Tuesday, June 07, 2005

non-stress test

As I was getting on the bus the other day, this little teen boy spotted me and started shouting urgently to his mom, "Levante te! Levante te! [Get up! Get up!] Embarazada! [Pregnant!]" until the mom stood up and gave me her seat. Wow, what a nice little teen boy. And what a nice mom. Gracias!

* * *

This has been a lovely and relaxing period for me, winding down my stint as a Peds resident. Obviously, I've had some PICU calls and ER shifts to cover, but otherwise, I'm getting a lot of rest, and have had a lot of time to spend with the dog, to plan for Cal, and generally try to get my life in order before July. This is all set to end rather soon, though. My Anesthesia residency begins July 1st. And I'm getting more than a little stressed about it all.

Aside from the stress of dealing with the new and unknown, the stress of having to learn a whole new skill set and prove myself to a whole new cohort (I don't know why this is such a big thing for me, this desire to "prove myself," but starting off my residency with maternity leave kind of puts me in a strange situation, and as in all tight-knit workplaces, I've been warned that "people talk") is stressing me right the fuck out. It doesn't help that I'm going to be nine months pregnant when I start either, probably the most slow-moving and break-requiring that I'll ever be, at least until I start getting my Senior Citizen's Discount to ride the subway. I just am so worried about starting off on the wrong foot or being perceived as some whiney special-treatment-requesting weakling that I'm intent on going in there and going all out, balls to the walls, to show everyone just how serious I am about medicine, about my career dammit, and what? Pregnant? What's that? No no, ignore the baby crowning as we speak, I can stay on for the rest of this case.

I may be stressing unduly about this (which I would be more than delighted to realize on my own when the time comes), but while I'm not old-fashioned enough to think that medicine is still this patriarchal bastion where having children during residency is frowned upon, I'm also not naive enough to think that every single person that I encounter is going to be warm and accepting about our situation. (Though again, I have to say again that the people in the department that I've spoken to so far have been nothing but lovely and understanding about our particulars.) I just want to be prepared for any backbiting that my leave may generate, and to maximally shore up against it by working my ass off the first four weeks that I'm there. In Peds, it would be no problem. I mean, group hugs and warm fuzzies aside, I think that after two years, I generally have a reputation of being hard-working, straight-shooting, responsible and all that. But no one in the Anesthesiology Department knows me at all. I have no good reputation to rely on yet. And I'm concerned about making a bad first impression , because that could dog me for months.

I know it's kind of ridiculous to stress about something over which I basically have no control, or over the prospect of taking medical leave after giving birth, because duh, that's what medical leave is for. In the words of my OB, who was giving me the crazy eyes when I was trying to make some babbling explanation about how difficult it would be for me to make my weekly appointment the last four weeks of pregnancy with only a 30 minute lunch break and a clinic schedule which, even under the best of circumstances, never runs on time--"You. Are. PREGNANT. So you and the people at work are just going to have to deal with it. Find someone to cover for you and then run across the street."

Yeah, but I'm pretty sure that's not how it works, that I can just ask someone to "cover me," because it's like, one-on-one, and I'll be in orientation then, so if you all are running late, I'm not really sure that I can just...

(As if to a child)
Find someone to cover.

Yeah, but...I can't just...

See you in two weeks.


I figure that my contingency plan if I can't be seen in my half-hour lunch break is just to show up to L&D (Labor and Delivery) after work and just have someone do my prenatal exam there. Other residents have done it before. And hell, I work in a hospital. How difficult could it be for me to find someone to dip my urine and check my blood pressure? Though I'm pretty sure that by then, there's going to be some icky internal exam component to it, so that's just another delight to anticipate.

Currently reading: This New York Times article about moms breastfeeding in public. I know this is squeamish old puritanical America, but still, it's surprising to me how much flack some people get for making the choice to feed their kid out in the open, as opposed to, you know, in a toilet stall or something. Not to say that I'm not going to feel a little self-conscious about doing it, but that's my issue, and if you're comfortable, more power to you. Boob does not equal sex. If you are titillated (heh) by the sight of someone's minimally exposed boobage while she's feeding her baby, or made uncomfortable by the fact that you're seeing boob in a context to which you're unaccustomed, maybe that's something you need to work on. Or just look away, the way I do when I see someone in public eating anything with blue cheese on it, because my god, that is disgusting.

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