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Jul 31, 2008

News from the Homefront

I had the first day of 3rd Year Orientation today! It was less about orienting me to the ins and outs of 3rd year and more about "sign here. and here. and here. and here." But still, it was fantastic to get back to school and to see everyone. I have always loved the first day of school - everyone is tan and happy and fed and rested, somewhat excited to start the new year but also swapping stories about how much fun the summer had been. I wasn't quite the nerd that I usually am - I didn't even bring a pen to sign all the papers - but I still had that same anxious excitement that has always accompanied going back to school.

Today was a little different, though. The difference was with me and I found it slightly difficult to know how to handle it. (BIG ANNOUNCEMENT HERE:) I've decided to take a longer maternity leave that I had initially planned. Instead of rushing back in 4 weeks or 8 weeks, I've decided to take three months off. Because of the way the scheduling works, this decision actually results in taking the whole semester off as a medical leave of absence. This decision was an extremely difficult one to make, but now that it's done, I feel that it was meant to be this way all along.

Before you worry, everything is fine with both a) the Turnip and the pregnancy and b) my grades and scores and such. This decision was made entirely because, for the first time in my life, there are more important things than me. (Who let that happen?) The health and well-being of the Turnip and of my family are more important than graduating on time or even my pride in my work. I admit that I am disappointed to miss starting the year with all of my friends and that I am burning with jealousy as much as everyone else is trembling with fear over starting. But, when I look at the bigger picture, this is the right choice. Allowing myself three months with the Turnip now is an opportunity that will never come again - this much time off is completely unheard of once I reach residency, so I feel that I would be a fool not to take advantage of it. And what woman who's ever been pregnant would argue that it is better for the baby to keep a regular sleeping and eating schedule in the last two months rather than working for 36 hours straight and walking the whole time?

Since making this decision, I have felt much relief about the course of my career and my life and very much feel that this is the shape it is supposed to take. In medical school, it is difficult to have a larger sense of purpose and keep perspective, but this time perspective won out. And I think it will be great.

Got any ideas about what to do with myself for the weeks before the Turnip graces us with his presence?

7 Readers rock!:

Dragonfly said...

Start cooking and freezing those casseroles and soups for later on!

Alykat said...

Good for you, Katie!!! I know that was a really hard decision for an over-achiever like you, but it sounds like a great one for you and the Turnip!

marymartha said...

Actually that is a wise decision. It lets you prepare for the arrival of the Turnip and then spend valuable bonding time. The first few months are critical for healthy attachments, so I applaud your decision! Yay Turnip! He won't end up on my caseload!!! EVER! Cuz he will be the bestest, most loved infant EVER!!!!
Have fun and take exxxxxxxxcellent care of you both!

Desire to show gratitude said...

I know you don't know me, but I love following your blog. I'm Melissa, and I am a second-degree nursing student (my first degree is in psychology with a piano minor--does "not usable" scream out at that!) Let me tell you this: You will NEVER , EVER regret for a moment taking a few months off to stay home with your baby!

Tiffany Marsh said...

That is the best decision! I totally would want the same; you've gotta have the time. It's always surprised me how short maternity leave is. I mean, really, there's this new life that has come into the world and all of these changes and you only are allowed 6-8 weeks to get adjusted. Hell no!

Anyway, I second the comment on cooking and freezing. That will be so helpful; not that you won't be getting more food from other people.
I would also suggest, sleep. Maybe you can rack up some sleep time now (or not). It's a thought.

Long Family Chronicles said...

I am so happy for you Katie!! You won't regret this. You better believe I am going to suck up my full 12 weeks of FMLA and then go back to no more than 2 days/week. Can't wait to see you 8/9!

JC said...

I have been tuning in excited for you as well! Taking a semester off is an excellent decision. I support 100%. So does that mean you will start clerkships in 2009? Many of my friends are MD moms, and I will be soon too. A few had their first during med school (can you believe they are 10 yo now!) You are on the right track striving for balance. One thing about medical training you have little control over your life. In the precious months ahead concentrate on being healthy and happy. But also read, read, read! You will be so smart on the wards!