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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Well Visits

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Well Visits

This one may be a bit controversial, so please, should you choose to "weigh in" on this one in the comments section, be gentle. I'm not sure I can handle much more. And if I feel as though you are yelling at me too strong in your opinions, I reserve the right not to publish your comments. Thank you.

I'm curious to know how each of you handle well child visits. Our insurance does not cover well visits for our children, so as we prepared for the birth of our first little one, we really gave it some thought. Is it necessary? Is it good stewardship? I found a clinic near by that dispenses immunizations to un- and under-insured children, so that was taken care of, but even without immunizations, the well child visit was around $100 or more each time (that was $300-$400 in the first couple months alone).

When we made the decision to "skip" them, it was not a careless decision. We knew that it would mean doing extra monitoring of our children ourselves. I did some research and gathered a basic understanding of what they would be looking for at each visit (though I need to refresh on that now with a new one.) We have a scale and are weekly monitoring Sweet Pea's weight. We decided that if something didn't seem right, we would make an appointment to have it checked out. We have in the past and by the grace of God it has worked out for us. We even decided to go to the first couple well checks (right out of the hospital and at 2 weeks)... just to be sure everything was starting off well.

The decision we made wasn't just a decision not to go to the doctors though. It was a decision to trust God to give us discerning hearts to know when our children needed something more than we could give.

It's not an easy decision. Many times (especially these days) I find that it would be so much easier to just go to the doctor and have him say that everything is fine, that she's gaining well, etc. Many days I think it would put my mind at ease... just to have them look at her and say she's perfect. Then I remember that the peace of mind it may bring (and perhaps even a false peace of mind at times) costs $100 and I have to wonder if that is really what God would want us to do. Does he want us looking to a doctor for peace of mind? Or does he want us to look to him?

I'm curious... what are your thoughts? (Again... please share your opinions with the knowledge that we all need to make our own decisions as the Lord leads in our lives and families. There is not only one right answer... simply what works for each of our families.)



At June 4, 2008 at 2:01 PM , Blogger Kacie said...

Tough call. Are there any free or low-cost clinics in your area? For people who meet certain income requirements, I know there are government programs out there that can help out in this case. I can't think of what it's called, but I'm pretty certain there's a govt program for uninsured babies.

Since I'm not a mom yet, I don't feel like I can offer much of an opinion. But, I'm due in December, and it will be relavent to me soon.

Right now, my husband's health insurance is excellent, and our out of pocket expenses won't be much. So, I'll probably take the little one to all of the well baby visits.

But, if our insurance didn't cover those visits, I'd probably try to find a way to get Baby to the doctor often in that first year--at least until I'd have more of a clue that something was wrong. Probably a typical response of a first-time mama :)

At June 4, 2008 at 7:31 PM , Blogger Irene said...

Hey There...we've always taken our children to their well child visits and I have often wondered if we really needed to take them in. The thing I really liked about it was the opportunity to ask the doctor questions but I never felt like my child wasn't healthy or growing adequately. In fact I had often thought that if I knew what to look for, those visits aren't always necessary. You can look for signs of your child not reaching certain developmental fact you know you child better than the doctor does. I think it's great that you measure Sweet Pea and I have no doubt that you would notice if something was off. I don't think you and your husband have taken this lightly and the way you do it does make sense:) I'm at a place now where I am too questioning the necessity of well-child visits. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

At June 4, 2008 at 10:40 PM , Blogger Christy said...

This is one of those things that is your call. If you are comfortable with that, that's what's important. Personally, I would probably take them in at least once a year, just for peace of mind. My sons Dr. told me not to bring him in for his 18 mo appt because it was Christmas time and she didn't want him coming in for a well baby one week and back a few days later because now he was sick. She just said if he wasn't talking so many words by then, then to bring him in, but that was the main thing she'd check for at that appt. I was glad she told me that and appreciated her honesty. I do think the well baby checks are more important right away, than later on, especially if you are up do date on what to be watching for.

At June 5, 2008 at 10:01 AM , Blogger Nikki said...

I take my little ones to their well-baby appointments, but John has great insurance, so it only costs me $20 per visit. If I were in your situation, I would do the same thing. The doctor never finds any problems with my children, and I think I would notice before she did anyway. Especially, since this is your second, you know what to look for in Sweet Pea.

Is there a doctor in your church that you could bounce things off of, if you needed to? That would be helpful. Just if you needed a quick opinion.

At June 5, 2008 at 4:03 PM , Blogger Donielle said...

In the words of our pediatrician "the AMA recommended visits are for the least of us". Meaning the visits are "set" for those who don't do what they need to do. To make sure children are not being neglected or malnourished. Even the recommended vaccine schedule is something you can extend or miss shots. Honestly - concerning vaccines, there are some I won't do for the next baby. (check out the 'Vaccine Book' by Dr.Sears, I posted a review on my blog)
If you need peace of mind, maybe you can send the stats you have to the docs office to be put in her file and ask a nurse (or the doc) what they think. Maybe do every other visit, like skip 3 and 9 months and just do 6mo and one year. I would try and do either the 18mo or 2 yr though. That one seems important for developmental reasons.

Personally I think as long as you are keeping good track of her height and weight (and don't forget head circumference - they check for brain growth or something)I wouldn't see a problem. You probably know more about the health of your children than a lot of parents do!

I take mine in because it's the 'normal' thing to do, and we have only a small co-pay that my husbands co. pays for us, so it's basically free for us.

At June 5, 2008 at 10:34 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

First of all, thanks for visiting my blog today! It's great to "see" new faces, and yes, I do plan to continue my series.

Secondly, I wanted to say that well visits are an issue I'm trying to work through, too. Money is not really the issue for us, but I question the necessity! We have chosen not to vaccinate our kids and I've read that that is the main reason the docs want you to come in for the well visits.

I believe that you and other older, wiser mothers (Titus 2 women) know what is better for your baby than a pediatrician anyway! A discerning mom will pick up on a serious problem and know the right time to take a baby/child to the doctor.

At June 7, 2008 at 3:41 PM , Blogger Proverbs 4:18 said...

Having read all the comments, here are my thoughts. :-)

$100 for every well check would definitely put undue pressure on your budding family -- and I know because our families are the same! :-) I think the advice to do more check-ups the first year and one a year after that (as long as things seem to be going well) is GREAT!

Knowing you, the research you have done is more than sufficient for you to be Dr. Mom in tracking normal development. If you and hubby feel confident in your observation skills, then saving $100 every few months is worth it!

As for trusting God vs. doctors, God gave us the knowledge and discovery to have doctors and medicine. They are good and should be taken advantage of when necessary! But for well baby checks? How many people survived to adulthood with just a Dr. Mom back in the fronteir days? So an occasaional vist now-a-days is a bonus! :-)


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