Tag Archives: Baby Daddy

The End Of Medical School or When One Door Closes, You Go Into A Worse One

October 16, 2014

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A few summers ago, I gave birth to a slippery, ornery baby and then immediately moved that baby and four-ish boxes of thrift store dinnerware to Hershey, Pennsylvania so my husband could start medical school.

I have talked about being married to a student before.

For the most part it is fine. I could tell you a bunch of stories about suppers going cold or putting babies to bed by myself, but most of us have similar married-with-kids battle scars and I don’t want to be boring. And really, navigating marriage and motherhood while one person is in medical school isn’t that bad. It’s like anything else: suffer, adapt, overcome, wine.

Today Austin has his first residency interview. Tomorrow he’ll have another, and for the next few weeks and months we will drive up and down the East Coast and put on our best faces so that we might be THE CHOSEN ONES. This is a step I should be excited about, but instead I feel uneasy and generally despondent at the end of what will most likely be the easiest and fondest step of the becoming a doctor experience.

To avoid the confusion exchanged at every single extended family gathering since 2009, I have provided this timeline for your convenience.

11 Easy Steps To Becoming El Doctoro

Step #1—> Attend undergrad and spend six years realizing you don’t want to do graphic design. ✓
Step #2—> Take MCAT ✓
Step #3—> Apply To Med School and have nervous diarrhea for six months waiting for interviews and acceptance letters ✓
Step #4—> Start med school, spend first year frantically studying and making flashcards ✓
Step #5—> Spend another year with flashcards, develop ulcers ✓
Step #6—> Begin third year of med school and spend a year coming home late. To keep things interesting, have another baby ✓
Step #7—> Finally make it to the last year of med school when it is acceptable to mill around while applying to residencies. Spend life savings on applications, testing, and interview wardrobe ✓
Step #8—> Graduate, move, spend one year working whenever eyelids are open
Step #9—> Four Years of Radiology residency
Step #10—> One year fellowship in Interventional Radiology
Step #11—> Turn 40 and get first paycheck big enough to starting paying $300,000+ loans

This March, Austin will participate in what’s called “match day,” a ludicrous ceremony where nervous med students sit in a dimly lit room together and simultaneously open letters dictating their future while local news hovers and spouses sob happy and/or sad tears.

Then he will graduate and begin the six year journey to becoming an interventional radiologist, which is just a fancy way of saying he’ll be studying for a very long time.

We may move, we may not. It is all up to interviews, test scores, and a magical computer that says this person goes here and that person goes there and it doesn’t matter what the wife wants. No matter what, we’ve made a wonderful life here and it’s always hard to let go.

I will be sure to keep you abreast of our next move. In the meantime, I’ll be instagramming charmingly filtered photographs of Baltimore to convince myself I wouldn’t be murdered there and writing multiple essays on the art of moving forward. Let us not forget the wise words of my friend Mary who said, “Home is where the heart is, but dear god don’t let us end up in Jersey.”

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When It’s Time For A Rewrite.

April 9, 2014

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Yesterday I spent three hours writing a really sad and boring post about how medical school is making my life hard and then promptly deleted it because a) who cares and b) everyone has hard times sometimes and we are fine.

Two years ago I wrote a post about marrying a student that chronicled Austin’s sudden decision to become a doctor to our situation in the beginning of medical school. It is not an overly unique story. He was a bio major turned graphic designer turned 26-year-old guy getting married who was pretty bored at his desk job. The return to school after such a long break wasn’t easy, but he did it. We moved four times, twice with a newborn, and here we are two kids later, living a student’s life in a sleepy town in Pennsylvania.

I still get emails about that post, probably because so many of us have chosen to go back to school while also trying to start a family. It is tricky business.

He is at the end of his third year now which means he “works” every day on various rotations. Work means no pay, keeping your mouth shut, and sometimes holding open a skin flap. Right now he’s on trauma surgery and his next day off is two Sundays from now. It is bad, but not as bad as it will be two years from now when he’s in residency and working 80 hours a week for minimum wage. And really it will never be great. He will never be one of those dads who is always home by 5 and has every weekend free. He will be a dad working Sundays and late nights and every other holiday. He will be a dad who will definitely miss soccer games.

I joke that medical school is “the other woman” in our marriage, but really it is less of a joke and more the reality of coming to the end of a really long day of parenting and wishing your co-parent could take over so you can hide in the bathroom and take a quiet, peaceful shit.

I knew it would be hard, but sometimes the weight of it is very heavy, prompting me to feel very sorry for myself which is both unflattering and tiring. The moment I let those sad-faced demons in is the moment I begin to unravel. When I feel myself becoming the kind of woman I said I’d never be–ungrateful.

Here’s the thing: there is a time to let yourself feel overwhelmed and upset and quietly curse by the recycling bin and there is the time to remember how many other wives and husbands and moms and dads are working long hours and late nights and Sunday mornings. A time to remember that I am just one of many women (and men) staring at the clock and doing bath time and bottle time and dinner time alone.

It is hard work but it is good work. We are not alone.

And the good news is that the glass always ends up being half full even after Claire Dane cries and ugly breakdowns. Austin and I are in love even though he leaves his shoes all over the house and I leave my postpartum hairs all over the bathroom sink. He is a good dad and I am a good mom despite our big egos and impatient personalities. We can do hard things.

Carry on.

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