Thursday, April 14, 2011

OBs, MFMs, and Hospitals, oh my!

One of the side effects of moving halfway across the country at 20 weeks into your pregnancy is having to find a new OB-GYN, MFM, and hospital for delivery.  Since Meghan won't be moving up until around week 20 and we can't predict whether or not she'll need to be on bed rest when she gets here, I went ahead and did a little research (ok, a boatload of research) on our local options for medical care.

The Chicago-land area is choc full of really good medical institutions that focus on premature baby care.  So, fortunately, we have our choices.  Though, ideally, we'd like to find a hospital/doctor combo that has a ton of experience with high-order multiple births and is within reasonable driving distance for Meg, especially for when she gets further along in the pregnancy and has more frequent visits to the doctor.

Meg arrives tomorrow for a quick vacation, so I took the liberty of setting up a fun-filled agenda for her first full day here.  Well, fun if you enjoy spending your days with doctors and at hospitals.  We're scheduled for appointments at two local hospitals with Level III NICUs, as well as appointments with some of the MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine) specialists that work with the hospitals.

In preparation for these appointments, I also bought a notebook that we can use to keep track of all the phone numbers that we'll be collecting throughout the pregnancy, important dates and appointments related to the pregnancy, as well as a place to keep track of all of the questions and answers that will accumulate over the next five to six months.  Now, believe it or not, I have a huge list of questions for each of the hospitals and OB/MFMs.  Most of my personally-created questionnaire comes from a book that my father bought me titled Expecting Multiples (thanks Dad).  I would highly recommend it to any mother or father-to-be of a triplet or higher pregnancy.  It was written by an organization called MOST (Mothers of Super Twins) in 2009.  I've read the entire book and the major theme throughout the book is being proactive with your pregnancy.  I'm not trying to become a doctor, but I also realize that a large part of how a doctor deals with a triplet or higher pregnancy, comes from experience.  Basically, there is no user manual and no single correct way to manage a high-risk pregnancy.  So, it pays to be as informed as you can and be your own advocate and make sure that you're keeping up, as much as you can, with the trends involved in managing high-order multiple pregnancies. 
By the way, this idea isn't restricted only to families expecting triplets.  You should always be an advocate in your own healthcare because your doctors don't know everything.  How can they?  It pays to question sometimes and make sure your doctor is keeping up with what's new, because as everyone knows, it's easy to get bogged down with your day-to-day responsibilities and forget to sharpen your skill set.

All right, I'll get off that soap box.

Now, maybe there's time for this later and maybe I'm being a little too obsessive about trying to get all of this stuff set up on my own, but I'm feeling a little useless.  Not that Meg is making me feel that way.  She's the one that's being affected the most during the pregnancy period and I feel bad that I can't help more.  So, this is my way of staying involved and contributing to make sure we have the best doctors, the best hospital, and the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

For my own sanity, I'd like to pose a question to any other expecting or current parent of multiples.  Did you do as much research as I'm describing with respect to doctors, hospitals, potential issues, etc. or am I just a research-a-holic?

As a side note, I know everyone likes pictures, but there just aren't any today.  I promise that we'll have some for the next post.


  1. That is awesome that you are being so proactive! I didn't do a ton of research ahead of time. I pretty much chose my MFM based on the fact that he was the first doctor of about 4 who actually said confidently, "You can do this!" and didn't suggest I reduce our pregnancy to twins. Therefore, once he was picked, the hospital was picked! (Because he works in the hospital so all my appts were at the hospital). Aside from that, I did pretty much NO research. I also had that book and several others and I read just about everything one time, and then I stayed away completely from the chapters about complications. I honestly think that's what kept me sane and kept me off bedrest completely. My mom was the opposite. She was reciting the most worrisome things to me and telling me to read certain pages of certain books and I politely told her I refused. We took one day at a time and I just went by what my doctors said. So that would be my only advice regarding this informed but not obsessed. ;) But I love that you're touring the NICU. Our NICU became a home away from home and I still think back to it fondly, actually! Good job and have fun!

  2. As one of the nurses in the family, I don't think you are obsessing. You are doing just what I would expect to you do. One thought I do have is to be sure to talk to the nurses if you can. They have a huge impact on the care you will receive and also know a lot about the best physicians to choose and why.

    Something else you may not be aware of to ask about is whether the hospital has "magnet status". This is the highest recognition for quality nursing care and work environment by the American Nurses Credentialing Center - web link
    It might just make for interesting reading.

    If you are also interested in looking at things that are good for new babies (pre-term especially), look up Kangaroo Care. If the hospital staff in the NICU know about this, they are doing the latest in evidence based care and the best for your babies.

    Okay, enough...I have been reading research papers and the last one I read was about pre-term infants and Kangaroo care. The next one is on ART...back to reading;-)