Dear Future Physicians,
My experiences with physicians have for the most part been very positive. I know not everyone has the same experiences that I have. So I'd like to highlight some of the things that made my experiences so important and life changing for my family.
My husband and I were expecting our second child everything was going along just fine as expected. We went in for our 20 week ultrasound and our world came crashing down. We were told our unborn baby had something terribly wrong. My OB didn't want to speculate on what it was but he told us there was something wrong with the baby's kidneys. He set up an appointment for us to have a level 2 ultrasound 2 days later. The Perinatologist was amazing. We were terrified. After some research we new this could be very bad but didn't really know what our options were. After completing the scan he told us our baby was going to die. The baby had one missing kidney and the kidney that was there wasn't functioning. A condition referred to as Potter's syndrome. He was a very nice and compassionate man that was visibly upset at the news he had to deliver to us that day. My husband still trying to process the information asked “What Now?” The choice the Dr made next has always been the reason he has my up most respect and always will. He presented us with our options but did not talk us into one or the other. Our options were to terminate the pregnancy or carry to term. Since my experiences with this pregnancy I have had so many people tell me they were bullied into terminating their pregnancy because there was something wrong with the baby and that continuing the pregnancy was never offered to them that is just appalling.
Please let your patients make their own choices. Give them all the options all the possibilities and allow them time to process and make a choice. If they ask your opinion give it but don't bully them into doing something you feel is the right or simple choice. It may not be for them.
Our choice that day was to not make a choice right then. We went home discussed our options how we felt and processed the information that the baby we had longed to have join our family would only be with us a short time.
We chose to continue the pregnancy. My OB called me personally to discuss what would happen and how we would handle the rest of the pregnancy. We made a plan and with both my OB and Peri my care was impeccable. Everyone handled our situation with the up most respect and care. Everyone took their time to answer all of my questions and concerns. The hospital staff was spectacular in offering everything and anything I needed or wanted. Even offered to do things that I hadn't thought of. But the most amazing thing my OB did was he kept me grounded he allowed us to hope that the outcome would be different then expected but didn't let me live in a fantasy world thinking this baby was going to be fine.
On the morning I went into labor my regular OB was not on call. Something I had always been worried about the entire pregnancy. The on call OB called him at home told him I was in labor and he showed up at the hospital 20 minutes later to deliver our very special child. He came because he knew I would be more comfortable if he was in the delivery room. Our sweet baby girl was with us for 2 ½ hours.
The doctors that cared for her and me treated her like a person and me like a new mom. No one ever treated her like a non viable fetus. When dealing with pregnancy and infant loss this is the most important thing. This is a child not a statistic or medical procedure.
I went on to have one more child after our loss. This by far was the most difficult pregnancy. Medically everything was fine. Emotionally I was a basket case. Both my OB and Perinatologist were great through the entire journey. They never brushed of my worries as a crazy hormonal pregnant woman. They listened reassured me but still kept me grounded not letting me live in a fantasy land of nothing will go wrong, because we all knew differently. I will always remember the pure joy that they both shared with my family the moment we all knew this baby had two working kidneys!
Alex, My Mirror
^Amanda^ 7/13/04, My Angel
Allison, My Rainbow