Last week we had “Spring Fling,” the 1 day a year our hospital functions without residents so we can all have a day off, together, to pretend like we’re normal people with normal lives and regular jobs. We, the internal medicine program, BBQ’ed at a park with our surgery, OB, family medicine co-workers. We had beers, play sports, listen to the hippie family docs play their guitars:) and we enjoyed ourselves. That night was a formal dining event, and our final group gathering before we finish our year and go our own ways. I said goodbye to mentors, residents, friends, and on the way home, I told Travis that intern year is sort of like labor…once it’s behind you, these weird goggles go on and you remember with fondness and pleasant sentiments what you once found to be a horrific experience. Travis’ response was “hmm, yeah, I guess it’s similar to how John McCain must have felt when he left his POW camp.” Hmm.
Anyway, there are a few things I want to reflect upon. This was not an easy year for me or my family. There were a lot of doubts along the way, and a lot of things I’m not proud of. But mixed in with remorse, doubt, regret, stress, failure, and constantly feeling pulled in every direction with very little of me left at the end of each night, I have a few things I’m really proud of. A couple things I did right and consider huge achievements. One of those is best described by looking in our freezer, where you’d see this (ignore the rum and the ice cream…2 things that fall into the “not proud of” category:):
Griffin is almost 7 months old, and still breastfed. If I dry up tomorrow, which I hope doesn’t happen, I’d still probably have enough pumped milk to get him to the 1 year mark. That took hard work and a lot of multitasking at the hospital, spending extra time awake after each newborn feeding so I could pump after Griffie ate (on my non-call nights when I was actually home to nurse him at night), etc. Essentially, I sacrificed the little sleep I could have gotten as an intern with a newborn so that I could create this stash for my baby. Those bags of milk are my trophies and I’m happy I did that for Griff.
The other thing part I’m proud of is having been a good intern in spite of having gotten knocked up at what most people would consider the worst timing ever. I did what I thought was best for my family given our circumstances, but I never took a sick day or dumped any extra work on my colleagues. I never compromised patient care. I hope, in the long-run, that somehow helps the image of women in medicine by showing the old school, white-haired docs that pregnant women in medicine are not a negative presence in the hospital. I hope it also encourages other med students, residents, or fellows who don’t want to postpone kids until after their epic training if they don’t want to. It’s part of paving the way and making medicine a better work environment for women, who, in my opinion, add a LOT of positives to the medical field. I’ll never forget this one night on night float when I walked into a patient’s room, 7 months pregnant myself, with my pregnant attending and my pregnant upper level resident. The three of us took no notice, but the patient’s eyes got huge as he said “wow, there are a LOT of fetuses in here!” We all got a laugh out of that.