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Archive for the ‘Residency Interviews’ Category

I had a fussy 4-month-old in my arms as we awaited to hear my husband’s name called out on Match Day.  After months of interviewing (my husband had chosen radiology, one of the more competitive specialties and now admits he went a little overboard with the interview process), we’d finally know where we’d be spending the next few years of our lives. As new parents, we were praying we’d be closer to grandparents.

Our prayers were answered. Dr. McDreamy got both of his first choices. We would be doing a transitional year with a lighter workload about 2 1/2 hours from my parents. After that we’d be moving to a big city just an hour from my parents and about 45 minutes from my husband’s family. We were ecstatic.

Herein lies the irony. Just months before when I was a walking whale swollen with our first child, we’d been thinking about going to some place “cool and exotic.” Maybe Boston. Or Denver. Or even somewhere lush and beautiful out in California.

Ah, but you’ve heard the adage before: Having a baby changes everything and boy, does it ever.

Dr. McDreamy interviewed at his current place of residency just five days after the birth of our first child. When he returned home, he said he’d liked the program a lot and then he asked, “Why are we ranking [so-and-so-place-that-was-super-far-from-our-families] first?”

“I have no idea,” I admitted.

Suddenly, the slopes of Colorado, the perfect weather of California, and the history of Massachusetts didn’t seem nearly as important as having family nearby to share in our baby’s life.

Dr. McDreamy is almost finished with his third year of radiology residency now (whoo-hoo! Only one more year plus a fellowship to go!). I’m almost finished with my third pregnancy. Some people (as in fellow residents) think we’re crazy to keep popping out these babies during residency when the hours are long and the money is short. I’ve had other medical wife friends ask me when the right time to have a baby is.

My answer? Whether you’re married to a resident or not, there is no right (or perfect) time to start a family. To me, the only right time is when you get knocked up and find yourself blessed with the gift of a child – whether a baby was a part of your medical training plan or not. In all seriousness, we don’t regret for one moment having our first child during medical school and our subsequent kiddos during residency. Sure, money’s tight, but babies don’t need Pottery Barn nurseries, and toddlers don’t require pricey Gymboree Play & Music memberships to bond with their parents. What kids need, above all, is love, and you can dole that out at any time if you’re ready and willing to open your heart to new life.

Honestly, I get a little sad when I hear so many wives of residents talk about how they’re going to wait until their husband is finally finished with residency to start a family. I can’t judge them or blame them for wanting more financial security, but they don’t even know what they’re postponing – the sweet smell of a new baby, the giggles of a toddler, the regular wrestling matches in the living room between Daddy and the preschooler…  We may not get to go to as many movies as we once did (there’s always Netflix). We may not have a lot of disposable income (who does these days?). Our kids don’t have fancy nurseries (who am I kidding? Our first either slept in our bed or in a crib wedged in a tiny room that was also home to bookshelves and our computer). We may be living in a city that has a lower “coolness” factor than, let’s say, Denver, but we have a family. We have kids who think Daddy rocks, not because he’s a doctor, but because he generously distributes hug and tickles.

Having a baby does change everything: Your residency plans, your need for grandparents to have on deck when you need a date night or just have to get your teeth cleaned, your sleep patterns, your budget.  Some of the changes require some sacrifice, but what your kids take (like sleep) they give back tenfold. They’re a constant reminder of why my husband and doctors work to defend life. They’re our future here now. We didn’t want to wait for them until  the time was right, according to society. We didn’t want to put our life on hold just because it might be a little tougher to start a family during Dr. McDreamy’s medical training. We recognized that kids don’t make you poorer – they make your life far richer than you could ever imagine.

Our kids are living proof that life is good, and it’s only going to get better.

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