There’s this new book coming out at the beginning of next month (July 1, that is) called Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee. I’ve read the first chapter of it (that’s all you can get right now) and I like it very much so far. She also writes great blogposts about dealing with feeding issues and sensory processing disorder (her child was stuck at purees for a long time, which is where my child is now.)

Author Kayla Aimee is telling the story of her first child, born at 25 weeks of gestation by caesarean section. The birth had to be done because of a placental problem.

The first chapter is an introduction to her and her husband, and her narration is delightful, easily flowing from the humorous to the traumatic, stopping along the way to add in pop culture references, and also doing a good job of bringing in information from the past. Here’s my favorite paragraph, from page 4:

You might think that I would easily recognize the signs of a pregnancy, having been pregnant before and also having successfully passed my sixth grade health class, but the thought of being with child never crossed my mind. For one thing, I had never stayed pregnant long enough to become overly familiar with things like morning sickness and really shiny hair. For another, years of pregnancy loss and infertility had left me barren of hope.

In the months preceding that morning…

This is an excellent transitional paragraph getting you from the point where her extreme nausea has her on the floor of her bathroom (a moment she uses to toss in a lyric from a Natalie Imbruglia song, Torn) to the trials of trying to conceive.

She uses lots of sentence fragments, which at first drove my inner copy editor nuts, but given the rest of the tone of her narrative, it worked well.

She mentions several things that my wife and I had from our birth experience that were well described and true. One is the fantasy of a normal birth, contrasted with the crisis. Another is that even though she’s a Christian, she found it difficult to draw on her faith when you think you would most want to: “Strong arms gripped me, my head buried in a bosom as they snaked a needle into my spine, and I did not pray.” In this story, the doctor prays for her (and congratulations on finding a doctor who actually has a faith).

One nitpicky thing I must point out: When she’s talking about having extreme morning sickness, she talks about how a famous person has the same: “It is one of the many things that I have in common with one Princess Kate, along with a love of shiny sapphire rings and an adolescent crush on The Prince of Wales.” First time through, I thought “Oh, Kayla has a crush on Charles? Isn’t that sweet, her admiration of that handsome older fellow?” But then it seemed less likely that Kate Middleton would have the hots for her father-in-law. Probably Kayla meant William, the Duke of Cambridge, whose father is the current Prince of Wales.

But that’s a minor quibble. This is an excellently written first chapter that makes the reader want to keep going rather than having it feel like a duty (most medical memoirs are in the latter category). I am sure that as soon as chapter 2 becomes available, her writing style will fall completely apart, and I can go back to believing that my preemie story, when it gets published, will be the finest preemie book on the market. Kayla’s full book won’t be released for another three weeks, so I can continue to believe this delusion until then.

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