Thursday, February 4, 2016




Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Dear Natey...

Hey Natey!

I can still see this little baby face when you sleep ;-) 
Can you believe that you're seven?! Seven years ago, before medical school, before obstetrics and gynecology, Mommy was just a college senior having a baby. It is fun to reflect back on your birth story with my OBGYN knowledge now. So, in honor of your birthday, here is more than you probably care to know about the day you were born...

Your birth story starts a few weeks before January 29th, when Mommy got a medical school interview invitation to Indiana University. The date of the interview was a week after your due date. After freaking out about this, my sweet OBGYN doctor advised that it was totally safe to have an elective induction at 39 weeks. So it was settled. Mommy would have you a week earlier so I had two weeks post-partum before I had to do anything for which my future hinged on. 

On January 28th, a Thursday night, Mommy and Daddy went to Sinai Grace Hospital with movies, snacks, and more baby clothes than anyone would need. Lita and Grammy were there too!

When we got to the labor room, we got settled in, and Daddy took tons of pictures.

Then it was time to get my induction started! Of course, as a nullip (first time mom) at 39 weeks, I was not dilated at all. So this means that they had to give me medicine to help start my labor. 

There are many ways to induce labor - at my program (UNC) we use a lot of foley balloons. For my labor with you, a medicine called Cervidil was used. To spare you the details, it is a "local" ripening agent. Most of the time *cough* Isabelle *cough* it doesn't put you into labor, but it helps to get things more receptive to the medicine used later called Pitocin. 

So, that night, as the Cervidil worked it's magic, Daddy and I watched a ton of movies, and I remember texting all the people patiently awaiting your arrival - your uncles, Mommy and Daddy's besties, and Mommy's line sisters (who lovingly called you "Ja'Nathan" LOL). Even before you were born, you were so loved! As time went on, Lita and Grammy went back home with the plan to come back in the morning. 

Then it hit me...the contractions. And man, they were intense. So intense that it was time for some medicine. I don't remember what the name of the medicine was, but it was just what I needed to get some sleep. Mommy was feeling niiiiice...Daddy may or may not have blackmail pictures of Mommy in her analgesic euphoria ;-) 

In the morning the Cervidil was removed. Lita, Grammy, Maimeo, and Auntie Jenny all camped out for Baby Watch '09. I was about 1-2 centimeters after the night - definitely disappointed because I expected more given how uncomfortable I was, but we powered on. The pitocin was started and then things got real o_O.  I have no idea how long it took, but it felt forever, and by 4 centimeters I was tapping out and ready for my epidural. This was around 8:30AM. 

Mommy's nurse asked if I wanted to try and hold out a little longer so that I had a great story to tell you about how much pain labor was. I quickly said, "no" and Anesthesia was called. She came quickly and even today, after having seen many patients get epidurals, I feel like she was one of the fastest. 

The epidural was sweet relief. Mommy hadn't been that comfortable since the night before, so it was time to take a nap. 

After what seemed like a few hours of sleep, I was awoken by my doctor who had a concerned look on her face. She told me that your heart rate was down and she needed to place a monitor on your head so that we could know your heart rate at all times. It sounded scary, but she broke my water and placed the monitor quickly - that monitor what I now know is a Fetal Scalp Electrode. Then the nurse put an oxygen mask on me.  Now, I know that putting an oxygen mask on the Mommy helps to increase oxygen flow to the baby. We do this when we see decelerations - or drops - in the baby's heart rate with contractions. 

It was almost noon, and I was still four centimeters dilated. So we were back to waiting... 

Since not much was going on, Mom and Grammy ran downstairs to get lunch. 

Soon after everyone had cleared the room, my doctor rushed in again. She checked me and said it was time to push. 4cm-10cm in thirty minutes. Your dad was in shock. He hurriedly called Lita to get back upstairs, because it was go time.  Then the room was PACKED - there were nurses, nursing students, medical students...and they told me to put the oxygen back on. 

I pushed three times and at 12:28PM all 6 pounds, 10 ounces of you were here! 

It. Was. Awesome. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Seven Years.

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy! Seven years ago as I looked at my new little baby boy, I was enamored. My heart was so full and I had no idea how much meaning he would continue to bring to my life. We are so blessed to have him. 

We love you Nate!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Readers Want to Know...Should I Do a Post-Bac/Masters Program?

Sweet baby Nate & how I did most of my post-bac studying in 2009

What is a "post-bac" or post-baccalaureate program? 

A post-bac program is formal or informal coursework that is designed for those who have completed a baccalaureate degree. You can find them in all fields, but they are known in the pre-medical community as ways to complete basic science coursework prior to medical school. A lot of times, they are intended for those with a late change of plans in college or career switch. 

Sometimes, these programs can serve as enrichment type courses to raise your science GPA or help to prepare you for medical school - similar to the program I participated in - Masters in Science of Medical Science at Indiana University. After completion of these programs students typically can obtain a certification (i.e. Nutrition or Health Sciences) or depending on the program, a Master's level degree. 

How much is tuition? 

This will vary by location. A good rule of thumb is that it will resemble college tuition with private schools costing more than state institutions. 

How can I pay for it? 

Just like with medical school, unless you have a rich uncle, you will most likely have to take out student loans for your tuition. I had a few friends that worked during our post-bac year, but remember that your goal is to bang out your courses so that you can get into medical school. If you need all of the extra time to study and get the results you want, you probably should not work.

Where can I find one? 

Sadly, formal pre-med post-bac programs are decreasing in number, but the AAMC website has a database list here: Post Bac Link and you can filter by location. 

Is a Post-Bac for me? 

Although anyone can participate in or sign up for post-bac coursework, you have to make sure it fits your needs and you get out of it the investment you put in. I think it is a great option for people who may not be ready to jump into medical school straight from undergrad, or need an extra boost in their GPA or on their resume. It is also a great option for those who have not yet completed their pre-medical coursework and need a more structured program. Make sure you do lots of research to find the program that is the best fit for you and don't be afraid to contact the program administrator to ask questions not answered on the websites.


Hope this is helpful! You can always email me with more questions at and they may become a "Readers Want to Know Post"!

Friday, January 22, 2016

**Book Review** So You Got into Medical School… Now What?

So You Got intoMedical School… Now What? was written for anyone recently accepted to medical school who hopes to remove some of the anxiety surrounding the daunting four years that lie ahead. Author, and orthopedic surgery resident, Dr. Daniel Paull, has written a high-yield summary of the four years of medical school - highlighting many of success strategies most students don't know until they are knee-deep in the trenches. 

I have mentioned previously on the blog the idea of working “smarter and not harder”. This book is a prime example of that! As I read through the med student vignettes at the beginning of each chapter, I took a walk down memory lane. Key points are then recapped at the end of the chapters with a summary section – much like popular medical school review texts - to make sure you don't miss the take home message. 

The book takes a very easy-reading and conversational approach to cover topics like: 
- Study techniques
- Step exams
- Tackling clerkships
- Away rotations
- Residency interviews 

Even though this book is geared towards medical students, I think it is a great book for pre-med students as well! It is never too soon to start building foundations that will make you a successful medical student. This will be recommended reading for my mentees at all training levels for sure!

You can buy So You Got into Medical School… Now What? for yourself or the med student in your life HERE on Amazon.

***I was asked to review this product. All opinions are my own.***

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Readers Want to Know: Should I Go to Medical School?

I get questions from readers all the time asking whether or not I think they should go to medical school. This is a VERY personal decision that you have to decide for yourself. However, having gone through medical school myself and after making many difficult decisions to pursue this career, I do have some advice.

Obviously, first and foremost you need to have an interest in medicine. But once you get past that, here are the bigger things to think about when making the decision as to whether or not you should go to medical school.

Do you like school?

4th grade. See? Nerd. 
Because on the road to MD, there is a lot of it. Not to sound nerdy, but I have always enjoyed school. Of course, it wasn't always fun, but my passion for the subject matter kept me going. In order to become a physician, you have to complete high school, complete 4 years of college - with emphasis on doing well in the required prerequisites for medical school, complete 4 years of medical school, and between 3-6 years of residency depending on what field to decide to go on to.  Some physicians will then pursue a fellowship - such as high-risk obstetrics, critical care medicine, or hematology - which is an additional training after your residency. Also, at various points in your schooling, you will be required to take multiple board exams which standardizes everyone's curriculum.

Are you okay with delayed gratification? 

The road to medical school is the epitome of delayed gratification. One of my classmates from my post-bac program  - when comparing herself to her peers and close friends who are well into their careers - referred to herself as "The Little Engine That Could". That just about sums it up.  Many physicians look back and see that when compared to their matched peers, there were the last of the group to become "adults" so to speak.  They were the last ones to buy a house.  They were the last ones to start families. I'm kind of an anomaly - luckily the face of the medical student is changing. But I often think about if things for me hadn't turned out the way they did, when would I have started a family? My family and I have (and still) put off major decisions - until deadlines like Match Day, graduation, completion of residency, etc.

White Coat Ceremony circa 2010

Are you okay with debt?

Some Ecards

Everyone doesn't walk away from medical school with significant debt burden.  But the majority of us do. For those of us without a rich uncle, or a lucky PowerBall ticket, medical school can mean walking away with not only a degree, but also hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans. That being said, you may be blessed to find scholarships for your medical schooling. These exist and I know firsthand, because I had one.

Do an extensive web search, but also, investigate the various schools that you're interested in and and see if they offer any medical school specific scholarships. Many of my classmates also joined the service or committed to public service type specialties for which their medical school education was covered.

Can you see yourself doing anything else? 
Homemade plexiglass whiteboards for studying...all the time

No really. If the answer to this question is "yes", then you definitely have some self reflection to do. I don't say that to be harsh, but when the "going gets tough", you do not want to regret your decision.

Whether or not to become a physician is not something that you can decide overnight.  Not only does this decision require a tremendous amount of time and energy to reach your goal, it means time away from the ones you love and minimal time for yourself. You may miss birthdays, weddings, friend vacations, or your kids' school presentations.

These things, although much improved as you become a practicing physician, are still there.
Being a physician means making sacrifices to put others needs before your own every day. Even the best, most passionate, well-meaning physicians get tired, so if your heart is not in medicine, you will quickly get burnt out.


Hope this is helpful! You can always email me with more questions at and they may become a "Readers Want to Know Post"!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

What Resident Mommies Like

Whether you work inside or outside of the home, we all have our quirks and our things that we like. Here is a fun list of some of the things that keep us in our happy places as a mommy and resident:

10. Planners & Calendars. 

Growing up in a household with four kids, we all had a color on the family wall calendar. Now, in the age of all-things-digital, our family Google calendar and my notebook planner help me to keep track of school events, calls, and appointments in one place - color coded and with optional email alerts to all involved parties...

9. Micro-managing Making Lists. 

Making lists for our partners... Making lists for ourselves - we love 'em! Whether it's patient care to do lists at work or a family/personal/work to do list at home, there is something so gratifying in crossing things off. Makes me happy just thinking about it! My favs are Evernote and the never-failing pen and paper!

8. Talking about our kids. 

We will work it into any conversation. Got a funny joke? Let me tell you something hilarious my kid did. Don't have any money? Let me tell you about paying for daycare. As soon as we get the green light to talk about kids, we're in there. Being an OBGYN doctor and a mom is like bankroll when it comes to opportunities to talk about what I consider my greatest accomplishments.

Post-call messages for mommy 

7. Hairdressers and Estheticians that will work extra, extra early, after 5PM, and on Sundays. 

If you can do this for me, it means that I can manage to get my hair done more than every 4 months, and you have a customer for life. I will also express my love for you in the form of referrals. Bonus points if you don't judge my split ends or don't mind when I fall asleep in your chair because I'm post-call.

6. Our kids dressed as doctors, and taking pictures of said kids. 

I mean...who can resist the cuteness of a kid dressed for patient care?


5.  Online Shopping.

As much as I love new things, residency life with kids can be a stretch financially if you don't live more frugally. You are also limited in opportunities to get to the mall. However, every now and then you gotta find a way to...

I may or may not have a tendency to take things a little too far when I'm on nights. #boxesonboxesatmydoor

4. Attendings that "get it". 

I'm blessed to be a part of a program filled with these. Our job is hard enough, so you don't need to feel pressure (you already put TONS on yourself) from an unsupportive environment. It makes those times when those mom-related unexpected circumstances come up so much easier because you know someone has your back.

Coffee from my fellow :-)

3. Facetime/Tango calls and call room cameo visits.

For talking to the aforementioned kids, of course. Even though we would love to be able to be two places at once, the next best thing is seeing your babies while you're away. Even a five minute pre-bedtime video call can make you feel connected and give you the morale boost you need to make it through the rest of your shift.

Similar to the video calls, an in-person visit is even better!

2. An Awesome Support Person.

This is more of a need. For me, it's Nate. He bought into my dream - which then became his - and is working just as hard as me to make it happen for us. You definitely cannot do this alone, whether it's a partner, extended family, or friends.

1. Being at home. 

When I am not working, I love just being at home, in PJs, and surrounded by my babies. Last year, I felt like I had to justify this, but now I realize that after working so hard every day, my days off shouldn't be anything but doing things that give me joy. And being a homebody, with the ones that I love is just that.

Did any of yours make my list? Share your "likes" below!
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