Nothing means more to me than hearing from people who’ve been on the front lines: Mothers who tell me that reading GIRL IN GLASS helps them feel less alone. Doctors and nurses who tell me that my story reveals the true impact of their work. Preemie parents and advocates who somehow pulled themselves out of their own traumas to dedicate themselves to helping families like mine. All of these people are my heroes. —Deanna Fei
“This is a truly extraordinary book. As a neonatologist, I have dealt with premature babies and their families for more than twenty years; yet the window GIRL IN GLASS provides into the emotional turmoil, wrenching family dynamics, and sometimes casually cruel behavior of medical professionals and workplace colleagues in response to an extremely premature birth still left me amazed, with my stomach in knots and mind churning. Deanna Fei’s account is acutely felt and expressed in every detail; unflinchingly honest; powerfully insightful; and brave in its exposure. Her analysis of the lack of privacy of personal health information and its misuse by employers and insurers is eye-opening and a warning to us all.” —MIA WECHSLER DORON, neonatologist and coauthor of PREEMIES: The Essential Guide for Parents of Premature Babies
“Ms. Fei beautifully describes the emotional ups and downs of having a baby in the NICU. More importantly, she talks about deep societal misperceptions of the value of babies’ lives. Those misperception can lead to words and actions that are psychologically cruel and politically misguided. This is an important book for parents, doctors, and policymakers.” —JOHN D. LANTOS, leading bioethicist, pediatrician, and author of NEONATAL BIOETHICS: The Moral Challenges of Medical Innovation
"In her beautifully written memoir, GIRL IN GLASS, Deanna Fei artfully weaves the experience of her full term son with the traumatic experience of giving birth to her second child prematurely. I am a mother of triplets born 15 weeks early and can attest to the accuracy of Ms. Fei’s depiction of the fear, anxiety, and grief a parent feels. Thoughts enter your mind about your own child that you never would dream you'd be capable of thinking. It is difficult to describe the utter devastation that occurs from the trauma of preterm birth when suddenly we are stripped of every natural parenting instinct we have and are left alone to navigate an uncertain future. Ms. Fei provides a sense of hope that all NICU parents need to survive. She also provides a safe place to know that we are not alone, a gift of immeasurable proportion.
GIRL IN GLASS is an important work of literature for the Maternal Infant Health community and should be required reading for all resident neonatologists and neonatal nursing interns. Only when you view the world through the lens of another can you begin to provide the psychosocial care hundreds of thousands of parents need; a part of training that is often overlooked. Ms. Fei gives an in depth perspective of the preemie parent experience that personalizes the medicine behind neonatology.” —KEIRA SORRELLS, Mother of triplets born 25w 5d; Co-Founder & President, Preemie Parent Alliance; Co-Founder & President, Zoe Rose Memorial Foundation
"In my professional capacity managing NICU Family Support programs across the country, I regularly see the impact of prematurity on families. As the parent of a NICU baby, I have felt the stress, confusion, and heartache of being in that position myself. The beauty of GIRL IN GLASS is that it takes us beyond these individual stories, to understand the broader impact that neonatal morbidity has on us all. This story is about more than one woman’s struggle to protect her family and right an injustice: It holds up a mirror for the kind of society we are, and gives us a map for what we can do to be better.” —JESSAMYN RESSLER-MAERLENDER, MPH, Manager, NICU Family Support, March of Dimes
"As the father of extremely premature babies, the loss of our son and eventually bringing our daughter home, I appreciate Deanna's courage in sharing her story. As an advocate for premature babies and their families, I am grateful that we have such a unique, eloquent and powerful voice to further our cause of improving outcomes for all babies born prematurely." —NICK HALL, Founder & President at Graham’s Foundation
"As the parent of two preemies, I truly did not want to read one more book about prematurity. But GIRL IN GLASS engulfed me. Deanna writes with raw honesty about the pain, both physical and emotional, of preterm birth. She exposes the harsh reality that it is not just our babies that are distressed, but we as parents are shaken to our core and must declare ourselves ready for the challenge of parenting a medically fragile child." —KELLI KELLEY, NICU mom and founder of Hand to Hold
"I loved reading GIRL IN GLASS, both for Fei’s startling honesty in baring her emotions and struggles, but also for her discussion about how we as a society value the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Fei owns up to many emotions that lurk in the deep recesses of many preemie parents’ hearts: guilt, fear, and shame. In addressing these emotions so directly, she normalizes them, highlighting what real life is like for preemie parents. Deanna Fei has done us a great service. I recommend this book highly.” —SUE HALL, neonatologist, author, and founder of Support 4 NICU Parents
"For parents, finding community is one of the most critical elements in healing from the isolation, grief, and trauma that comes with the NICU experience. In GIRL IN GLASS, Deanna not only provides a narrative that speaks deeply to the journey of NICU parents, but does so in such a way that is as artful as it is apt. She puts words to the unspeakable nature of what can be the hardest thing a parent experiences: the hospitalization of their sweet baby. I can't recommend it enough." —KARA WAHLIN, MFT and preemie parent; founder of NICU Healing
“GIRL IN GLASS is a reminder of the struggles new parents have in the work world especially when an infant's arrival is early and results in a stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Parenthood is stressful enough without having to endure corporate America's shaming of having a special needs baby in an attempt to make excuses for a poor bottom line. Parents everywhere collectively cheer Fei and her need to speak up and speak out on behalf of her family, of all working families.” —DEB DISCENZA, creator of PreemieWorld
“GIRL IN GLASS perfectly exemplifies the thoughts and feelings that parents of premature infants often have trouble finding words for. The sharing of her family’s journey is one filled with love, courage and determination; providing other families the strength to never give up hope.” —CRISTAL GROGAN, mother of Seth, born 12 weeks premature
“Deanna Fei's GIRL IN GLASS is a moving and memory-evoking story of dreams, hopes, loss, endurance and advocation. As a parent of a 25-year old NICU graduate, Deanna's experience with Mila in the hospital for those many, long months brought back tucked-away memories of our own story. Her unexpected, courageous battle against an industry Goliath, and the manner in which she describes their experience stirred feelings of wonder for me. I wonder if I would have been so brave to speak out? Could I have expressed the emotions of hurt, sadness, anger and resolution so eloquently? GIRL IN GLASS gives NICU parents examples of how to advocate for their children and family, and provides a realistic glimpse into a world few people travel.” —LAURA MILLER, Managing Consultant, NICU Initiatives, March of Dimes
"I've been sneaking away and neglecting all the things because I can't put this book down. I hope it's OK to admit this, but detailed NICU stories are still hard for me to read. However, I've never read something that so encapsulates how I felt immediately after Jack's birth. If you have a NICU story, you will feel this book, these words, deeply. Beyond being exceedingly relatable, this story of 25 weeker Mila, also shines a light on a topic that I care about immensely: the worth of a human life. Friends, go right now and get this book. GIRL IN GLASS is one I'll be holding onto for a long time.” —JESSI BENNION, cofounder of “Life with Jack”
“Fei’s book far exceeds her goal in drawing the reader into a micro-prematurity journey … giving voice to what NICU parents often feel but cannot express. She seeks to understand as well as be understood, publicly sharing her experience and teaching society what a micro-premature journey is like with humility and honor. Her book is infused with character and forgiveness and it is this taking the higher road that weaves the emotions of her NICU journey with the emotions of a media firestorm, lifting it with grace and beauty.” —KATIE REGINATO CASCAMO, Mother of Giovanni, born at 30 weeks; Regional Ambassador Coordinator at Hand to Hold
Are you the parent of a premature baby? Have you spent time in a NICU? Please click here for resources and support.