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.
About the authors
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 lives in Montreal. She has a Master’s degree in English literature. The Wanderer, her translation of La Québécoite by Régine Robin, won the 1998 Jewish Book Award for fiction. She and Howard Scott were awarded the 2001 Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award for The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701. She is currently president of the LTAC.
Howard Scott translates poetry, fiction and non-fiction, often with co-translator Phyllis Aronoff, including works by Madeleine Gagnon, Kim Doré and Madeleine Monette, as well as numerous scholarly works in the humanities. He has also published translations of poetry by Madeleine Gagnon, Michel Pleau and Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, and science fiction by Élisabeth Vonarburg. In 1997, he won the Governor General’s Literary Award for English translation for The Euguelion, by Louky Bersianik. He is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada.
Other titles by Phyllis Aronoff
Other titles by Howard Scott
An All-Star Look at Canada's Paralympians
Blueberries and Apricots
Descent into Night
The Blue Shirts
Adrien Arcand and Fascist Anti-Semitism in Canada
Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries
Anarchy of Light
The Montreal Canadiens
Rethinking a Legend