The Doctor Who Didn’t Describe My Baby as ‘Less Than’


There I was sitting in an exam room of the high risk OB-GYN office.

I had received the devastating news that something was terribly wrong with my pregnancy. Everything was a blur. Words like “termination” and “vegetive state” were being used.

Somehow I made it to the parking garage, where I plunked myself down on the filthy steps and burst into hot and fast-flowing tears.

What was I going to do?

How was I going to tell my husband?

Really, the question was, how I was I going to tell myself?

I needed answers and I needed them now, not weeks or months from today. Google was just not going to cut it. I got in my car and high-tailed it to the children’s hospital. They had doctors there, smart ones, who might have answers for me.

I wandered around the main area of the children’s hospital until I found a map and then I went to the neurology floor. I wanted to see if there was information, support groups, or some kind of guidance.

I needed something. Anything.

There I met a lovely lady with deep brown eyes. She asked if I had an appointment and I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Then I started to cry. Again. This lovely lady handed me a box of tissues and I blurted out, “Something is wrong with my baby and they want me to abort.”

She picked up the phone and made a quick call. Luckily, it wasn’t to security to escort me out. She got up from her desk, took my hand and walked down a long hallway.

Just when I thought we had arrived we went through another set of doors and again down another long hallway. I went into an office with a small waiting area, and the lovely lady burst into the closed door and announced, “She needs to speak to you. Now.” She motioned for me to come in.

There he was, like the Wizard of Oz — the top neurologist in all of North America. He was sitting in a humble office in scrubs, talking on the phone with the operating room.

I sat down. I was awestruck that within a matter of minutes I was sitting before the man with the answers that people wait months to see. I believe this was no coincidence. I asked questions and he gave answers. I asked more questions and he gave more answers.

Me: What kind of quality of life will my baby have?

Oz: We judge quality of life based on our experience. Kids with traumatic brain disorders don’t see themselves as having “less than.” These people are the happiest, most content people in life. We (healthy/able people) are the ones who are miserable and who view lives as “less than.”

My jaw dropped. If there was any time to fall off a chair in utter shock, this was it. Our conversation was earth-shattering, mind-blowing and life-changing for me. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

I had been in the right place at the right time. I had waddled my hormonal, pregnant tush down the yellow brick road and barged into the office of one of the most successful neurologists in freakin’ North America.

At that moment, deep inside, I knew this was my path in life. Everything was going to be OK. Disability, disorder or disease — I knew I could do this.

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