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Writing Up Baby,  Aug 8, 2010
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Simone Wisgerhof impulsively grabs a pen from a visitor and begins to scribble away. Her parents, Alexa Stevenson and Scott Wisgerhof, trade looks of concern.

"Ummm, Simone isn't supposed to have pens," her father says. At 2, Simone is a vibrant toddler who plays catch, knows her ABCs and impishly fake-laughs at people's jokes. But she was born 15 weeks early -- a "micro preemie" -- with a birth weight of less than 2 pounds. She barely survived the first year of her life. Her quarantine in the family's Crocus Hill apartment to protect her immune system was just lifted in April, and, her mother says, "Her nose has been running ever since."

So the reason she can't have pens is because they might harm her fragile health?

"No," Wisgerhof says. "It's because she steals them."

Such reasoning seems blissfully mundane, the kind of thing all new parents chuckle about. As it should be, but not as it was, and the long, exhaustive journey to this moment is the subject of Stevenson's memoir, "Half Baked," out this month from Running Press.

Under the subtitle "The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe," Stevenson wisecracks through her battles with anxiety while documenting in detail the couple's infertility, her pregnancy with twins via in vitro fertilization, the in utero death of one of the babies at 22 weeks, the delivery of Simone and her stillborn brother, Ames, three weeks later, and Simone's months in neonatal intensive care.

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