Book Review: Baby by Joseph Stirt

Once upon a time, I wrote a book review about a book. A few weeks later, I saw the same book reviewed on a much more popular and wonderful blog and so I took the time to let that blogger know that his blog is amazing and introduces me to new "stuff" all the time, but on this piece-for this one book-I won. I actually blogged about it first. It was quite an accomplishment. That blogger than emailed me and said something like-you do win! Send me your address, I'll send you some books.

And so he did. A full box full of random books. And in that box, was this book:

And the author of that book is my blogger friend who sent me the box of books.

Joe is a pretty amazing person - he's an anesthesiologist by trade (which was interesting to me because that's the department I last worked at in the hospital), and he blogs about random stuff I don't typically see on other sites. It's like a smaller, easier-to-follow boing boing type of blog. Another interesting Joe fact is that he blogs while walking on his treadmill. I've mentioned it before-it really is a cool idea. His public profile pic:Anyway, the book....

This book was really good. However, it was really sad. It's very well-written and it gives you this interesting perspective of a father who is going through this terrible sickness with his brand new baby girl, but it's also the perspective of someone in the medical world-one who knows what it means when doctors say certain phrases and who knows how easily something can go wrong.

The book is written with the actual medical progress notes (he copied them straight from her medical record) and his thoughts and feelings of what they were going through. It's very easy to get yourself involved in this book. I found myself anxious to read the next nurses journal notes, waiting to hear how the baby did overnight.

At a few different points in the book, the author talks about how he and his wife discussed they didn't want to take life-saving measures if it was going to leave their daughter incapacitated in some form. Such as when she had to have surgery and have part of her intestines removed, they were adament that they didn't want her to have the bag-thing and if it came to that they were ready to let her go. It was the view from a doctor and a nurse who have witnessed parents spend decades watching their child come in and out of the hospital for issue after issue related to this issue or that issue and they just did not want to spend their lives that way. And it's not that they didn't love their child - they did, of course, but they loved her so much and they knew from their extensive medical experience that the quality of life was not what they had dreamed and wished for their baby girl. Well, this is what some parts sounded like to me - I suppose I could be wrong...but I don't think so. And the author gave examples of how/why they were feeling things, it wasn't like they were saying: if she's not perfect, let her die. And she really could have died at any second in the first few weeks of her life. This is sort of a spoiler, but at the end of the book, it did appear that he had changed his mind on this.

Anyway, that was just a small portion of the book, it wasn't the theme. It was just a piece that surprised me as people rarely say things that would indicate they don't hold fast to the "do anything to keep our baby alive" theory. And honestly, that's not always the best theory. Sometimes keeping someone alive at all costs is a selfish thing.

There were also dynamics of how the author had to step back from the doctor role and trust the doctors to actually do their job. And when he felt like he should question something, he had to do it in a non-natural state for him so that he didn't become one of "those parents" who annoy doctors like him by asking them questions like "did you consider the ?"

I liked this book. As a parent, it was interesting to me to consider what would I do in the same situation...I don't know the answer, but I did consider it. As someone who is interested somewhat in the medical field (from having worked at a hospital), it was a good mix of medical records mixed in with real human content. And I don't think I've read a story about this type of issue before-not a true story anyway.

Read this book if:

  1. You have kids or are going to have kids.
  2. You are interested in reading about a real life medical story (with a happy ending).
  3. You work in the medical field, or are going to, and want to see a mix of the two worlds collide (medical field vs non-medical field).

The author told me the book was cathartic for him to write. I imagine it was a good way to process everything.

Just as I will be writing about my horrible near-death experience on the plane ride to San Diego yesterday!


  1. Unknown Mami said...:

    I want to blog on a treadmill. Actually, I want to do it on a stationary bike. It would be a great way to get some fitness in.

  1. Brian Miller said...:

    nice. if i see it i might just pick it up...does sound a bit bit sad though...near death flying experience...cant wait...

  1. Raven said...:

    Thanks for the review. It sounds like an interesting book, though I may way to read it till my emotions are a little more stable since it sounds very emotional.


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