Friday, February 11, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

They say a good man is hard to find, but I am in having the opposite dilemma in that I have found two good men and now I can't decide between them. Let me clarify, I have found two great doctors, pediatricians to be exact, and choosing which should be Snow Pea's doctor is proving more difficult than I could have imagined!

If you follow me on twitter or know me in real life you may have noticed my recent obsession with picking the brain of anyone who has ever dealt with pediatricians and getting their perspective on what they did and didn't like about their baby doctor. In the end, everyone comes to the same conclusions- I should go with who I "click" with best and who offers the best services and strategies to suit me and my style, always remembering I can change doctors later. The problem is that the two practices I am trying to decide between can both easily fit that description but for different reasons. Both have flaws but none of them deal-breakers, and both have great qualities but none of them enough to outshine the other. Basically, I like the doctor at one practice a bit better, but I like the overall conveniences of the other practice a bit better. It all comes down to which is more important to me, but I don't know what that is yet.

So I am asking for yet more help, advice and input on the matter. If you have already given me your two cents, please don't hesitate to do so again. I would be more than thrilled to hear what you have to say one more time because there is a good chance I have already forgotten parts of it.

So here is the breakdown. We'll start with Doctor A. Doc A is in a solo practice which means we will only see him and he would be able to really get to know our baby, but it also means that if he is out of town or sick we get a "temp". It also means that if he is very busy we could have a long wait. When we met him he gave the impression that he provides very individualized care for each child and takes the time to get to know the whole family in order to best meet each child's unique needs- he doesn't take a one method fits all approach. He has a well baby schedule of exams every month for the first six months and then at 9 and 12 months. He vaccinates with 2 shots at a time using this monthly schedule. He located on the same property as the hospital we would use if we ever needed to (heaven forbid). It's very close to home and the drive is easy but the parking can be really bad depending on how busy the hospital is.

Doctor B on the other hand is a member in a group practice that has six different doctors. He would be our primary pediatrician but if the office is busy or in case of an emergency we would be able to see one of the other docs. Everyone in the office is friendly and easy to talk to but they don't seem as individualized in their care. Everyone in the practice, including our favorite doctor, basically just follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics when it comes to medical care, although they did say that they often turn to each other for opinions and advice when needed since they all have different levels of experience and background. They follow the 2,4,6,9, 12 month check up schedule and the CDC recommended vaccines at each visit. They are a bit farther and require a freeway to get to but with the carpool lane it is not too bad and their parking lot is much easier to navigate.

Both docs have sick and well doors/lobbies, nurses to answer emergency questions after hours, and similar weekday only office availability. They are both very supportive and encouraging of breastfeeding which is important since I very much hope to nurse exclusively for the first six months.

Basically, I like Doc A as a doctor and I like Doc B as a practice and unfortunately I cannot combine the two. So now I am trying to figure out what matters to me more. I keep looking at the big differences and trying to choose which I am more comfortable with and I just don't know. On one hand I can see monthly visits being overkill, on the other I can see it providing Snow Pea with an extra level of care. With vaccines, I am initially more comfortable with the idea of breaking them up, but then I wonder if getting them out of the way all at once wouldn't be easier on the baby and on me. I have heard from many moms that baby's first shots are an emotional experience. And the logistics matter too because I know a doctor's visit will be that much more frustrating for Snow Pea and me if we have to hunt for parking or wait for hours to be seen.

So please, pretty please, if you have ANY insight or advice on any of these points, please feel free to share! I know that I won't really know which is the best fit until my daughter is already a patient, so I would love any real world experiences since I don't have my own yet. Is the monthly schedule overkill or is it a welcome way to know more about what's happening with your little one? Did your baby still get fussy and feverish with a split vaccine schedule or did it seem to lesson the side effects to break them up? Is a great doctor worth waiting for or would you rather see an ok doctor and be able to get in and out? I know everyone has a personal preference and no one can make these choices for me, but the more I hear about the reality the easier it is for me to decide which option fits our family best.

I honestly had no idea this choice would be so difficult. I almost wish we hadn't decided to interview more than one doctor because then it would have been much simpler. We like the first one we met, just as we did with our RE and our OB, so we would have picked him. Normally I would just blame my usual indecisiveness for this difficulty but Chad has been just as hard of a time and for all the same reasons. We both keep going back and forth because there is no clear right choice. In the end though I know that either choice is a good one so there is no losing, just deciding. We'll get there, just hope we can do it sooner rather than later- only 7 weeks to go!


Tiffany said...

Great post. First off it sounds like a great problem to have: to choose between 2 great docs. It sounds like you won't go wrong either way. We had the exact same problem. Two great doctors/practices and I was stressing out to choose. Now this might sound crazy but this is how we chose: We chose the doctor that was closest to our house. If you think of how often you will be going and how convenience factor with a baby is so crucial, we chose what would be easiest for us to get to and also CALL (those nurses will become your best friend). We made the right choice. But remember, you can always change.

FirstTimeMom said...

We only interviewed one doctor's office but we felt comfortable with them immediately because they are oriented with the mentality of, yes they are the doctors but the parent also knows their child so they listen to the parents and their desires and concerns. I would go with whichever one doesn't try to force one thing or another on you and gives you all of the options and lets you decide. Now, you won't really know who this is until you take your baby there so I think I would go with what Tiffany said, take your baby to the most convenient location for you. With how often you will be there, I think I would allow that to be my deciding factor since you seem to like both practices. That being said, our practice has 4 doctors. We have chosen to stick with just one that we like the best there but if she is not there then there's others on hand that are familiar with our baby as well since most doctor's offices with more than one doctor will discuss all of their patients together so they all know what's going on with everyone. I definitely feel more comfortable with that than the chance of a substitute doctor. And now I realize that I probably haven't helped you one bit but that's my two cents. As Tiffany said, you can always change.

Rita said...

We asked around and every single person we spoke to recommended a particular practice so we decided just to go with them, especially since their office is so close to our house. The doctors are great and we got to know a couple of them before her first official checkup since they made rounds in the hospital and checked on our baby while we were still there. I haven't found it an issue that we've seen different doctors at each visit. Like other people have said, though, I would go where you feel most comfortable and factor in proximity to your house--you're going to be there a lot in the beginning!

IVF karusell said...

Congrats to your pregnacy! I have also done IVF and our first embryo died in week 8 but came out first in week 12..then we did FET and our daughter came to us on the 23th of november 2009.

Best of luck!! ♥
// Jannica (Sweden)

Jen @ After The Alter said...

That is a dilemma. But keep in mind you can always switch. I personally went with a practice. For me I wanted to know that I could get in to see a doctor when I needed to with out waiting. I have seen the same doctor for all his well visits so it feels like we have one doctor. When I call with questions there is always someone to call me back quickly which I really like. I go every month for well visits. The shot schedule wasn't that bad either! And I am sure if you asked they would do whatever shot schedule you want. I know we split up ours on the 2 month visit..he was supposed to get 3 shots and an oral, but we split it to 2 and 2..and the rest of the shots are just 2 at a time.
You have to do what's best for you. After reading what you wrote it sounds like you are liking the solo practitioner... it was closer, by the hospital and you seemed to like the individualized care..just wanted to share what i took out of your post! lol