We had a wonderful appointment with Dr. Bootstaylor today at Emory University! David and I were a nervous wreck all day, we had no idea how receptive Dr. B would be to how we felt about our baby and what we know she is capable of.
Even though he was incredibly busy today, he made time for us, greeted us (and remembered us) in the waiting room, and brought us to his office. He never once made us feel rushed or as if our questions weren’t important.
We talked about cesarean vs. vaginal delivery, what delivery would be like, hospice, how he felt about her and us, treatment options, etc.
He was very happy we had chosen to keep her and I think excited as well. He told us that he saw this as a real pregnancy and a real baby that deserved just as much care and attention as any other pregnancy. He was not disgusted or annoyed with us keeping a baby that is “incompatible with life” and quite frankly, disagreed with the belief that these babies aren’t important or valuable. He was thrilled with all of the things she can do, and seemed genuinely happy to hear how well she is doing and what a sweet baby she is. We asked him how many babies with anencephaly he had seen go full term (because he has said before that he has seen quite a few babies with anencephaly), he said in 25 years he has seen 10. To be honest, that was more than I was expecting.
We discussed delivery options and he understood our main goal was to see Brielle alive and hold her alive. We talked about how a cesarean would be with him and which incision would be the least traumatizing to my body. The risks are still there, but we agreed a low transverse incision would be best, so I can birth vaginally with my other pregnancies (.2% – 1.5% of uterine rupture). His goals for delivery were exactly what ours were as well. Immediate skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping (30% of the baby’s blood is the the placenta after delivery so it is best to avoid cutting the cord until the cord stops pulsating), and no restraints during the operation so that I can bond with Brielle. And he made it very clear that she would never have to leave me during the c-section. Vaginal delivery is pretty much however I want to do things, I even get to eat! He told us that it is really too early to decide between the two, and that I may go into spontaneous delivery and take the decision out of our hands, or that I may go full term and then we can schedule a delivery. I appreciated that he wanted to do what was best for us and not what was best for his time or bank account.
He told us that he was open to helping us find treatment and told us that with Brielle we would be the educators to the doctors we come in contact with and he told us we need fortitude, because there is going to be resistance. But he was happy to help and excited to change the way anencephaly is seen. He told us that was our place in life, to bring attention and change to this defect. We agreed around 36 weeks we will see a pediatric neonatologist and discuss treatment options and a plan once she’s born. Which is something David and I will need to be fully educated for. I’ll make an exciting post about this later.
We are so impressed by Dr. Bootstaylor and we adore him. He truly is a Godsend and has been kind and supportive of us through this entire journey. I could not ask for a better or more qualified doctor to help us through this time. Any ATL friends, you need to go to his practice, because he is amazing.