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Pregnant & Premed: The Second Trimester

August 11th, 2013  |  Published in Life  |  2 Comments

The pregnancy is passing very quickly which means school is going to start and the baby will be here soon!

Physically:

Although I’ve only gained 2-3 pounds, I haven’t been able to fit into my pants since the beginning of the second trimester. I did go out and buy a pant size larger which was comfortable at first, but once my belly “popped” I realized that these pants no longer fit my hips and that they looked baggy around the thighs. I’m much happier wearing this belly band that I got from Target and just leaving my normal-size pants unbuttoned (no one can tell!) No complaints except that if I don’t drink enough water I feel faint…or actually faint… All in all I’m hoping to remain tiny like Kate Middleton did. Of course I’m not dieting, but I haven’t reduced my daily activities (i.e. lifting groceries, etc.) and I did do a pregnancy exercise DVD…once. I’ve been very fortunate to have enough stamina to keep doing what I need to do around the house. I do notice now though that bending over to do the dishes ends up being very uncomfortable, and that a normally easy 4.5k walk leaves me feeling as if I’d just done a jog! Fingers crossed that I don’t become more wimpy.

Emotionally

We are getting excited! The 20-week anatomy scan (a thorough ultrasound to check for abnormalities and normal growth) was pretty detailed. I could see the femurs, toes, lenses of the eyes, and all sorts of other tiny baby parts. Ultrasound has changed in its precision and use over time; you can read about its history, here. During this ultrasound the technician was able to determine the baby’s gender. I had wanted my husband and I to learn this exciting news together, but he couldn’t attend the appointment because of work. I decided that I wanted to have a gender reveal cake made so that we could find out the news together. I asked the ultrasound technician to write the gender on a paper and place it in a sealed envelope. I made arrangements with a baker ahead of time so that after the appointment I could drop the gender-envelope in her mailbox. The cake was quite expensive ($50) but delicious. I was quite anxious to receive the cake.

Gender Reveal Cake: Bumblebee Themed I had no particular design in mind but the baker suggested this one which I thought was cute. I chose the cake to have dark chocolate filling and almond-flavored cake. But I was more excited about the color inside! After a quick photo session (which took too long for my husband’s patience) we finally cut the cake!

It's a girl!

In case you can’t tell from the picture: it’s a girl!

We’ve been realizing that instead of seeking childcare for our baby we are probably going to need help from family. My grandmother is going to come live with us after the baby is born which is going to be awesome because we love having her around and we really need all the help we can get! I am still pursuing medical school and my postbac program (which I’m sure many won’t agree with–but I’m excited.) We are nervous about how I am going to balance everything but looking forward to meeting our daughter.

What I’ve Learned

Planning for baby

Being a one-income family since I will be in school for the next 5-6 years we have to save as much money as we can when the baby comes. This means that organic cotton sheets are not on my shopping list! I also cruise freecycle.org every day for strollers or cribs. Usually by the time I find a nice one it’s been snatched up–but I will keep at it. I’ve strongly been considering cloth diapering to save money, especially since the new cloth diapers these days are all fancy with snaps and whatnot. The types of cloth diapers available is very overwhelming; it’s like buying a toothbrush. When I buy a toothbrush I’m always amazed that the manufacturers can come up with so many different designs for a product that has a universal function. If you are curious about cloth diapering here is a great website that explains the differences between the types of cloth diapers available and also has a tutorial video. I am interested in trying cloth diapers to see if they are a torture; fortunately you can rent cloth diapers! There is a special newborn rental program where you can try many different types of cloth diapers to determine which suits your fancy. The newborn program is particularly advantageous because newborns only fit newborn-size diapers for a short period of time. You can check out the diaper rentals, here.

We are also hoping to breastfeed to save money. Although formula feeding is really convenient for working mothers (or in my case, student mothers), baby formula is expensive…well more expensive than breastmilk. Of course I’m not sure if I will actually be able to breastfeed because many women have problems. I have certainly seen enough mastitis cases as a scribe to have knowledge of how painful and challenging breastfeeding can be! The hospital where I plan to deliver has a $10 breastfeeding class for before baby and then a free support group for breastfeeding moms after the baby is born. I’m glad to know this support group is available and hope to take advantage of it despite my busy upcoming school schedule.  Fortunately in the same building where my classes will be held is a lactation room that has breast pumps inside for student/faculty use. I’m definitely going to take use this during the school year! I’m still not sure how the lactation room works though; I would imagine you would bring your own tubes to put on the pump…but I need to ask around and find out! I know one of the rooms has a Medela Symphony pump in it so if anyone knows about this lactation room situation, let me know. Once my due date draws near I will definitely be contacting the woman that oversees the lactation room to inquire about using the pumps.

Now I can start my baby registry!

Besides that I know that life ahead is going to be very chaotic and take many twists and turns but ultimately I will have to decide what is best for me and my family, much like Dr. Au explains here. There are many other doctor-moms out there like Dr. Jones and of course many awesome women that I once worked with who are able to balance family and the career they love. I hope I can take a cue from them and continue on this journey. I know many will disagree with my decision to be a premed-mommy (and eventually medical student-mommy…I hope…so I can finally be a doctor-mom.) I am very much looking forward to my second gap year (the one after my postbac and hopefully before medical school matriculation) where I will have tons of time to play with baby!

Here are others’ opinions on having children in medical school:

  • Harvard Medical School requires students to take off a year if they have a baby while in school. Interestingly men do not have this same mandatory paternity leave requirement.
  • The Red Stethoscope discusses reasons that some students may want to have children during medical school
  • In March 2013, one medical student wrote to the NY Times about her decision to get pregnant while in school. She also has a cool blog.
  • This doctor decided to not continue her career after graduation to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • Mothers in Medicine is a multi-author blog that features tales of pregnancy and motherhood from medical school to residency and beyond.
  • This article discusses how pregnancy can affect your career choices in medicine and touches on potential backlash.
  • Here is a nice post from med student Becky explaining how she can have medicine and a family.
  • This article briefly touches on how a Mizzou mom/med student’s life is made easier by PBL.

Of course…some obligatory sonograms

Baby's blurry face

Baby's feet; crazy that you can count the toes!

Another view of baby's blurry face

Responses

  1. Danielle Jones says:

    September 16th, 2013at 4:34 pm(#)

    Congrats! You can do it, with a little support, a lot of hard work, and a determined mind it will happen. <3

  2. Jennifer says:

    September 19th, 2013at 7:19 am(#)

    Thanks! It’s going to be a crazy ride 🙂

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