Sunday, December 13, 2009

Third-year internal medicine resident, on maternity leave

I'm a third year internal medicine resident with a 3 1/2 year old son and almost 2 month old daughter. I'm still on maternity leave and have another three weeks or so left until I go back to work. I've really
enjoyed reading everyone's topic week posts so I thought I'd join in!

My day while on maternity leave:

5:45: Husband's alarm goes off, he showers then wakes up son to bring him to preschool.
6:15: Husband finally succeeds at getting son awake and dressed, feeds him breakfast. I get to stay in bed with the baby who is likely nursing by now! A few times a week son decides he doesn't want to go to school so stays in bed until two minutes after husband has left, then decides he's ready to go.
6:45: Husband and son leave for work and school. Baby and I are still in bed lounging, or if baby has woken up by now we'll be up.
8:00: Up and about, getting breakfast for myself in between nursing  baby. Figure out what to do with myself for the day, especially if there are any errands which require leaving the house. Why is it so hard to leave the house when the baby is so small?!
9:00-12:00: Run errands, which may include grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, and on mornings when son "doesn't want to go to school", bringing him to school once he's decided he's ready to go. Start twentieth load of laundry for the week.
12:00-1:00: Sometime in here I eat lunch. Usually.
1:00-4:30: Watch some TV (have become addicted to Anthony Bourdain), check email, read blogs and Facebook, etc. Might attempt a project around the house if baby is cooperative and agrees to be put down
(often gets very sad unless she is being held, the Moby wrap is my best friend right now).
4:30: Get dinner started, enjoying having the time to cook more elaborate meals than usual right now...have been baking like a fiend and experimenting with roasting.
5:00-5:30: Husband and son get home. Noise level in the house immediately increases significantly. Finish cooking dinner among noise of dinner cooking, baby fussing, husband telling me about his day, son telling me about his day while playing with very loud firetruck toy (thank you Nana) and dancing around the kitchen.
6:00: Dinner.
6:30-7:30: Playtime with son, generally involving Matchbox cars, monster trucks, more loud toys (again, thank you Nana), and finally some books as bedtime gets closer.
7:30: Husband's time with baby, I get son ready for bed, including dramatics over brushing teeth (the torture!), peeing on the potty before bed (the horror!) and which animal to cuddle with for sleeping (Tiger Tomcat or Easter Bunny?)
8:30: Get son settled in bed, rejoin husband and baby downstairs for a little TV.
10:30-11:00: Once baby has settled down move upstairs and fall asleep in about three minutes.

Note that while on maternity leave, I do not worry about my patients, I do not miss my job except in the abstract sense of "I enjoy being a doctor and when I go back to work will find it rewarding once again".
I am so glad to be taking more than the standard 6 week maternity leave that most residents take, and so glad to have this extra time with my sweet little baby. I will be a chief resident next year so I don't particularly mind about finishing residency late because I'm not going anywhere anyway!

Once I return to work my day will start sometime around 5AM, and before leaving the house at 7:00 will need to get both children (and husband) dressed, fed, lunches and pumped milk packed, get myself dressed and fed and packed up for the day. Will have morning report first thing in the morning, then round from 8:30 to whenever we're done, pump sometime during the morning, get discharges discharged and new admissions admitted for the next three to eight hours depending on where we are in the call schedule (no overnight call for us on the general medicine service), pump at least one more time, run codes on days when we're on call, go to clinic in the afternoon once a week (which means all work on the medicine service must be done by 1pm so we can sign out), attend two hours of teaching conference during the day while teaching interns and medical students in between all of this. On the medicine service I typically get home between 5 pm and 10
pm. Not sure how this is all going to work with a brand new baby in the mix but I have faith that it somehow will!


  1. I watched a lot of Bourdain's show too during my maternity leave, as well as "A Baby Story" and "Bringing Baby Home." Bourdain has gotten less caustic through the years - too bad. :)

  2. It's tough to go back after two, but it works. Make sure you get time for yourself!

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  4. I think you are right Gizabeth- I am going to find it much harder to go back to work in January than I did after my son was born. And my sweet little baby will be 7 months- the longer I stay home, the harder it gets! 6 weeks is standard for your residents? Man, thats hard...

  5. Don't go back if you can wait.

  6. 6 weeks is standard. I actually used up all my vacation for three years to stretch it to 8 - may have misspoke somewhere. It is ridiculous.

    Being in pathology helped - there are some nice low key rotations that you can stack up for the first couple of months you get back.

  7. Nice post & nice blog. I love both.


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