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The day we switched Pediatricians

I had a to do list.

I was checking it off.

I was pregnant, and nothing was stopping me from having every nook and cranny cleaned, prepped, and ready for The Tiny.  (Can you say, nesting?)

“Honey, it’s 2am, you should come to bed.” -the hubby.

“I know, I know, just let me finish sewing these curtains for the nursery, I have to get them up before it’s too late!”  -I responded, while pushing that fabric through even faster, because heaven forbid our nursery not have a 1 foot valence before we brought our bundle home, who wouldn’t actually sleep in his nursery for the first 1.5 months.

One of the items on my list was to interview pediatricians.  Because that’s what my friend mentioned doing.  THAT one sounded kinda complicated, and like I was already over it.

I asked around, and settled on one a couple of my friends liked that is close to our home. (Bonus)  Five days after The Tiny was born, we went in for our first big check up.

They had us strip him down, his teeny newborn body still a dark red hue, as he cried from being awoken, and the sudden coldness on his body.  I tried holding him close, his naked boney butt on my lap, the dark circles under my eyes a clear sign that I had given birth 5 days prior and hadn’t quite slept since.

In walked our stout doctor.  I was excited, here was someone who would care for my Tiny, to assure me that in the past 5 days we hadn’t done something detrimental, or if we had, he would quickly catch it and tell us what we could do to make up for lost time.

We exchanged niceties, and he took The Tiny and looked him over, much to his protests and wails.

“You’ll have to bring him back in a few days to weigh him since you’re breastfeeding.  That’s the great thing about formula feeding, you know exactly how much the baby is getting each day.”

“Oh really…”  I said slowly.  I was surprised he said that, and was almost expecting a, “Wow, good job sticking to it even though you feel like your nipples will fall off,” from someone like a pediatrician.

“He could be losing weight each day and you wouldn’t even know it until it’s too late.  Also, be sure you don’t take him out too much, or he could catch a cold and die.” -Dr. 

“Oh my gosh!  Oh, ok, yes!” -Us, wide eyed.

“You BOTH need to get the flu shot, and the whooping cough shots, because if he catches either of these, he will die.  There are 5 reported deaths of children under 5 from Whooping Cough in this area.”

It was at this point, just five days after giving birth, where you’re not quite sleeping and you’re suddenly responsible for this teeny, fragile life that you love and your hormones aren’t quite done riding their roller coaster since your baby vacated your womb’s premise, and you’re almost convinced that your baby might just die under your care so hearing a doctor say repeatedly that under many circumstance it is more than likely your baby “will die,” that despite the fact that you are trying to look and act professional, and you want “just the facts” for your baby’s health, you just can’t quite fight the itching feeling in your cheeks, the the sticky sensation in your throat, as your eyes begin to prick with tears, even though you try not to break eye contact and are nodding solemnly.  “Holding it together,” means not totally crying, but just letting some renegade tears jet down your face, as you whisk them away, and continue saying, “uh-huh,” to this guy with the stethoscope around his neck, clutching your Tiny close with your spread hands making up for his lack of clothes.

“Did you get your Hepatitis B shot in the hospital? -Dr.

“No.  We are going to immunize, but the more we researched this shot, we just decided that we don’t want to get it for him.”

Insert unsupportive doctor. “I have been giving the Hep B shot for 18 years, and have never had a bad outcome.  I even know some of those 18 year olds–healthy and thriving.  I strongly recommend getting it, there are no downsides.  I’ll have the nurse bring it in.  It was nice to meet you both, I’ll see you for his follow up when we can weigh him,” And he left.

Then we were alone, and waiting for a Hep B shot?  How did this happen all of a sudden?  We felt in a panic.  Our thumbs wildly scrolled through random medical sites on our iPhones, looking up what we had felt so comfortable with before.  Searching Hep B, Hep B, trying to begin the lengthy dissertations written about it that we had, wait–already read.

“Why are we stressing out right now?”  -Hubby

“I don’t know, and don’t want to talk about it.  I am seriously about to cry right now.”  -Me

“Why am I researching this again, when we already did and we told him we didn’t want it.  Let’s just refuse it again and leave.  I don’t want to be bullied into this.”

I felt instant hope.  Instant relief from the fear of maybe acting like a crying crazy mom who would have to be escorted out on a dolly.

“Ok,” I whispered loudly as I perked up, the deluge temporarily at bay, “Should we tell him, or should we just leave?  Let’s just go quick.  Wait, you tell him, I’ll start walking out.” (Such a wimp, I know.  Not usually, but that day, yes 😉

In walks the nurse with a small metal tray with a not so small orange needle.

“Actually, we aren’t going to be getting the Hep B shot today,” said hubby as he hoisted the diaper bag strap over his shoulder, and I finished buttoning the Tiny’s outfit.  I then wrapped a blanket around him, and started down the long hall, out towards the waiting room, which I knew wasn’t too far from the door.

“Thank you Dr._________,”  I heard my hubby say from further behind me into his office. 

We got out into the fresh air and it felt like freedom.  We hadn’t realized how much stress and pressure we were feeling until we were outside, and got into the car. 

“Let’s get out of here!  That guy was intense!”  We were smiling as we snapped our now drowsy and sweet Tiny into his car seat.

We drove away, sharing all the things we had been feeling, but couldn’t share at the time.  At the top of that list was the fact that we both knew we wouldn’t be bringing The Tiny back anytime soon.  “Seriously, how many times can one person say, ‘will die’ in a 15 minute interval?”  “Or how he apparently wished I was formula feeding,” I grumbled.

And although we were happy that we escaped, never to see him again, we realized we were again pediatrician-less.  And he was already 5 days old, and things needed to be lined up.

That’s when I started kicking myself for not doing those stupid interviews.  I kinda thought pediatricians were all the same, all good–I mean they are doctors who work with kids, you gotta be great, right?  

Now it was too late to interview, and what if we find another dud and we’re back at square one…..uuuuuuuuuuuuuuughhhhh….   Mommy fail.

That night we met our friends for burgers at Ruby’s on the pier, The Tiny tucked away in the Moby wrap. They had retro pricing that night, so we dined on $1.50 burger and fries.  We shared with our friends our story about the pediatrician and our current predicament, now laughing at all of his pushiness and oddities. 

“Why don’t you see mine, he’s still practicing, and he’s amazing.” Said our 29 year old friend.

“Oh yeah, he’s the best!  My brothers and I all went to him.  He comes in singing, and is so kind and gentle,” said our other friend.

“How old is he?  He must be pretty old…”  -Hubby

“Yeah, he’s not going to recommend Cod Liver oil or something, is he?” -Me

“No he’s great, he is so kind and gentle.”

Well, there you have it.  Those are some of words I would have written down as important to look for in a pediatrician if I had taken the time to interview.  Kind and gentle, and obviously very experienced and I looked at my two healthy friends sitting across from me, both entered adulthood without dying.

A couple days later we were in the office.  He did in deed come in singing.  He sang to The Tiny as he gently looked him over, The Tiny staring, no screaming, at him in wonder.

“This baby is healthy and thriving, and he’s going to live to be 100,” he said.  I don’t think you could have gotten the smiles off our face with a crowbar, my heart actually felt like it was soaring (What?  Seriously)

He supported our decision to refuse Hep B, and suggested others that weren’t necessary in the line-up.  He sat and listened to all the questions, and even about why we switched pediatricians.

“Hmm, no this baby will not be dying any time soon, like I said, he will live to be 100.”

“Let’s see how much this baby is getting in each feeding, ” he said.  He weighed him, I fed him, and then he reweighed him.  “Wow!  This is excellent!  He is getting just enough milk.  Great job mom!”  A new kind of tears loomed, happiness on my face. 

Each time we’ve seen him since, we have loved him.  In the office, our Tiny is famous for his hair, and the nurses come out from behind the counter to come stroke his cheek and fluff his hair as he coos back at them.

If any of you mommies are worried about your pediatrician, don’t be afraid to make a switch.  Andrew and I are so at ease and happy each time we bring him in.  Our doctor supports our decisions, but we trust his opinions as an experienced professional.  He has time for our questions, and encourages us as parents.

If you are pregnant, make a list, it can even be as short as 5 things you would like to have in the doctor you entrust with your baby’s health.  Even personality wise.  You will be seeing this person frequently in the next year and for some of the most important situations of your baby’s life.  Ask around, make a list, call them up and go in and meet these people.  Ask them some questions.  You will be so glad you did.

 (Our Tiny, 3 days old)

    (If you have any questions, email me or post it in the comments and I would be happy yo help you with anything)
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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jason White April 15, 2011, 8:15 pm

    hey! the pediatrician I went to 33 years ago also is super nice, always singing, and still practicing… you don’t think…?

  • Palmer Family April 16, 2011, 2:30 am

    Proud of you guys for listening to your instincts and not letting the pediatrician bully you!! Yay for finding your fit!

  • Jenna Anderson April 16, 2011, 2:38 am

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE this post amy!! holy smokes… going to recommend over and over again. WAY TO GO!!

  • The Tiny Team April 17, 2011, 6:25 pm

    Jason, I think we may just being seeing your same pediatrician 😉
    Thank you Jamie and Jenna! So happy we made the switch.

  • Etosia (e-tasha) April 18, 2011, 6:20 pm

    Hi I am your newest follower and found you on the young mom link up.
    I didn’t interview and just took the hospitals recommendation! BIG MISTAKE! I hated it from the moment we walked in! It was loud the nurse was so rude and kinda rough with Rylin and the Dr. was so short with us. They too ordered us back in a few days for a weight check and I left that office determined not to go back so I got a recommendation from a friend and switched to a new pedi who we absolutely LOVE!!! He is so encouraging and informative but never rude or pushy and so helpful when i had all my new mommy questions! It’s so great to feel comfortable with your pediatrician being as how we will be seeing them for the next 18yrs! I’m glad you found a great one for your little man!

  • Marissa May 24, 2011, 8:58 pm

    great post! we are on our third pediatrician and the first also told us “your newborn is at high rick for dying if you don’t get the hep B.” really…? then he proceeded to give her more shots then we consented for. we were new dumb parents, but it was malpractice for sure. doctors get incentives from insurance companies if that practice certain standards. most don’t care.

  • Rhe Christine July 28, 2011, 4:49 pm

    great post!!!

  • Molly August 11, 2012, 8:53 pm

    I read your FAQ post, and then it told me I might be interested in this at the bottom. Um, YES! I am not sure if yu saw my thing on FB about our pediatrician earlier this week, but we are now switching.