So per my OB's request at our last appointment, we started the process of trying to find a pediatrician. The way we went about this was contacting our insurance company and getting a pre-approved list of pediatricians in our area. It was really important to me to meet with a pediatrician first before I decide to go with them. I had a ton of questions I wanted to ask, and I really didn't want to wait until my little girl is here before we do that. Surprisingly, only one doctor on our list agreed to meet with me for a prenatal appointment. I find this a little disturbing--that doctors won't agree to talk to new parents about their practice. Apparently, it's not good enough to see me because I won't have to pay a copay. Oh well, I just hoped that this one doctor would ease my fears and answer my questions.
You'd think I would learn not to schedule an appointment for 8:15 AM, in rush hour, across town. I was trying to follow the directions on my iPod while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, trying not to stress out (too late). But somehow, I managed to pull into a parking spot with 5 minutes to spare before my appointment time (after leaving the house 40 minutes earlier). The place was extremely open and colorful! It's been a long time since I've been to a pediatrician's office, but I couldn't stop staring at all the bright colors and crayons on the wall with the doctors' names on them. They called my name (actually they called my unborn daughter's name, which was so weird and exciting to hear!), and they sent me back to a waiting room.
Of course, in my rush to get to the place on time, I forgot my list of questions in my car. So I was praying that I could remember them all, or at least enough to make me feel confident in this doctor. She comes in, extremely bright and cheerful. I introduce myself and she tells me to go ahead with any questions I had, then she would tell me a little more about the practice. I started firing off the questions as fast as I could because I wanted to get them out while I remembered them. I hope the doctor didn't think she was on some rapid-fire quiz or something.
I'm type 1 diabetic. What, if anything, do we need to do for her? Obviously, watching her blood sugars post-birth will be an issue, but the NICU pediatricians will do that if needed. Other than that, we'll just keep an eye on her if any symptoms pop up (which I know by heart), but no blood screening for potential markers or anything like that. She also said that her getting milk (either by boob or formula) for the first 6 months was very important, more so than when she starts any solid foods. Having that good nutritional foundation is key. I'm also glad she said either breastfeeding or formula would work, because I don't want any added pressure to be a good breastfeeder when it might not be physically possible. Plus, I was breastfed and my brother wasn't, yet I'm the one with type 1 diabetes--it really is just a crapshoot. I briefly mentioned tinkering with a gluten-free diet to add in that extra variable of protection, and she said she's fine with that but didn't say one way for or against.
I got the feeling that my daughter would be treated the same as if any other child whose parents weren't diabetic. I'm not sure how I feel about that right now. On one hand, if we did do the blood screening early on and saw she was destined to have type 1, then there's not much we can do other than wait for the inevitable. But I also don't want to spend her whole childhood watching her and following her around with my meter. If she gets it, she gets it. There's not much I can do. I'm fine with this decision, for now.
How do you handle frantic phone calls in the middle of the night or outside of office hours? This was really important to me, because being a first-time mom is all about figuring this out and going "HELP!" at the same time. Basically, there will always be someone at the other end of the phone, either a nurse or the doctor on call. They like to at least talk with parents over the phone first before going to the ER, because exposing kids to everything in the ER is worse than just waiting for an appointment the next day. I couldn't agree with this more! But if going to the ER is necessary, they coordinate it for you so that someone is waiting on you when you get there.
We are going to a couple weddings within a month after she's here. I posed this more as a statement than as a question. I didn't want her to think that I was considering NOT going to these (one is for a fellow DOCer, anyway!), but I wanted tips on what to do with taking such a new baby out to the "real world". She applauded me for planning to go and said to just ask anyone who wants to hold her/touch her to wash their hands first. So I'm going to be "that mom" at those weddings--armed with a gallon of hand sanitizer and bags under my eyes from very little sleep. Party on!
Overall, I felt really good about this doctor. I still have the feeling that I'll be the one calling the shots on her medical care, which I prefer. I can't stand pushy doctors. I want to feel like we're all a part of a team, much like my plethora of diabetes doctors. I want to feel like we can discuss things together, combining the powers of mother's intuition and many years of medical practice (getting a visual a la Captain Planet).
As I was leaving the office, I was handed a goodie bag of diaper cream and formula samples. Now I'm ready!