Already I'm stressing in advance about my return to work. I'm going back earlier than I'd like, but that's influenced by two factors. One is money-- we need it. We don't have it. Mr. Couz doesn't make enough to keep our household afloat (thanks to my med school debt) on his own, and my union only tops up our unemployment to 70% for the first 5 months or so.
God, I hear myself whining about this and have to laugh. I know in the US, only 6 weeks of maternity leave is protected and I also know that a LOT of people don't get any top-up at all. But I live in a world where literally everyone I know who has had a baby has taken the full year as protected by law. And many of them think I'm nuts for going back early. But there's more.
The CCFP-EM exam (my last licensing exam for emergency medicine) is in early September. I must be finished my program within 3 months of this exam in order to be eligible to write it this year. I can do that if I go back after 6 months of maternity leave. Which, since I went off when I was 38 weeks pregnant and The Bean was nearly 2 weeks late, means I'll be going back when he's just 5 months old. It feels too soon.
But my program has been wonderful. Remember how they handled the trauma rotation from hell last summer? Well, they've stepped up to the plate once again. Not only have they decided that my second month of 'community ER' doesn't actually need to be done out of town, but they've made me a schedule as family-friendly as possible. So what do I have left?
1. Ortho/plastics: Sounds horrific, but it's a clinic-only rotation with normal people hours. And no call. I might even get a lunch break.
2. Anesthesia: I'll be working 7:30am until 3-4pm. With lots of down time. And no call. In the same hospital as my town's NICU, which will be helpful if I'm still pumping at that time. Gah. The things that guys don't have to worry about.
5. Elective: I'm planning a sports medicine elective here in town. Again, sweet hours. No call. If it doesn't work out, I'll just do an extra month of ER.
6. ICU Sudbury: The only less-than-ideal part. Heavy call, long hours. I'm saving a week of vacation for this one. So hopefully missing what will essentially amount to 3 weeks of my son's life won't hurt either of us too much.
Sigh. I'm already stressing about how on earth I'm going to handle balancing parenthood and residency. Not to mention studying. I haven't managed to fit that into mat leave very well so far, and it's only going to get worse. I think I'm going to have to learn to survive on very little sleep.
I loved EM Physicians recent post about balance-- you can read it yourself here
. It reminds me that if I push through this last 6 months I will eventually have enough control over my life to create my own balance. And a big part of why I chose emergency medicine was in order to have the freedom to live the parts of my life that have nothing to do with medicine.
Like my family.