Choosing the Right Doctor: Questions to Ask a Pediatrician

This morning my husband and I went in for our first pediatric consultation. We’re pushing it a little because I’m nearly 34 weeks pregnant, but it’s definitely better to be late than to never do it.

We initially asked our friends and co-workers where they take their kids since personal recommendation is always best, then we checked out websites and prayed about where to try.

Next we started formulating some questions to ask the doctor at our visit. We found some helpful questions online and used them to help spark any other questions we might want to ask.

I figured I would share these questions in hopes to help other first time mamas in the same boat. A lot of these questions can be answered by looking at the office’s website or brochure.

Questions for the Pediatrician:

[   ] How long have you been practicing?

[   ] What are your hours? Do you offer evenings or weekends?

[   ] How often do you want to see the baby in the first year? Why?

[   ] Do you offer same-day sick appointments? How far in advance do well appointments need to be scheduled?

[   ] What if my baby gets sick when the office is closed? Who covers in an emergency if you aren’t on call?

[   ] Is this a solo or group practice? If it’s solo, who covers when you are gone? If it’s a group, how often will we see you, and how often will we see other members?

[   ] Do you have separate sick and well waiting rooms?

[   ] Do you respond to questions by e-mail? Do you accept calls for routine and non-emergency questions?

[   ] Will your initial meeting with my baby be at the hospital or the first checkup? What is your schedule for well baby checkups?

[   ] Will you discuss my child’s general growth and issues like discipline and social development?

[   ] What are your views on…Bottle feeding? Parenting techniques? Getting babies to sleep? Alternative medicine? Antibiotics? Immunizations? Childhood obesity?

[   ] Is there an extra charge for…Advice calls during the day? Advice calls after hours? Medication refills? Filling out forms? Will any other fees apply?

[   ] What tests are handled in the office, and what is done elsewhere? Where?

[   ] What is your schedule for vaccinations?

[   ] Is there thiomersal in any of these vaccinations?

[   ] How do you feel about modfied schedules? Do you offer a modified schedule? Does my child have to get the Hep B vaccine since I do not have the disease? Have you seen any major reactions to vaccines in this practice as well as in the time you’ve been practicing as a whole?

[   ] Do you believe there’s a link between autism and vaccines? What about other neurological diseases?

Questions for ourselves.

[  ] Do they take our insurance?

[  ] Was the office clean?

[  ] Was the waiting room kid-friendly, with toys and books?

[  ] How soon could the interview be scheduled? How long were you in the waiting room?

[  ] Was the office staff helpful? Were the nurses friendly?

[  ] Was the interview rushed? Did the doctor seem open to questions?

[  ] Did the communication feel natural? Was the doctor easy to understand?

PREGNANCY: 32 Weeks – 8 MONTHS

 32 Week 6 Days

32 Week 6 Days

 

How far along? 32 weeks and 6 Days in this picture.

Total weight gain: +22.5lbs.

Maternity clothes? The shirt isn’t but the jean capris I’m wearing in the photo are. They’re actually pretty cute.

Stretch marks? NONE!

Sleep: Not terrible. I’m getting to the point where I’m very uncomfortable. One night this week I woke with a calf cramp from Hades. I’ve only had three of these. The first one was in my right leg and really wasn’t that bad. The last two that I’ve had are just about the worst thing I’ve ever had to deal with, one my right and this one in my left. They come on when I’m sleeping and contract and release. I can’t help but wake up my husband who is so kind to rub them until they stop. My leg is usually sore for a couple of days after I have one. With this one, I decided to practice some of my relaxation techniques that I’ve been doing in preparation for labor, and it actually helped. My sweet husband now massages my calves every night before bed. I’m hoping to avoid them indefinitely. My doctor said one in eight women get them, and there is nothing you can do. I’m going to do what I can to prevent them though.

Best moment this week: Well this week has been kind of long, but filled some great things. First of all we got to hear that sweet little heart beat. She’s still head down and is measuring right on target. My husband’s place of work was so kind to throw us a baby shower which really meant the world to us. We also had a dance lesson this week which was a blast, and today we had our maternity shoot which went super well! Now it’s Memorial Day weekend, and I get my husband all to myself until Tuesday.

Miss Anything?: Sleeping on my back.I have been bad though. I wake several times a night now, partly because of discomfort and partly because I’m terrified of the leg cramps, but when I’ve woken up I’ve found myself on my back a few times and was so, so, so comfortable, but I still roll over to my sides where I remain for most of the night.

Movement: She does move a lot, but then there are periods when she is not so active.
Food cravings: Not really craving anything this week.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.

Gender: GIRL

Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks occasionally. Nothing major this week

Belly Button in or out? In, but it’s s t r e t c h i n g.

Rings on or off? On!

Happy or Moody: This week has been emotionally trying for me. I’ve had some very happy moments and I’ve also had some sad and hard moments. Over all I’m feeling pretty good though.

Reading: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and my hubs and I are reading Childbirth the Bradley Way which contains a lot of naked women FYI, but the material is very helpful.

Being Pregnant and Being in Remission

When I hear the word remission, I immediately think of cancer relief. It’s a word that implies someone has beat their illness yet there is a chance of recurrence.

By simple definition remission means the “period during which the symptoms of a disease abate or subside. Release, as from a debt, penalty, or obligation. Forgiveness; pardon.”

I have never had cancer, and for that I am incredibly thankful. I have had another disease that stuck to my bones for years, and took a lot of hard work to even begin the healing process. I am a recovering anorexic-bulimic.

My journey with starvation began when I was in middle school, and I was bigger than most of the other girls. I was awkward, depressed, and completely lacking in the knowledge of how to relate to people. One day I fell ill with a stomach bug, and lost five pounds over a period of two days. This spark ignited my already noxious mind with the notion that I could be more attractive, more normal, if I could eat less and lose weight.

So that’s what I did for years. There were times when I would be better at it than others. In high school, my depression was at a peak, and being 16 and miserable was not something that I had planned on. I was not losing enough weight so I decided to begin purging my body. The only problem was I hated throwing up. I absolutely despise the act. So I opted for a much easier route. I began taking handfuls of laxatives, daily. Typically with bulimia one binges, but I was hardly eating anything anyways and eventually ended up getting very sick. Laxatives cause you to lose ample amount of vitamins, to become dehydrated, and are addictive among other things. I was also working out far more than someone in my condition should have been and was feeling the effects wearing on my joints.

My senior year began, and I felt like death. My gums would pour blood, and lots of it, just by the tiniest bit of applied pressure. I was in desperate need of help, but I did not know how to ask for it, and I don’t know if everyone around me was just naive to the fact that I was falling apart or if I just did a really good job at hiding it, either way I did not have anyone there to help pull me out of this pit.

That was until I started dating this guy who really helped me begin tobreak this crazy cycle I had fallen into. It was a slow process, but he helped me to think of myself differently and to gain a healthy appreciation for my body and for food. Our relationship did not last, but I think that God allowed him in my life long enough so that I could begin my journey of healing.

I went to college with a new fascination about health and wellness, and learned so much about how the body functions. My depression began to subside, only coming back in waves. I was well on the way to recovery, all without medical intervention.

That was more than seven years ago, and I have not lapsed back into my anorexic-bulimic state.

Now just because I eat and actually enjoy it, does not mean that fear of gaining too much weight is not wedged tightly in the hidden crevices of my mind.

When I became pregnant, my first initial fear was that I could possibly lose this baby since it’s still so early on which was followed by the overwhelming anxiety of gaining far too much weight which for me was both a concern of vanity and health.

So I was careful. I counted my calories for about 24 hours, then decided that I was not going to be ruled by obsession. I ate when I was hungry and allowed myself to give into some of my cravings, not in excess because that is not healthy for me or baby, but just enough to not be miserable. I didn’t gain any weight at all my first trimester, and have healthily added on the right amount of weight right on into my third trimester all without stressing over what I eat.

This pregnancy has taught me to love my body and to respect it far more than I ever have. My body is doing amazing things, and frankly I think I look darn good.

But even in all the strides toward a healthy body image I have made, it can take one ignorant comment to start to quickly unravel all of the good work I have begun in my mind.

I’ve spent most of my day crying because of a handful of inconsiderate comments that were doled my way about how large I have become. I’m a fairly intelligent person, I can tell that my body is bigger than what it was eight months ago so I do not need someone else reiterating the obvious truth that I am most aware of. I have also had to deal with being compared to other pregnant women who have completely different body types than I do and who may or may not have taken as good of care of themselves as I know that I have. Why are pregnant women targets for such ridicule?

I do not make jokes about how obese someone has become or how the person next to them is so much smaller than they are, what possesses some people to think it’s OK to do the same to an already over-emotional, hormone ridden, pregnant woman?

In times of frustration like this, it is easy for me to default to my old way of thinking and want to eat 500 calories or less a day. But there is something greater inside of me than that. I am growing an amazing gift that God has intrusted me with, and it is now my sole purpose in life to guard, cherish and protect her in anyway that I can. This starts with me trusting God for strength, and believing that what He says is true in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident in this that He who began a good work in you will carry it out unto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

He began a good work of healing in me. He began an even greater work of allowing me to conceive this little miracle. I know that He will finish what He has started if I let Him. I do not want to get in the way of His special promises. I have been released from this burden and forgiven for making it an idol. I will always be in remission, bearing an invisible scar, relying on the perfect strength of God to make it through each day.

I’ve been given a wonderful husband who has seen me through my darkest hour and who continues to shower me with encouragement and blessing. I’m so thankful that not only did God demonstrate His love for me through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but He continues to show His love for me through this incredible man who is used mightily to offer strength and compassion when I most need it.

So today, remember to be kind to others. Your words may weigh more than you can even imagine.

PREGNANCY: 31 Weeks

31 weeks 6 days

31 weeks 6 days

How far along? 31 weeks and 6 Days in this picture.

Total weight gain: +21.5lbs.

Maternity clothes? Yep, sometimes.

Stretch marks? NONE!

Sleep: A little better than last week. I woke one night this week with some cramping in my lower abdominal region as well as major pressure. My sweet husband helped me get into a hot shower which seemed to ease some of the discomfort. I was able to get back to sleep fairly quickly, but kept waking up. I’ve also been waking up in a panic that I’m about to go into labor. I guess the closer it gets the more it’s on my mind.

Best moment this week: First of all, MY FIRST MOTHER’S DAY which my sweet husband and family made extra special. Then a spontaneous trip to the beach with my beloved which was so nice, oh and we did our intensive birth class which we really enjoyed. Great week!

Miss Anything?: Sleeping on my back. I’ve never in my life been a back sleeper, but since I can’t comfortably lay on my belly, and my sides are sore, I would just like to be able to stretch out on my back and take a long nap. I’m very thankful my husband doesn’t mind the 10 pillows I use to get comfy.

Movement: Lots, and then not so much. I was actually awoken for the first time because of her movement this week. She rattled my uterus like someone would a cage and it woke me up quickly. But there have also been times where it seems like she doesn’t move for a few hours. It’s actually starting to hurt a little when she moves sometimes, I can’t believe she’s getting so big!!
Food cravings: Not really craving anything this week.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.

Gender: GIRL

Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks which I’m actually thankful for because I know they are prepping me for labor.

Belly Button in or out? In, but it’s stretching.

Rings on or off? On!

Happy or Moody: Happy 🙂

Reading: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and my hubs and I started Childbirth the Bradley Way.

Belly front view

Belly front view

I think I’m starting to have a little diastasis which is sad but completely unavoidable. Do any of you mamas know any exercises to do postpartum to help remedy the separation?

View from behind

View from behind

I still don’t think I look preggers from behind.

She could be here a little over a month!

PREGNANCY:30 Weeks

30 weeks 6 days

                                                           30 weeks 6 days

How far along? 30 weeks and 6 Days in this picture.

Total weight gain: +21lbs.
Maternity clothes?My shirt is! I bought a really cute dress this week that is non maternity that I’m pretty excited about.
Stretch marks? NONE!
Sleep: Not so great this week. With everything getting bigger in the front, it’s pulling my upper back way out of place causing some discomfort. I now sleep with tons of pillows tucked in all around to support everything.
Best moment this week: Hearing that sweet heartbeat and hearing that I’m still very healthy. Oh and we also had our first shower this week which was very precious!
Miss Anything?: Umm, not really this week. Heart burn has not been too bad.
Movement: Mucho. She likes to get her toes hung under my ribs. 🙂
Food cravings: Not really craving anything this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really. If I get too hot, I get really dizzy.
Gender: GIRL
Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks from Hades showed up again this week and lasted for a few hours. But other than that no.
Belly Button in or out? In, but it’s stretching.

Rings on or off? On!
Happy or Moody: Happy, depressed, tired, irritated, excited…pregnant.

Reading:  Started Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Almost 8 months pregnant!

PREGNANCY:29 Weeks

29 weeks 6 Days

                                                            29 weeks 6 Days

How far along? 29 weeks and 6 Days in this picture.

Total weight gain: +20lbs.
Maternity clothes?Not in this photo. I did buy two pairs of regular shorts a couple of sizes bigger than my normal size to accommodate my belly.
Stretch marks? NONE! Thank you vitamin E and coconut oil. Please keep up the good work.
Sleep: Sleep has been good and often. I will randomly get so tired I can barely function.
Best moment this week: Good quality time with the hubs.
Miss Anything?: Not having heartburn at night.
Movement: Lots and lots except when we ask her to move so that people can see her.
Food cravings: We’ve went through a couple of gallons of milk this week, so….
Anything making you queasy or sick? I still get heartburn in the afternoons.
Gender: GIRL
Labor Signs: A few scattered Braxton Hicks.
Belly Button in or out? In, but it’s stretching.

Rings on or off? On!
Happy or Moody: Mostly happy, feeling a little sentimental this week

Reading: Completed Husband Coached Childbirth. Still reading Happiest Baby on the Block. About to start Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

I can’t believe that I am 10 weeks away from my due date, 7 away from being full term. I’ve found out that most women in my family give birth a few weeks early and that they have fairly short labors. I’m wondering if this is genetics or just coincidence. I suppose we’ll see in a couple of months.

We have our first baby shower this Monday night, and I’m looking forward to seeing people and celebrating our little one’s impending arrival!

Surrounded by Peace: A mother’s reflection

As I sit here in my partially sunlit living room, the coolness from the spring breeze that smells so sweet here in the mountains pouring  through our screen door, I can’t help but feel the peaceful presence of the Lord washing over my constantly worrying motherly heart.

I have not given birth to this sweet miracle growing inside me yet, but you cannot convince me that I am not yet a parent. I fully believe that parenting begins while the child is still in utero. A parent is nothing more than a caretaker, and I am all consumed with taking care of this little girl who seems to be getting a kick out of kicking me in the diaphragm.

I do not know what her face looks like, how her eye lids cover her eyes, whether she has her daddy’s button nose and envy provoking eye lashes or if she has my full lips and dimpled chin. I do not know what her cries sound like, whether she’s calm and collected like both of us or if she’s spicy and passionate full of a feverish intensity.

But I do know that she is a gift. One that I do not deserve, but one that I am eternally grateful for. I do know that she moves gently when our kitty lays sweetly near my belly. She moves excitedly when her daddy talks to her. She moves to the beat of my guitar’s resonance when I’m playing it near, and she thrashes about violently when we’re near music that is too loud and too closely related to a rock concert.

As I near her grand arrival, I tend to worry about her delivery, her health, how prepared I am to deal with a newborn. But then a calmness rushes over me as I feel God saying “Let me perfect what I’ve started in you.”

Earlier in my pregnancy, I was paralyzed by so many fears. From gaining too much weight, to having a traumatic birth experience. All of my fears were certainly legitimate, and if you’re reading this and are feeling very fearful about your pregnancy or anything else that may be going on in your life, it’s OK. Do not let anyone ever tell you that your fears are childish or foolish. Only ignorant, cold-hearted, and wicked people will purposefully make you feel that way, and they are clearly not worthy of any of your time or concern.

As the weeks have quickly passed so have many of my fears. My child and I have both been blessed with wonderful health so far, I have been given beautiful support by my family, and we have been incredibly blessed with necessary gifts to aid us in taking care of this sweet child.

When fears of inadequacy swell in my heart, I hear the Lord say “I have not given you this spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and of a sound mind.” When fears creep into the corner of my mind about the birth I hear “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

I’m drawn back from this reflective moment by the low hum of cicadas and the cars passing by. Life is busying itself all around, and I am thankful for peace.