From the moment when the husband-and-wife authors decide to conceive a child--aboard a cruise ship--she's given to poeticizing, he's apt to produce a list of pros and cons. But they're both earnest and likable, so those who respond to the alternate-entry diary method will probably find their experience of interest. They decide to use midwives for the birth itself; they dutifully attend childbirth-preparation classes; they buy a Manhattan apartment to remodel. Then baby Jessica is born, and for a while they're very much at sea. Jessica, a fussy eater, wants to be breastfed and cuddled constantly, and generally disrupts their daily lives. But they learn to survive: Michael goes into therapy to prevent making the same mistakes with his child that were made with him, and to understand his sudden attraction to other women. Susan decides to hire babysitters occasionally so she can resume freelance writing. And ""pro and con"" lister Michael proudly fills his desk at The New York Times with family pictures. Jessica grows and learns and crawls, eventually going to bed at night without needing constant rocking. By her first birthday, Susan is able to say about the days of infancy: ""It's hard living through them, harder still to let them go."" A certain honest searching quality makes this palatable, even in its way enjoyable.