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Girl in Glass : How My "Distressed Baby" Defied the Odds, Shamed a CEO, and Taught Me the Essence of
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Deanna Fei was just five-and-a-half months pregnant when she inexplicably went into labor. Minutes later, she met her tiny baby who clung to life support inside a glass box. Fei was forced to confront terrifying questions: How to be the mother of a child she could lose at any moment. Whether her daughter would survive another day--and whether she should. But as she watched her daughter fight for her life, Fei discovered the power of the mother-child bond at its most elemental.
A year after she brought her daughter home from the hospital, the CEO of AOL--her husband's employer--blamed the beautiful, miraculously healthy little girl for a cut in employee benefits and attached a price tag to her life, using a phrase, "distressed babies," that set off a national firestorm.
Girl in Glass is the riveting story of one child's harrowing journey and a powerful distillation of parenthood. With incandescent prose and an unflinching eye, Fei explores the value of a human life: from the spreadsheets wielded by cost-cutting executives to the insidious notions of risk surrounding modern pregnancy; from the wondrous history of medical innovation in the care of premature infants to contemporary analyses of what their lives are worth; and finally, to the depths of her own struggle to make sense of her daughter's arrival in the world. Above all, Girl in Glass is a luminous testament to how love takes hold when a birth defies our fundamental beliefs about how life is supposed to begin.
In February 2014, a year after her daughter came home from the hospital, the beautiful, miraculously healthy little girl was blamed by CEO Tim Armstrong for a cut in AOL employee benefits. This egregious violation of privacy enabled the colleagues of Fei's husband to attach a price tag to their daughter's care; sparked intense debates across national media; and eventually propelled Fei to come forward to restore the humanity of a child who had overcome so much, only to be scapegoated as a drag on the company bottom line.
In Girl in Glass-a searing, luminous portrait of her daughter's harrowing journey and her own struggles and joys as a mother-Fei underscores the gross injustice of putting anyone on the defensive for suffering a medical crisis; humanizes the perilous state of individual privacy versus corporate indifference; and reflects on the value of a human life. ButGirl in Glass is most of all a testament to the fierceness and endurance of parental love.