Intensive Care

A tender conversation about the start of life, the end of life, and quality of life.

1 in 10 babies in Australia are born premature, and 15% of all babies will need some form of extra care at birth.  

Today on Life & Faith, we venture into a place that will be unfamiliar to many – but all too familiar to some: the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. Dr Annie Janvier is a neonatologist (she takes care of sick babies); she’s also a researcher and ethicist, thinking about difficult decisions doctors have to make, and trying to understand the perspective and experience of parents in the NICU.  

And 17 years ago, she also became the mother of an extremely premature daughter. Violette was born at 24 weeks – and her mother discovered that knowing how a respirator works did not help her to be the mum of a baby on a respirator.  

Annie shares some of the emotions that arise from being a parent in NICU; and some of the questions that arise – about life, death, disability, and meaning – for people in this situation. And we have a bonus story for you here too: Andy Crouch describes the short, vulnerable, but deeply significant life of his niece Angela.  



Annie’s book Breathe, Baby, Breathe! Neonatal Intensive Care, Prematurity, and Complicated Pregnancies 

Andy’s book Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing