Welcome to 2018! Each new year is an opportunity to learn, grow, and make an impact, and we hope this year is a great one for you and your practice.
Over the course of this year, we know that you might be faced with the difficult job of delivering the news of a terminal prenatal diagnosis. We understand that presenting this news to patients can be challenging both professionally and personally. Communicating with and providing care to parents in the aftermath of a diagnosis can be a difficult and emotional experience for patient and doctor which is why we want to support you as you provide care to your patients.
As the new year begins, we want to share with you how Carrying To Term has grown and why we believe in supporting doctors and medical professionals like you.
One of our most exciting areas of growth in 2018 is the launch of this blog. The goal of this blog is to connect with you as a doctor or medical professional as well as with the women facing a terminal prenatal diagnosis, their families, and support networks. Our blog is a space for support and an opportunity to learn the latest in improving the standard of care for your patients. This blog will feature a wide range of topics designed to support, empower, and equip you as you provide care to your patients. We see the blog as a space to personally and deeply share insight into the topics you most want to learn about and feel supported in. If there is a topic or aspect of providing care to your patients that you want to see covered, please contact me, and let me know.
This year, we also added a personal advocate to our staff. As the Director of Advocacy and Bereavement Services, I provide individualized support for the emotional, logistical, and educational needs of both you and your patients. I am also the one you will see writing most of these blog posts. My passion for supporting and advocating for the work you do and the experiences you and your patients face comes from a deeply personal place.
In 2014, I found myself sitting before doctors as they told my husband and I worrisome news about my pregnancy. We listened as they told us about the risks associated with carrying triplets, and as my pregnancy continued, complications arose. We were faced with decisions that had to be made immediately and other decisions that we never wanted to consider.
As a high-risk pregnancy, I spent an inordinate amount of time in doctor’s offices, and I learned a lot from those experiences. My husband and I formed relationships with our medical team, and I saw how personally affected they were by our experiences. During my time on hospital bedrest, I encountered doctors, nurses, and staff who exceeded all expectations when it came to providing a high standard of care, but I also encountered doctors, nurses, and staff who did more emotional damage than they could ever imagine.
When I went into labor at 22 weeks gestation, we were catapulted into a world of chaos. Everything and everyone moved so fast that I barely had time to wrap my mind around what was happening. An operating room full of doctors, nurses, and staff bore witness to the worst day I could have ever imagined. In those moments, as I grieved for my babies, my husband, and myself, I also grieved for the people fighting for us in that room. I watched as they supported me, brought my babies into this world, and cried over our loss. Those men and women fought to save my life when complications threatened to take me, too.
That day, I became a mother, but I also became an advocate. An advocate for change, support, compassion, and education. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those men and women, and I cannot express enough how much I value the work you do. You enter into people’s worst days and fight for even the smallest measure of hope and joy. That is work that deserves to be acknowledged, and when you feel defeated, affected or burnt out, I am here to support, equip, and empower you.
I believe that supporting you as a doctor or medical professional means listening to and learning from you, too. I want to hear what you think works or doesn’t work in the standard plan of care currently in place in your practice or hospital. I want to hear your experiences and what you’ve learned. I want to know where you struggle so we can partner to change that. I want to hear anything you want to share, and you can contact me directly here.
I truly believe that providing high quality care to families facing a terminal prenatal diagnosis starts at the top with you, the doctors and medical professionals caring for them. Therefore, it is my mission to ensure that every physician and medical professional feels supported, both personally and professionally, and that you feel equipped to provide support to your patient. I believe that supporting and equipping you helps every woman feel fully informed, equipped, and supported in her decision to carry to term. The heart behind Carrying To Term is helping women and families navigate the months ahead of them following diagnosis, and that mission is what drives us to create and provide support, resources, and tools specifically designed with those parents in mind.
On our website, you and your patients will find:
- evidence-based scientific studies
- a list of questions designed to help your patients gather information
- videos from medical professionals to help shed light on the carrying to term journey
- personal stories written by parents who carried to term
- a powerful and interactive birth planning tool that helps parents plan for the birth experience that is best for them
We also offer two tangible support resources which we would be happy to provide to you for use in your office:
- chart stickers
Both the brochures and chart stickers are designed to help you provide a standard of care that takes into consideration the emotional needs of your patient. The brochures are designed for you to use as a support resource when presenting a terminal prenatal diagnosis to a patient. By providing our brochures to your patients, you are showing them that you support them, and that they are not alone. Our new chart stickers, when placed in a visible spot in your patient's chart, signify to your staff, nurses, and fellow doctors that your patient is currently carrying or has carried a pregnancy to term despite a terminal diagnosis. This allows your team to be informed without the patients having to repeat their situation or field unexpected questions about their pregnancy. To request a bundle of brochures and chart stickers, please fill out our contact form found here.
I am continually inspired by the work that I see medical professionals doing for families facing the unimaginable pain of losing their baby or babies. You inspire me and the rest of the team at Carrying To Term to constantly evaluate, update, and create resources to ensure that you are able to continue the work you do so well. We believe that our resources will help you and your patients feel informed and supported as you both navigate terminal prenatal diagnoses.
I value the work you do, and I have the utmost respect for people like you who choose to enter into the worst experiences of a person's life and provide them care. It is my hope that you feel fully equipped and confident in your ability to continue to care well for these parents, and when you don't, I hope that you will reach out and utilize all that Carrying To Term has to offer you.
I look forward to learning and growing with you this year,