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Posts Tagged ‘match day’

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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Match Day

March plays host to many special occasions such as Daylight Savings, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of Spring. For the medical student crowd it brings MATCH DAY. Ahh…Match Day, the day that can bring smiles, laughter, yelps of joy, tears and fear.  Match Day is a long awaited day for every Medical student and their spouse….that is if they have one. It also the day that will set their medical careers in motion.

My memories of Match day are somewhat bittersweet. Our Match Day was held in a huge banquet room with the 100 plus medical students and their guest. We all were seated at round tables. My husband and I were surrounded with some of our dearest friends all awaiting the paths that our lives would be taking for the next few years.  Once they announced we could reveal our envelopes (they were creative and wrote every ones residency placements with invisible ink) you could hear the rustling of every ones paper and the scratching back and forth of the “Magic” markers resulting in a room full of  people hugging and kissing  accompanied with YES, Hey I got MY FIRST CHOICE, as well as a chorus of WAHOOs! Despite all the joy in the room you also could hear, “I didn’t get it” or “What does it say again?” and I am sorry. The latter was unfortunately accompanied with tears and the look of defeat for some.  Seated at our table there was a half and half mix. I looked across the table and saw my best friend and her husband going to their desired location full of joy and exuberance of what was to come and then to the side of them a couple with the wife in tears because she thought that they wouldn’t be moving further than another zip code finding themselves moving three states away.  My husband didn’t get his first choice either and I was borderline devastated.  We were matched to a great program housed in a city of 4 million people of which we knew not soul and not to mention we would be several states and too many miles away from our families. The tears fell and they fell and then they fell some more. It was hard to see my husband not get his heart’s desire and it was hard not to get my heart’s desire too. You see…I had hatched up this wonderful plan that my husband would get his first pick which also happened to be our dear friends first pick and we would live happily ever after in a new city and state with our friends to get us through these crazy 4 years ahead and best of all I would be comfortable.  However the story did not go as I had planned. Actually it ended up quite different. The story went more like we are going to move to a city with a Metro population of about 4 million people and we didn’t know any of them…yep not a soul. Luckily we were going to do a transitional year in our hometown so I had plenty of time to soak up the family and friend love and prepare for my “move of  doom”.

The year flew by and I found myself loading up the UHAUL and making my way to this new city where the streets all have the same name (or so it seems), and have I mentioned we didn’t know a single soul and surprise I was PREGNANT.  I could have allowed this move, pregnancy, and lonliness bring me down and I’ll be honest I had my moments of fear and sadness but overall I decided that I was going to have to take a more proactive role in making this new city my own because residency was going to be demanding and my husband was going to be busy and I knew that I was going to go crazy if I didn’t make friends and make them fast.  Some might say I went a little overboard but I was determined to have a good life in this new city and that involved forming new relationships and friendships.  Here are some things I did to get settled and plugged in:

  • I unpacked and I unpacked quickly. In less than a few days the boxes were gone and our home was functional.
  • I joined the YMCA–we all know that exercise is not only good for the body but also for the mind. This was a great way for me to release stress. Moving is stressful and being in a new city with your husband working crazy hours is REALLY stressful.
  • On-line Mom groups and Meetup.com were a blessing and allowed me to network with other moms in the area. Through these two outlets I joined two playgroups which kept me and my daughter busy with several outings a week. I got to explore my new city and find all the cool places that Moms and kids hang out. Not to mention I met one of my dearest friends through one of these internet meetups. It made me a believer in Cyber dating! 🙂
  • Meet your neighbors. Get out and walk the neigborhood and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I kiddingly tell people that my daughter is the reason I ever meet anyone because she is constantly introducing me to strangers. Most of the time it is a great converstaion and I always learn something new about this great city I live in.
  • I also joined a church, a bible study and a M.O.P.S group.

All of the things I mentioned were key for me to maintain a sense of self and to keep busy most of all. Our husbands lead busy lives and it is important to hold on to the things that make us who we are while still being of great support to them. I now love my new city, have incredible friends whom I have made great memories with and  I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else (for the time being).

I would love to read your memories of Match Day or the ways you made your transition into residency. I think this could be of great support to the Medical student wives who are about to take their next step into Residency.

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