Well, I’m a doctor now! Similarly to third and fourth year of Med school, we have month-long rotations in different areas of the hospital- but instead of being broad, it’s all pediatrics…with the exception of the rotation I’m currently on: OBGYN.
Since I’m not an OBGYN resident, I’m “off-service,” basically meaning I’m not in my comfort zone. There’s a psychiatry resident & an internal (adult) medicine resident with me, so we’re all off-service together. Since I’m a pediatrics resident, my typical day includes seeing teenagers who come to the OB clinic for birth control or for prenatal visits. It’s sad, but the pregnant 16-year-olds don’t even phase me anymore. It seems normal to me now. Now the crazy thing is the 13- & 14-year-olds we see. It’s strange how a paradigm can shift so quickly.
This month has been pretty easy for me so far. I don’t have a packed-full schedule. I don’t go to deliveries at all, so my most stressful moments involve getting the electronic medical record system to work and making sure my orders and e-prescriptions are valid & go through. It’s nice to have this “safe” month without much activity before hitting the ground running. I’m using it to study for boards next month & learn the computer system. But it’s also conflicting. I see these crazy stories from my classmates about doing chest compressions, dosing intense medications, saving peoples’ lives, nearly making life-changing mistakes… And I’m altogether relieved, jealous, anxious, and content.
Relieved because I’m not quite ready for that intensity. Jealous because I want to be the life-saving doctor! I want a crazy story to tell! Anxious because that WILL happen to me, and just like my classmates. I won’t be prepared. I won’t have all the answers. And content because for now, I’m ok studying for boards in my largely unoccupied days and easing into this “new doctor” thing. I’ve always been a “test the water before jumping in” type of person, so this transition has been just what I need.
I’m not sure I could’ve dealt with the stress of becoming a new physician if I hadn’t had an off-service rotation. Because the biggest life change for me in the last 3 months wasn’t becoming a doctor, as it was for many of my classmates. That was overshadowed by everything else we did. We bought a house. We moved back to our hometown where I haven’t lived since I was 18. I’ve had to adjust to life here as an independent adult. We’ve had to adjust to seeing family twice a week instead of twice a year. And the biggest change of all- to my life, my marriage, and my identity- was that I had a baby! I’m dealing with coming off of my post-graduation summer break/pseudo maternity leave. I’m learning how to be a working mom and balancing how often to pump at work so I can still breastfeed at home. We just started daycare with her last week and it was really difficult for me to leave her. What if she rolls over or starts to crawl and I miss it? What if she hates it there? Or possibly worse, what if she loves it and prefers her daycare teachers over me? So, in addition to becoming a physician and all of the other wonderful changes, it has been a very conflicting, intense, and overwhelming time for me.
I’m grateful to my program for unknowingly giving me this time of transition that not even I knew I needed. I’m sure if I had started on a tougher rotation I would’ve made it work. But I’m grateful I don’t have to. Easing into being a working mom and growing into my new roles has been ideal for me. I’m cherishing my evenings and weekends with my little girl. I know when my tougher 16-hour-long shifts start, I will look back on these beginning days and wish I was back here. So for now, I will soak up every smile and giggle Adelaide gives me, every longer-than-expected lunch break that I get to drop in and visit her, and every morning that I get up a little earlier than normal to cuddle with her before getting ready for the day. I’ll savor our time together now because it won’t be long before I’m also posting about my big mistakes, near-misses, & 80+ hour weeks