April 16, 2011

Newbie Alert!

Greetings everyone! I thought I would take some time tonight to introduce myself (and my StuDoc) since I have been lurking around for a bit (sounds kind of creepy, doesn't it?!). Also, my blog can be found at www.wifeofamdphdstudent.blogspot.com. Feel free to follow my ramblings!

My name is Julie and my StuDoc is Ryan. We have been together for a little over six years and married for almost two years. We met in college (Ry's freshman year, my sophomore year) and are both currently students. I work full time and go to graduate school part time with graduation just a few weeks away! I will be graduating with my Masters of Education in Interdisciplinary Studies and I currently work in higher education for a University about an hour from where we live.

Ryan is an MD/PhD student at a school in the mid-Atlantic. He has completed his first two years of medical school and is finishing up his first year of his PhD research. He has two more years within the PhD portion of his program and then Ry will transition back to the medical school for MS3 and MS4. Seven years total to obtain both degrees and his PhD is in stroke research. Ryan hopes to then move onto a residency program for Neurosurgery which has been his passion and dream for many many years.

When Ryan was applying to medical school, we had been together for about 3 years. While I knew I loved him, and that he loved me, I was not sure that I would be able to leave behind all of my friends and family to move somewhere to "follow his dreams". I had told Ry to apply to whatever programs he was interested in and not to take my opinions into account. I wanted him to go wherever his heart was set on and if we made it, I would cross that bridge when we got there. Well, wouldn't you know - he proposed while he was on the interview trail and of course, I said yes. A few months later I was packing up everything and leaving behind all I have ever known to begin the journey as a medical spouse.

What a journey it has been! I'm not sure if anyone else has begun to do this however I suddenly have my kindle full of medical books such as "Match Day" and "What My Patients Taught Me". I faint at the sight of blood never mind my huge fear of needles, however I find the books to be a great resource to inform me of what lies ahead and what goes on in the mind of physicians. Any book suggestions?!

Ok.. now a few questions!

1.) In your opinion, when is the best time to start a family? I know this varies from person to person however I am struggling. My heart says "Ahhh! I want to start a family ASAP. Before the PhD portion is done because his schedule rocks!" But the other part of me thinks "Julie - Come on now, you cannot raise children by yourself! He won't be around and his schedule will be horrible. Wait until he is done, done with everything including residency, and try to start a family then." By that time, I will be 35. Any insight?

2.) Residency. What is it like being a spouse of a resident? Any surgery wives out there? I have heard from many that NeuroSurg residency is pretty miserable however some hard and honest feedback is greatly appreciated!

3.) Suggestions for hobbies? It may sound silly however once I graduate and my days of homework are long gone, I would like to pick up an inexpensive hobby! I don't want to drive Ryan crazy or nag him to death for being busy so I would like to try to find something to help occupy my time. I also think it may help me adjust to the hours that come along with these years and I don't want to get into a dark place of resentment for what Ry is doing (although I am fairly sure that this will happen time to time and that it is ok to feel that way.. right?).

Thank you for taking the time to read this and respond to questions if you can!


Anonymous said...

My husband will be starting his general surgery residency in a few short weeks...so I too am eager to find out what it will be like! I just read the book Complications, which is written by a surgery resident. It gave some good insight into what life feels like for them.

On kids...We have 2 under 2 right now. Life a little crazy, but also lots of fun. We prayed about it and felt that our rotation years would be the best time to start our family. It's worked really well for us. My husband's hours are manageable, and he is able to make time to help out and play with the kids in the evenings. It's something he's committed to doing as much as possible.

Haha...If you do decide to start a family, changing diapers quickly takes over most of the hobby time! But the kiddos are well worth it in my opinion. :)

Thanks for posting!

Jennifer said...

Yay for being done with the first 2 years! I don't know about the research years, but the last 2 years of med school have been wonderful. (4th year has actually been a joke it was so easy)
1-kids Husband is in his 4th years and we just had our first baby. It was great timing for us because 4th year's schedule is so flexible at his school and he had 3 vacation months. He's actually been blessed to be able to stay home with our little one for 2 1/2 months before he starts residency when I went back to work. Yes, he'll be working long hours come July, but we didn't want to wait another 5 years to start our family.
2-residency I'm sorry to say that you most likely have a few long and very hard years ahead of you. Husband is going into psychiatry so I can't even imagine what its going to be like for the two of you. However, I do know that spouses usually have a good support system within the programs. They can be your best resource.
3-hobbies I used to enjoy baking before our little one arrived. Maybe some day I'll be able to again.

Good luck!

MrsOgg said...

Hi Newbie! I can totally relate to all your questions because my hubbie is a 4th year less than a month from graduation (woohoo!!) We wondered all the same things and I'm still wondering about residency...I guess we will find out soon enough. I wanted to answer some of your q's with my own experiences...yours may be different. First I wanted to say that I hope your last two years of med-school are a breeze but, I also wouldn't get your hopes up. In my experience the clinical years were definitely the most stressful. I think the level of competition for the specialty of choice is the determining factor here. Many girls whose husbands had chosen primary care, etc. told me that it was such a cake-walk fourth year. Man, what a puch in the face I experienced when 3rd year came and my husband was going to his clinicals every day, studying all evening AND constantly on edge. My hubby had known from day one that he wanted orhopedic surgery and with that you have to make a good impression on rotation or you won't even be offered an interview let alone one of the two to four spots most programs have available. This is a VERY stressful situation as I'm sure you are aware since your hubby wants what might be an even more competetive specialty. I will say, things did finally let up a bit post match. All this being said I personally am really glad we had our daughter during this uberstressful time. We planned to wait until med school was over and then found out half way through our 2nd year that we had a surprise baby coming! In spite of the extra burden financially and the frequent feeling of being a single mom I'm glad we had her when we did. She is an amazing reminder of our love for eachother. She also gives us perspective when med school threatened to overwhelm. She's a thousand bright spots in our day. Only you can decide but, I'm so glad God decided for us when we didn't have the guts to move forward. Best of luck to you and your future surgeon!

Anonymous said...

My husband will be a 6th year Neurosurgery resident this summer. We have three kids and are expecting our fourth in June. I'll be honest... it's going to be harder than you ever imagined. There isn't anything that can prepare you for what you will experience. It's 10:35pm on a Wednesday night, and we haven't seen our resident since yesterday evening. The hours are brutal for the resident and lonely for the spouse.

We had our first child during his 3rd year of medical school. It didn't make sense to wait another 7 or 8 years to start a family. Being a a mother is an awful lot like being a single mother. Some days I think being an actual single mother might be easier.

I get so tired of hearing that one day it will all be worth it. That may be, but right now it is really difficult. My other pet peeve is other women who have husbands that complain about their long work hours. I don't know many professions that require the amount of sacrifice as that of a doctor in training. Nobody except another residents wife can understand what your family is going through.

Best of luck in your final years of schooling!

Rena said...

My husband is also an MD/PhD student! He just graduated with his PhD at the beginning of June and just started his second 3rd year rotation (pediatrics). When my husband started as a MD/PhD student six years ago we had a 13-month-old daughter. We now have four children total (our youngest was born just six weeks ago). You're right--the PhD years can be so awesome because their schedule is so much more flexible (depending on their lab and PI). I'm so glad we didn't wait to have kids. My husband wants to be an interventional radiologist, which is 5 years plus a 1-2 year fellowship. By the time he's done, I'll be 39 and our oldest child will be 15! Obviously we couldn't put a family on hold because by then I might not be able to get pregnant!

Here's my two cents for what it's worth--don't wait. Having a baby during the PhD years is the way to go. Not only will your husband be around more to help you, he'll also get to spend more bonding time with the baby. He'll also be more sympathetic when he's later gone so much because he was there in the beginning to see how much work goes into taking care of a baby.

Of course, do what is best for you. But let your decision be made from a place of fear (easier said than done, I know!). Good luck!