Once you find out you’re pregnant, you have to make a lot of decisions; what color will you paint the nursery? What will the child’s name be? But possibly the most important decision is choosing the right pediatrician.
As many of you know my youngest daughter was born with a life-threatening illness. In my first days home with her she showed no signs of being as ill as she was. She was my quiet one. At her two-day check-up her pediatrician noticed she had jaundice, which isn’t uncommon. Because I already had a two-year-old at home, doctors thought it would be easier to readmit her in to the hospital to give her light therapy until the jaundice cleared. This was divine intervention. The child that I thought was just quiet and sweet was actually very sick. After a few days, on Mother’s Day, a possible diagnosis was given. The disease my daughter had required an operation, and she was only four days old. After that she had a colostomy for about a year.
But things are much different now. She is a healthy, thriving, beautiful, 20-something-year-old, living in New York. Looking at her now, you would have never known how sick she was as an infant. Without the right medical care and guidance from doctors, we may have had a different outcome.
I sympathize with parents who have sick children. And in order to help make this process easier on you I have put together a list of things I found helpful while going through this process.
First, before your baby is born, be sure to interview pediatricians. Make sure it is someone you can communicate with. This saved my daughters life.
Second, be serious about where you deliver. Make sure the doctor’s viewpoints are aligned with yours. If you want to do things naturally, make sure they are accepting of your birth plan. So many moms are looking for a hotel-like experience — a gorgeous room with concierge. However, when you have a sick baby, you need a hospital with all of the services, such as NICU and pediatric surgeons, among others. You’ll only be there for two days; the resources are more important than the room.
Third, once you have confidence in your pediatricians and hospital, follow their advice. You don’t want birth to be the first time you’ve met.
In the end, remember that if you have other children you need to make a plan to take care of yourself, your other children and your marriage. It’s a balancing act. Many moms just focus on one sick child, allowing many marriages, including mine, to fall apart.
For more healthcare tips for you and your family, check out my workbook for dealing with caring for your children, as well as your aging parents: Life in the Sandwich Generation. Life in the Sandwich Generation is a workbook filled with information, tips and tricks for managing the demands needing to care for your aging parents, as well as taking care of your children. It details how you can involve your children in the process, how to learn more about your parents health and finances, while still making time for yourself and your spouse. You can find it here for only $10!