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Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood (Paperback)
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A mother’s moving and honest memoir about the premature birth of her daughter—and the strength and grace that can be found in the midst of life's greatest challenges
In her early thirties, Kasey Mathews had it all: a loving husband, a beautiful two-year-old son, and a second baby on the way. But what seemed a perfect life was shattered when she went into labor four months early, delivering her one-pound, eleven-ounce daughter, Andie.
The first time Kasey was wheeled into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), nothing prepared her for what she saw: a tiny, fragile baby in a tangle of tubes and wires. All at once, Kasey was confronted with a new and terrifying reality that would test the limits of love, family, and motherhood.
In this riveting, honest, and often humorous memoir, Preemie chronicles the journey of one tiny baby’s tenacious struggle to hold on to life and the mother who ultimately grew with her. From hospital waiting rooms to the offices of alternative practitioners, from ski slopes to Symphony Hall, Kasey tries to make meaning of her daughter’s birth and eventually comes to learn that gifts come in all sizes and all forms, and sometimes... right on time.
About the Author
Kasey Mathews is a mother, a writer, and a student in the lessons of everyday life. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, two children, and their English Mastiff, Meg. To learn more about Kasey and to read her blog, visit www.kaseymathews.com.
“In her enormously affecting memoir, Kasey Mathews writes with startling honesty about the emotional turmoil that engulfed her when her daughter Andie was born at 25 weeks, and the resulting guilt that followed Kasey for years thereafter. At its core, Preemie is a story about a mother emerging through her pain to find her strength and her voice—and ultimately finding herself in the process. Preemie is a tale that any mother going through personal challenges would find inspiring to read.” —Sue L. Hall, M.D., Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, Kansas and author of For the Love of Babies
“Just when you think you know nearly everything there is to know about what it feels like to be a human being, along comes a story that brings you to your knees and cracks your heart open just a bit more. Preemie is just that type of story. Kasey Mathews tells deep, painful truths about what happens when a ‘perfect’ life is jolted by reality. So much more than an account of a birth plan gone awry, this lovely memoir is about letting go of assumptions, moving into the place that scares us most, and discovering that what we get in return for our surrender is nothing less than grace.” —Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day and Mitten Strings for God
“Preemie is an invaluable resource for families coping with the trauma of having a premature baby. Kasey Mathews elegantly and authentically describes her own preemie journey, becoming a best friend and mentor who has lived your experience and provides wisdom and tools that can help soothe and comfort you.” —Libby Barnett, M.S.W., Reiki Master Teacher, author of Reiki Energy Medicine
“Preemie is a frank, funny, touching, and triumphant story that will resonate with anyone who has loved a runt of any species, and deeply move everyone who has ever loved a baby of any kind.” —Sy Montgomery, author of The Good, Good Pig and Birdology
“Preemie is an inspiring story of love and courage.” —Peggy Huddleston, author of Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster
“Preemie is a gripping tale of one mother’s indefatigable love in the face of crisis, one baby’s tenacious struggle to stay alive, and the dazzling light of self-exploration at the end of the tunnel. This tiny child will change the world.” —Suzanne Kingsbury, author of The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me and The Gospel According to Gracey
“Kasey Mathews speaks her true story with a voice as authentic as a newborn’s cry. Preemie inspires us all to cherish and to share our own most harrowing adventures with humble courage.” —Nancy Mellon, author of Body Eloquence: The Power of Myth and Story to Awaken the Body’s Energies
“The emotional, physical, financial, and psychological impact of having a child born pre-term often blindsides parents. Preemie captures the essence of life as the parent of a preemie. Kasey Mathews speaks with raw honesty about the fear, challenges, and emotional toll of mothering a medically fragile child. The book beautifully chronicles the transformational power of living through one’s worst nightmare and coming out on the other side a fuller self. It is a must read for all parents of preemies and those who love them.” —Kelli Kelley, mother of two preemies and Founder and Executive Director of Hand to Hold
“The gift of Preemie is Kasey Mathews’ ability to share her deepest feelings of fear, guilt, grief, anger, post-traumatic stress, humor, and joy. Her honesty with herself and others will be a wonderful companion for those who experience the challenging, life-changing experience of giving birth to a preemie. As Kasey deals with her raw emotions, she begins to ‘attune’ to the life force energy within herself and her daughter, Andie, and opens up to the wonderful healing energies all around her. With the unconditional love of her husband, Lee, and the protective love of big brother, Tucker, Kasey can step back and embrace her vision of her beautiful, healthy little girl. Love and light to this special family that will be a beacon of hope and empowerment to others.” —Julie Hahn, Chaplain and Reiki Coordinator, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“You don’t have to have had a preemie to love this book. Preemie is a beautiful and intriguing memoir of Kasey Mathews’ nightmarish experience bringing her daughter into the world. The writing is lovely, chronicling a journey none of us want to take, but one we know we would survive after reading Kasey’s inspiring tale.” —Bonnie Harris, author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons and Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids
“The emotions this book has made surface are beyond words. It helped me release many things I was not aware I have been carrying. With many spiritual teachers in my life, I am adding Kasey Mathews to the list.” —Chick Wetherbee, Owner of Earthward Natural Foods and Co-op
“Preemie teaches us the importance of finding your voice and stepping into your own authority, especially in times of personal crisis. Little Andie, the book’s tiny heroine who boasts strength to spare, teaches us about persevering against all odds. Important lessons for us all!” —Tricia Rose Burt, writer and frequent guest storyteller on The Moth: True Stories Told Live
“A book you won’t put down until you have read the very last word. Preemie is a beautifully written, moving account of a family’s journey with their extremely early born daughter Andie. As a professional working to improve the lives of infants and families in the NICU where they must spend their first weeks (and often months), Kasey Mathews has made me painfully aware of how far we must still go to do better by the parents and their infants in our care. This book will make an important difference in spurring us on to realize the enormity of the experience of having a pre-term born infant.” —Dr. Heidelise Als, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of Neurobehavioral Infant and Child Studies at Children’s Hospital Boston
“Kasey Mathews writes with unflinching honesty about the shock and shame of mothering a child born four months prematurely. Kasey brings readers in close as she careens between hospitals, a household, and a marriage, gradually discovering her willingness to try almost anything to help her baby survive. With humor, heart, and humanity, we witness a woman and her family who grow in dimension, capacity, and wisdom along with Andie’s lungs, limbs, and life force. Preemie is a testament to what can happen when the rational mind cedes the notion of control and becomes open to alternatives...no matter how embarrassing they may once have seemed. Kasey Mathews’ voice as a writer is as deep with feeling and complexity as is her family’s story—both embracing the imperfect beauty, not of what happens to us, but what we choose to make of it. Through a series of small surrenders and forthright actions Kasey Mathews becomes the warrior you would want on your side.” —Virginia Prescott, host of Word of Mouth public radio show and podcast
“After caring for many patients with their beloved children in the NICU, as well as suffering that same roller coaster ride with my own child, I can say that Preemie provides the most important thing: hope.” —Fletcher Wilson, M.D., Chief of OB/GYN at Monadnock Community Hospital and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for Wide Horizons for Children
“Kasey Mathews’ authentic and boldly honest voice touched me deeply as a neonatal occupational therapist and mother. She taught me to never make assumptions about what our NICU parents are experiencing. Preemie unveils the silent trauma that comes with loving these fragile babies and the stunning joy that unfolds as they grow into strong (and often super determined) children.” —Sue Ludwig OTR/L, President and Founder of National Association of Neonatal Therapists
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