For Kate Hopper, pregnancy is downright unpleasant. She is tired
and heavy and worried, and she wants her wine and caffeine back.
But then, at a routine checkup, her doctor frowns at her chart and
says, "I'm worried about a couple of things"-and unpleasant
suddenly seems like paradise. What follows is a harrowing,
poignant, and occasionally hysterical journey through premature
motherhood, from the starting point of "leaking a little protein"
to the early delivery of her tiny daughter because of severe
preeclampsia and the beginning of a new chapter of frightful,
Half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States
every year-almost one every minute-each with a unique story, and
Hopper eloquently gives a voice to what their parents share: the
shock, the scares, the lonely nights in the neonatal intensive care
unit, the fierce attention to detail that makes for sanity and
craziness, the light of faith, the warmth of family, and the
terrifying attachment. Through it all runs the power of words to
connect us to one another, as Hopper draws on her gifts as a writer
first to help her navigate this uncertain territory and then to
tell her story. With candor, grace, and a healthy dose of humor,
she takes us into the final weeks of her pregnancy, the
this-was-not-part-of-the-plan first weeks of little Stella's life,
and the isolated world she and her husband inhabited when they took
their daughter home at the onset of a cold Minnesota winter.
Finally, frankly, Hopper ventures into the complicated question of
whether to have another child. Down-to-earth and honest about the
hard realities of having a baby, as well as the true joys,
Ready for Air is a testament to the strength of
motherhood-and stories-to transform lives.
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