Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MiM intro: X-ray Vision

Hello MiM!

I am so excited to contribute to a community that has been my lifeline during residency and motherhood. I figured my introduction should include how I got to know MiM.

Rewind to approximately 3 years and 1 month ago, I was at the end of my surgical intern year. (I know. I'm a radiology resident. Why did I do a surgical intern year? Long story short. My husband, big C, was already an orthopedic resident at the institution of my medical school before I matched. I was pretty set on staying on for internship and residency at the same institution. There is only 1 transitional program in a 2 hour radius of where we are from and that particularly 1 was heavily medicine and ICU. I don't like long rounds. So surgery it was!) At that point in my life, I was pretty darn happy to be at the end of my surgical intern year and ready to start my radiology training.

My husband and I just returned from vacation and I was feeling unusually tired. More tired than I usually do. Hard to figure out what my baseline was given that I was a surgical intern! I joked around with him that maybe I was pregnant. I had forgotten my birth control pills during our 2 week vacation but thought nothing of it at the time. I remember distinctly finishing rounds on a Saturday morning and settling into my day of call. I remember texting my poor husband who was post call that I hope he didn't "knock me up." It was a particularly slow morning. I was bored. I walked over to the nursing station and asked for some pregnancy tests. I took 5! I peed on one and I saw 2 stripes. I freaked out! I got some gatorade from the hospital cafeteria and peed on the remaining 4! 2 negative pregnancy tests followed by 2 more positive pregnancy tests! I remember as a medical student on OB thinking how could people NOT know how to read a pregnancy test. Now I knew why.

After my call ended and thoroughly freaked out, I remember going to the pharmacy and purchasing digital pregnancy tests. The kind that said "pregnant" or "not pregnant." Same thing happened! 2 "pregnant" and 2 "not pregnant." At that point, I was still in denial. I wanted a blood test. Except I don't have a primary care physician. Who has time to go to primary care physician as a medical student or a surgical intern?

I found the family medicine department on our institution's website. It was already Sunday at this point and I was desperate. I e-mailed one of family medicine physicians, Dr. B. I never met her. But she e-mailed me back immediately. She said it was no problem and she would put in the lab order for a blood b-HCG. I got my lab drawn the following morning. After rounds that Monday, I got an email saying that new lab values were posted on my online medical chart. There it was. b-HCG 79. Reference Value: >10 pregnant.

I remember taking a screen shot of my labs and texting it to my husband. First and only time he would actually excuse himself out of rounds to call me. We were both in shock. I was an intern! He was a PGY 3 but basically a PGY 2 as his orthopedic program requires a research year as a PGY 2. We were babies in the world of medicine and somehow now we were going to be responsible for a real baby in less than 9 months?

I remember Dr. B calling me with the results herself. She said "Your intuition was right! You are definitely pregnant and very early pregnant, which explains the equivocal urine pregnancy tests." I sat there and tried to calculate my due date. I was going to be mom half way through my first year of radiology training. Once baby comes, I will still have another 3.5 years of residency and 1 year of fellowship. How am I going to do this? I will forever be grateful to Dr. B. I wasn't her patient. I was just some resident that found her e-mail and she was just nice enough to respond. It was then she asked, "Have you ever heard of the website Mothers in Medicine? I think it will be good for you."

I've been hooked ever since! So here I am today. 3 weeks away from taking radiology boards. My little love bug, little C, is now almost 2.5 years old. I'll be starting my last year of radiology residency come July. (We take part 1 of our boards a year before we graduate. Part 2 comes 15 months after graduation.) Big C will be graduating from his orthopedic residency this June and leaving to the east coast for his spine fellowship.

This year will be an adventure for me and little C. I will have to figure out what it's like to be a "single parent" while doing residency among other things. I am very lucky. I have a wonderful support system that mostly involves my mom, which is the reason I even survived up until this point. All topics for future posts! (most likely after boards!) Thanks in advance to everyone in this community for being a part of this journey :)

Sincerely, X-ray vision


  1. I had to laugh at your comment about how when you were a med student, you couldn't understand how someone couldn't read a pregnancy test. I had a similar experience. So jealous that your mom has been there to help -- you guys are so lucky! Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Very excited to keep reading your posts. I have been following this blog for years. Hopefully one day I will have my own stories to tell.

  3. Fellow radiology resident mama here. Excited to follow your story. Good luck on the boards!

  4. Hi X-ray vision:) I just started my radiology residency as a pgy1, woot! My hubby of one year (senior IM resident) and I have been thinking of when best to start our family, and I'm uncertain. I don't want to overwhelm myself as I begin my residency journey but at the same time I want children and am a firm believer in meshing life with medicine, not putting it off. Thinking back, can you provide some insight or advice on when it's best ( or do-able) to have a child during radiology residency? Any insight is greatly appreciated :)

    1. Hi!! Does your husband plan on doing fellowship?? I think it's really hard when both husband and wife are in training. My husband is great but with his hours very unreliable when it comes to child care! He works 80+ hours and random hours that are very daycare incompatible. As for radiology, you'll see that your first year of radiology is awesome since call is very limited but the amount of studying you have to do increases the hours you have to "work." Second year is tough because thats where you do majority of your call/night float at least at most institutions. As for third year, it gets easier but the second half of third year is spent preparing for the boards, which includes physics! There really isn't a "best" time to have a child but if you were to pick a time as a radiology resident, I think getting pregnant third year and assuming you have a normal pregnancy and having the baby beginning of 4th year would be the best. Then if you do fellowship, the baby won't be such a new born. But like I said there really isn't a good time and you just figure out a way to make it work. I know the way I did it wasn't ideal but it was what worked for me and my husband. Best of luck!

  5. Thanks so much for your reply, I really appreciate it:) my husband is currently applying for a pulmonary critical care fellowship...but if he doesn't get it, it'll be hospitalist for him which will be ideal for having a kid as he'll have the one week on, one week off schedule!


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