“Always trust your instincts.” As mothers we are told this from the time we announce our first pregnancy. And yet, we continually doubt ourselves. We doubt our knowledge. We doubt our experiences. And we doubt our instincts. Why? Why do we spend hours agonizing over what the right thing to do is when our instincts are shouting the answer right in our faces?
Remember how last October I shared about Sam’s speech delay? In the post, I mentioned that he’d had a series of ear infections. It took quite a while to be able to get our pediatrician to give us a referral to an ENT. When we went to the ENT, we got the brush off in a big way. It was so incredibly frustrating. My instincts told me that he needed tubes in his ears, but instead of fighting for that, I agreed with the doctor. I reasoned that the doctor was smarter and knew more than me, so of course he had to be right. Right?? Wrong. It has been a year and we are still having issues with sam’s ears. Most recently, he has been dealing with infections in both ears. Despite multiple rounds of antibiotics, the infections just won’t clear up.
We know from previous tests that sam struggles to hear any time there is fluid in his ears, infected or not. My greatest concern was that this series of infections were causing hearing problems and further delaying his speech. Our pediatrician seemed uninterested in my opinion. My instincts again told me that he needed tubes. Each time we went to the doctors, I brought it up. And each time I was told to wait and that we’d talk about it later. With frustration mounting and my instincts telling me to push for tubes, I decided to pray. For days I prayed to know what we should do for Sam. I prayed that I would be able to advocate for him. The answer was clear every time. Get tubes.
I went to his latest doctor’s appointment prepared to discuss getting a referral so that we could look at putting tubes in his ears. Sam’s doctor said no. And when I tried to argue my case, to no avail. I felt so defeated! I began to second guess myself. Was I pushing for an unnecessary surgery? Was I being a crazy moms? I trusted my instincts and with my brain going a mile a minute, I began researching pediatric ENTs near us. I came across one in Birmingham and decided to contact them to see what could be done. While on the phone with the receptionist, I was informed that my insurance would allow for us to schedule an appointment without a referral. I cannot begin to describe the amount of stress I felt leave my body. And when she scheduled his appointment for two days later, I was overjoyed.
We attended the appointment yesterday and it couldn’t have gone better. The office staff was friendly and attentive and the appointment went quickly. They tested Sam’s hearing and found that he was hearing well over all (passable), but struggling with low frequency sounds. When we met with the ENT, he reviewed Sam’s medical history with us and took a look around in Sam’s ears, nose and mouth. He then told me that given Sam’s age, history of ear infections and speech delay, it would be best to place tubes in his ears. Yes! I’m not crazy! We finished the appointment and scheduled the surgery for next week.
Trust your instincts!
All this to say, trust your instincts, mama. You may not have a medical degree, you many not be the smartest person in the world, you may not even have street smarts. But you’re the mama. And that means your opinion and your instincts matter. More than what another parent tells you. More than what some stranger on the internet says. And more than a doctor. Does it mean you’ll always be right? No. But you might be. And that makes it worth the risk of looking like that crazy mom none of us wants to be. Trust your instincts, mama. You’ll never regret. I promise that.
*please do not take this to mean that you should completely ignore medical advise. When in doubt, get a second opinion from a trained professional**