Menu

The First Breath: How modern medicine saves the lives of the most fragile

I was 29 weeks pregnant when a scan found that my baby was critically ill.

Thanks to a risky operation in utero and five months in neonatal care, my son survived.

The First Breath is a memoir crossed with a popular science book, which tells the story of the extraordinary foetal and neonatal medicine bringing a new generation of babies into the world – a generation without precedence, who would not have lived if they had been born only a few decades ago.

I’ve loved reading medical memoirs by Paul Kalanithi and Atul Gawande, and I wanted to explore the female experience of medicine – as well as the intense relationship mothers have with doctors who hold not only life and death but the very possibility of birth in their hands.

From how the antenatal testing and treatments we take for granted were invented to what it’s like to be told your child has a genetic condition to the damn hard reality of being a neonatal nurse, The First Breath is a story of fear, bravery and love which takes the reader behind the closed doors of the foetal medicine units, resuscitation rooms and operating theatres at some of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. 

The First Breath will be published in the UK on 13 June 2019 by Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.

Please contact my agent Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown with any enquiries.