the difference a year can make

Tomorrow, I start my fourth year of medical school. By the end of July, I will have completed my externship and started my application for residency. It is hard to believe that I am nearing the end of my medical school career. Over the next ten months or so, I will continue rotating through different areas in the hospital, but there will be no shelf exams, no die-hard studying, no wondering what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'm there. The decision's been made.

I was talking with Mikey this afternoon about where we were one year ago. I was anxious about starting my clinical years of medical training, having just finished classes and taken Step 1 of my medical boards. I felt unprepared and uncomfortable with the hospital system, with seeing patients on a day-to-day basis, and with my own abilities and role as a member of the medical team. I was just about to start orientation for my family medicine rotation, where I would spend 5 weeks living with my grandparents in Spartanburg and working on weekdays at a small family practice in Gaffney. This was my introduction into medicine. I went on to rotate through Internal Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Ob/Gyn. I learned so much in such a short period of time. It is hard to believe it has only been a year since I started that first rotation.

And now, only a year later, I am about to start my externship in high-risk obstetrics, and I feel confident in my place in the medical team. I know how the system works. I feel comfortable with my level of knowledge and skill, while knowing there is still so much learning and growing ahead of me. I am not scared to enter a patient's room and answer questions they may have about their illness, the risks of a procedure, or what the plan is for their care. And I hope to be a friend and help to the new third year students starting their rotations this year, remembering my fears and self-doubts just one year ago. It is breathtakingly wonderful and awe-inspiring (all of the glory to God!) to look back and see how much I have grown as a future physician in 12 short months.

And I have grown as a person in even more ways. Mikey and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on June 20, and we are expecting the arrival of our daughter in August. I have made so many wonderful friends through working with different students on my rotations throughout the past year and through my new church family. I am truly blessed.

Now, I can start to look forward to what this next year has to offer as I continue growing...as a future physician (less than 10 months until I am an M.D.!), as a wife, as a friend, and as a mother.


Cute as a Button Baby Shower

I've been busy studying for Step 2 CK of medical boards, which I take this coming Friday, but I wanted to take a moment to post some pictures from my baby shower last weekend :) My mom and sister did an absolutely amazing job, with help from my mother-in-law, my grandmother, and Gwen (aka my second mom)! Beautiful decorations, yummy food, fun games, and best of all...a group of ladies that means the world to me.  

This shower was filled with the women who have shaped me into who I am today and who, I know, will play huge roles in shaping Evy into her beautiful self :) It was such a joy to have so many of them together in one place at one time.

I was absolutely humbled by the effort that went into preparing the shower and by the family and friends who came to support me and Evelyn, many of whom came from out of town. I felt incredibly loved and so thankful! Unfortunately, I totally spaced and didn't get pictures with/of so many of these wonderful ladies, but here are a few shots from the shower:

-- Cute as a Button pictures of Mikey and myself as babies --

--a chance to give (much-needed and appreciated!) advice to the new mom--

--drink table (taken before everything was ready! oops. But still lovely!)--

--just the beginning of the table of gifts...we were so blesssed!--

--Jennifer and Rabun with the cutest little shower attendee--

--opening presents with Nina, Mom, and Glenda looking on--

--a little time with Gwen before the shower--

--overwhelmingly happy and blessed by all the love and support!--

Thank you to everyone who made it! And to those that were unable to attend, you were missed, and please know that I am incredibly thankful for your impact on my life and your future impact on Evelyn's life!


On Being "Severely Pregnant"

I've been on the small side for most of my pregnancy. It wasn't until about 25 weeks that people start guessing I was pregnant, at least to my face :) It is still shocking to me to look down and see my giant belly protruding or to have somebody ask me when I'm due because I am so obviously pregnant.  At work today, I had a resident refer to me as "severely pregnant." Which is true. I am really, really pregnant.

At 31 weeks and 4 days, I have just over 8 weeks until Evelyn is due. I am less than 2 months away.
And the weird part is, I don't feel that different. I thought that by now, I would really feel like a "mom," or at least a "pre-mom." But as excited as I am for Evelyn's arrival, I am mostly just shocked that it is almost here. Someone is about to send me home with a BABY, and I am going to be responsible for feeding her and clothing her and generally making sure she turns out okay. What?! How can this be possible? I feel so small and inadequate compared to this huge task. I know when she gets here, my ineptitude will only be more apparent. But thank goodness I am not alone!

Every mom friend of mine has told me their own version of this story...coming home with a tiny, helpless human being who is totally in your care...the excitement, the fear, the overwhelming gravity of it. I am so glad to have these friends to call on for reassurance when Evelyn gets here. I am beyond thankful for my amazing mother and mother-in-law, who have already assured me of their excitement and willingness to help in whatever way is needed. And mostly, I am thankful for my wonderful, caring, strong, calm, considerate, and devastatingly good-looking husband, who happens to charm every baby he meets. There is nobody else in this world with whom I could see myself entering this strange new world of parenting.

And so with Evelyn's due date fast-approaching, I guess I need to get used to strangers asking if "it's a boy or a girl" or telling me not to sneeze or I might go into labor. I'm only getting more "severely pregnant" until I go on a major weight-loss program via the birth of this baby. And even if I don't yet feel quite like a real-life mom, I am a mom already. And every comment and joke just serves as a reminder of how close I am to meeting my precious little girl. And that's alright by me!


hello again. nice to see you.

hello again.

it's been awhile.

The past 10 months or so have been a whirlwind. A lot has happened...

ONE - We are having a baby!! In August :) We announced to the family on Christmas and to the world a couple of months later. And now we are only two months away from Evelyn's arrival! It is absolute madness, but we could not be happier. I've had her nursery ready for her arrival for, oh, 3 months already. (Can you tell I am one excited mama?!) I just cannot wait to hold her in my arms and to see her sweet face!

TWO - The Hive Church is alive and well in North Charleston. The church plant that Mikey and I are apart of will have its 1 year anniversary in August, and we are so proud of our church and its vision..making disciples who make disciples. Preaching Truth from the Word of God. Sharing our lives with fellow believers…encouraging one another, laughing and crying together, discussing important things and not-so-important things together. And working to make an impact on the city around us. It is beautiful. And I am so thankful for our church.

THREE - I have chosen my career. After much struggle, heartache, and deliberation this year, I have settled on OB/GYN. I am extremely excited about this choice. OB was my last clerkship of my 3rd year of medical school, and frankly, one of the lowest things on my list coming into school. However, 3rd year and impending motherhood really showed me what is most important to me in my future career…
  • Be able to help people. Duh. That's why I went to medical school in the first place! But it helps to remind myself of this ultimate goal, and it also helps me direct which area I feel like God has best equipped me to do this through
  • Have some life outside of work…time for my amazing husband, for my daughter, for my family and my friends and my dogs…and time for myself! This is ultimately what led me away from general surgery, where a balance lifestyle is much more difficult (but not impossible) to come by.
  • Get to do surgery. I couldn't give up the OR completely. I tried to love other specialties, but the drama, excitement, and tangibility of the OR is too intoxicating for me. I need it in my life.
  • Get to do medicine. I also really enjoy complicated patient with presentations that give me a real puzzle to solve. Getting to do surgery AND medicine…who can resist that? Not this girl.
And SO…I chose OB/GYN, which gives me a nice mix of surgery and medicine, the opportunity to shape my career to have more of a life outside of the hospital, and the amazing ability to help women through crazy times in their lives…pregnancy, birth, hospital stays, gynecologic surgeries, battles with cancer, and plain ole year-to-year life! And I really, really want to do medical work abroad through programs like the fistula clinics in Africa, where I can leave a lasting impact on the women I meet there. Basically, I am pretty stoked about my choice, and I feel like it is exactly where God wants me.

FOUR - I am less than a year away from being a real doctor! This seems like absolute madness. But all of the "fourth years" who are in the class ahead of me have now graduated, are officially "M.D."s, and are about to start residency programs across the country! And the thought of that being me in a year is magical and rewarding and terrifying all at the same time. I can't believe it is that close. So the next couple of months are filled with taking step 2 of boards (June 27!), completing my externship in OB/GYN (July!), having a baby (August!), and applying for residency (September!)…then residency interviews October through January. And in March, we'll find out where we matched and will be spending the next four years of our lives…whew.

So to sum it all up: baby, church, OB/GYN, and almost a doctor! :) Now you know why I have been a little too busy to post on this blog. However, I hope to rectify that, if for no other reason than to give me a place to share the joys and madness of having a newborn and finishing up medical school over the next year…but I am so blessed to have family and friends who try to keep up with us and what we are up to, so I hope this is cool for you too :) Talk to you in a few days!