Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days from Radiolab

From Radiolab - An update on Juniper French, a tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days -- roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions. Technology has had a profound effect on how we get pregnant, give birth, and think about life and death. The decision to become parents was not an easy one for Kelley and Tom. Even after they sorted out their relationship issues and hopes for the future, getting pregnant wasn't easy. But, thanks to a lot of technology, they found a way to a baby. Then, about halfway through the pregnancy, the trouble began. Neonatal nurse practitioner Diane Loisel describes helping Kelley and Tom make the most important decision of their lives. And Nita Farahany helps Jad and Robert understand the significance of viability, and how technology has influenced its meaning...making a difficult idea even harder to pin down. Kelley and Tom had hoped that meeting their daughter would be the happiest moment of their life. But when she came early -- at just 23 weeks and 6 days, that moment was full of terror and an impossibly difficult decision. And when the time came to face it, Tom and Kelley turned to their baby for help. Seeing their daughter for the first time, they looked for her to "declare herself." That's a phrase that comes up again and again to help guide decisions in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. But parents and medical professionals have very different ideas about what the phrase really means. Nurse Tracy Hullet and Neonatologist Keith Barrington describe the difficulty of interpreting the fuzzy boundary between a baby's strength of will, and simple physiology. Meanwhile Kelley and Tom are left to wonder, and wait. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, is a land of emotional and medical limbo. Kelley, Tom, and their daughter Juniper got stranded in this limbo for months, fighting to survive, and finally get to the next chapter of their lives. Their doctor, Fauzia Shakeel, describes the moment when Juniper's life hung in the balance, and Keith Barrington helps us understand how our newest technologies open the door not only to hope, but also to a pain that we, as humans, have kept hidden for most of our history. And finally, Kelley, Tom, Nita Farahany and Juniper herself, nearly 5 years old, give us an update on her life and what has happened since our story originally aired.  Juniper and Kelley (Photo Credit: Kelley Benham)    
Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days
2016-03-22 21:36:00
An update on Juniper French, a tiny baby, born at 23 Weeks and 6 days -- roughly halfway to full term. And a whole universe of medical and moral questions. Technology has had a profound effect on how we get pregnant, give birth, and think about life and death. The decision to become parents was not an easy one for Kelley and Tom. Even after they sorted out their relationship issues and hopes for the future, getting pregnant wasn't easy. But, thanks to a lot of technology, they found a way to a baby. Then, about halfway through the pregnancy, the trouble began. Neonatal nurse practitioner Diane Loisel describes helping Kelley and Tom make the most important decision of their lives. And Nita Farahany helps Jad and Robert understand the significance of viability, and how technology has influenced its meaning...making a difficult idea even harder to pin down. Kelley and Tom had hoped that meeting their daughter would be the happiest moment of their life. But when she came early -- at just 23 weeks and 6 days, that moment was full of terror and an impossibly difficult decision. And when the time came to face it, Tom and Kelley turned to their baby for help. Seeing their daughter for the first time, they looked for her to "declare herself." That's a phrase that comes up again and again to help guide decisions in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. But parents and medical professionals have very different ideas about what the phrase really means. Nurse Tracy Hullet and Neonatologist Keith Barrington describe the difficulty of interpreting the fuzzy boundary between a baby's strength of will, and simple physiology. Meanwhile Kelley and Tom are left to wonder, and wait. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, is a land of emotional and medical limbo. Kelley, Tom, and their daughter Juniper got stranded in this limbo for months, fighting to survive, and finally get to the next chapter of their lives. Their doctor, Fauzia Shakeel, describes the moment when Juniper's life hung in the balance, and Keith Barrington helps us understand how our newest technologies open the door not only to hope, but also to a pain that we, as humans, have kept hidden for most of our history. And finally, Kelley, Tom, Nita Farahany and Juniper herself, nearly 5 years old, give us an update on her life and what has happened since our story originally aired.  Juniper and Kelley (Photo Credit: Kelley Benham)    

1 hour, 2 minutes, 57 seconds

More Episodes from Radiolab

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Radiolab is heard around the country on more than 500 member stations.

Red Herring
It was the early 80s, the height of the Cold War, when something strange began happening off the coast of Sweden. The navy reported a mysterious sound deep below the surface of the ocean. Again, and again, and again they would hear it near their secret military bases, in their harbors, and up and...

Facebook's Supreme Court
Since its inception, the perennial thorn in Facebook's side has been content moderation. That is, deciding what you and I are allowed to post on the site and what we're not. Missteps by Facebook in this area have fueled everything from a genocide in Myanmar to viral disinformation surrounding...

Post Reports: Four Hours of Insurrection
We're all still processing what happened on January 6th. Despite the hours and hours of video circulating online, we still didn't feel like we had a visceral, on-the-ground sense of what happened that day. Until we heard the piece we're featuring today. The Washington Post's daily podcast Post...

More Money Less Problems
Back in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning and the shelter-in-place orders brought the economy to a screeching halt, a quirky-but-clever idea to save the economy made its way up to some of the highest levels of government. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib proposed an ambitious...

A Note from Radiolab
In the past few weeks, there have been a lot of conversations about the tolerance of harassment and bad behavior in our industry and in particular of a person who worked on our show five years ago, Andy Mills. The Radiolab team wants to say to the people who were hurt, to anyone who has ever felt...

A Terrible Covid Christmas Special
This year was the worst. And as our staff tried to figure out what to do for our last episode of 2020, co-host Latif Nasser thought, what if we stare straight into the darkness ... and make a damn Christmas special about it. Latif begins with a story about Santa, and a back-room deal he made with...

The Ashes on the Lawn
A global pandemic. An afflicted, angry group. A seemingly indifferent government. Reporter Tracie Hunte wanted to understand this moment of pain and confusion by looking back 30 years, and she found a complicated answer to a simple question: When nothing seems to work, how do you make change? This...

Enemy of Mankind
Should the U.S. Supreme Court be the court of the world? In the 18th century, two feuding Frenchmen inspired a one-sentence law that helped launch American human rights litigation into the 20th century. The Alien Tort Statute allowed a Paraguayan woman to find justice for a terrible crime committed...

The Great Vaccinator
Until now, the fastest vaccine ever made - for mumps - took four years. And while our current effort to develop a covid-19 vaccine involves thousands of people working around the clock, the mumps vaccine was developed almost exclusively by one person: Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman cranked out more...

Dispatch 13: Challenge Trials
What if someone asked you to get infected with the COVID-19 virus, deliberately, in order to speed up the development of a vaccine? Would you do it? Would you risk your life to save others? For months, dozens of companies have been racing to create coronavirus vaccines. Finally, three have done it....

Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.