Why You Need to Be on the Same Page as Your Pediatrician
Before kids, I never realized the importance of choosing a doctor who shares your philosophy. I was a (previously) healthy person who only went to the doctor for allergy issues and stress-related tension headaches. I didn’t need much from my doctor, outside of the occasional check-up. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I figured I would just use my internist as his pediatrician since I had been seeing her for ages and trust her.
The problem was, my internist was part of a different hospital system than my obstetrician so I needed to use a pediatrician who had hospital privileges where I was delivering my son. I asked my obstetrician for recommendations since I love her and had been seeing her for years. She suggested a practice that had hospital privileges so I put them on my form without bothering to contact them before hand – I figured there was no need since they were only going to care for my son while I was in the hospital.
I was so very wrong. My perfectly healthy pregnancy turned into a difficult delivery that resulted in my son and I having an infection as a result of my water being broken for too long (not my obstetrician’s fault, that’s another story). Suddenly, my sweet newborn needed to be on an IV and since fevers and infections are extremely dangerous for newborns. The pediatrician I wrote on my form sight unseen was suddenly a very big part of my newborn’s first few days…and I’m glad she was!
I didn’t go the normal first-time parent route of interviewing pediatricians to find the right fit but thankfully my obstetrician recommended someone who practices medicine like she does. My pediatrician fought to have the hospital release my son and me together so that I didn’t need to leave my newborn alone in the hospital for a few extra days. She has gone to bat for my son’s health and wellbeing ever since (both kids but thankfully my youngest hasn’t had health issues).
Find a Pediatrician Who Meets Your Family’s Needs and Matches Your Parenting Philosophy
I’m not an attachment or helicopter parent. My parents were really strict growing up so I tend to be a very laid back parent. Even when my oldest son was a baby, I was a low key parent. I was the first time parent who parented like a second or third time parent. While I tried to breastfeed my son and consulted a lactation specialist in the hospital, when he didn’t latch, I let it go. It was more important to me to feed him than to stress out about how I fed him.
Thankfully, my pediatrician is on the same page. When I went for the two week check-up, she asked if I was breastfeeding and I shared our challenge. Rather than judge me, she complimented me on doing what’s best for both of us and sent me home with formula samples.
It was in that moment, I knew she was the right fit. I had friends who were formula feeding whose pediatricians were not supportive and bordered on judgmental. I wasn’t looking to have my parenting judged by someone is responsible for my child’s well-being.
In the almost eight years that I’ve been with the practice, I’ve come to trust my pediatrician – and the entire practice – completely. My oldest got very ill when he was in kindergarten. He went from having a fever to barely being able to walk in just one day.
It was Memorial Day weekend so we rushed him to urgent care and they gave him an IV with fluids because he was extremely dehydrated and ran blood work. A few hours later, the on call doctor called and said his blood work showed severe dehydration so we should take him to the emergency room immediately.
I called our pediatrician from the car en-route to the hospital and she told us to turn around and go home until she got more information on the situation. I struggled with listening to her, but am glad I trusted her. On her holiday weekend, my pediatrician left a party and went to the office to review my son’s results and call both doctors who examined my son. Her suspicion was correct. My son didn’t need to go to the emergency room. The doctor who instructed us to go was covering herself because she didn’t know the patient.
Not only did our pediatrician go above and beyond on her day off, she opened the office for us on Monday (Memorial Day) to examine my son after he had received fluids and had two days to recover. He was doing better, but the same thing happened a few months later when he got sick.
Our pediatrician again went above and beyond to find out why my son goes down so hard when he gets sick. It turns out my picky eater, who has always been under 20th percentile for weight has an extremely fast metabolism so he gets dehydrated very quickly. Now that we know, we are on top of hydration and increase his salt intake when he’s sick!
That’s not the only time I put my complete trust in my pediatrician. As you may know, I have an autoimmune disease and take medication that compromises my immune system. I am the person that can die from the flu. I am the person that can die from food poisoning. I shared this with my son’s pediatrician early on because exposure to live virus vaccines (chicken pox and some flu vaccines) can be dangerous to me.
So, when there was a measles outbreak in California and I read that the one person who died was a person with an autoimmune disease who takes the same medication I take, I had a moment of panic. You see, the woman was exposed to measles while at a medical appointment. Someone in the office had the disease and she caught it.
At the time, my oldest was in kindergarten and my youngest was in his first year of daycare so they were constantly sick. I spent a ton of time in medical offices! When I brought up my concern to our pediatrician, she didn’t dismiss me. She informed me that the practice had recently let two patients go from the practice because they were choosing not to vaccinate their children. Our pediatrician could not put parents and patients like me at risk so they fired the patients. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to hear this.
I know, without a doubt that my pediatrician puts the needs of her patients ahead of everything else. Even though they don’t take our current insurance, my husband and I chose to pay the higher rate to go to a pediatrician who we trust 100%.
There has never been a time when we doubted their medical recommendation. Our pediatrician’s low-key intervention strategy is exactly my health strategy. However, I know that they will go to bat for my children – I heard my pediatrician order an ER doctor to do a CT scan on my son when he was dismissing my concerns about cellulitis (our pediatrician sent us to the ER). That is the kind of pediatrician you want for your child – someone who will fight for your child’s health.
I hope you never have to test your pediatrician’s ability to go to bat for your children, but if you have doubts about your pediatrician, you should consider searching for a pediatrician who you can entrust with your child’s health.