This Lovely Life
by Vicki Forman
Subtitled Memoir of Premature Motherhood, the author writes about her experience of giving birth to one-pound twins at 23 weeks gestation. Her daughter died four days later and her son was blind, severely disabled and dependant on a feeding tube. She had clearly expressed to the doctor not to resuscitate the babies, aware of their high risk for permanent disabilities, but California law demands otherwise. She details the birth, her daughter's death and burial, and her son's struggle for life.
The medical aspect drew me to this book and kept my attention, so I enjoyed that part of it. However, the author's resentment and anger that the doctors did not honor her DNR (do not resuscitate) wish resonated throughout. If I were in her position I don't know what I would do, so it's not for me to judge, but it seemed like so much of the book focused on that part of it instead of, "Okay, this happened, my son is alive and we move on." That's what I wanted her to say.
On the other hand, it is sad that due to hospital policies a parent has no say in whether or not doctors should use extreme life-saving measures despite life-changing, permanent outcomes for the parents.
As a Christian, it was interesting that the author, a non-believer, turned to Buddhism and meditation during her ordeal. She said she didn't believe in a higher power, and it was sad - to me - to see someone struggle so much to find answers and relief from suffering, never to find a place of peace. Ever.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, if you've experienced the birth of a premature baby with disabilities or the death of a premature baby, you may find comfort in a similar story. But if you're looking for help in dealing with grief from such a loss, this probably isn't for you.