The Early Birds
In the winter of 2002, Jenny Minton delivered twin boys. She was thirty-one weeks pregnant, and her boys, conceived through in vitro fertilization, were more than two months early. Both boys were placed on immediate life support, and for sixty-four days they hovered, critically ill, in the neonatal intensive care unit of a New York City hospital. The Early Birds is a record of their time there and the story of Minton's harrowing, triumphant quest to bring her sons home.
With impeccable restraint, in sharp, unforgettable scenes, Minton takes readers into the heart of an experience that is both singular and with a significant increase in twin births over the last twenty years, and a commensurate rise in premature births increasingly common. She reflects with piercing candor on her persistent, often heartbreaking reckoning with her own guilt, and the inadequacy she feels for not having carried her boys to term. She examines how little she knew, and how little information doctors provided, as she entered the largely unregulated realm of assisted reproduction. She confronts her decision not to go back to work, and the overwhelming sensation that life has swept her away. She offers moving interrogations of science and fate, and the role of providence in conception. And she describes the glorious triumphs of ordinary life, even as she wrestles with the unanswerable questions that remain.
A fiercely intelligent, closely observed, powerfully gripping narrative about conception and childbirth, and a poignant and provocative journey into motherhood in an age of modern medicine, told with precision and indelible grace.
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