Why I Fight So Hard for DeKalb Medical and SeeBaby

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.

Sweet Jamie! Let me know if you want me to take any of these down.

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.

Jamie with little Brielle.

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.

I talk about my love of DeKalb here as well.

Posts About The Care We Received From DeKalb 

Part One: The Day Brielle Was Born

Part Two: The Day Brielle Was Born Continued

Part Four: Brielle Meets The Family

Our Last Day In The Hospital




As many of you know, I hold Dr. Bootstaylor and DeKalb Medical Center in the highest regard. Dr. Bootstaylor always gave Brielle and I the best treatment, attention, and certainly more of his time than anyone could have possibly expected. He treated Brielle with kindness and respect.

The same can be said of the nurses, NICU staff, and Jamie at DeKalb Medical Center. They all went above and beyond. Showering Brielle in compassion and love. They showed kindness and empathy towards me, and Jamie even stepped in as a surrogate mother for me while I was hospitalized.

DeKalb Medical’s Staff and the SeeBaby staff all worked beautifully together. They had respect for each other. They were humble. And they operated as a cohesive unit.

This is why I am so disturbed by a decision “at the top” to no longer support what Dr. Bootstaylor stands for. DMC will no longer be supporting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or vaginal breech deliveries. Dr. Bootstaylor centers his work around providing the care the mother wants, not what is easiest for him. He gives of himself selflessly and he can no longer use DeKalb Medical Center under these new terms.

Both the staff at DeKalb and SeeBaby are devastated by this and this is not something that anyone seems to support. To disband such a beautiful group of people, honestly trying to do what is right, cannot be permitted.

I, as well as many others, will be contacting DeKalb Medical Center in opposition to this. We hope that enough outrage will be heard that the decision will be overturned and SeeBaby can continue the work they’ve been doing.

If you have the time and desire to support Dr. Bootstaylor and his practice, I’d ask that you please contact DeKalb Medical Center leadership:

John Shelton, CEO DeKalb Medical:

Dane Henry, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer: dane.henry@dekalbmedical.org

Joel Schuessler, VP Legal Services and Chief Compliance Officer:joel.schuessler@dekalbmedical.org

Rose McKelvie Director Women & Infant Services:

Cheryl Iverson, VP Marketing:cheryl.iverson@dekalbmedical.org

Sharon Mawby, VP Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer:sharon.mawby@dekalbmedical.org

Jim Forstner, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer: jim.forstner@dekalbmedical.org

I’d ask that you also keep this situation and the mothers who are currently due in your prayers, this decision, I’m sure, is causing undue stress during such a fragile time in their pregnancies.

For those of you that live in the Atlanta area and would like to protest this gross violation of human rights, there will be a protest this Friday. Information here.

What Happened in the Hospital


This is an update on what happened at the hospital.

Wednesday morning I woke up and felt pretty good, I had a few bites of breakfast and within a few minutes my chest tightened and my pulse skyrocketed. It jumped all the way up to 250 and would not come down. And my blood pressure was low. After three days of this, my heart felt like it was about to give out. And after three days of being in the hospital the cardiology department was no closer to figuring out what was wrong. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic. The cardiology department had recommended beta blockers, but they are category c and there isn’t much known on its effects on fetal development, that combined with anencephaly and I felt very uneasy about taking them. So I refused. I refuse about all medication unless absolutely necessary because there aren’t studies on how medications affect anencephalic babies. I know I was frustrating the doctors, but I was not going to do anything that might shorten time with Brielle. All medication comes with a price (just look at the side effects for each pill you take), the price was too steep for me. I also didn’t feel like it was appropriate to take medication when we had no idea what was wrong. And when my bp was already so low, it didn’t seem smart to take beta blockers, which would just make my bp even lower. I told them to find another solution.

David and I talked about it for a bit and agreed we should have my parents at least come out. There weren’t any signs that progress was being made or that the doctors were going to figure out what was wrong and my heart didn’t feel like it had much left in it. The pain just kept getting worse. We decided better safe than sorry and that if I did have a heart attack or stroke, that my parents should get a chance to see me before that happens. My parents found the earliest flights out and got there as fast as they could. David was a bit of a wreck. He kept saying, “I can’t lose both of you.”

Within a few hours my heart rate began to decline. When my Dad arrived it was still high, but under 140 (or about around that range). My chest was still in quite a bit of pain and it was difficult to breathe or talk. I talked to a very nice cardiologist and he seemed extremely confused by my situation, every single test came back healthy and normal.

As the day progressed into the evening my pulse came down below the 120’s (most of the time) and we started to notice that it would spike after I’d eat (and after stressful conversations or I’d get upset). I’d already been thinking maybe there was a vagal nerve problem. This nerve is the nerve that is damaged in my stomach and causes me my health problems. The vagus nerve originates in the brain stem and spreads throughout the entire body, including the heart. We eventually came to the conclusion that either my stomach organ (due to gastroparesis and polyhydramnios) was pushing against my heart and causing my heart to work harder, or that the vagal nerve in my heart was misfiring due to issues elsewhere in my body, such as my stomach. Either way, I needed to treat my gastroparesis instead of my heart. So I did and my pulse came down and went back to normal. I took a tylenol and my pain lightened and the stress on my body was alleviated.

By Thursday morning my pulse was within a very healthy range, my blood pressure was back to normal and I was feeling like myself again. I was talking and I had color in my face again. Dr. Bootstaylor knew I wanted to go to the pumpkin patch this weekend, so he was eager to help get me out of the hospital. He agreed that if I didn’t have a spike after breakfast or lunch then I could go home. So at around 4:00 PM on Thursday I was discharged.

I’ve felt great since. I still have moments where it will spike, but it’s generally because I did too much or have too much food in my stomach. Nothing as bad as when I was in the hospital. This really was an answered prayer. I had such a quick and sudden turn around and really there was no original cause or explanation. Thank you to everyone who was praying for me and Brielle.

Sweet Relief!


I was given Tylenol a couple of hours ago and have been feeling much better. Since I wasn’t in so much pain I was able to eat a big meal and while that made my chest a little tight, it made everything else feel so much better. My pulse has been holding steady around 90-110 (with 110 being about the highest). I can talk and I’m off oxygen and they’ve removed my IV. Super excited that my IV is gone, it was in the crook of my right arm and made that arm unusable. Now I need prayers that things continue to go well, my pulse doesn’t spike again, and that my chest pain goes away for good. Thank you so much for the prayers, they’ve been helping!!

Update from Tammy


This is Tammy. Greg and I arrived in Atlanta today after Caitrin’s heart rate jumped unusually high this morning. Right now she and Brielle are doing fine. All of the tests they have run have come back fine, so the doctors are at a loss as to why her heart keeps doing this. I’ll keep you updated as we find out more.