(Michelle Dietz [nee Cosgrove] is a former student of mine. Last year, she and her husband became parents for the first time. The words below are hers, as they appeared a couple days ago on Facebook. She has given me permission to post what she wrote on my blog.)
To the doctor who delivered our initial diagnosis-
This may be the first letter of this kind you’ve ever received. Maybe you don’t even remember giving us our initial diagnosis, but I’m here to tell you that you botched it.
After we sat in that cold, sterile room for what felt like hours, the chill didn’t go away when you entered. Your lack of empathy and warmth was felt immediately. Your explanation of what was going on was so brief and inconsiderate that my husband had to ask you if our child would even survive. And then you walked away. You passed us off to your NP and never looked back. Now I need you to look back. I need you to see Maddox. He is beautiful, and he is perfect exactly the way he is.
There are so many things I wish you had said. I wish you had told us that we would fall in love as soon as we set eyes on him. I wish you would have told us that he would be the best sleeper. I wish you would have told us that we would spend hours staring at his perfect face while he snuggled in extra close. I wish you would have told us that his smiles would light up a room, and his mere presence would have the power to heal hearts. I wish you would have told us that his birth would bring families closer and make friendships more meaningful. I wish you had said anything but what you said that day.
You see, the measurement of his femur and humerus bones can never measure the love we have for him. They cannot measure his ability. They cannot measure his capacity for love, the friendships he will have, or the life he will lead. They cannot measure his future–his ability to go to college, his ability to have a career he loves, his ability to meet someone to spend the rest of his life with, or his ability to change the world.
He is already changing the hearts of everyone he meets, and maybe someday you’ll be lucky enough to meet him, too. But I hope that your heart changes before then.