I’m excited for Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU to reach a larger audience. Sometimes people ask me what it’s like to reveal such a personal story, and personal struggle, in such a public way. For better or worse, I told it all, but I don’t find the public part too hard. This story is something that happened to a human being under difficult circumstances, and as humans we often find ourselves facing ourselves facing difficulty. I believe we can learn a lot from each other when we share those struggles, and by sharing we learn we have permission to have our experiences as we have them. Should we have been stronger in those hard times? Better somehow? Probably not. Did we learn a lot? Totally. My best hope for Spot 12 is that readers find in it a kind of solidarity. Whatever we go through in this life is something we can share.
Spot 12: Five Months in the Neonatal ICU
by Jenny Jaeckel
Spanish ISBN 978-1-941203-12-5 (Cunero 12)
8×10 trade paper
A routine prenatal exam reveals a dangerous problem, and Jaeckel and her husband find themselves thrust into a world of close calls, sleepless nights, and psychological crises. Surrounded by disagreements and family tensions, death, and questions of faith, Jaeckel struggles to maintain a positive frame of mind. Against the antiseptic, mechanical reality of the NICU, the dedicated doctors and nurses are drawn as sympathetic and wry animal characters. Doctor Eyes and Nurse Gentlehands are two of the caring individuals who do all they can to save Baby Asa. At times Jaeckel and her husband battle feelings of helplessness and despair, but their determination, hope, insight, bravery, and connection ultimately helps keep their little girl alive.
For the Love of Meat is moving ahead, with the publisher giving away copies of the advance copy and Meat to appear for preorder in the next week or so.
Meanwhile, friend and book designer extraordinaire Josué Menjivar has been laying out the new edition of Spot 12: The Story of a Birth in English and Spanish. My publisher Erika Lunder of Raincloud Press helped edit this new edition to make a more focused and a little less-dense read. That freed up some space to use a bigger font so that those of you who have mentioned my graphic novels have been hard to read will have nothing to fear! This version is bigger (8×10) and we’ve done all we can to make it better.
Spot 12 is going to be very busy this Spring and Summer, according to my publisher, it’s going to Chicago for the Book Expo, one of the largest book fairs in the world. Apparently up to 1000 copies will be given away by the publication date in October of this year. That sounds like a lot! But I am excited about the book getting out there, and I’m especially grateful to Rita Arciniega for her tireless help with the Spanish translation of Spot 12: Cunero 12.
If you know of an organization that might be interested in using Spot 12 in their outreach please contact my publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org). That was our hope doing the Spanish version that it would give the project legs and be a resource for more families (summary below).
This unique graphic memoir is about a mother whose newborn spends five months in the NICU, written and illustrated by Jenny Jaeckel. It is a moving, raw and honest look at hospital- and crisis-induced PTSD and the effect of an extended medical stay on a family. The journal Advances in Neonatal Care called it “very impressive,” and said that parents “will find comfort in how the author expresses their pain.” Nurses, families with special needs children, social workers and anyone in the pediatric field will have something to gain from this mother’s perspective.