“Ok, Briana, I think you might want to call your husband and get him up here, it is about time to start pushing!”
You are probably wondering: Why would she need to call her husband if she was that far along in labor, shouldn’t he already be with her?
Well, yes, that would be the case if I was married to someone in just about any other profession – active military and first responder type jobs excluded.
My husband is a neurosurgery resident. And where was he during the majority of my labor with our son you ask? The OR, checking on patients and for a short period of time, sleeping in the on-call room a few floors from where I was since he was working nights.
Now, for those non-medical people, before you think he is a total jerk for not being there with me, please know he did check on me, (between patients) and he was there for the 3.5 hours of pushing and the birth of our son. (A HUGE “thank you” to his fellow resident Erik who worked an extra-long shift to cover for him and his wife Emily and their son Theo for being understanding.)
Since my son was born I have been asked two questions a number of times: One: what is it like being a new parent married to a neurosurgery resident? Two: how are you handling everything (motherhood, working out of the home, keeping up with the day to day care of the dog, house, bills, etc.) with a spouse who is a surgery resident?
Short answer: It is really hard sometimes, just like it is for any new parent regardless of who they are married to. And as for how I am handling it? Well, I am doing the best I can – putting my big girl panties on when I get stressed and drinking just enough coffee to make it through my 15+ hour days! But, I would also add that though I am tired, I am the happiest I have ever been.
See, I knew what I was getting myself into when I married my husband over three years ago – In fact, when we were dating I did everything I could to learn about this medical life that I could be living in an effort to be supportive, but to also be as prepared as I possibly could. So, to me, adding to our family is just part of our journey and I was as prepared for it as best as I could be.
When we were heading into residency we were offered a few pieces of advice from those who had been through this stage of the medical journey. The one piece that I think is really important to strive towards is: Don’t put your life on hold during residency (or any stage). It is very easy to say: “things are too busy or difficult right now; we can wait until we have more time, money, resources, etc.” But, my husband and I have learned through our challenges (his thyroid cancer, my miscarriage, etc.) that you can’t put life on hold. You obviously need to take certain factors into account before you make final decisions (finances, resources, preparedness, etc.) but, you just keep trucking along with your life being thankful for the blessings and hardships that come your way at each stage.