David and I chose to use money we would have spent on Brielle’s birthday gifts this year, to instead give to the March Of Dimes foundation. We chose this because anencephaly is one of many birth defects and we felt that this year, this organization was the best way to honor Brielle.
You can read about their birth defects research here.
David and I encourage you to donate in memory of Brielle or to spread awareness of anencephaly and other birth defects with your friends and family. No one should lose a child and David and I want to be a force of change for this.
I spent a lot of time at DeKalb Medical while I was pregnant with Brielle and, while I can’t speak for the rest of the hospital, the staff in the Women’s Center were incredible. They were attentive, compassionate, empathetic, knowledgeable, motherly, warm, inviting, I could go on and on. From Jamie and her incredible kindness, to the nurses, to the NICU nurses and Dr. Armand. I just couldn’t say enough about them.
Jamie coordinated everything so that our day with Brielle would go as perfectly and seamlessly as possible. She mothered me when there was no one there to mother me. She loved Brielle and treasured her. She guided me through one of the hardest days of my life. I truly believe God sent her into my life and Brielle’s and that the day could not have happened without her. She is, truly, one of DeKalb Medical’s greatest assets.
Dr. Armand learned as much as he could about how he could treat Brielle and keep her brain tissue viable after her birth. He supported me, when even the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta denied Brielle care. He wanted what was best for Brielle and held onto hope for her, hope for a better outcome. He stood by and watched the delivery, ready to care for her if needed. Unfortunately, Brielle’s brain tissue was in very poor shape, she never had a chance. But, Dr. Armand and DeKalb Medical, can help other anencephalics who may have a chance.
The nurses and staff at DeKalb Medical and Dr. Bootstaylor worked together in perfect harmony. They respected each other and their work was beautiful. That kind of partnership, that kind of heart, is incredibly rare. It is something that should be encouraged and nurtured. And I, as well as many others, felt that it is a partnership worth fighting for.
I hope DeKalb recognizes what a special hospital they have, and I hope they weed out those who wish to do it harm, and lift up those who give wholeheartedly and selflessly.
DeKalb and Dr. Bootstaylor could operate separately and everything would be okay, but, again, this partnership is something special. I hope SeeBaby and the staff of DeKalb Medical know how much I love them all and support them.
So why does SeeBaby and Dr. Bootstaylor matter to Loving Brielle followers? Why am I so outraged? Why do I care if you care?
You all need to keep in mind that if Dr. Bootstaylor had not been an advocate for Brielle, if he had not been our doctor, that our standard of care would have been:
Encouraged fetal termination
Potential to be dropped as a patient and denied OB care because Brielle had anencephaly
Denied routine maternal care
My polyhydramnios would not have been monitored closely and safely.
Basic, routine, care would have been denied or discouraged.
Denied birth plan of my choice
This would have meant I could not have a family centered cesarean.
I would have never held Brielle alive, she would have been taken from me.
David would not have been allowed to video her birth.
I would not have been allowed to carry her as long as I did.
I would not have been allowed a bereavement doula (Lauren Bishop).
Brielle would have been denied standard fetal care because she “would die anyways” and take time away from healthy babies.
We would have never been allowed to meet with Dr. Armand (DeKalb neonatologist) or Jamie Ray. We were connected to Jamie by Dr. B and his practice, SeeBaby. And Jamie coordinated everything on the DeKalb Medical side. Jamie made sure everything was perfect for Brielle and I.
Jamie loved on Brielle as if she were part of her own family. I love this picture of them.
We would have never had routine or specialized ultrasounds.
We would have never had 3D ultrasounds of Brielle or watch her play in my tummy.
We would have never had a consult with neurosurgeons.
We would have never been allowed to believe Brielle had feelings and emotions of her own, likes and dislikes. In fact, we were laughed at by other practices.
And that’s just an overview of some of the ways Dr. Bootstaylor and SeeBaby took care of Brielle.
Sure, we can make this political, we can make this a woman’s rights issue (and it is), but that may make you uncomfortable. You may prefer to just stay out of it.
But what about Brielle? Will you care because of her? Will you help me fight for her legacy? Dr. Bootstaylor is a part of that. If it weren’t for him, none of you would know me or Brielle.
You don’t have to physically be in Atlanta to make a difference. Just talk about it. Share your outrage that this man has become a target, merely because he is a good man. Draw attention to the injustice circling Dr. B.
Dr. Bootstaylor wanted to help Brielle, he cared about her. Maybe that’s taken for granted, but for me? Brielle had a short amount of time here. And everyone who stood in her court and defended her, those people are precious to me. I will fight hard for those people. They loved my daughter. They valued her.
And all we, all I, have left is her memory and legacy. I’m not going to just throw that away, or turn a blind eye to another’s suffering, because it might make me or others uncomfortable.
It’s fundamentally wrong, no matter your personal or political beliefs, to let a good man be shot down and discouraged because he stood up for pregnancies like mine. Because he made other doctors jealous and uncomfortable.
What kind of people are we if we let this happen?
I can’t make any of you care, but I’m begging you to. I am begging you to recognize all of the good this man did for our sweet Brielle. I am begging you to help me stand up for him. Please, for a few days, just unite and join me in defending a man who gave Brielle her best chance.
There is nothing more beautiful and perfect than an anencephalic baby. It breaks my heart that the majority of these babies are thrown away. Look at how beautiful they are. They’re so sweet and innocent.
I cried and cried over this picture last night because, it hurts so much to know that people can’t see how perfectly beautiful each and every baby is. These little babies just want to be loved. And in turn, they have so much to offer.
David said to me last night, “Brielle was just too perfect. She was too sweet, too loving, too smart. The world wasn’t ready for someone so wonderful, so she had to go back.”
That’s how I like to think of all anencephalic babies, as well as infant loss in general. They’re just too beautiful, inside and out. They’re too perfect.