The Heart of Jesús Valentino is available at bookstores in New Zealand and Australia. It is also available on Amazon (for shipping anywhere in the world).
“Every once in a while, I read a book that I want to tell everyone about, because it affects me so deeply. The Heart of Jesús Valentino, is one of those books. It is a story of sadness and grief, but it is also a story of finding meaning in places you least expect, and the kind of light that can only be seen because it’s shining through darkness. I literally could not put it down.” Katherine Granich, Editor, BUMP & Baby, New Zealand
“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, New Zealand 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, United States 2017
Blurb: It’s every prospective parent’s nightmare: something is wrong with your unborn child. Emma Gilkison and her Peruvian partner Roy Costilla, discovered during a routine scan that their baby boy had a medical condition so rare it happened to only eight babies in a million. In lay terms the condition, ectopia cordis, meant the baby’s heart was growing outside his chest.
Internet searches revealed that operating to place the heart inside the chest cavity might be an option. But this was eventually ruled out. Emma and Roy now faced two heartbreaking options. Should they end the pregnancy? Or continue in the knowledge their baby would die soon after birth?
As neither had strong religious beliefs they found themselves reaching out for help to people of many different views, from friends and family to Buddhists, Catholics and even New Age healers. What was the best course of action for their baby?
Along the way, they also gained special insight into the medical world and personnel – particularly paediatricians, midwives and neonatologists – and how they view and treat such rare conditions and perinatal palliative care. The Heart of Jesús Valentino is an extraordinary story about people forced to go beyond their everyday experience and confront head-on issues of life and death.