What is it about being a new mom that makes you question everything? You question whether you’re doing “it” right. You question whether you’re present enough, loving enough, feeding enough. The list never ends. And, although we have a connection with our baby that only we can understand, we still doubt our own intuition when it comes to our babies needs.
But, I’m here to tell ya.
Trust your gut.
I don’t care what the pediatrician says. I don’t care that the ER doctor insists your baby has a virus, I don’t care that the ENT says that nothing can be done- trust your mama gut. You will never regret doing so.
The Ear Infections
My first time experiencing this was when my first born was almost 2 years old. She had back to back ear infections almost every month for 6 months and, even as a new mom, I knew that she needed an ENT referral. The problem was that her pediatrician was different. He insisted that, in order to diagnose an ear infection, that the ear wax in my daughters ears needed to be scraped out first. This was puzzling to me, because she didn’t have hardly any wax build-up, so it seemed a little excessive. Not to mention, I was always told that you never put anything smaller than your elbow, in your ear, yet, this doctor was taking a metal tool and scraping out the wax. I didn’t say anything, because, after all, he was the doctor and I was a first time mom. Doctor knows best, right?
After 6 months of ear infections, I asked for an ENT referral and he refused. Why? Because, 3 of those ear infection diagnosis’ came from other doctors (who did not scrape her ears out), so he refused to recognize them- again, insisting that the ears had to be scraped out to actually see if there’s an infection.
In the end, I called up an ENT directly, explained the situation and they got the referral for me. We got an appointment the next week and she had tubes inserted just a few days later.
Now, at 5 years old, my daughter just had new tubes put in and she also had permanent hearing loss in one ear, likely from her frequent middle ear infections.
My gut had told me that this doctor was wrong, but it took a while to listen to it, and now, at 5 years old, my daughter has permanent hearing loss, likely from those frequent ear infections.
As a young, new mom, I didn’t know much about sepsis, except that it was bad. I certainly didn’t know what sepsis looked like or what it meant, but when my daughter was 2 years old, my gut (again) told me that something was wrong.
The week before my daughter was hospitalized, I had taken her to her pediatricians office 3 times. They kept telling me that she had an ear infection, then a virus, so nothing was done. I now know that they didn’t do all of the tests that they should’ve done (like a urine sample), for my daughters high fever.
After a week of doctors visits, where I was treated like a dramatic new mom, I took my daughter to the local ER when her high fever wouldn’t break and she just wasn’t acting right.
Unfortunately, the ER doctor gave me the same diagnosis- a virus. I was infuriated. I knew that something was wrong. She had never been this sick before, but I didn’t know how to explain it. Something was just off.
I went home that night feeling defeated and my daughter was still extremely sick. I woke up at 2am to find my daughter nearly lifeless. She was sweating profusely, still had a high fever and I couldn’t get her to fully wake up or move. Something was wrong.
I took her back to the same ER, and this time I was mad. I told them that something was wrong and we had just been there a few hours ago. They ended up doing some more testing, and concluded that she had pneumonia. She was transferred by ambulance to the closest children’s hospital (an hour away). Upon getting to the children’s hospital, it was determined that she did not have pneumonia. In fact, she had a bad UTI, that had been left untreated for so long, causing her to be septic- meaning that the infection had entered into her blood stream. You’ve heard of septic shock before, right? She was almost there. A simple urine sample at the pediatricians office would’ve caught this infection before she became septic, but because it wasn’t treated, it was now in her bloodstream. I wasn’t crazy. I knew something was wrong. Those symptoms that I couldn’t quite explain were symptoms of sepsis.
She ended up spending 4 days in the children’s hospital, getting IV medicines and fluids, before she finally snapped out of it and we were able to go home.
Needless to say, we found a new pediatrician after that.
I don’t share these stories to discount physicians or question their credibility, but to just emphasize the importance of a mother’s intuition.
I really feel that most pediatricians are great and well-intentioned, but sometimes, what looks like just another sick kid to them, feels like something completely different to a mom.
At the end of the day, we are our children’s best advocate. We know them better than anyone and we know when something is wrong. So, if you have to leave one doctor, and get on the phone with another, by all means, mama, you do what you have to do.