BBAW: First Treasure
I began reading Alexa Stevenson's blog Flotsam in late 2007, just before her son Ames died and the tense wait for her daughter Simone's early birth began. Even though I've been following the story of Alexa and Simone -- now a healthy two year old -- since then, Alexa's memoir is so much more than a rehashing of things she'd already written. Half Baked: the story of my nerves, my newborn, and how we both learned to breathe is an enveloping page-turner of a book, the kind that actually merits the statement "I couldn't put it down." Even though I knew the beginning and the end of the story, I found myself wrapped tightly in the weaving of the tale.
After several miscarriages and a struggle with infertility, Alexa and her husband conceived twins via IVF. She found herself uniquely qualified for the heightened worry of pregnancy after a lifetime of anxiety and an adulthood spent developing the ability to over-research anything. But as the back-cover writeup admits, Alexa had spent most of her life preparing for the wrong disasters. At 22 weeks and 2 days, after having been told the sexes of her babies and that they looked "ideal," Alexa received the devastating news that Ames had died. For three more weeks, the goal is to keep Simone inside and healthy as long as possible. Then Simone is born, and Alexa is plunged into a motherhood she never expected.
She finds that the personality quirks that once left her nervous and paralyzed have left her uniquely equipped for the numbers and stats that dominate NICU life. The ups and downs of Simone's long hospital stay are relayed with stark honesty and surprising humor. One doesn't usually expect to laugh out loud while reading a story of a very early baby, but Alexa has written that kind of book. The good and the bad, the transcendent and the mundane, the heartbreaking and the unexpectedly funny, Alexa lays it all out and turns it into a fantastic and immensely enjoyable read.
Because she's awesome, Alexa is going to send one commenter a signed copy of Half Baked. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post before midnight CST on
Congrats to Amy S. at Atypical Musings!