I see so many posts on parenting forums asking whether or not they should take their little one to the doctor. (And also many asking if contractions are normal at a certain point - just go get it checked, pleeeeeeeease!) I am not a doctor, so please always consult your pediatrician, but I would like to share our doctor experiences.
Dylan has had lots and lots of doctor's appointments since he is a 25-weeker. When he first got out of the NICU, we went weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly and now we go every couple of months, mostly to check his weight.
Over the course of the last 10 1/2 months (Dylan was still in the NICU this time last year), I have taken him in twice for non-scheduled visits. Both times, I debated with myself about when to go and both times he required a prescription.
Visit 1: Diaper Rash
Dylan developed his very first diaper rash on a Saturday morning. His entire bum was bright red and spotted. My internet research gave me all kinds of home remedies and I tried many of them including baking soda baths, diaper free time, and liberal amounts of maximum strength Desitin (don't even bother with the regular stuff...get the purple box). Dylan also had diarrhea and was going through about 1 diaper every two hours almost round the clock.
Life was beyond horrible for all three of us. Dylan screamed and cried for diaper changes and it was nearly impossible to accomplish without two of us. He seemed a little comforted by the baths, so we did them a couple of times a day and then let him air-dry. Diaper free time resulted in poop on two separate rugs, one pile of which was eaten by my dog as I chased down Dylan as he tracked poop across the room. Absolutely disgusting.
We didn't take him in until either Tuesday or Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. He had one spot that was turning into more of an open wound and it very suddenly seemed to get worse. After-hours care was a complete debacle, but it ended with a confirmation that it had become a yeast rash and needed a Nystatin cream. I am so glad that I decided to go in when I did!
Visit 2: Ear Infection
Dylan got a little bit of a cold after Christmas. It mainly consisted of a runny nose, but I was still slightly terrified that it would turn into RSV or something else in his lungs (and had emailed the Ped about when to come in for a cold without fever or change in eating/sleeping habits). But then on Saturday and Sunday night, Dylan threw up in the middle of the night. He throws up his night-time bottle all the time, but has only ever thrown up in the middle of the night once before. My little angel is a fantastic sleeper. But on Sunday night, he woke up at 2am and we could barely settle him. He finally fell asleep close to 4am (in our bed which means I was barely sleeping). I had to go back to work Monday morning, but I called the nurse line and told the nanny what the night was like. Eventually I got an appointment for yesterday evening, but he was happy all day so I wasn't too sure I needed it...I just kind of wanted the Ped to confirm that everything was okay.
Lo and behold, Dylan has his first ear infection! I guess it can cause kids to throw up although that's not the most common symptom. Poor baby! His lungs are perfectly clear and he's on Amoxicillin to clear up the ear infection. Again...so glad I went in.
So the moral of my story is to trust your gut. If you are not sure what your gut is saying, go in! The worst that will happen is that your lo's schedule will be thrown off for a day, but you'll get the piece of mind that everything is fine.
Here's my new favorite picture:
And this one's pretty cute too : )