Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

What I Value In My Preemie’s Pediatrician

NICU boardBefore my baby could be discharged from the  NICU, I had an impressive list of tasks I needed to accomplish. Finding a pediatrician sat on the top of the list. The project seemed simple but, honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing. In hindsight, I was lucky to have stumbled upon my baby’s pediatrician, Dr. D.

Unlike most parents, I had only one concern in mind during my initial search for a pediatrician. I wanted a doctor that was easily and quickly accessible despite the area’s horrific traffic congestion. I chose a pediatric practice a few blocks from our former residence that accepted our insurance. By chance, my baby and I were matched with Dr. D.

In the beginning, Dr. D was just one of many medical professionals part of our post-NICU world. I was more concerned with the specialist appointments. However, my baby started having unforeseen issues a month after she was home. That was when I realized how amazing her pediatrician is.

I was first impressed when I noticed Dr. D recognized my baby. Unlike many doctors, I did not have to repeat the complicated medical history at each visit. She was familiar with my baby and her needs. When the problems started, she knew what was not typical behavior.

My baby had a particularly baffling issue. I like that Dr. D did not hesitate to say “I don’t know” after she exhausted her catalog of ideas. Subsequently, she directed me to who would know the answer. It saved us precious time and minimized my baby’s suffering.

rehospitlization_editedIn addition, we found Dr. D to be invaluable as we navigated the large and over crowded local healthcare system. She helped us maneuver the obstacles, cut through red tape, bypass long waits, and find alternatives. Instead of merely choosing a name off of a computer generated list, she recommended specialists she knew and had worked with. Furthermore, I felt supported through the ordeal of rehospitalizations.

Most importantly, Dr. D is excellent with communication. She reminds me to phone her with any questions and calls to follow up after sick visits. My concerns were and are well-received rather than dismissed. She provides explanations in a concise manner that I can easily understand. I am never made to feel stupid.

There have only been a few times that Dr. D was unavailable. I felt her colleagues in the practice did an excellent job filling in.

When I looked for a pediatrician, I did not fully understand what we needed. Fortunately, I found a doctor that worked particularly well with us. well visit_editedEvery parent’s needs are different. For example, a parent may need a doctor that fits their busy schedule, has a similar healthcare philosophy, or has extensive experience with their baby’s particular health concerns.

In my overzealous rush to complete the NICU checklist, I underestimated the importance of choosing a pediatrician. I would have searched for another doctor if I wasn’t satisfied with my initial choice. However, Dr. D has been a wonderful resource. My baby would not be doing as well without her.

Rebecca Wood About Rebecca Wood

Rebecca Wood (VA) is a micro preemie mom. Her daughter, Charlie, was born at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound 11 ounces due to severe preeclampsia. She has a few long-term issues due to her premature birth including, motor development delays, vision concerns, feeding difficulties, and speech delays. Since Charlie's birth in May 2012, Rebecca has been learning the ropes of the post-NICU world. In addition to embarking on fun adventures with her daughter, she's an animal lover, a reader, a hiker, and an enthusiastic volunteer. You may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or her personal blog.

Comments

  1. Rachel Z says:

    I had one criteria for a pediatrician when we went home: someone who was experienced with preemies. I wanted someone who would return my calls about a simple cold and not brush it off with “first time mom syndrome”. I had hoped to find a pediatrician in one of the clinics close to our home, but all I found were family practice doctors who saw infants and children as well as adults. I finally asked our NICU social worker, who recommended the clinic associated with the hospital. It’s a bit more of a drive and we have to pay for parking, but MAN is it ever worth it. Like you note, our doctor knows my daughter on sight; no need to look at her chart. She returns every call, she has visited us in the hospital when she wasn’t rounding, and she truly seems to care about our little family. I have been lucky to like all of our medical team, but I am almost fangirly about our pediatrician.

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