A letter to your doctor

January 1, 2014 in Birth Plans, Comments, Medical Provider

As you prepare for the birth of your baby, you may have heard some personal stories of moms who experienced some awkwardness in the delivery room or later in the hospital. It may be helpful to tell your doctor what kinds of statements make you comfortable or uncomfortable, with suggestions as to how to talk to you after your baby is born. Ask your doctor to share it in advance with the L & D staff, and bring a few copies with you just in case. Experienced moms, did you write letters to your doctors? Expectant moms, would you like to share a draft of your letter and receive some advice?

DownSyndromePregnancy.org has a sample letter from one expectant parent who combined her concerns for the pregnancy, her questions about care and delivery, and her requests for appropriate language into one letter to her doctor.  You may chose to address questions or concerns orally, or write down your thoughts.  Your desires and concerns may differ drastically from our sample.

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5 Responses

  1. jue says:

    My consultant throughout the pregnancy didn’t support a single parent having a baby with ds — he said I would have no quality of life. I was asked every 6 weeks about other options and had I thought anymore about tests, and he really was nasty about it all.
    After the birth and after recovery I went to neonatel to see my son and passed the consultant – my love for my son made him apologise for all his behaviour and attitude.
    My gp’s, well one said, “Looks like your son has a low level of ds,” and another, “Just how do you cope?”
    My son is a child who just happens to have ds; he is the best thing that happened to me.

  2. nancy says:

    I was so grateful for the care of my doctors. My OB and I are friends and she reviewed our pregnancy book as did my perinatologist. But Dr. R and I did have a discussion about the way I wanted the medical people to act in the delivery room. I did not want anyone to be awkward. In fact, Kennedy is a teaching hospital, so I told her in advance that I was OK with residents and interns being present. It was an amazing, happy, upbeat atmosphere for Gabby’s birth. Dr. R., my nurse Daisy, and the rest of the staff were amazing and I appreciated it so much.

  3. Mandy says:

    I haven’t had my baby yet, but I’ve had mixed experiences with doctors so far. Some have been harsh and clinical when conveying the diagnosis. Others have been kind and caring, and emphasized the positive aspects of children with Down syndrome. One specialist, though, openly challenged our decision to have this baby, saying things like “you’re aware that babies with Down syndrome often have many health problems, right?” Of course we had done our homework and we know there will be plenty of unanticipated health challenges. It was hard to have to defend our decision over and over once we had made it, especially to the medical experts who are supposed to be responsible for the care of our baby. It makes me wonder whether they will take good care of our baby after she is born? A letter like this one sounds like a good idea.

  4. Sarah says:

    I have had the privilege of supporting a few expectant parents from a professional role. One expressed concern that the hospital staff wouldn’t know what to do or say so I offered to contact them in advance to express her wishes for her baby’s birth. I contacted the nurse manager who was eager to meet and learn more. This turned into a nice opportunity to teach many on the staff about Down syndrome. We shared with them that the parents had chosen to welcome this child and they didn’t want anything but celebration at her birth. Their hospital experiences were very positive and the staff was grateful for the experience as well. So as you’re thinking about discussing your wishes with your doctor, consider contacting the birth center staff as well.

  5. nancy says:

    We had a mom recently whose doctor was continuing to bring up other pregnancy options and who was giving the impression that he was lowering the care standards. I drafted this as a suggestion:

    Dear Doctor,
    As you know, I am now 22 weeks along with my son NAME who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. As I have explained, we are aware of all of our options and we have made a conscious and final decision to welcome NAME into our family. This decision WILL NOT CHANGE.

    Despite our clearly expressed intentions, I continue to hear you speak of my options concerning my pregnancy.

    Despite the fact that we are certain of our path, pregnancy post-diagnosis has left me emotional and vulnerable. Your insistence on discussing other pregnancy options is contributing to that emotional state in a very unhealthy way. I do not wish to have to cope with perinatal depression on top of everything, so please stop making comments and instead show me your full support.

    Also, due to my history of pre-term labor, we had previously spoken of an aggresive preventative plan. Those plans seem to be receiving much less attention since NAME was diagnosed.

    Please understand that not only do I wish every protection for my son NAME that any other child would receive, I would also hope my pregnancy would receive even MORE attention due to the Down syndrome diagnosis, which may trigger pregnancy complications.

    Thank you for reading this letter. I feel confident we can get past this uncomfortable (at least for me) time and get back to the doctor-patient relationship which always gave me so much reasurance.

    Some of the phrasing of this letter may help other parents.

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