling
The “Perfect Pregnancy” Is a Scam
You Made Your Bed...
12 May
No Bed of Roses
13 May
15 May, Night
End-of-Life Decisions for Extremely Low-Gestational-Age Infants: Why Simple Rules for Complicated Decisions Should Be Avoided
Difficult Decisions
19 May
20 May
Personalized Decision Making: Practical Recommendations for Antenatal Counseling for Fragile Neonates

Part 2: The Delivery and the First Days
The Delivery
Memories from Gene Dempsey
23 May
24 May
Half Mother at Home
26 May
30 May
3 June
6 June
7 June
11 June
13 June
14 June
The Big Berthas

Part 3: The NICU
Dear Violette
Pepperoni Pizza and Sex
17, 18 June
For Audrey-Anne
Shooting Stars
19, 20 June
21 June
Life Trajectories
23 June
Red Underwear
My Love
24 June
26 June
27 June
Other People
Just Being There
20 July

Part 4: Progress and Setbacks
20 August
22 August
Dear World
Learning to Fall
24 August
31 August
Term MRI for Small Preterm Babies: Do Parents Really Want to Know, and Why Has Nobody Asked Them?
Measuring and Communicating Meaningful Outcomes in Neonatology: A Family Perspective

Part 5: Coming Home
Meanwhile, with My Other Kids...
Rewriting Your Life
A Mother's Love
The Backpack: The Sequel
After Violette, Am I a Better Doctor?
Tattoos, Beer, and Bow Ties: The Limits of Professionalism in Medicine
26 September
What's Your Dream?
22 May 2011
Stronger and More Vulnerable: A Balanced View of the Impacts of the NICU on Parents
Survival Guide for Parents

Part 6: Neonatology Information for Parents, Families, Clinicians, and All Those Who Care about Babies
Getting the Bad Stuff Out
Seven Don'ts for Families and Friends Helping Parents
The Best Ways to Help Parents in the NICU
Ethics and Etiquette in Neonatal Intensive Care

Glossary of Common Abbreviations Used in the NICU
Selected Bibliography
Resources and Further Reading

What People are Saying About This

Edward Bell

"Annie Janvier has written the best book by far about prematurity for parents and health care providers. As a neonatologist, bioethicist, and mother of an extremely preterm infant, her voice is unique, and we should all listen to her wise and eloquent words. Her intensely honest account of giving birth to Violette at 24 weeks' gestation and her subsequent experiences as a mother in the NICU is quite remarkable. This amazing book is written from Annie's heart but also from her brain and her gut."

Lainie Ross

"Breathe, Baby, Breathe! is incredibly honest, and there are times when you are brought to tears. Dr. Janvier not only discusses what it is like to be the mother of a premature baby, but its impact on her own sense of self-worth and the challenges to her family."

Nicolas Krawiecki

"Breathe, Baby, Breathe! is a book about resignation, resilience, and transformation."

John D. Lantos

"This moving, funny, heartbreaking, and insightful glimpse into the mind and heart of a preemie parent is all the more remarkable because it is written by a neonatologist. The book shows the limitations of mere facts and the importance of wisdom in helping parents whose babies are critically ill."

Customer Reviews