photo from Better World Books
Three days after having her baby boy Luke by C-section, Karen Piper was ready to take him home to the nursery she had lovingly prepared. But instead of getting the typical discharge papers to fill out, Piper was visited by uniformed police, a social worker, a psychiatrist, and assorted doctors and nurses.
Her baby had been placed on "medical hold" while government investigators considered whether Piper was fit to take Luke home. She had failed to bond with her baby, a nurse told Piper.
Why? Right after delivery, when she was woozy and exhausted, Piper mentioned to her doctor that she'd been hoping for a girl.
A nurse-practitioner told Piper that it was awful that a new mother could be disappointed not to have had a girl. "She told me the burden was on me to prove that I should be allowed to take my baby home," says Piper, a lawyer who works at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Washington Hospital Center spokeswoman Paula Faria says medical personnel "have a legal obligation to report to local agencies any concerns staff have about discharge of a patient, and especially little newborns." She says it was the medical staff's "professional recommendation that we had to take steps to make sure the best interests of the baby were protected. We really believe we did do the right thing."
Eventually, Piper was able to take her son home, but only after a very stressful week.
What do you think? Does mentioning you wanted a baby of the opposite sex make you an unfit mother?