Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Real Deal: My Intern Orientation Part 1

In my idealized vision of Intern Orientation, my first week would be busy, yet amazing. In reality, it was one part separation anxiety hell and one part meeting really cool new colleagues with a dash of partner arguments.

The hell: knowing that I would miss my baby and then really, really, really missing everything about him. Having spent the last 9 months at home with him full-time, gone are the days of sleeping in, play dates with the other stay-at-home mommies, the almost daily home-cooked meals. The first few mornings have involved me trying to ease myself out of bed without waking the baby or my husband only to have the baby pop up and begin screeching as I brush my teeth. I learned after the first day that the only way to make it out of the house on time is to ignore his cries. I have cried on my way to the hospital on more than one occasion. I have questioned why I chose this path. I have felt like a horrible mother, especially since Zo refused to drink more than 0.5oz of expressed milk for 2 days and morphed from a content, happy baby into a fussy fuss-face in the blink of an eye. Half-jokingly, I have contemplated moving to a country without extradition laws to escape the mountains of student loan debt that I have accumulated so that I can stay at home with him comfortably until he begins elementary school.

The cool colleagues: My Co-Interns are awesome. I was very nervous to meet them. I was worried about the clique-ish, fraternity culture of my medical school repeating itself, but the majority of the group seems very committed to providing excellent care and being collegial with one another rather than drinking it up at bars. Though, I know that I will have to make a point to plan some family-friendly events for everyone to participate in. And some wine and cheese socials for those of us who like things more low-key.

The arguments with the partner who I never argue with: The arguments started on the first day. Prior to orientation, my husband had never spent an entire day alone with Zo. Add screaming fussiness, the heat of Southern living, and a baby who refuses to drink expressed milk and you have a recipe for disaster. By Day 3, hubby and I were pretty angry. By then, Zo had begun eating fruits and veggies verociously throughout the day and we had begun mixing breast milk in everything. We devised banana and milk smoothies, rice and beans with splashes of milk for creaminess, I could go on but some of our concoctions made us cringe while the baby lapped it all up.  Additionally, Zo has altered his schedule and now wakes up 6-8 times a night instead of his usual 3-4. So yeah, the arguments about everything from not having enough veggies to me closing the door too loudly resulted in various heated debates and even one “I don’t want to talk anymore, let’s stop talking right now!”

The mid-to-final-verdict: The first few days of Doctor-mommy being away during the day means less daytime milk, many more night time nursing awakenings, and a fussy family. There will be an end, right?!? I’ll post again once the final verdict is in.


  1. Good Luck! I start med school in less than 3 weeks and am dreading the first day away scenario. (I have a 3 month old, and my husband plans to be working from home, at least the first few months of school while we figure things out. So far, he has been away overseas for work for 2 weeks-clearly not preparing/practicing/learning the baby's routine....)

    In my imagination, my transition sounds a lot like yours, so good luck and hope to hear a successful verdict soon! (Also- how did you organize so much time off to be at home?)

    Hoping to hear a story of laughter and success sooner rather than later!

  2. Dear Mommabee, seems clear that this is one of many, many transitions that you and your family will have to navigate. All three of you seem to be handling it with love, imagination and a large measure of flexibility. Keep up the good work!

  3. It will get better!! Intern year is hard enough without having a baby at home. Soon you all will have found yourselves in a routine that works for your family. The smiles you get from your little one when you get home will make any hard day at work just melt away. Just remember, that you are not only going through all this for yourself, but for your little guy and your family.

    I am almost done with an Emergency Medicine residency. I have 2 more months left since I have to make up the time I took off for maternity leave. I had my little girl halfway through my second year of residency. Even with my husband staying home with her, it's still so hard to leave her. But that gets easier too. For me, the end of residency is finally in sight. I will have a better schedule and more time at home with my family. It's been hard but definitely worth it. Hang in there!!

  4. WOw. I could have written some of this. I am starting a residency too and just finished orientation 2 weeks ago. I took a 2 week vacation to help my daughter and hubby figure out a good schedule so that it would not be so tough for him when i am gone. Here's to hoping it all turns out fine!

  5. As everyone in medicine tells you, it gets better! It will. You'll settle into a routine soon on the home-front and at work.


Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.