Finding Beauty in NICU

Spinning takes the reader on a journey no mother wants. Janine Kovacs’ twins, delivered at less than 26 weeks, struggle from the moment they are born. They live the first three months of their lives in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Kovacs is told they have a fifty-fifty chance of survival, and if they survive, they could live with serious complications. Kovac’s candor, courage and vivid storytelling drew me into her memoir. I wanted to stay by her side throughout her ordeal.

I found myself rooting for these children and this family. Kovac turns their smallest efforts into major triumphs. Her descriptions of her preemies and their battles are intense and emotionally packed. Who knew there could be action and drama in an isolette?

When her life starts spinning out of control, Kovacs turns to what she knows best. Kovacs juxtaposes her scenes in NICU with her own story as a ballet dancer. Her reflections reveal the love and the heartache of a ballerina. Her memories of her past life on and off stage offer relief from the anguish of watching her infants fight for their lives. The passages about dancing are graceful and uplifting.

But in the split second between falling and soaring I realized I could choose to stay in this in-between land of actively moving my limbs and passively watching them. I balanced in the contradiction of the moment. It felt like flying.

Ballet gives her coping mechanisms, discipline, and above all, beauty. It is through dance that Kovac comes to understand and express her deepest emotions.

Spinning is about drawing on every resource you can summon to face life’s most difficult times. For Janine Kovac, her experience as a ballet dancer, her sense of humor, her intelligence, and her love of family gave her the strength she needed to care for her children and herself.



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