Sincerely, a Scared Mom: A Letter from new parentsPayton Foeller
This is a word for word copy of an email I wrote and sent a few months after our first baby was born. I haven’t changed a thing, I wanted it to be exactly as it was; raw and real, and sadly not responded to.
If you haven’t read our birth story that might be a better place to start – go read THIS and then come right back.
From: Payton Foeller
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 5:39 PM
To: OCFP – Mailbox
Subject: Medical neglect policiesHello, my name is Payton Foeller. I’m trying to find the right place to direct a concern and look into advocating for a change in policy.
This past March I gave birth to a precious baby girl via c-section. There are several things that a hospital encourages your newborn to have done soon after they’re born. Two of those, should you refuse for valid and medically sound reasons, will require a visit to your home from a DCFS worker.
One thing being eye cream that they place on your new babies eyes soon after birth to prevent diseases most of which are caused by STDs that the mom might have and could pass on during normal vaginal childbirth. I knew 100 percent that I was STD free and on top of that, I delivered via cesarean section so I chose to forgo this procedure, approved by my daughter’s pediatrician and my OB. Simply giving this to every baby without the need for it is a measure that they put in place several years ago when gonorrhea became very rampant.
The second thing I chose to forgo was the vitamin K shot. We opted instead for the oral drops given after we come home in smaller doses over a larger amount of time. Many doctors have come to the conclusion that this is much safer for the baby; as the shot has an incredibly high dose to be given all at once.
But because of these two decisions that we made after lots of research and talks with our doctor, barely 24 hours after we came home, on a Sunday morning someone knocked on our door, threatened to call the cops if my husband (who had no clue they worked on weekends so he wasn’t letting her in without asking me first) didn’t let her in. So we finally let her in, my husband in his boxers and me in a robe as she came in the middle of me showering for the first time since we came home.
She then gave the long lecture on why she was there and what was going on. Although she really had no clue what she was talking about as she informed us that she was called because we had neglected to give our child the ‘vitamin k cream’ in the hospital… That’s not a thing. She was perfectly pleasant and cordial. But she was here for nearly two hours and as you likely know, newborns need attention often. She then went on a tour through our perfectly decent and clean home (which had nothing to do with why she was there so really I saw no need) and began to tell stories of her many ventures. She gave us the lectures that they’re instructed to, treating us a bit like we are four years old. Although we are young parents, we are both intelligent and well-educated parents. Our baby wasn’t an accident, we planned and prepared more than most and she was treating us like babies ourselves which I did not appreciate. She asked some rather personal questions that, again, had nothing to do with why she was there. We signed a medical release form and then she left.
I was ready for most of what happened as I had interned at a DCFS office just a few months prior and graduated with my bachelor’s in Social Work in December, so I knew the drill. But this experience was no less jarring, irritating, and genuinely frightening. Because we educated ourselves on the issues and acted according to what we found, we were reported to the state and now we will have an unfounded file sitting on their shelves for who knows how long.
Being in an office and watching how DFCS works I know that most of the workers truly do their best to protect children and families that they work with and that cases like these are an utter waste of their time. Their jobs are filled with red tape such as this and they waste time doing things they know will be unfounded. You paid someone to come and interrogate us over a rational decision that should be the parents to make, not the states. And then you sent someone on an hour drive both ways to follow up and who knows how many office hours worth of paperwork. This policy is old and outdated, a waste of your time and resources. Medical neglect is a thing to be taken seriously, but when you have multiple doctors say to you, ‘it’s silly but it’s just something they do.’ I think it’s time to reassess the procedure.
I know change takes time, but I’m not the only one frustrated with this issue. Please let me know if there is someone else I can contact and work with to change this policy to save you time and me stress. I spent many hours clinging to my child in fear of what these policies could easily spiral into. And many more dreading having more children and having to experience all of that again.
I truly thank you for your time.
Payton Foeller, a scared mom.
[The automated and only response I received.]
Your email has been forwarded to the Division of Child Protection. Someone from their office will be in contact with you.Thank you for writing.
Office of Child and Family Policy
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
I want to expand on this just a bit as this was directed to a specific audience and left out many details and thoughts of mine. But I want to leave this letter as just a letter. Find the follow up post HERE.
My hope is that maybe these two posts, this one and this follow-up, will make their rounds. Maybe they will fall into just the right hands of some hard working civil servant or a big time policy maker. But that will never happen if you don’t help me share it!
So would you!? I’d love you forever! Thanks a million.