Saturday, March 3, 2018

Thankful v26

Lately I've been thankful...
[+] for our own "teacher gram" and her creative activities

[+] for one boy who's food driven and one who's rule driven (most of the time)
[+] for dark nails and dark chocolate mochas as a mini celebration 

[+] for the second half of intern year and the freedom and fear that includes 
[+] for amazing neighbors who lean on us and who do the same for us

[+] for delivering babies and then kissing mine 
[+] visits from my guy gang on endless weekend shifts

[+] for my smarty pants biggest even if he outwits me more than I'd like
[+] for my littlest love who's always down for 'nuggles with momma

[+] for language explosions even if it means attitudes that go with it 
[+] for reasons to see family both big and small 

[+] for brother naps that overlap for moments of peace for all through the day
[+] for the smell of sweet toddlers clean from a "splashin' bath"

Happy [almost] spring!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mark says what?!

-- J said "eat one more bite of dinner and you can have whatever you want." Mark's response... "I want wine."

-- "I'm sick and tired of you screaming Pat." Quickly followed by "sometimes Pat is difficult."

-- "You need to hurry up and get my ice cream before it turns 8 o'clock and it's my bedtime, mom."

-- While listening to Mulan's song Reflection "She said 'don't know' because she doesn't know things."

-- With the shower on in the bathtub, "it's raining. There is a floooooood!"

-- I poured myself a glass of wine and he said "fill it up to the top mom". To which I responded that I couldn't because it was a wine glass. He said "if you fill it all the way up you will go to bed very early." Whoops!

-- "I want to find a restaurant for dogs to come. It will say yes to dogs and kids."

-- "These are the crunchiest chips I ever did see!!!"

-- Mark: "Why's he eating yogurt?" Mom: "Because it's delicious." Mark: "no it's awful."

Monday, January 8, 2018

Babies in Medicine pt 2

This is part two on the balance of having babies while also being in medical school. 
To see part 1 click here.

Our littlest son was born in April 2016 at the end of my third year of medical school. Years three and four of most schools are "clinical years" meaning jumping from rotation to rotation, hospitals to clinics, etc etc trying to figure out what field of medicine you really want to be in. This meant that I was pregnant through all of my third year while bouncing around all my rotations. In general this time was great for being pregnant if you can work it the right way. For me, I benefited in having most of my more demanding rotations where I'd be on my feet more towards the beginning of the year. I did surgery and OB rotations early on which was a blessing because I didn't have my big belly in the way or the fatigue of a third trimester pregnancy being on my feet all day. The one tricky thing for me is that one surgeon I worked with did a lot of cases that needed intra-operative imaging meaning all the docs wore lead vests during the cases. I was early in my pregnancy, no one knew about it and I wasn't comfortable being in on those cases. Luckily it worked out for me but it could have been more difficult.
As the year progressed and my belly grew rounder my rotations mellowed out, more clinic type rotations, less hospital work. Pat was born in the last week of my psych rotation which consisted of my basically sitting around all day. After he was born I used my month of "vacation" time for 4 weeks of zero responsibility. Then I took a study month for round two of board exams and flew to the east coast for my physical exam portion of boards with a 6 week old at home. We then had a bit of a break before the madness of 4th year started so I spent a bit of extra time at home with my growing family.

Transitioning into 4th year with audition rotations, residency applications and interview travel was extra tricky because these were the things that "really mattered" towards my career but I still had a little baby at home to take care of too. Yet again I toted my pump around, learned how to pump while driving long distances, didn't make excuses for my circumstance and my family while on interviews and cried often in hotel rooms by myself missing my baby and my family (#hormones!). I picked elective rotations to fill my schedule that were a lot easier and less demanding so I could be home as much as possible. I saved up my "non-clinical" time and used it later in the year for online courses while at home snuggling my boys. I completed 2 audition rotations, 13 residency interviews in multiple states and all the credits I needed to graduate. And in the end, I did it!
I could write a whole post on this topic itself but briefly, I chose family medicine because of the availability and understanding of this field of medicine to women with families. Plus I really like primary care and continuity with patients, obviously! I knew going into this whole life course that in the end I wanted to be a doctor and a mother and here I am doing both. It's been challenging in ways that I can't even begin to describe but my life is fuller and I truly believe I am a better doctor because I am also a mother to two sons.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Babies in Medicine pt 1

I've had a number of people reach out to me because I'm a mom and also a doctor, both of which happened in the same phase of life for me, and wanting advice on "how we've made it work". So here I am... my attempt at explaining our perspective on balancing family life and the demands of a medical career.

I will note that this is simply how we've made it work and that no situation is exactly the same. 
We've been very blessed to have made it through this part of our life relatively easily and I hope this sheds some light to other women in similar shoes. 

Our first little boy was born in September of 2014 which meant I was in the beginning of second year of medical school when he was born. I was therefore obviously pregnant for the end of first year and into the summer break between. One of the hardest parts for me being pregnant at this time was that we were in the thick of anatomy lab, and with the lovely preservatives that cadavers are in this meant I wore an obnoxious respirator every time I was in the lab. These fumes can be dangerous to pregnancies so I had to be safe from the very beginning. Which meant I started wearing and everyone knew of my pregnancy as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Talk about everyone in your business! When it came to second year, our school schedule was "system based" with a clinical medicine course weaved in throughout the year. When Mark was born I was just finishing my cardiology block and about to enter respiratory. He ended up being born a mere 3 days before the cardio final in fact.
For the immediate postpartum period, I ended up getting 4 weeks "off" and basically skipped the respiratory block material/put it on hold. While I was at home snuggling my new baby and drowning in new motherhood I worked on studying for the cardio final I mentioned above as well as one mid-term that happened while I was on leave. I officially became "responsible" for new material for the following block. Once I was responsible for keeping up again I did a mix of actually going in to school for required things and listening to lectures online at home when I could skip. I'd tote my pump with me for longer days and rush home to nurse on days that I could. I'd study with a sleeping baby on my chest or pass him off to my mother-in-law between nursing sessions when I was home cramming. As for the things I missed, I was 100% responsible for the material and making them up. Within the first month I re-scheduled the final and midterm I had missed and while not stellar, I got through them both. For the course I completely "skipped", I spent spring break and the last week of the semester studying for the two exams for respiratory respectively.

The rest of my courses went to be expected. I was able to keep up and continued with a mix of actually going in and studying from home. At the end of second year comes the first round of Board exams which meant I was studying as much as I could with a 8-9 month old at home. As a side note related to board exams, I was still pumping at the time of my tests and was worried how that would be accommodated. But national exam companies are required to allow you to pump and give you a private space to do such. For me I didn't want to use any additional time from my exam to make pumping a big deal so I just set up in a more secluded hallway and pumped right there sitting on the floor under a nursing cover. I had plenty of people give strange looks but couldn't have cared less! Ha!
And here's my thoughts on the outcome of having baby #1 in medical school... It was tough, there is no way of sugar coating that. But it really wasn't as horrible as you'd think looking at it from other eyes. Sure my grades were never in the honors category. I was likely more tired than my other classmates and less available as other new moms. Yes I had to spend my spring break learning about pneumonia and antibiotics etc etc instead of getting a true break. There were definitely times I cried because my baby preferred anyone but me. But by the time third year rolled around, I was completely caught up and had a new baby to show for it.

I should also add that we literally couldn't have done it on our own. From the very beginning we've had tremendous support from our families, not to mention J works from home every single day. My mom would spend a weekend with me if I had to study and J had other commitments. J's mom would come to our house during the week to watch Mark while I was at school/studying and J was working. We never had to worry about child care or daycare and always had someone available for babysitting.
And then we made the crazy decision to add our littlest to the bunch and got pregnant just as third year of medical school was starting. More on that piece of the puzzle to follow...

Baby H: 18 Months of Patrick

A year and a half with our littlest boy. I cannot even believe how quickly the time is flying and how much he's growing and learning, sometimes by the day even. We love you sweet Patrick and are thankful we get to watch you grow!


[+] wears a combo of 18 month and 2T clothes right now. We're slowly growing out of the 18 month size and the 2T clothes that used to be Mark's fit better than the new ones thanks to all the use/washes. He wears 7/8 in shoes and size 4 diapers. For as much bigger as he is than Mark at this age, all these "size" stats are basically the same which seems so strange to me.

[+] and again just like Mark, Pat still just has his same 12 teeth. Four on top, on bottom and one-year molars. He's definitely a much worse teether than big brother ever was so I'm hoping these next ones aren't too terrible when they decide to come through.

[+] is exploding in language right now and it's so much fun the second time around! He says... momma/mommy, daddy, Maaa-k (Mark), Ollie, Nani. Truck, blue, uppie, bank-kie (blankie), drink, paci, cheeeeese, bu bar (blue bear), book, "read that", apple, please, thank you, ni ni (good night), hi/bye and probably so many more that I'm forgetting. His most recent thing has been linking something with "mommy"... hi mommy, bye mommy, uppie mommy etc etc.
[+] knows what a dog, cow, lion/bear, sheep and fish "say". He consistently points to the picture of a fish in their shared bathroom and opens & closes his mouth over and over again which is his version of a fishy-face. He was also doing the same thing at lunch while pointing to my iced tea. We were very confused until we realized he thought the lemon wedge floating in the bottom was a fish! Kids are so funny!

[+] is obsessed with books in the last month and will spend an hour walking back and forth between you and the shelf picking out new ones. His favorite by far is Little Blue Truck and he even makes the "vrooom" and "honk" noises on the right pages. Much more than Mark ever did, he will also sit by himself just flipping through the pages by himself. But also loves to purposely rip the pages of paper books so we definitely have to keep an eye on him.

[+] legitimately fell out of his crib the other night and scared the living daylights out of this momma. He was throwing an epic fit, likely because he was overtired and we were getting ready for bed. Typically when he's really mad we ask him if he wants to go in his crib and sometimes that's what he needs to just "scream it out" until he calms himself down. Well I put him in there like we've done a ton of other times and all of a sudden I see him falling. He had pressed his belly up to the railing and somehow ended up top heavy and flipping over the edge. He fell right onto the floor, screaming even harder but thankfully was perfectly unharmed. Daddy quickly lowered the mattress down a level while I calmed him down and checked him out. Phew, please don't ever do that again buddy!
[+] on a related note he is still quite the little lover. He calls out for his blankie when he's going to sleep. He carries it around and wants to lay on my chest on the couch with it. He is starting to get into stuffed animals and carries them tucked in his elbow just like big brother. He blows kisses and gives hugs and lays his head on your shoulder. He's what makes you want another baby, that's for sure!

[+] and his big brother are starting to be quite the pair of wild things lately. They are really starting to play together and it warms my heart every single time. They play chase, jump off cushions from the couch together, and have even come up with a few of their own "games". Mark will hand Pat a broken truck put back together, Pat breaks it with all his might and they both laugh and laugh. Pat catches a ride on their mini tractor with Mark pushing him from behind. And then they yell and scream and say "NO!" and hit in the next instance. But brothers will be brothers I suppose.

[+] knows his own and other people's... hair, head, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, tongue, teeth. Tummy, arms, hands, legs, feet, piggies and toes. He calls out for bath time while he's sitting at the dinner table. He runs to get his shoes and socks from the bins in our mudroom if we say "let's go bye bye". He's also starting to sit on our little training potty when Mark sits on the big one and typically demands (but seriously, cries and cries) until he gets a treat too.
[+] absolutely loves Ollie. He always grins and points to him when Ollie comes into the room. He gives him the sweetest, most gentle hugs. He cracks up laughing when Ollie licks his hands or feet. He chases after him and always keeps an eye out for him at the back door when he goes outside. 

[+] still has the most stunning bright blue eyes. They have not changed at all since they reach their full color and they still shock me every day. His hair is also lighter than all of ours, definitely not blonde though and is stick straight. He got his second back porch hair cut recently and likely needs another one soon. 

[+] is still such a total mommas boy, sometimes not even letting me put him down without crying "mommy" over and over and over again. And yes, sometimes it's frustrating. More so for J than me most of the time. But deep down I really do love it. Mark never wanted much to do with me, and typically still doesn't either, so being Pat's "someone" is definitely something special for me.

Happy half birthday my baby boy! (only a few weeks late, ha!)

And for nostalgia sake, here's Mark's 18 month post!


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