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!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Homeowners: Downstairs Tour x2

Somehow it's already been two months since we moved into our newest home and while most of the "moving in" process happened immediately thanks to the daunting start of residency, we've been slowly putting the finishing touches together. There's still a handful of things I want to do/aren't quite finished, but really, when is a house 100% done anyways. So for now, here's a mini tour of our newest residence! 
We love how open the floor plan is while still creating specific spaces. Our front room has giant vaulted ceilings that let in the best light and it even spills into the upstairs loft area just at the top of the stairs. We have a formal dining room that definitely needs some additional furniture pieces to finish it off but I can't wait to host all our favorite holidays in that room. And speaking of holidays, I'm already day-dreaming about where our Christmas tree will go in our new house! Personalized art and hanging pictures of my family is basically my go-to decorating style and this huge gallery wall did not disappoint. Thanks to my lovely husband for busting out the level for these bad boys. 
Moving towards the back of our house into the kitchen and family room space... here's a tidbit for you, we purchased our house new but didn't get to pick the finishes like you "typically" do with a new build. However, I absolutely love our kitchen space. Gray subway tiles, white cabinets and plenty of storage space. Seriously some of our cabinets are 100% empty still! I still want to get bar stools for the island but am waiting until I find the perfect ones. We purchased all our family room furniture new for this house because the room is so massive and our old items didn't fill the space correctly. Our sectional is seriously huge and the most comfy to lay on late at night. Our little built in desk/bill/mail station is also a work in progress as I'd love to make it into a work space for me for any charting I'll have to do at home in the next few years. 
Down the hallway leads to the garage as well as our downstairs bathroom, which I might add is a full bath with shower and tub. J's office is also set up in our first floor bedroom and we have even more storage space in two hallway closets. One of my favorite upgrades to our home is the built-ins in the mud room. Having the littles makes it so we always have tons of "stuff" when we're headed out the door and this space is the perfect catch all for throwing shoes into the bottom, hanging coats and hats on the hooks and setting our famous dino back pack on the ledge. It also holds dog bowls and food and seasonal items like our pool bag. The stairs into the unfinished basement are also tucked away in these hallways and constantly sporting a gate for mischievous little boys. 
It seems like every new house we have feels like home quicker than the last but I'm still shocked at how much this place already feels "right" for our family. The boys absolutely love it here and so do J and I. A move is one of the biggest life stresses for sure and I'm so happy with the outcome of this new adventure. Here's to the next 3 years or more if we just can't seem to leave this place after then. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Family Medicine

In the span of one day I...
+ delivered two babies
+ performed one circumcision
+ admitted a patient with severe depression
+ saw a bunch of newborn babies
+ got a hug from a family for the care we provided
+ admitted a patient with appendicitis
+ filled dozens of prescriptions for my clinic patients
+ had a heart to heart with a new mom struggling with nursing

This. This is why I love family medicine.
From hours old to decades old.
From severally sick to brand new to somewhere in between.

I've had plenty of days where I've left the hospital crying because I'm overworked. Many mornings where getting out of bed before 5am seems like the most daunting task. Way too many heart breaks missing my babies and knowing they miss me too. But when I have the good days, it helps put it all into perspective just a little more. Coffee always helps too!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thankful v25

Lately I've been thankful...
[+] for litte brothers who are growing by the minute

[+] for brothers who are so different and yet so much alike even down to their cheesy grins
[+] for big brothers who are sweet & sour at the exact same time

[+] for home improvement projects & lots of hard work 
[+] for the best of family who's supportive, encouraging & always there

[+] for things that used to feel mundane that I took for granted before 
[+] for yummy snacks even if there's sometimes a battle for the last bite

[+] for compliments & encouragement & getting in the groove
[+] for a coffee cart in the hospital where the barista knows my name 

[+] for a house that feels so much like home and is more than we could have ever imagined 
[+] for wild imaginations that turn piles of laundry into "fancy beds"

[+] for brother hugs, sharing popsicles, holding hands & melting my heart
[+] for sweet little voices that recite our favorite books line by line



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