When Scott Wright’s wife, Jodi, goes into labor during the 24th week of her pregnancy, the couple is terrified. After their son, Morgan, is born weighing 1 pound 8 ounces they must find ways of dealing with their micro-preemie baby’s daily struggle to survive.
The Team Spectacular webcomic wasn’t originally about how a micro-preemie named Morgan came into the world, but reader mail inspired artist Scott Wright to tell the story of his son’s birth over a series of strips in 2008. This slim 32-page comic collects those strips and also offers commentary on each, sometimes replicating and sometimes deviating from the original remarks that ran along with the strips on the website.
I received this book from a friend of mine with a micro-preemie of her own, and all I could do as I read it was imagine her and her husband going through these things: hearing pronouncements of doom and gloom, being told “prepare for the worst,” having to place their trust in total strangers… Did they, too, have trouble dreaming future dreams for their child while monitors beeped and alarms sounded?
Most of the comic aims for a positive spin—ending on a triumphant note as Morgan is finally able to come home after spending the first 131 days of his life in a hospital—and sometimes exaggerates situations for comedic effect. (Clearly, their family was far more supportive than the slovenly, slouchy person depicted in one panel.) One particular panel did affect me a good bit, though. In it, Wright depicts (verbally and visually) the NICU as a temporary home to many anxious families, and while one might be receiving good news, another might be experiencing devastation.
In the end, I am torn. I wish there were more. More detail about the various machines and the inner workings of the NICU, more detail about life at home caring for Morgan… But maybe I only think I want these things. Maybe I am better off with that triumphant ending, counting my lucky stars that I have never been through something so terrifying.