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Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe Paperback – August 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762439467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762439461
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author of the Flotsam blog and contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Stevenson's witty takes on life and parenthood have won her many fans. With her first book, the self-admitted worrier recalls one of the scariest and most painful times in her life. After going through the ups and downs of in vitro fertilization, she becomes pregnant with twins only to lose one and prematurely deliver the other, Simone, a girl, who is immediately placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. With candor and clarity, Stevenson details the harrowing ordeal of watching her daughter fight for her life, slowly get better, and finally breath on her own. Her story is not for the faint hearted and she meticulously chronicles Simone's every step forward and back, revealing a profound experience that imparted the author with hard-earned wisdom and changed her forever. Her favorite quote - "it is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis" - is fitting, given that she spent several months wondering if Simone, now a healthy two year old, would have another day.
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From Booklist

A funny memoir about struggling with infertility and giving birth to a not-quite-two-pound premature baby? Blogger Stevenson manages to pull it off. In this tragedy with a happy ending, Stevenson goes through in vitro fertilization (IVF), gets pregnant with twins, loses one of them, but delivers a surprisingly healthy daughter, Simone. The tale is full of funny moments. Stevenson’s husband, Scott, nicknames their IVF project “Science Baby.” When she is still carrying two fetuses, Stevenson jokes, “My goal was a modest one: to get 50 percent of the babies out alive.” Later, after Simone is released from the neonatal intensive care unit, Stevenson notes that the sound of crying makes her happy, not frustrated. “Baby crying? Well, that means she’s breathing!” Even though the book offers plenty of comic relief, how many parents of full-term babies will want to wade through every detail of Stevenson’s fears, drugs, and checkups? It’s the readers who are in Stevenson’s shoes who will seek out and smile at her inspiring tale of hope. --Karen Springen

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I really felt like someone knew exactly what I was feeling while reading this book.
chaser1618
I've been reading her blog for well over a year, and the book still manages to surprise me - it's not just a repackaging of previously written material.
Katherine
I felt compelled to share how heart warming, funny, inspiring, touching, and through-provoking this book is.
Willow

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A. Reid VINE VOICE on June 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a sucker for a memoir, so the moment this one arrived in my house I put down everything else and curled up with it. I couldn't stay that way - somebody has to take the kid to the dentist's office, after all - but I gave it every minute I could until I finished, moments ago. Alexa Stevenson's book is absolutely gripping. Funny? I laughed, a lot. Heartbreaking? I cried, ditto. Heartwarming? Stevenson feels like my sister, my new best friend. Such is the illusion of intimacy created by a well-written memoir...and *this* is a well-written memoir. She's got a knack for a striking turn of phrase that bypasses the "cliche guard" center of the brain and makes everything seem vivid and immediate. It doesn't feel like she's writing for the masses (of which I'm but one). It feels like she sat down with me and told me her story herself.

It's quite a story. Stevenson takes us through defining her infertility, tackling it, and coping with the difficult pregnancy and premature birth that follow. Through the (literally) dark days of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she shares the process of finishing the baking (to borrow her metaphor) as her micropreemie matures.

One of Stevenson's strengths as a writer, and I rather suspect as a person, is her unflinching self-reflection. She does not sugarcoat her story. While she may, like all good writers, pick and choose her details in crafting her tale, she does not paint herself as the tragic heroine or even the plucky survivor. Some of her story presents her in a good light, some is considerably less flattering, but it combines to make her feel human and real.

Another of her key characteristics is her irreverent sense of humor.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Garrison VINE VOICE on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This memoir is about the author's experience with her complicated pregnancy, early delivery, and then life with a 25-week micropreemie -- first the harrowing months in the NICU with the roller coaster ups and downs, and then the equally challenging transition to life at home without constant medical support. I found it really eye-opening in a lot of ways, but here are some of the things I liked best:

* She makes it ok to laugh at some of the ridiculousness and high drama of it all.

* She does a great job of showing how personality differences affected how people coped with the constant fear a NICU can bring. She admits upfront that she had a lot of anxiety about everything before this ever happened, and had often coped by over-researching (nice to know I'm not the only one!), but you also get to see other people handling it in different ways. There are too many books out there where it seems like the author is insisting that their emotional reaction is the only valid one, and that's fortunately not the case here.

* You really get to see the bond and relationships that develop with the different nurses and doctors, and how some of those relationships are much smoother than others.

* She talks about what's going on in the medical sense without getting bogged down in all the clinical and technical details.

Definitely a book I'd recommend -- although probably *not* to anyone currently pregnant or dealing with a more run-of-the-mill, short and uncomplicated NICU stay.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara VINE VOICE on June 25, 2010
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When I first read the back of this book and saw the glowing words of review, I thought "That sounds a little overhyped". It only took me about a minute of reading to say "They might not be" and by the end of this wonderful memoir, I was in total, complete agreement with them. This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read, and I've read plenty.

The basic story---Alexa Stevenson goes through infertility treatment, gets pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl. The boys dies during the pregnancy, and the girl, Simone, is born at 25 weeks. This is the story of the pregnancy, NICU stay and first few months at home. It's a story that's been done a lot, but not like this. The best thing about the writing is how funny it is. You wouldn't think there'd be much humor in this situation, but there is, and I was laughing my head off over and over during my reading. There are also many amazing phrases and insights. I often do the evil thing of folding over a page to remember the best parts of a book, and this book is all folded up. A few examples...my favorite---Alexa's reaction to people who say "I could never do what you did". I HATE that. I get it a lot, as I have a low-functioning autistic daughter. The answer is, as Alexa says, of course you could and would. What choice do you have? I loved her honesty about anger she felt at nasty nurses, and her extreme love of nice nurses. I've been there---my older son is almost 16 now, but a few remarks made by jerky doctors or nurses while he was in the NICU still are fresh and still can make me furious. Her great line "I prepared for the wrong thing. I didn't prepare for this". She is a worrier, a tribe I also belong to, and I know just what she means.
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