Andy began pre-requisites at night and studying for them MCAT, while teaching and coaching. While he liked his job, he felt that he would really love the type of challenge a medical career would bring and that his gifts and talents might be best used in a different type of scientific occupation. So he began to pursue an M.D. rather than look back in 20 years and wish he had tried. I was totally supportive of his decision and knew it would be a long road, especially since it was a priority for both of us for me to be able to stay at home (primarily) to raise our kids, only a daughter at the time, Annaliese, born in 2008. She was our miracle baby, conceived naturally without any drugs or procedures after a year of trying to conceive naturally, then a year of various treatments, and one miscarriage.
Last May we got the great news that we would be able to stay in CA since he was accepted to Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California (USC), a private school in Los Angeles. By that time I was 5 months pregnant with our surprise little boy and we had already secured an apartment in Upstate NY where we thought we'd be living for med school. We had our second child, Titus James, last September, just 7 weeks after moving to L.A. Since last summer, Andy left his teaching job of 5 years, we've both turned 30, become landlords, begun life in a new city and rental home, borrowed over $70K in student loans, adapted to student life again, had our second child while learning to parent our toddler. Andy also recently joined the Air Force, which will be paying for all school-required expenses starting in the fall for the next 3 years, then he will then complete residency with them and repay 3 years of service.
Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind. I know that God has ordained everything that has happened at the time that he had planned, but I've also gone through the gamut of emotions through it all. Thankfully we've had years of rock solid, Christ-centered marriage to draw on, as well as godly Christian friends and family for encouragement. While some days I feel like a poster child for promoting having a family during medical school, some days I just wish I could get out of the house to be away from the kids and my husband too.
While having 2 kids, age 2 and under is both fun and challenging, the hardest part for me has been the loneliness. Because we've moved away from our family and friends, Andy's program is so intense (as you all know), and our kids are so young, I've really felt a void. While I know in my heart that Jesus fulfills all my needs, I've struggled with wanting more from my marriage while Andy is trying his best to juggle time at school, studying at home, spending time with the kids and me, he really doesn't have more to give. When we've talked about my problem, it has been repeated that from my perspective I feel that he doesn't give/do/share enough with me and from his perspective I am just lonely from moving away from everyone we know and love.
If I had written this on certain days over the past few months, it would have been more of a pity party, but recently I've been encouraged by my best friend from college. Although I am in a tough situation overall and I really do miss my friends and family and it is hard on our marriage, I need to remember to make sure my husband's needs are fulfilled and I will be satisfied, it's a win/win. Not coincidently, it is similar to how I am most satisfied when God is most glorified, in other words, I am to love and serve my husband as the church loves and serves Christ. It is not that my needs are less important, but that it literally brings me joy to see my most beloved person happy.
As for coping with my loneliness, I've also been very proactive about this from the beginning in many ways. We've attended a local church immediately since moving here, been in a committed small group through the church, and met some of our neighbors. I've done mommy-n-me dance classes, play dates and library time with my daughter, joined a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group, and even handed out my cell phone number to moms I've met at the park. It is just a slow process, getting into deep and meaningful friendships. Keck has also started a monthly support group for significant others, which has been helpful too. I'm still longing for and praying for a close friendship with a woman believer with whom I can relate down here. As you all are aware, it is just not that common for med students to be married, let alone have more than 1 child so there just aren't as many people that I/we can relate to as easily.
But lest I deter anyone who is thinking about having kids in med school, I'll leave you with a few things to think about... 1) In a similar way as it is to be married, it is a sacrifice to have children but they give you even deeper and greater joy than you've ever known previously. 2) You may think you can time having children to your ideal time frame - and it might work just right, or it might not when you plan, or it might not work at all. God is the giver of life in his own time, but it may become more difficult as you get older. 3) Your kids won't know that you're strapped for cash and living on loans etc. They just look to your response to things to know how to interpret them. 4) And finally, just for a smile that only kids can bring, a couple of random and hilarious things that my daughter said to me today (she's two years old), "Mom, you have boogers ("buddahs") in your nose and I'll help you in 5 minutes." I cracked up, but then went to check to see if she was really trying to give me a hint! :) Another time, she came running inside from the backyard and said, "Mommy, you're so pretty!" I had to check to see if my husband had come home early and put her up to it. He hadn't, but must have prepped her previously! :)
Anyway, I've followed this blog for over a year and thank you all for your posts and comments. It has been a blessing to me. It is good to know that we're not alone in this journey. (And sorry for the novella.)