Maternity Leave

Believe it or not, I didn’t forget that I have a blog.  I think about it often.  Mostly I miss the days when I had time to write.  These days I find I have a lot more on my hands, and blogging just seems to fall further and further down on my to-do list.

I have been blessed again to be mama to another beautiful baby girl.  Ayla Grey was born on July 13 via successful VBAC.  For those of you who don’t know what a VBAC is, it stands for “vaginal birth after caesarean.”  I’m not sure why having a vaginal birth was so important to me.  I was devastated after having a C-section with Anika and felt like I had missed out on some important experience of motherhood.  I’m so glad I was able to experience it, but it was no cake walk.  The recovery has been so much easier this time around than after my C-section, so that is really the best part.

Ayla is such a wonderful baby.  She is much more laid back than her big sister, but insists on being held (mostly by me) pretty much at all times, which makes it hard to get anything done.  I’m not the type of person who does well just sitting around when there is work to be done, so maternity leave has been a bit of a challenge for me.  It’s also been a huge struggle trying to be a parent of two children.  Anika has adjusted well to being a big sister, but I can’t be in two places at once, so I often find myself torn between helping Anika and feeding the baby.  And Anika loves to give her baby sister hugs and kisses, but tends to pick the worst times to do so – while Ayla is sleeping or in the middle of a crying fit.  Nonetheless, I am so blessed to have two such amazing daughters.  Every day I enjoy seeing them interact, and I hope they will grow to be close sisters.

The biggest challenge for me with having a newborn is breastfeeding.  I feel like this takes up all of my time and energy.  It keeps me up most of the night, sometimes only getting an hour or two of sleep total.  I worry about going back to work.  Pumping will be hard, especially during my busier rotations.  The sleep deprivation will get worse when I can’t nap during the day and I’m working 60+ hour weeks.  And it will be very hard for me to continue to eat and drink enough to keep up my milk supply, especially when I’m burning more calories running around the hospital.  But I’m slowly building up my freezer supply so I will be ready with milk for Ayla when she starts daycare.

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I’m also officially in my final year of residency.  It has been such a long haul, it seems crazy that in a year I will be able to get a real job as an attending hospitalist.  I turn 30 years old this week and some people have asked me if I’m sad to be getting “old.”  Frankly, I sacrificed my 20s to become a doctor, and after all that hard work I am excited to enter my 30s when I can finally start reaping some of the benefits! Nick and I have had a lot of discussions about our plans for the future.  It has always been my dream to move back to the Midwest.  Although it will likely mean commuting for Nick, we are hoping I can find a job somewhere closer to “home.”

Nick FINALLY got off the waitlist to be based out of Phoenix.  It couldn’t be better timing.  I’m not sure I could handle him being gone as much as he has been for the past year now that we have two kids.  It’s much more work than I anticipated, and it’s so nice to have him back.

I’m almost halfway done with my maternity leave.  It’s going by too fast.  It has been a nice break from residency.  I enjoy snuggling with Ayla and watching her grow every single day, but I do miss work.  It seems crazy, but I guess I do enjoy being a doctor.  I miss my patients.  I miss my coresidents.  I miss learning about medicine.  I know it will be hard to go back, but I’m definitely not stay-at-home material.  The mommy-guilt gets to me sometimes, but I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do with my life.  I hope Anika and Ayla will understand.  For now, I’m going to continue to enjoy my little break from medicine.  We are heading back to Nebraska for Ayla’s baptism and to introduce her to our families.  Flying standby with two kids should be an adventure, so wish us luck!

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About emilyehoward

My name is Emily, and I am a second year Internal Medicine Resident in Phoenix, Arizona. I live with my husband Nicholas and my daughter Anika. And I hope you enjoy my blog!
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