I Have Joined the 1 in 4: Our Story of Miscarriage

Starting a family is a very personal choice for every person/couple. For DrH and me, it was a no-brainer that we would start a family (God willing) when the “time was right.” But, when is the time right exactly? And with him being in residency, there is never a “right” time, just maybe “better” times. Unfortunately, unlike many couples, we didn’t have the freedom to start a family right after getting married due to the radiation treatments that DrH underwent 2 months before our wedding for thyroid cancer. We were told to wait at least a year before trying to get pregnant due to possible complications that the radiation could cause.

Since we had a year before we could even start trying to start a family we made it our priority to get everything “in order.”

Preparing to Start a Family

We did everything we thought we needed to do to be prepared to start a family. I took a new job closer to where we wanted/needed to live, we bought a house, we continued to save money and we even adopted a dog. We then waited a few additional months past the time we technically could have started to make sure that if I did get pregnant I would be at my job long enough to qualify for FMLA. So you can see, we checked all the boxes to be as prepared as possible.

 November 2015

I had an appointment to be given medication to “trigger” a period that would reset my cycle, since it appeared, after a normal resulting ultrasound, my body just hadn’t adjusted fully after coming off the pill. But, before they would send me to the pharmacy to get the medication, I was required to take a pregnancy test. I took the test and was asked to go sit in the waiting room while they processed the test.

“Briana can you please come back into the exam room?” I looked the doctor a bit confused as I stood up and followed her into the room.

The test was positive, my doctor said with a smile on her face.

“What?! Wait seriously?! I’m pregnant?!” I said as tears welled up in my eyes.


I left the doctor’s office in complete disbelief. So much so that I came home and took a home pregnancy test so I could see the positive result for myself.  Those two pink lines popped up and the tears started flowing again. Yup, I was pregnant and I couldn’t have been more excited!

When DrH walked in the door around 9:45pm, after a residency interviewee dinner (It was residency interview season), I smiled and greeted him, let the dog welcome him home and then said, “I got you a little something,” as I gestured to a small gift bag sitting on the coffee table.

The moment, he pulled out my positive pregnancy test and the onesie I had made weeks before in preparation, will forever be in my memory. The pure excitement and love that he displayed made me fall in love with him all over again. We were going to be parents!

From that moment forward my mind was in full mommy planning mode. I would lay awake at night thinking about everything from how I would decorate the nursery to hoping he/she would one day choose a profession that they loved. I dreamed about the life our little one was going to have and looked forward to DrH and I growing not just as a couple, but as parents. I then started planning cute and festive ways we could announce the exciting news to our families and friends over the holidays. The truth is, I thought about our baby every moment of every day and I was so excited to finally be a mom.

Two Weeks Later

“Is there a heartbeat?” I nervously asked the tech.

“Yes, there is a strong heartbeat and the baby is measuring 6.5 weeks making your due date July 24, 2016! Congratulations!

_ _ _

I went back in at about 8 weeks for my official pregnancy confirmation appointment and our baby still had a strong heartbeat. But, I was asked to come back in 1.5-2 weeks for a thorough ultrasound to double-check the timing of the pregnancy. I was thrilled because 1.5 weeks later was Christmas Eve and DrH would be able to make it. He hadn’t seen our baby on ultrasound yet due to his residency schedule so I thought what better gift could I give him than to see his child for the first time?

December 24, 2015

“Are you excited to see the baby?”The tech asked DrH as they walked into the ultrasound room. “It’s going to be a lot bigger this time!”

We were ready to see our baby!

“I’m going to take some pictures of your ovaries first then we will take a look at the baby,” the tech said. I just smiled and nodded.

A few minutes went by and the tech said to the chaperone nurse, “Can you please go get the doctor, I have a question for her and I want her to look at something.” The chaperone left.

The tech looked at me and said, “When did we say your due date was last time?”

“July 24,” I said. “Is the baby measuring for that?”

“Yes, the baby is measuring on track,” said the tech.

The chaperone popped her head back in the door, “The doctor wants to know if you meant to ask for her?”

My head whipped around to look at DrH with what I am sure was a panicked, “I know what is going on” look on my face when the tech said, “Yes, I would like her to look at something.” My heart started to race and tears started to well up in my eyes… I knew what was coming.

The doctor came in, looked at the ultrasound for about a minute and said okay a few times. She then turned to me, grabbed my hands to help me sit up and said:

I am so sorry, but there doesn’t appear to be a heartbeat. Why don’t you clean up, get dressed and I will come talk to you both about next steps.”

_ _ _

About 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That means that roughly 25% of
 who created a life with their partner, lost their child. My first question is: If IMG_2029miscarriage is so common, why are women suffering alone with limited resources to turn to for support? And secondly: Why does society place shame or guilt on the mother?

As someone who watched and felt her body change week-to-week for 10.5 weeks, who had to have her baby surgically removed (twice due to retained product the first time), who is still suffering months later from health complications from the loss and can not try again for six months as I’m being monitored for potential cancer growth… I ask that we break the silence and start talking about pregnancy loss. I also ask that we be kind to others and not judge because we do not know their struggles.

I believe that as a culture we need to respect and acknowledge each individual life no matter how short or long it existed. Women who have suffered such a horrible loss should not feel that because their baby was born into heaven and not into this world that their baby was any less of a life or that their experience was any less real. We need to talk about the “tough stuff” so we can be free to feel and not be ashamed to say that we need help and support.

My last request… if you hear of someone’s loss, please do not ignore it. Let the parents know that their child matters and offer your support. If you don’t know what to say or you are afraid to say the wrong thing, you can simply say: “I am so sorry for your loss, I am thinking of you.”

A number of people, over the last few months, have asked that I share my story which has given me the courage to write the most difficult thing I have ever written. I do not write to garner sympathy. I am writing to inform those who have not been down this road and to let those who have experienced this kind of loss know they are not alone!

For those who have made it through this novel, thank you for reading and I hope I was able to shed some light on what many couples experience and suffer through silently.

If you are interested in further reading on this topic:

Miss Independent

Many times throughout this medical journey Kelly Clarkson’s lyrics “Miss independent; Miss self-sufficient” have rang through my head. Sometimes more as an anthem to keep myself strong and other times as a “hell yes!” pat on my back for getting through something challenging entirely on my own.

The one piece of advice that I was offered at the start of residency (and when I started dating my husband, when we got engaged and when I married him) that I have found to actually be true was: be independent; be your own person; have your own life. I don’t think this is unique to just a medical marriage/relationship. I truly believe that in any marriage each party should still be their own person and be able to stand strong independently. But, when you are married to a surgeon in training either you have your own life or you will begin to resent the time that they are not around because they are working 80+ hours a week caring for other people. And just to give you an idea what that looks like: it is about 4am to 8pm or later every day, give or take a few over night 24-32hr on-call shifts.

I have always considered myself independent, but when you get married you want to do things with your spouse. You want to share experiences and go through life together, not as two entirely separate people who pass at odd hours. And then when they miss things because of work, which leaves you to handle/do things on your own, it is hard. It takes some time to get used to and frankly never is easy.

Thus far in residency, my husband has missed holidays and long weekends, which were difficult, but I was fortunate enough to be able to spend those times with my parents, bother and sister-in-law. PGY2 has started off  with a bang and has been a little rough between the even longer hours and schedule restrictions.

During the end of July there were two things that I would have loved to have my husband around to experience with me:

  1. A friend’s wedding in Syracuse, NY. (I only knew the bride and groom)
  2. Taking our furbaby to the vet to get spayed.

Now neither of those things are that big of a deal and I can and did handle both on my own. But, you start to feel a little like an island when you realize you do more without your spouse than with them.

IMG_5838This was the first wedding I went to alone since being married and I wouldn’t have missed it since it was the wedding of my good friend who also was one of my bridesmaids. It was a Catholic wedding (like ours) and I also was one of the readers. So needless to say I was feeling sentimental and emotional. I got to answer: “Where is your husband?” about 100 times.  Her family and other friends were very welcoming and I did have a good time, but it was hard to be the third or fifth wheel to people you just met. With all that being said, I was very proud of myself at the end of the weekend. I felt like I had grown in my independence and proved to myself yet again, I can do this!

As I mentioned last month, we adopted the sweetest yellow lab from a fellow medical family who hit a bit of a rough patch and needed to re-home their pup. In a very short period of time this dog has completely won over my heart and has become such a great joy in my life. She greets me when I come home from work and she is by my side every night my husband is working late or is working an over night shift. She truly has been a blessing. So of course when it came time to take her in to get spayed I IMG_5903felt like a horrible doggie mom. I didn’t want her to be in pain and in typical Briana fashion I was worrying about every little thing. My husband was at work and unable to come with me to the vet or to help me with her after the surgery. Dropping her off was difficult, I could tell she was nervous and didn’t understand why I couldn’t go back to the room with her, but the worst was when I picked her up. She was still weak and coming off of the anesthesia. She was shaking and just flopped on the floor. I started to cry because I felt so badly. The tech thankfully helped me get her in the car and she slept on the way home. Then getting her in the house was a challenge on my own, she was 60lbs of dead weight. But, as soon as I got her in the house I wrapped her in a blanket and let her rest. Three days later and she was back to being her silly, loving self.

Moral of the story is that this medical journey requires you to be tough and stand alone quite a bit. But, remember your spouse is supporting you from afar and they would be at these events if they could be. Also,  they chose to spend their lives with you for many reasons, but one being that they know you are strong independently. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it means that you can do it! And if you ever need moral support or a friend to talk to, a fellow medical spouse will always be there for you- because we get it.

Intern Year: We Survived and Thrived


Originally published on Physician Family

When asked to reflect on intern year, I wasn’t quite sure what to say because it has gone by so fast. Briana doesn’t have something to say? Ha! Those who know me personally are probably laughing out loud!

My husband began his neurosurgery residency in July 2014 and as of July 2015 he is a PGY2. One down, six more to go! Wait. Who am I kidding? It is more like one down, seven more to go since he will likely be doing some sort of fellowship for a year post-residency. We will survive and better yet, we will thrive!

Heading into residency both those in the medical world and “civilians” would gasp and say “Good luck” (with apprehension in their voice) or “You know you’ll never see him, right?” My favorite came after I answered the infamous “What does your husband do?” question: “Oh wow! Why do you work, you are married to a doctor?” Naturally, I went into residency anxiously. Of course I did my best to hide it because I have always been the type of person who puts forth a stiff upper lip and an “it’s ok- I can handle it!” attitude, but truth be told, I was really nervous. I was a newlywed who was already scared about what residency would do to her marriage. That is not how you want to feel heading into the first year of your married life.

Was it difficult? Absolutely. Did I miss my husband? Heck yes- a lot! Did I have a meltdown… or five? I sure did. Did he miss our first married holidays? Yes he did- all of them. But, you know what else happened this year? I made new friends, I spent some quality time with my family, I advanced in my career, we bought our first house, I embraced “me time,” I experimented in the kitchen, we adopted a dog, we went on an anniversary vacation and so much more. Life didn’t stop. My world didn’t end.

And my marriage? Stronger every day. Why? We are in this together. My husband appreciates everything I do so that he can focus on being the best resident he can be and he knows that this is a team effort. We have had our share of arguments and I have gotten upset because there are times that I feel like “I do everything!” and I am just exhausted. I cannot imagine that there is a single spouse in the medical world or not who hasn’t had that thought run through their mind at least once. Women are multitaskers and we can do it!

This is our reality. We will likely handle more of the “running the household” kinds of duties in addition to our careers and/or parenting. I have found that my husband enjoys helping around the house (when he is conscious) and he tells me not to waste my time doing his laundry. However, if I didn’t do his laundry he wouldn’t have any underwear or socks to wear about 90 percent of the time. I don’t mind doing those things because I am helping him.

If I could offer any advice to those starting residency, it is ok to think about what life could be like after residency, but do your best to live and enjoy the now. As Kim Blackham, licensed marriage and family therapist and fellow medical spouse, has encouraged: live in #ItIsGoodNow not #ItGetsBetter. Because the reality is #ItGetsDifferent and “better” is what you make it. It is all about perspective.

It is good now! I am married to the best man I know and he loves me. It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Catch up! May & June

So it has been a rather busy 6 weeks for DrH and me. Here is the rundown with what has been going on!:

  • May 6th:  DrH completed Step 3.
  • May 8th: We closed on our first house.
  • May 14th-16th: DrH was in CA for a training.
  • May 17th: Moved into our new house.
  • May 23rd: Friend’s wedding in NC.
  • May 24th: Left for our anniversary cruise vacation out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • May 31st: Our 1st wedding anniversary! Returned from Cruise. Lunch with cousins in FL. Flew back to Maryland.
  • June 6th-9th: AMA Alliance annual meeting in Chicago, IL. My 27th birthday on the 9th!
  • June 10th: Our 4 year old adopted furbaby arrived.
  • June 15th-16th: Work trip to Dallas, TX.
  • June 15th: PGY2 year has begun.

Wow I am pooped! And I can’t believe how time has flown by. How is it already mid-June?  I am very happy to be home and get back into a routine. But, it has been a great, memorable last 6 weeks. Here are some details on the highlights:IMG_5153

Homeownership: Having our own house has been great! We haven’t fully moved in and there are a lot of boxes still to unpack, but it is slowly becoming ours. Before moving in, the weekend after the closing, my family helped me with some painting while DrH was on call and while I was in Chicago for the AMA Alliance meeting DrH redid the kitchen floor! Pictures  of the house will be shared… once the boxes have been unpacked and I have things decorated🙂 So it might be a while!wedding

Vacation: It was a blast and I wish I could go back! We started out with our friend’s wedding in Chapel Hill, NC. It was so great to see some of our med-school friends and celebrate the lovely couple. We then cruised the Eastern Caribbean for our anniversary. I can not tell you how nice it was to spend an uninterrupted week with my husband without board studying, research, or crazy crappy hours! Then on the way back we were able to visit a little with my cousins! vaca

AMA Alliance annual meeting: I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the annual meeting in Chicago. I have spoken about the AMA Alliance a few times over the last year (New Friends & AMA Alliance Fire Side Chatand will likely continue to for many years to come🙂. As a reminder, the AMA Alliance is the largest organization representing the family of medicine in the US.

The Alliance is a network of physicians and physicians’ spouses that represent all stages of the medical journey, from the training years to retirement. They are the “Volunteer Voice for Physician Families” and offer support, networking, and volunteer opportunities for medical spouses and families. So, I got to attend the meeting to learn more about the organization and to meet so many wonderful members from all over the country. If you are a medical significant other and you aren’t a member yet.. Join!

Furbaby: DrH and I adopted a 4 year old yellow lab blondienamed Blondie and we are in love! We adopted her from a fellow medical family who unfortunately had to find a new home for their girl due to some difficult circumstances. But, DrH and I are thrilled to have a new addition to our little family and anyone who knows us personally knows that we have wanted a doggie FOREVER. Blondie has already brought so much joy into our lives. Not to mention, she snuggles with me when DrH is on call and keeps me company when I am home alone.

What a way to end DrH’s PGY1 year! One down… 6 more to go. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Me Time?

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

Yes, I just quoted Legally Blonde. I love that movie and I am a Reece Witherspoon fan. So, don’t judge🙂.

165335_1476182995505_8088079_nMs. Elle Woods is correct!😉  It is amazing how much better one can feel, both mentally and physically, if you regularly exercise. Something that many of you probably don’t know about me is that I used to be a pretty serious athlete. I did two sports growing up: soccer and alpine skiing. From a very young age I became competitive in both (5 & 7). At the age of 14 I started going away to a winter sports academy in New England to focus on my alpine skiing and I also was recruited to ski DI in college. I have traveled to South America, Europe, Canada and all over the country to train and I often exercised 2 times a day- year round, rain or shine. But, that part of my life is a whole different story for another time.

My point is that being fit and healthy is something that has always been important to me. But, as years have gone by, exercising hasn’t always been at the top of my priority list. I have focused so much on my career and then supporting my husband in his, that time for “me” often has fallen by the wayside. I have often had “too much to do” to sacrifice an hour to make a trip to the gym or go for a run. Don’t get me wrong I have stayed active and pretty healthy, but nothing like I used to be. My standards are also a bit warped🙂.

When I accepted my new position in Baltimore, I made a deal with myself that since I wouldn’t be working the crazy long hours that I used to while I was in DC- it was time to start establishing some “me time” again. I joined a gym that offers classes and do my best to get there at least 3 days a week. I really enjoy classes so this was a great option for me to de-stress after work and move around a bit before I head home to take care of my to-do’s.

I don’t exercise to change how I look, I do it to stay healthy and if I happen to look more toned then it’s a win-win! As a former competitive athlete, time that I can be active makes me much happier and frankly less stressed. Not to mention I have never been one that is able to sit still for long periods of time (ask my poor parents) so naturally exercising has a been a great thing in my life.

Everyone whether they are married to a medical professional or not, has a busy life and long lists of to-dos… such is life! But, medical significant others are a bit unique in the fact that we really handle most, if not everything, to keep a household running day-to-day in addition to any other responsibilities we may have, like for me, a career of my own. As a fellow Dr. wife very eloquently said in a blog she wrote for Physician Family titled “Who’s Taking Care of You?”, “While families all around us tag-team to tend to the budget, keep the household running, and run kids to and from extracurriculars, the dynamic in a physician family can be very different. One spouse logs endless hours at the hospital and comes home exhausted. The other spouse is left to swim the relay that is “everything else” alone.” BINGO! She hit the nail on the head! So naturally our “me time” gets used up because we are are just flat out tired or have run out of time.

I am sure once we start a family I will have this struggle all over again- sacrificing my “me time.” But, I am going to do my best to make it a priority because as Elle Woods said: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” And we all know I love my husband and if I am happy… I am much easier to live with😉.

Keeping Them Involved

As any medical significant other knows, keeping your other half involved in “every day” things (activities, chores, celebrations, family dinner, etc) can often be a challenge. We know this because more often than not they miss out on the “every day” life things when working 80+ hours a week, and if they are not working they are sleeping, studying, working on research, etc.

But, like any one else in a committed relationship – we want to share experiences with our other half. It is emotionally challenging when you feel like they miss out on things that they would like to be a part of – especially big milestones.

As you probably already know, we recently bought a house (you can read more about it in “Buying vs. Renting in Residency” if you missed it). Other than my husband seeing the house to give his ‘ok’ to put an offer in, that whole process has fallen on me to handle. Not because he didn’t want to be a part of it, but because he had no time to be. We are closing on May 8th and his schedule is miraculously allowing him to be there for it (as of now at least.) However, he will then be on-call the weekend when the cleaning and the painting will be done before we move all our stuff into the house the weekend after that. Also, the week/weekend of the actual move (May 17th) he will be at a mandatory training in California getting back late on Saturday night for the movers to come at 8am on Sunday. So, needless to say, he is missing out on helping me with the move and the initial steps of making our home “ours.”

He of course is not the least bit upset about missing out on the cleaning.. shocker! But, I think he is a little bummed that he is not going to get to help paint. Thankfully I have family close who will be helping with the painting so I won’t be doing that alone!

Since he was going to be missing out on the actual painting I wanted to make sure he was included in at least a part of the process. Last weekend – his last weekend off before our anniversary vacation (May 23-31) – we made a trip to Home Depot. He was like a kid in a candy store! We picked out our paint colors and got all the painting supplies so that I would be prepared and have it all for the weekend after the closing. He even thought of a few things that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind if I had gone by myself. This shopping trip was a small way to include him that I hope made him feel more involved. I I was very grateful that he was able to run the errand with me. Me in Home Depot by myself might have been pretty entertaining🙂

Truth be told, I get emotional when he is not around for certain things. My way of coping is to plan the best I can and then just move forward with my to-do’s… basically just “handling everything” telling myself that it is okay and that I can do it on my own! But, in doing that I often feel as though everything is on my shoulders (which is stressful) and that I am forced to move forward with things without my husband being able to really weigh in or participate. In most cases he is okay with it because he know things need to get done and I can’t wait around for him.

My parents always ask when I tell them about something I did or planned “Well did A get a say in the matter? Did you run it by him?” Usually my response is “Well, I talked to him about it, so he knows, but then I just had to do it otherwise it wouldn’t get done.”

This is a constant challenge. I do my best to keep him involved as much as possible that way he doesn’t feel as if he is “missing out” on our life experiences together while he spends so much of it in the hospital.

AMA Alliance Fireside Chat

When my husband was in medical school I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the world of medicine. Of course my husband was happy to talk to me about it, but he didn’t have all the information that I was looking for and I didn’t expect him to. I did my best to research through good ‘ol Google, but unfortunately it often left me feeling more anxious and concerned rather than relieved and supported- so I eventually just stopped looking. I wish I had somewhere to look or someone to turn to when I had questions about the process or really anything about the life I was choosing by being with my husband. At that time, I didn’t know that there was support for physician families, so it is my hope to reach those out there who are looking for guidance and support… we are here!

2b35d284-5221-42cd-ab88-99d1dcc7d122Around June 2014, right before residency started, I was put in touch with the AMA President-elect, Julie, as I talked about in a previous post, New Friends. She has been a great support and I am so thankful for her guidance already! As a reminder, the AMA Alliance is the largest organization representing the family of medicine in the US. The Alliance is a network of physicians and physicians’ spouses that represent all stages of the medical journey, from the training years to retirement. They are the “Volunteer Voice for Physician Families” and offer support, networking, and volunteer opportunities for medical spouses and families. Firesidechat

Julie and I are still growing our Baltimore group, Charm City Physician Families Alliance, but I have also decided to get more involved on a national level too. I will be a member of the AMA Alliance External Communications Committee for the 2015-16 year!

Last month Julie put me in touch with an Alliance member on the communications committee who was organizing a “fireside chat” on the topic of:  “We’ve Matched! Now What?” Since I just lived through this (and survived🙂 !), I was happy to share any guidance I could.

This past Saturday two other resident spouses and I did a Live Google Hangout (I was on the east coast and they were on the west!) to share our perspectives, challenges, and tips on successfully transitioning into the next step in the medical journey with our doctor… residency! We discussed the moving process, how to find housing, how to meet new people and offered some of our lessons learned. The best part about this conversation, in my opinion, was that each of us had a different experience transitioning into residency so each of us were able to talk to every topic from different perspective. You can see the full conversation here!

Buying vs. Renting in Residency

As you might remember, Last spring following Match Day, when we found out that we would be in the area for 7+ years, we started look for a house somewhere between DC and Baltimore. At the time, I was planning to keep my position at the large PR agency I was with and DrH was going to begin commuting into Baltimore when residency started in July. As it turned out, we ran out of time before the wedding in May to buy and we didn’t really like anything that saw up until that point. So, we decided to rent for the first year of residency and see what the year had in store for us.

We are glad that we waited and rented for a year. It provided us with time to settle down and adjust to our new life. It also gave me time to decided that I wanted to transition my career also up to Baltimore so that we would be in the same city. Once I accepted my new position at Johns Hopkins we agreed that it was time to start house hunting again. But this time, we new exactly where we wanted to find a place and we were ready to make that financial commitment.

For many residents, it is not recommended that they buy a home during their time in residency. There are a number of reasons for that, but the main one being that most residencies are not long enough for you to benefit financially from buying vs. renting (3-5 years). However, in our case, since we are here for 7+ years it makes sense for us to pay a mortgage which would be less than paying rent for the duration of DrH’s residency.

Not all that long ago, banks realized there was an untapped market out there for mortgage business – new doctors (Licensed Residents/Interns/Fellows in MD and DO programs). According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) there were over 18,000 medical school graduates in 2014 – DrH was one of them. These new doctors, for the most part, have little money, have great future earning potential, and due to long periods of delayed gratification, would like to buy a home/ settle down when they can. But, by standard criteria for mortgages, they will have a difficult time securing a mortgage since they likely do not have anything to put down, they have a lot of debt already, and no proven earnings. In most cases the new doctors haven’t even started their job yet when they buy a home in a new city (for residency, fellowship, for first year out of training as an attending). So why not create a program that fits the needs of these doctors? Many larger banks around the country have: Bank of America, SunTrust, BB&T(you will have to check if they apply in your state) and some smaller, more local banks, like the one we went with in Maryland.House

The Dr. Loan mortgage offering is great for those physician families who decide that buying a home would be a good choice for them. In our case, it is allowing us to not eat into as much of our savings as we would if we went the normal loan route. However, if the doctor is married to a non physician, they look into their finances as well, but the non- physician spouse’s credit score, as long as it meets the minimum requirement, is not the one looked at to determine if you qualify. Everything is based off of the physician’s current credit standing. The required credit score varies depending on which bank you use and where you live in the country, it is higher out here in DC/MD/VA region. So if you are looking to buy, keep that in mind–work on building your credit. Also, it also takes time to pull all the documents they need to process the loan, so start early.

This go-around of house hunting was a little more enjoyable than the last, probably because we were not stressed about everything we had going on last spring (recent match, pending move, wedding planning, etc). We also used the same agent that we worked with last spring who really has been great. She had us set up in a database so that we could see anything that was coming out. We looked at one place in person before we found our house. It is a small townhouse in a suburb of Baltimore, close to everything. We put an offer in the day after we saw it, they countered and then we accepted. Since then we have been taking care of all the paperwork and looking forward to our closing. There have been a few bumps along the way, but buying a house is never easy and everything will work itself out.

We will be closing early May and I can’t wait to get in there and make it our home.

_ _ _

General info on doctor’s loans:

  • Is made to a new resident, new attending (7-10 years out of residency or less)
  • Requires little money down (0-5%)
  • Doesn’t require the borrower to purchase mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Will accept a contract as evidence of future earnings (instead of paystubs the doctor doesn’t yet have)
  • Requires the physician to open a bank account at the bank from which the mortgage is paid by auto-draft
  • Is designed for townhomes, rowhouses, and single family homes (not condos)
  • Has the same rate whether loan amount is above or below “jumbo loan” limit
  • Some programs even allow you to use gift money for a down payment
  • Requires cash reserves equivalent to a few months of Principle, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance (PITI), a reasonably good credit score, and a loan payment to income ratio of no more than 38%
  • Often doesn’t calculate student loans toward the loan to income ratio

Valentine’s Day

B&O Railroad Museum

This past weekend DrH’s hospital hosted a Valentine’s dinner dance for the physicians at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Which by the way, is a really awesome place if you have a chance to check it out.

He luckily had the weekend off so we were able to attend. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I jump at any opportunity to dress up and go out with my handsome hubby. It was really nice to spend some stress-free fun with DrH after him working three weeks straight. These opportunities are few and far between so we enjoyed our evening out.

Residency friends
Handsome hubby

New Year, New Start

I realize that it has been quite some time since I have updated the blog world.10926422_10202829734895384_9030473121098065314_n The truth is that I was focusing any spare time I had on finding myself a new position closer to or in Baltimore.

As you know, once DrH matched in Baltimore, we were thrilled that we didn’t have to move far and I was able to keep my position at the PR agency I was with in DC until I was ready for a change. This thankfully meant one less stressor with the start of residency. It truly was a blessing financially and it has given me the opportunity to find something I really wanted in the health communications space at my own pace.

Unfortunately, after doing the 3 hour round trip commute to DC (due to traffic/metro) it really started to wear on me. I was working over 8 hours a day and then spent 3+ hours commuting- it was not sustainable. Not to mention that didn’t leave me any time to do anything that I enjoyed like spending time with friends or exercising and I saw DrH even less.

Right before Christmas I accepted a position with Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing & Communications. I joined the team towards the end of January and I am already feeling much happier. My role, though challenging in it’s own right, is a little more life friendly- which is a nice change from the agency life I was living… which meant I was on call… all the time. In addition to having a better work-life balance, I also am now in the same city as DrH which makes seeing him around his busy schedule a little easier. We have even been able to grab a few lunches together before his over-night on call shifts!

I am really excited for my new chapter in Baltimore!