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About the book: Emma Gilkison is thrilled to be pregnant. She and her partner Roy have been trying for a year and finally it’s happened. But during a routine twelve-week ultrasound she notices something strange: it looks as though their baby has a marble rolling on his chest. In fact, the baby’s heart is growing outside his body – an extremely rare and usually fatal condition called Ectopia Cordis. The couple immediately begin researching the possibilities for surgery. When this is finally ruled out Emma is almost twenty weeks pregnant. They now face a heartbreaking decision. Should they end the pregnancy, or continue in the knowledge their baby will die? From different cultures – Emma raised in New Zealand and Roy in Peru – they walk an emotional minefield as they struggle to agree on a way forward. Seeking help and spiritual counsel from people of many different views and beliefs, they find hope, meaning and consolation in unexpected places.
The Heart of Jesús Valentino is an extraordinary story about a young couple forced to go beyond their everyday experience and confront head-on issues of life and death. Powerful, honest and beautifully written, it moves all who read it, and is creating ripples in the medical world.
“A deeply moving story of love and medical science. What burns brightest is the author’s maternal love and dogged determination to do what’s best for her baby.” – Rebecca Priestley, winner, Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize, 2016
“I was utterly absorbed by this book. Emma Gilkison’s story shows us how we might look directly at the unthinkable and find hope there.” – Ashleigh Young, winner, Windham-Campbell Prize, 2017