Halfway through the last year of my husband’s internal medicine residency, we found out we were expecting Baby #3.
Just a few weeks before, he just matched into a fellowship and we were about to move from Cincinnati to Cleveland.
We were very, very happy.
But it was the kind of happiness dampened by the biggest challenge in our marriage so far — we were about to take on many changes all at once and not sure how we would end up.
What we had to do in less than two months
Within just weeks, all this happened:
- We staged and sold our house one week before residency graduation.
- The weekend of residency graduation, we loaded the truck and moved.
- One week after we moved, he started a new job, in a new hospital system, in a new city.
- Baby #3 was born just days after his first day of work.
- He took the board exam that same month of her birth.
- Studying for boards while coveting time with newborn
It took some sacrifice.
Decluttering and packing while pregnant in my third trimester was inefficient. I’m more effective when I’m not as round.
Staging and selling a house with two toddlers was like shoveling snow in a snowstorm.
Our close friends even placed bets whether Baby #3 would arrive while in our old place or in our new place.*
Forget decorating the nursery, we just wanted to know where we packed the diapers and wipes.
He spent the first month of our newborn’s life in the library studying, not being with us.
We became parents of three who were 3 and under. I think we weren’t terrified enough of this.
We’re OK now. For the most part.
As a mom of three, some days I am a mess, blood drained from my face, empty of dignity. There was a day last month when I went to the ER because Kid #1 decided that fruit went up the nose, not down the hatch.
I also know that look of exhaustion when my husband gets home after call, peels off his scrubs, and looks defeated.
But — it’s almost the end of the year and we made it!
We like to think that hard things are worth it.
Along the way, there were many people have helped us. I have many reasons to be grateful.
5 things we are thankful for
Grandparents lend a hand throughout our move. They even deep cleaned our old place as we swiftly loaded the moving truck and left a mess like Hurricane Katrina came through.
We were taking their only grandkids away from them, yet they were completely understanding of our goals and gave their unconditional support. There was no expectation in return and we didn’t even promise to visit for the holidays.
If this isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.
#2. Our New Village
In our new city, I found my people right away and became instant friends.
It’s hard for some of us to find these people.
The time when we need a village the most is also the time when we have the least energy to build one.
Thankfully the world has been made smaller with social media. It is the best when those virtual relationships become face-to-face.
People opened their circles and introduced me to new friends in Side by Side and the resident/fellow spousal association at my husband’s work.
There are also Facebook groups for doctors’ wives like LDW, mom physicians like PMG, dad physicians like PDG, and dads married to doctors like DMD.
These communities get us. They recently have moved themselves and so are always watching for families who they can reach out and help.
It helps to have been a stranger before to know how to welcome a stranger.
I will never forget the very first day in our new house. A new friend I met in one of those groups swung by to give us some pastries and coffee from Panera. With pots and pans still in boxes and an empty fridge, having that first meal together in the house was a special moment.
#3. Healthy Kids
Two weeks after we moved, I gave birth. Transferring care from my old obgyn to my new obgyn was seamless. We welcomed Baby #3.
(*In our new place. Those who betted, pay up.)
Even with today’s technology, it’s every parents’ worry that there may be an undetected surprise like a chronic illness or disability.
We are thankful — so thankful — that Baby #3 was born healthy. That goes for Kid #1 and Kid #2, too. Some babies aren’t. Had they not been, our medical journey would be entirely different.
#4. Great Rental House
Before we moved, we visited and house hunted — twice. During both visits, all the applications we put in fell through. Everybody wanted to be close to the hospitals as well.
Taking no chances that we would be left with no house, We rented our current home site unseen.
It was a risk, but the bigger risk would be to wait to make a third trip and find out that the only places left were too far away and too expensive.
Putting our trust and fate of the next year or so into the hands of pictures on Zillow, we signed the lease agreement à la Ariel.
- Source: wikia.com
Turns out it’s a great home. Wait a minute, no. It is the BEST home we could ever wish for.
#5. Great fellowship training
When my husband was applying for fellowships, our #1 criteria in ranking them was the quality of training program.
Who knew we would hit the jackpot of liking everything about his new workplace.
After all, the reason why we moved in the first place was for his work. All the more to make a move feel successful.
Never take for granted
Life has seasons. This season happened to be a difficult one. But seasons change and some get easier.
We are now at the end of the year and have a happy story to tell.
- Party of five
This year, I am most grateful to the people who lend a hand and helped us persevere and suffer gracefully through the hardest year in our medical journey so far.
I will never take that for granted.