Against Doctor’s Orders

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.

Author: Alibarton

A mom with a new heart.

18 thoughts on “Against Doctor’s Orders”

  1. Can’t wait to read it Ali. It’s an extraordinary and fascinating series of events. You and Ethan survived and are both thriving against all the odds.

    Sending much love to you, Andrew and Ethan!

    Dearbhla, Donal & Cian
    <3 <3 <3

      1. As your mother, it was two years of agony for me as well. I can tell you now what an amazing person and mother you are -brave, determined,positive,courageous.
        And everyone can see how much joy you get from your son.

  2. Ali, you’re the female counterpart to “the world’s most interesting man.” What you’ve been through is an amazing story that should be shared. I just hope it won’t encourage people who aren’t brilliant and strong like you to make decisions which exceed their levels. Kind of like, “don’t try this one at home.” With medical mistakes the third leading cause of death, your book will teach people to challenge or question medical opinions, to think for themselves. And who doesn’t want to experience the love of a mother for her child magnified by the price paid to give birth.
    Love you, Ali, your book will be very successful. You’re truly amazing.
    Looking forward to seeing you and family in October.
    Uncle Jan

    1. Love you uncle Jan! We all know how crazy stubborn I am – hopefully people will just their guts and not ignore doctors completely 😉 thanks for being so supportive! And thanks for getting me through my hospitalization with delicious chocolate covered macadamia nuts 😉

  3. <3 I can't wait to hear that you're published! Even this little blog made me cry.

    Thanks so much markie! ❤️❤️

  4. OMG. I can not wait to get my hands on that book.
    So happy that both you and your son are doing well.
    I would like to chat with you someday.
    Was your transplant at Tampa General Hospita?

  5. Did you have a problem with high antibodies after the baby and if so did it complicate recieving the transplant?

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