The search for a baby doctor

Written by: Z. Briggs

About a month ago our midwife started reminding us that we need to begin looking for a pediatrician. She said that we had to give her their name and information by 36 weeks so that she can be ready for the birth and have all the necessary paperwork and such in place. We are lucky to have health insurance, but our plan does dictate who we can see. In our area of Astoria, Queens there are three pediatricians that carry our insurance. So we are limited unless we want to travel into Manhattan. Many people, including our midwife, has recommended that we pick a pediatrician close to home, at least for the first couple of years.

My husband Chad setup our first interview the other day. I reviewed the questions that we’re supposed to ask, both ones that our midwife suggested as well as some lists I found online and we set out. The pediatrician’s clinic was about a 35 minute walk from our apartment—not around the corner—but on the plus side, very close to where Chad and I both work (my day job and our puppet studio are in the same building).

The waiting room was quite small, but then again so is everything in NYC. Space is a hot commodity here. We check in with the receptionist and then wait to be seen. A little while later we are invited into one of the examination rooms and after waiting just a minute or so longer we get to meet the pediatrician. She seems nice, put together, and friendly. We learn that she is the only pediatrician in this clinic, so if we come there we will only ever see her, no other doctors. Also, she has clinic hours on Mondays and Fridays and early mornings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. All other times she works at a local hospital. I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about this—what if we needed to see her on a day that she wasn’t in. She told us that she would share her cell phone number with us and that we are welcome to call her or email her as needed. She said that many questions or issues can be solved by talking over the phone. If it is anything more serious, she would direct us to go to the emergency room.

We spoke a while longer. Overall she seemed knowledgeable and nice. Afterwards Chad and I talked. I told him I was a bit surprised that I didn’t get an overwhelming feeling that this was our person. I guess I’m a bit on the fence. The clinic was small, crowded and left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Chad nodded, but then also brought up something that hadn’t occurred to me—everyone working there was super friendly and seemed genuinely happy to be there. Which is huge sign to me that this might be our place. We are going to meet with at least one other pediatrician and see how that goes in comparison. Imagining walking with our baby to the doctor’s office is an intense thought in itself—and a reality that isn’t so far off. March 7th will be here before we know it.

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