Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 194 | February 12, 2024

Not What I Had In Mind

Laura Diaz-Freeland



On this episode, Dr. Anthony Orsini and Liz Poret-Christ introduce guest, Laura Diaz-Freeland, whose twin daughters were born at the very limits of viability at just 23 weeks gestation. Laura’s memoir, “Not What I Had in Mind,” is discussed, highlighting the emotional journey and the deep empathy found in motherhood that she experienced following the birth of her extremely premature daughters. Dr. Orsini was part of the team who cared for her twins and they discuss the bond that Laura forged with the medical staff. Laura discusses at length the emotional rollercoaster, exhaustion and helplessness that she and her family experienced. The episode covers the profound advancements in neonatal care and the ethical dilemmas faced by parents and medical professionals in the treatment of such young infants. As a seasoned professional in marketing and creative writing, Laura’s poignant reflections highlight the importance of informed choices in the face of life’s most fragile beginnings, giving voice to the silent struggles and triumphs of preterm birth.

Laura advocates for parental choice and informed decision-making in cases of extreme prematurity, sharing insights from her 224-day hospital experience with her twins. She stresses the need for compassion from healthcare providers and the importance of informed consent. Dr. Orsini and Laura delve into the delicate conversations that occur in neonatal care, emphasizing the need for a supportive team approach to patient care. Laura recounts how, despite feeling alone during the initial decision-making process, she later felt part of a team at the Hospital that was committed to her twins’ survival. Laura also mentions the unique nicknames she has for the medical staff, like ‘The Godfather’ for Dr. Orsini, and ‘Behemoth Hands’ for the surgeon, reflecting their impactful roles in her and her daughters’ lives. For parents navigating this journey, we end with Laura sharing advice to parents to educate themselves, be gracious with themselves, and to not yell at the medical staff. Please hit the subscribe button now!

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