I thought it would be fun to show you exactly what my book is about. Some of you may know the whole story, and some may not. The following writeup is a query letter that I sent to publishers and agents as a way to see if anyone is interested in publishing my story.
My recently completed memoir, Against Doctor’s Orders, shares a truly unusual life threatening journey through pregnancy and heart transplantation. My journey required me to make decisions with extraordinary consequences for me and my unborn child.
In 2012, after multiple failed IVF cycles, I became pregnant. I experienced bizarre symptoms early in my pregnancy. At 21 weeks, I drove myself to a local hospital thinking I had the stomach flu. Within a few hours, I was taken by ambulance to a major Boston hospital where I was told I was in acute heart failure. After one day of observation and tests, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune heart condition called endomyocardial fibrosis. I was only 32 years old, an extremely fit and healthy psychotherapist, fitness instructor and yoga teacher.
One week into my hospitalization, a team of cardiologists and OB/GYN physicians from one of Boston’s most reputable hospitals gave me a version of Sophie’s choice: I had to abort the pregnancy, or both my son and I would likely die. I also was told that I needed a heart transplant…soon.. I couldn’t bear to end the pregnancy I had tried so hard to achieve. Given that my life and that of my unborn child hung in the balance, I remained in the hospital for the next two months.
My son, Ethan was born nine weeks early, a fragile premature 3 pound baby who spent the first seven weeks of his life in the NICU. When Ethan was four months old, we traveled to Tampa, Florida for my heart transplant. The waiting list for a heart was too long in New England, and I was not eligible for a Ventricular Assist Device to keep me alive until I could get a new one.
My memoir chronicles a story of hope, heartbreak and eventually survival against long odds, for both Ethan and me. The story begins when I first experienced heart related symptoms in 2010, but was misdiagnosed by a cardiologist, and told that I would have no problem with a pregnancy. It ends happily, with Ethan’s survival without impairment and my successful heart transplant.
Both Ethan and I are thriving now. I have the energy to do all of my old activities, and I love chasing him around and spending my days with him. My husband and I are about to begin our journey towards a second child using a surrogate, since it would be very risky for me to be pregnant again.
I have been through more turmoil and distress in the last two years than any mother should have to endure. However, I was supported by hundreds of people, many of whom have encouraged me to write this book and share this extraordinary story. I risked my life for my unborn son and when I see him now, a happy and healthy two year-old, I know it was a risk well worth taking. The story is suspenseful and heartbreaking, but ultimately heartwarming.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.