“You’re late this month babe. Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”, my husband asked with a concerned look on his face. “Of course not. I’ve been late before,” I nonchalantly replied. And with that, I hurried off to class, one of the last few of my med school career. As the days drew on, still without sign of my monthly visitor, I became more and more nervous. After two weeks rolled around, I finally decided it was time to take a pregnancy test. Almost immediately after peeing on the infamous stick, a plus sign appeared in the window. I was pregnant. My mouth dried up, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and my hands were literally shaking as I washed them.
“What now?” “I’m supposed to be starting residency in a few months,” “DJ is going to flip,” “What will my parents think?” (One of the things they told me before I got married was to make sure I didn’t have a kid before I finished my training), “They’ll be so proud!”, I thought sarcastically. These were just some of the thoughts running through my head.
My husband was on his way home to pick me up, after which we were headed to drop a friend off at the airport. There was no way I could tell him beforehand; it would no-doubt lead to a very awkward and silent car ride. So I put my poker face on, and held in the news for the entire afternoon. When we got back from the airport, he sat down on the couch, thinking we were going to commence our nightly routine: chill out for a little bit, watch a show, and eat some dinner (little did he know, that routine would be changing very soon). There was no beating around the bush or fancy announcement like the ones you see on YouTube. I simply said “Babe, I have something to tell you. Wait here.” I proceeded to the bathroom and grabbed the pregnancy test from under the cabinet where I had hidden it. “I’m pregnant,” I told him, handing him the stick.
“Are you serious!?” “How long did you know?” After asking his initial questions, his voice trailed off “I’m going to be a father. . .” Then he began to cry. I had never seen that look on his face before—one of excitement, fear, and confusion all in one. I held him, and we sat there on the same couch where he had asked me to marry him almost two years before, just staring in silence. After a while, we began talking again and started to discuss what the future would look like. Over the next few days, we established that I would take maternity leave from whichever institution I matched* at, then have my mom and his mom alternate (with a few other family members sprinkled in-between) flying in to help us care for the baby. In addition, my husband works from home and had paternity leave available to him. We figured that with all hands on deck, we would be able to make it through the first year without a hitch.
I continued on through the last few months of med school and had one more residency interview to go. It wasn’t long before I began to be plagued by the most relentless nausea I had ever experienced in my life. I remember literally sticking my head out of the car window, puking on the way to my last interview, and the rest of medical school was pretty similar to that. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was pregnant, lest word get around and it negatively affect my chances of matching at my preferred program (which happened to be at the same hospital that my medical school was affiliated with). So I suffered in silence: feeling miserable every day, gagging on people’s perfume, puking on bathroom breaks, and ducking and dodging radiation from portable x-ray machines in the ER and fluoroscopy in the OR.
As though all that wasn’t enough, during this time we had also started looking into getting a doctor’s loan to purchase a home, with plans to move and rent out our current place. We came across a property we were interested in, but it needed a TON of work. It was basically a complete gut job, but we thought that as long as we planned correctly and had everything in place before closing, we could execute and have it all completed before I started residency and a month before the baby came. I laugh now, looking back at it, because boy, were we wrong.
See what happens next in pt. 2!
*The Match is the process of applying to residency, where through an algorithm, you are paired with an institution that you have ranked. Results are revealed just a few short months before your residency start date.