Saturday, February 20, 2010
Your New Best Friend-- Baby's Pediatrician!!
You will probably see more of your pediatrician in your baby's first year of life than at any other time. The baby's first examination takes place immediately after birth at the hospital. After that, typically your pediatrician will want to see your baby sometime within the first two weeks of life, at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and at 12 months. This may not seem like much, but these in conjunction with all the additional visits you'll make because of your concerns as a new mom (ie. freaking out about something that doesn't really matter, but matters to you) definitely adds up! Since you're going to be spending tons of time at the office, you ought to make sure that you really like your pediatrician.
We started going to the practice we chose because of a few things:
1. referrals/reviews. Almost all of my colleagues with children who live in the area go to this practice. These are some of the best moms that I know (super-mommies) so I trust their judgement.
2. scheduling convenience. Our practice decided to start using an all online system for making appointments. I can't tell you how amazing this has been. It's as easy as logging onto your email account. After searching through the available time slots and checking to see which times work best for you, you simply click on the time slot and bam... you have an appointment! No more having to be put on hold for minutes while listening to boring elevator music. I hate that! Plus, the office has weekend hours so if your newborn gets sick, you won't have to wait till Monday to see the doctor.
3. location. Our practice is conveniently located 4 blocks from our apartment. It doesn't get any better than that! If you have a sick child, the last thing you want to have to do is worry about getting there and back home.
4. options. The practice has several participating pediatricians, so you have the option of choosing whomever you wish. If you don't particularly like one, you can choose another one so you're not locked into having one person.
5. board certification. It was important for us to find a pediatrician who was board certified because my sister-in-law, who is also a ped, told us so. End of story.
During our first visit after being discharged from the hospital, I chose one of the peds at the practice because a friend of mine said that she liked her. During our second visit (because of Ben's jaundice), we ended up going to another person because we had to take the next available appointment because it was urgent and she was the only person who had an opening.
On Monday, we took Ben to his second month well-visit and saw ANOTHER pediatrician! By the time we realized that we had forgotten to schedule this appointment, it was already the week before his two month birthday. I felt like a bad mommy for forgetting, but it ended up being a good thing because we met Dr. F.
Once you enter the examination room for any appointment, the nurse requests that you undress baby except for his diaper just in case of an accident and when the ped comes in, you're directed to take the diaper off. The nurse took the typical measurements: weight, height, head circumference, rectal temperature. She asked us whether or not Ben had reached developmental milestones such as tracking and holding his head up at a 45 degree angle. We felt so proud when the nurse clicked the boxes for YES on the list. Dr. F. then entered and did her thing. We put his diaper back on as we spoke to her about Ben's progress. Some of the things we discussed included a list of questions that I brought such as feeding, vitamins, sleeping, cradle cap, bump on head, his jaundice, etc. She asked us a few other things while typing away on her computer. At first, I was wondering why she was typing as we spoke, but when I looked over at her screen, I saw that she was typing everything said in our conversation for her records. Wow! This made complete sense. How would she be able to remember each of her patients if she didn't take copious notes?
I prepared myself for what was to come. Now, call me sadistic if you'd like, but I really enjoy getting shots and having my blood drawn. But after our experiences with Ben's endless heel sticks and his blood getting all over Joon's clothes, I can no longer stand the thought of him getting a shot. Ben got his vaccinations at this visit, 3 of which were in the form of a shot and 1 of which was oral. Dr. F did it so quickly that it felt as if it took less than a minute to do everything. Of course, Ben cried, but after the first shot, his cries weren't as intense. I'm proud that I didn't have to leave the room. I'm getting stronger, or at least I hope so!
After the vaccinations, I reminded Dr. F about Ben's jaundice and that we're still concerned about it since he still looks a tad bit yellow. Although she commented that he "appeared to look fine", she said that she would absolutely do another heel stick to confirm that his bilirubin level has decreased to a normal level to ease our anxiety. She proceeded to say that she understood the importance of our peace of mind.
What we appreciated most about Dr. F was the fact that she too is a mom of an infant and she was able to empathize with us. She completely understood why first time moms worry so much because she knows what it's like. She made us feel good during the entire appointment and she didn't rush us--lots of doctors do that, so beware!. Never did we feel as if she were judging our parenting skills, which also tends to happen often or so I hear. She asked us if we had any questions and she answered each of them thoroughly.
Plus, it helped that when we were talking about Ben's sleep patterns/habits, she said very emphatically, "You know what? You know those moms who tell you that their newborns are sleeping through the night?... They're lying!" HAHA! That ultimately sealed the deal for us. We were in love... with our pediatrician!
Advice to First-Time Mommies from a First-Time Mommy:
1. Set criteria on what's most important to you for determining who will be your child's pediatrician. Remember to consider location, convenience, availability of appointments, etc.
2. Have an ongoing list of questions you may have to ask your pediatrician at the next visit because if you're like me, your memory won't be as good as it used to be. Also, if you don't have a list with you at the appointment, you might forget to ask a question and then hit yourself over the head for not having done so when you get home.
3. Remember that you should feel comfortable during your appointments. If your ped rushes you, makes you feel like a bad parent and/or doesn't answer your questions, get out of there and find someone else. There's no reason for you to become more stressed. You already have 4873984 + 1 things on your mind. You'll feel so much better when you find the right one. Trust me.
And for your viewing pleasure... more photos!! (This blog is the only way my relatives in Korea see pictures of Ben, so there may be random photos that don't necessarily relate to the post. Sorry!)