What Do You Want To Know?

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be married to a doctor? Or, have you ever had questions about the medical profession that you were just burning to ask? Then, you've come to the right place. Welcome! My name is Amanda, and I am currently married to a doctor. He's an OB/GYN, and he recently started practicing medicine. I've been with him from the beginning of undergrad all the way through medical school and residency (twelve years of training, to be exact), so I've become very used to the idea of living with a doctor 24/7. I've had several friends ask me what it's like to be married to an OB/GYN, so I decided to start blogging about my experiences. I'd like this to be a Q&A type of blog, so if there is anything you'd like to know, and you've read The Disclaimers* at the bottom of this page, then, ask away! Your questions can be funny or serious or whatever. If you have any amusing anecdotes about your experiences with your own OB/GYN or family physician, let me know. Also, if you're currently married to a doctor, whatever his/her chosen field, please feel free to share your thoughts and life experiences. You might be able to answer someone else's question better than I could! You can leave all your questions or comments in the comment section of each post, follow me at twitter.com (@asktheobswife), or email me at asktheobswife@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you!
Amanda, The OB's Wife

Monday, August 17, 2009

Advice To A Premed Student

Wow. It's been a while since I posted last. My husband has officially been practicing for over a year now, and although there have been a few downs, it has all been mostly ups. He seems to really enjoy his co-workers, and for the most part, his days as an OB/Gyn have been great. This month, my son and I have had so much time with him, too. He's been taking a lot of vacation time before it runs out, so we went on a family trip at the beginning of August, and just yesterday, he and I came back from a few days at Gen Con Indy, something to which I look forward every year. In a couple of weeks, we're all taking a quick trip to Washington state to see friends, too! We've been busy, but it's been so much fun doing it together. In a way, this post Jennifer wrote on the "Lives of Doctor Wives" blog speaks to exactly the experiences and feelings I've had over the years about my own medical marriage and how my husband and I are surviving and finding ways to keep it going. I hope you enjoy it and find some words of wisdom for your own relationships, whether you're with a physician or not.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Spouse, The New OB In Town

My husband's been out of residency and practicing obstetrics and gynecology for almost a year. When he was in residency, we lived in a medium-sized city, we didn't know very many people, and he really didn't have an established patient population. Then, he finished residency, found a job, and we moved to a new town. Where we currently live is definitely smaller than our last home city. It's also a big college town, so the population is pretty transient. Students move in and move out with the school year. Many people move into the community because they got jobs at the university, and they move out when they lose those jobs or find something else to do. There are also a lot of families who have lived in the area for a long time because the parents grew up here or went to school here. It's taken me some time to get used to the constant change of the area, but I think it's a wonderful community and a great place to raise a family. I've also discovered how "small" this community of around 70,000 people can be, just because my husband is now the "New OB In Town". Before we moved, I joined a large moms' group located here that is organized completely on-line. Even though there are about eighty members in the group, only twenty or thirty of the moms regularly attend organized events, and I've been able to make friendships with many of them. Through these meetups with the other women, I've been able to "advertise" my husband's new job in the community, usually in a roundabout way by explaining why we moved in the first place. In this way, I found out that the office he joined is fairly popular and the biggest practice in town. Of course, not all of the moms in my group go to his office for their care, but some of them have told me that they've seen him at the hospital for various reasons, like when he's covering call for their personal OBs. It's been both strange and exhilarating to hear about my husband from "the other side", especially when I hear he is well-liked and a "great doctor". I've already heard, from personal accounts, how his co-workers respect him as a surgeon and OB, but it's totally different when the patients are singing his praises. It makes me very proud of him and the work he's doing. I'm not sure how long it will take me to get used to the various iterations of "Oh, hey! I saw your husband at the doctors' office the other day!" that I'll inevitably run into while we live here, but that's okay. As long as the patients are happy with their doctor, it'll be just fine if I'm occasionally surprised when a pregnant mother apologizes to me for calling my husband at home in the middle of the night! It's just all part of the job.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tips On How To Be Safe Thru Lawsuits, Etc...

Kathi, the ultimate wingspouse, wrote a great "Survivor Saturday" post over at the "Lives of Doctor Wives" blog about what to do BEFORE your physician spouse gets hit with a lawsuit or an emergency occurs that involves your estate/assets/children/whatever. It's worth taking a look, and I think it's something that everyone should think about, no matter what their profession. It applies to my husband and I because we have a son and are thinking about having another baby, soon. We've been talking about the need for a will, and Kathi's post is just another reminder that anything can happen. I think I'll start looking into attorneys in our area this week, so that my husband and I can start covering ourselves in case some of life's little setbacks actually do occur someday. If you have anything to add to the discussion, feel free to leave your comments here, on Twitter, or in my inbox!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What Are Some Outlets For You?

I recently received an e-mail from the wife of an OB/GYN who is in a similar situation as I. She's a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), and she wondered, besides blogging, what other outlets I have for dealing with the life of a doctor's wife. I sent her a long reply back with all the things I've done over time to keep myself sane and busy when my husband's working. Here's a list of my various outlets and support networks:

1. With every move to a new city, I've formed a large support group of friends (and if they're in the area) family.
2. Along #1's line, I've joined a mom's group since I had my son almost three years ago.
3. Recently, I became an organizer for my current mom's group, which has really kept me busy and allowed me to become better friends with some of the other moms.
4. I've started all kinds of hobbies since my husband began medical school: knitting, jewelry making, belly dancing, yoga, blogging, and, currently, sewing.
5. I'm part of a regular book club, which helps me fill up my free time (when I have some) with reading good books.
6. We joined NetFlix when my husband was in medical school. We both love movies, and not only have we saved money and kept my growing DVD collection from getting insanely large, I also filled (and still fill) my lonely nights when he's on-call with a good movie.
7. I joined a gym when he was in residency and really got into shape. Not only did I feel good physically, I was also mentally and emotionally healthier. I had to slow down when I was pregnant and soon after our son was born. Recently, I've started walking, which is making a big difference in my attitude!
8. Not only do I blog, but I've also joined Twitter and Facebook. I admit that I'm becoming addicted to both, but they've really helped me stay in touch with friends from all over the country.
9. I'm still learning, but I try to ask for and accept help from others when I need it. I've always felt like I'm imposing on others when I ask them to babysit for me. However, those date nights and vacations alone with my husband have always helped keep our relationship strong.
10. I discovered a love for playing board and role-playing games, especially with my husband. We've been a part of small gaming groups over the last several years. When we moved to out current hometown, we reconnected with some of our college friends, who also play games. I've learned that gaming is a great problem-solving activity and such a wonderful creative outlet.

I'm sure there are other ways I've learned to stay happy as a doctor's wife, but these are my main outlets. If you're the spouse of a physician, what types of outlets have you found work for you?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vacay Time!

I'll be away until about May 11, though I may check up on the blog and my e-mail occasionally during that time. Have an awesome week, everyone!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Is Your Relationship Like With Your Spouse?

When I started this blog, I wrote a disclaimer (at the bottom of the page) that stated I most likely wouldn't answer questions asking for intimate details about my relationship with my husband. However, recently I received a few e-mails from people dating OB/Gyns, who asked me about my experiences. Without divulging any of the information in those e-mails, I want to make a few things clear to those of you reading this blog. First, my husband and I have a very caring, loving, and healthy physical and emotional relationship built on trust, understanding, and communication. As I said in a previous blog post on my "Married to the M. D." blog, I believe that communication is the key to any good marriage. Though I'm still working on it myself, I think talking to my husband about our feelings and thoughts on anything related to our relationship helps us to grow and become a better couple, as well as better parents to our son. When I receive e-mails asking me what I would do in a specific situation with my significant other, I want to immediately say, "I'd talk to him about what's going on." I try to remind the person who wrote the e-mail that I really don't feel qualified to give any advice related to her situation. Every person is different with unique life experiences. How my husband and I live is probably very different from the way even our own parents live. Also, though every OB/Gyn (and, really, every doctor in every field) has gone through similar training, each one brings something different to his/her occupation because of his/her previous life experiences. I've known my husband since way before he became an OB/Gyn. I know his personality and how he handles himself in different situations. I also know that being an OB/Gyn is his career and completely unrelated to his being my husband or being a father to our son. If he can, he usually tries to leave his work at work, so that he can focus on us when he's at home. I've been asked how I can trust him, especially in his specific profession. My answer is that I just do. He may do twenty different exams on twenty different women each day, but at the end of that day, he comes home to me. As I've stated before, he learned to look at the female body in an objective, diagnostic way when he studied in medical school and worked in residency. He knows and understands how to differentiate between his work life and his home life. I don't know how other men in his profession live their lives outside of the hospital (though I suspect that many of them are like my husband), so I cannot give any advice on how to handle someone else's dating/marriage situation. I can, however, reiterate that if someone is seeking help with his/her relationship, I would suggest that he/she find a local marriage counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or even a clergyman or clergywoman to guide him/her. All of these people are trained to deal with relationships and their complications. I admit to seeing a counselor myself before my husband and I were married, and it really helped me look at our relationship from a different perspective. If a time came when I needed that help again, I would definitely seek it out, so I highly encourage anyone else to do the same.
Now, for anyone coming to my blog wanting to know if sex is different or better with an OB/Gyn: I'm sorry. That's one answer I'm keeping to myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good Reasons To Be A Doctor's Wife

Because I felt like I was complaining a little too much about my current situation in my last post (this is MY life and I chose to marry my husband, knowing what I was getting myself into), I wanted to direct you to a fellow Twitter friend and physician's wife, Kathi, and her "wingspouse blog". Based on this article on why a person should be happy to be a doctor, she wrote her own response on why we should be happy to be doctors' wives! It's a good reminder to me of my importance in our relationship and what I can do to contribute to my husband's career and life, in general. I particularly like #1: "Some day (if not already) you’ll get to do cool things other people will never get the chance to do." Already in B's first year of practice, we're going to be traveling around the country more than we have in the past several years (and we've definitely seen more new places since he started residency than I ever had before in my life!). Thanks, Kathi, for your perspective!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Does Your Life Revolve Around His Work Schedule?

So, do our lives really revolve around my physician spouse's work schedule? Yes, and no. He has a better schedule than residency, in that he only has to be on-call about one day a week. That also means he has at least one day a week he can be home to rest and relax. However, unless he's on an extended vacation (like last week), there isn't much we can do in the evening together, unless we schedule it way in advance and, yes, around his work. I'm happy I joined a great mom's group. It helps my son and I get out of the house each day, and we've discovered some great places and activities in our new city because of it. I feel guilty some days, though, because my husband can't share in these experiences with us. For example, today he was on-call. In fact, he still is on-call and still working hard at the hospital (and it's an hour until midnight). When he finishes his shift tomorrow, he'll most likely want to come home and rest. That makes me a little sad because I organized a great meet-up for my mom's group at a local pizza place, a la Chuck E. Cheese's. Maybe we'll get lucky in the morning and find out he slept some at the hospital, so he'll be more amenable to going with us. However, I have a feeling it'll just be my son and I attending the event this time around. Not only does he miss many of these opportunities to spend time with his family, but there are also several times when I must RSVP "no" to a night out with the girls. I know it's a little selfish of me to feel so disappointed by this, since he equally misses fun, eventful nights out with his guy friends. Still, I have to be honest and admit that, every time a "Mom's Night Out/In" is scheduled on a night when my husband is supposed to be on-call, I kind of get bummed out. I know I could always hire a babysitter, but what if my husband doesn't have to go in to the hospital because of a light work night? I could leave our son at home with him, but you never know when an emergency might pop up or a baby might decide to come into the world. It's just easier to say "no" than it is to plan around such a chaotic routine. One consolation is that my husband gets A LOT of vacation time now, which means we'll get a lot of time to spend with him (away from work). In fact, in a little over a week, he and I will be going to Chicago for five days. It will be a work-related vacation because he'll be spending most of his time at a conference. However, we decided it might be best to leave our son with my parents, which means my husband and I will have our evenings (and some of our day times, depending on his conference schedule) to ourselves. It also means I'll have some time by myself to enjoy the city, at least the areas near our hotel. I'm looking forward to a little spontaneity in my day, instead of the normal scheduled day-to-day routine. Especially after a day like today, when I felt like a single parent when dealing with my crabby 2 1/2-year-old son rather than a married one. I'm just glad tomorrow will be a new day, and my husband will be around at some point to experience it with us!

Monday, April 13, 2009

What Is It Like?

Do you REALLY want to know what it's like to be the spouse of a doctor? Just read this post on the "Lives of Doctor Wives" blog, which sums it up perfectly!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Count Your Responsibilities AND Your Blessings

I wrote the following post on my "Married To The M. D." blog way back on July 21, 2008, soon after my husband had finished his residency, and we had moved to our new home town. I think everyone, no matter his/her situation in life, could take some time to think about how he/she is blessed. Even though my husband is now practicing medicine, my blessings haven't changed at all.

I think this particular bit of advice is hard for a lot of people to remember, me included. When my husband was in residency and working all the time, I took on a lot of responsibilities that were probably shared between us before. I did almost all of the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning around the house, gardening, paying bills, taking care of our son, and running various other errands. Before we had our son, I also worked full-time in an office, so I had that added on top of everything else. I even learned how to mow the lawn after we bought our first house and found that it could be a stress relieving experience! It's not that my husband wasn't capable of doing any of these things. He was just very busy with work, and most of the time when he came home from the hospital, he brought work with him. There was very little time left in the day for him to do any of the mundane things at home. All of that added responsibility made me very stressed and unhappy some days. Sometimes, I just wanted to throw in the towel and forget about everything I needed to do. However, my house and (later) my son were a constant reminder that nothing magically takes care of itself and that really, my situation wasn't as bad as I kept making it out to be. I had to remember that I was blessed with many opportunities, people, and things in my life, which I was taking for granted because I was letting all the little things get me down. I still have to take time out now and then to count my blessings, so I'd like to provide a list of them here in my blog in the hopes that I'll come back and read it every so often to keep me in the correct frame of mind.

I'm blessed in life because:
1. I have a wonderful husband who takes care of me emotionally, psychologically, physically, socially, and financially. He has a lot of his own responsibilities in life, and I think he takes it all in stride in a way that I wish I could emulate. He is able to work to provide for our family, and he knows how to have fun and keep things lighthearted and spontaneous. I love him dearly and hope he knows it every day.
2. I have a beautiful baby boy who reminds me constantly how precious life can be. He's physically, mentally, and socially healthy. He keeps me young and reminds me that I have to take time to play every day. His giggle is my favorite sound in the world, and I love that I have the opportunity to stay home with him and watch him grow and develop in every little way.
3. I have TWO families who love me and wish all the best for me and my husband. I'm talking about both my immediate family (Mom, Dad, my brother, and my sister) as well as the family I married into (my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my two sisters-in-law). They've all been supportive of our endeavors and have been pretty understanding about all of those times when we've missed holidays and get togethers because of B's work schedule. We're very blessed to have all of our parents still alive and enjoying life, and our son is blessed to have four grandparents who love him deeply. They'd all do anything for us if we just asked, and I have to remember that they have more life experience than I do, so their advice should always be taken to heart. All of our sisters and brothers are wonderful people with their own talents and personalities, and they make life fun and exciting for everyone. I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people in my family!
4. I have lots and lots and lots of friends living near and far, who care deeply for me and my family and who bring fun and joy into my life. Whether they're other parents like me or my gaming buddies or college friends who've been through thick and thin with me and B, each and every one of them has a special place in my heart. I really couldn't have gotten this far in life without my friends, and I love every single one of them for who they are and how they've touched me in some way. Since I have the opportunity to do so, I'd like to thank all of them for being a part of my life! I'm not going to name names here, but I think you all know who you are. ;)
5. My family has a beautiful home, a pantry and refrigerator full of food, comfortable beds, and enough money to pay our bills and to take care of our basic needs and wants. Our current living situation is not lost on me, especially now, with gas and food prices at all time highs and many people struggling to live day to day. We are truly blessed to not have to worry about where we'll be sleeping, where and when we'll have our next meal, and how we'll be paying for everything we need to survive.
6. We live in a safe, quiet neighborhood free of violence. Our son will never have to be afraid to go outside and play, and he'll have many opportunities to make friends, learn new hobbies, and develop new talents as he grows older.
7. Most importantly, I'm physically and mentally healthy and able to take care of my family and my home. I still have the ability to have more children when I choose to have them, and I'm still young and active enough to keep up with my son. My brain is still active and always ready to learn something new. I have so many opportunities for my own personal growth and development, and I hope I don't waste a single one of them.

There are so many more blessings I could list, but I think these are the most basic and important for me to remember every single day. After I post this, I'm going to take some time to enjoy my family, since I'm blessed to have my husband home with me and my son for a couple of more weeks before he starts his new job.
Namaste and blessings to you all,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Holidays When There's A Doctor In The House

I just wrote this post for the "Lives of Doctor Wives" blog and thought it would be appropriate to post here, as well.

I was replying to a friend's email today and mentioned the fact that I keep forgetting Easter is just two weekends away. Part of the issue is that my husband and I just moved and currently do not attend a local church. I'm only reminded of the upcoming holiday when I enter a store and see all the Easter candy, baskets, bunnies, and eggs. However, I also realized that I haven't talked to my husband about whether we're going to do anything for our son, or not. He's 2 1/2, so he's not really fully aware of Easter yet, and my hubby and I have agreed that we're not going to make a big deal out of holidays until our son is old enough to understand what's going on around him. For the past several years (even before our son was born), most gift-giving holidays involved us trying to find a couple of hours to just be able to sit down and unwrap maybe one gift from each other. Even this past Christmas, when my husband actually had the day off, we still only gave each other a few things, probably because we just got into the habit of not going overboard. I remember one Christmas during my husband's residency when we didn't even put up a tree. We were going to be spending our entire holiday away from home, so we didn't even see the point of putting it up if we weren't going to enjoy it. I know how cynical that sounds, but it's really how our lives (and priorities) have changed since my husband started residency (or maybe even before that during med school). Holidays are special times to spend with family and friends, but when your significant other has to spend that time working and away from you, it's kind of hard to get in a celebratory spirit. I remember going to many family get togethers in our home state without him because he had to stay close to the hospital while he was on-call. I also remember missing many celebrations because of the very same reason. Do I regret it? Not in the least. My husband dearly loves what he does, and even though we've both made sacrifices along the way, it's still been worth it. This past Christmas, he actually had the day off, even though he's technically the low man on the totem-pole. However, he had to work a 1/2 day on Christmas Eve, so we decided it was a good time to try to start our own Christmas traditions at home (most of our previous holidays were spent traveling to families' houses). Actually, it was a good thing we had to stay home, because we all ended up getting a stomach virus, but that's beside the point. I think having my husband working in a profession that can't really take time off for "special days" has really helped us in a way. We've learned to look past the materialism and the stress and the overabundance, and we've learned to see the central reason for celebrating: just being together and loving each other. So, really, I don't care whether or not the Easter Bunny visits. I'm just so glad my hubby will have the weekend off to spend with us!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself!

Jennifer, on her blog "The Chronicles of Hunt", wrote an amazing post recently about what she's learned while being married to a doctor. She has some wonderful advice and words of wisdom for any spouse of a medical student, resident, or even a practicing physician. I've said many of the same things on my personal blog, "Married to the M. D.", but I think what she says is much more succinct. Thanks, Jennifer, for your awesome blog!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Change Can Be Scary And Good For You!

While my husband and I spend a little time enjoying some TV shows we've DVRed, please enjoy the following post I wrote about change for my first blog way back on June 12, 2008:

As I write this, my husband and I are about to embark on another life-changing adventure--a move back to our home state and the beginning of a brand new career (for my husband). This will be our fourth move to a new city in almost seven years of marriage, and I will admit that it is still scary to me! I've always hated change, especially big life changes, but these past four years have really helped me to learn how to embrace change and accept it as part of the journey. My mom's favorite saying, which was recently quoted by my favorite author/blogger/actor/geek Wil Wheaton, is "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." And, ain't that the truth! Nowhere in my life was this more applicable than on the day my husband matched to his current residency program. During his last year of medical school, we had talked about our future plans--the house we were going to buy, the children we would have, etc. We were absolutely certain that he would get his first choice of residency programs, which just happened to be his medical school alma mater. What a surprise for both us when he not only DIDN'T get into his first choice, but he got into his second choice, which happened to be the program farthest away from our families and friends in another state in a city that we'd never been to except for his residency interview. I will not mince words here. I cried. I was extremely disappointed. Not only would we have to move all over again, but we would be far away from the ones we love and from our well made future plans. At this point in the story, I would like to complain about the process that is known as "matching to medical residency programs." However, I think that would take more time than I have right now, so I'll leave it for a future post. Can I just ask, though, if anyone else thinks it's a rather arbitrary system, or is there some logical reasoning behind the whole fact that basically a computer program tells the medical students where they'll be going for the next 3+ years of their lives? One thing I shouldn't complain about though is that B did get into his second choice, which is far and away better than some of his classmates, who didn't even match to a program ranked in their top five favorite residencies. Anyway, I digress. After B had announced his future residency to his fellow classmates at the Match Day luncheon, and we'd had some time to tell our families and friends the news, I went to the restroom to wash up a bit and settle down. As I was at the sink, I was met by the wife of one of B's classmates. She and I had become friendly, especially at parties, over the course of our husband's schooling, and I really valued her opinions at the time. When I told her about our future move, she was actually very excited for us and our new adventure, as she called it. And then, I realized how blessed I was to have such a change in my life, which really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Here was this young woman who was very happy for me, who had spent a lot of time getting used to her own life changes because she had just moved from her home country of Great Britain to the United States to be with her husband as he finished medical school and started residency in a very competitive field. Not only had she moved VERY far away from her family and friends, but she was also going to be moving again with her husband to another state, where she would have to get a new job, make new friends, etc. And she was excited about it, too! I think it was her attitude that really changed mine. By that afternoon at an end-of-the-school-year party, I was happy and excited and ready to face the unknown. Again, I will not mince words here. I was still very frightened. The whole aspect of moving to a new city AND buying our first home was scary and stressful. However, we made it through that just fine. Then, I found out I'm allergic to bees just four days after we moved. Again, we got through that. I got a new job, started making new friends, learned my way around our new city, and began feeling more comfortable with my surroundings. It was still hard to be away from our families, but that's what cell phones and e-mail are for. Also, I had to remind myself that they were not SO very far away that we couldn't drive a few hours to spend time with them. And, I think we knew in our heads that after B finished residency, there would always be the opportunity to go back, which is exactly what we'll be doing in just a couple of weekends. Again, it's exciting and scary and stressful, but I think I'll be able to handle it because I'm a better person for the changes made (within me as well as around me) over the past few years. Not the least of which is my 2-year-old son. But, I'll save that for another post. Hope to see you there!
Best to you all,

Friday, March 27, 2009

The "Lives of Doctor Wives" Blog

After starting this blog and researching, reading, and posting comments on related websites, I was contacted recently by one of the main contributors to an excellent blog for doctors' wives, fittingly entitled "Lives of Doctor Wives". Almost all of the authors to the site are spouses of medical students or residents, and Marissa, one of the website admins, wanted to know if I would be willing to become another contributor to the blog and share my experiences on life after residency. I was thrilled! In fact, after leaving an introduction and brief history on my and my husband's life together thus far, and receiving a couple of questions about what it's like, I decided to write a post about my husband's call schedule and how it fits into our family life. I hope to be able to contribute often to the blog because I understand what all of the other women are currently going through and the questions they have about life on "the other side". It's a great idea for a website, and I wish someone had thought of it when I was in their shoes! It's so nice to know that you're not alone, especially when you're married to someone who's training to be a doctor. Please keep sending me your questions here, too. I'm thrilled to be able to share my experiences and hope I'm able to help in any way possible.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What I Learned During My Husband's Residency

A while back, I started a blog about how I dealt with and what I learned during my husband's medical residency. As we neared the end of it and the beginning of our new life in a new town, the blog slowly digressed into an updated journal about us for our long distance family and friends. I went back to the beginning of the blog and found a post that I thought really applied here, especially for those of you who are currently married to medical residents. Here's what I had to say:

As I stated in the previous post, here's a list of things that I've learned during the past four years of my husband's residency (and the past seven years of marriage). I'll try to expand upon each one in subsequent posts.

1. Change can be very scary, but it can also be very good for you!
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate! It's the key to a good marriage (and to any good relationship).
3. Take time to care for yourself.
4. Take time to care for your relationship with your spouse and your family.
5. Try to create a support system of friends and family. It'll be one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
6. Your spouse will be working long hours, and many times, he/she will be working overnight and into the next day. Netflix and the Internet are your friends!
7. Find a new creative outlet or hobby.
8. After counting your responsibilities, try counting your blessings, too! (This one is still a hard one for me.)
9. There will be times when you'll feel like a married single parent. You're not alone.
10. In the end, it's all worth it! :)

This is definitely not a comprehensive list, but I think these are the essentials for me. Also, I think you don't have to be married to a physician to relate to at least one thing on the list.

Even though my husband's been out of residency for about six months now, I think most of the list can also apply to the spouse of a practicing physician. I still need the support of my family and friends. I've been enjoying some time to myself, lately, by learning a new creative hobby: sewing. I still occasionally feel like a "married single mom". But, as I said in #10, in the end, it's still all worth it!
If you'd like to see my subsequent posts on this topic, you can read my more personal blog at "Married to the M.D.". I talk about each point in the list starting with #1, posted on June 12, 2008. I may even post some of my thoughts from that blog here, especially if they help me to answer your questions.
Remember, if you have any specific questions for me, don't hesitate to post them in the comments section below, tweet me on twitter.com (@asktheobswife), or e-mail me at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How Do You Deal With An Absent Spouse?

I received an e-mail from a friend saying she thought of me when her husband got very busy with work recently, and she wondered how I deal with my own husband's work-related absences. I'll be totally honest. I do miss him when he has to spend his entire call night at the hospital, especially when our son is sick. It's a little ironic that that tends to happen a lot. For example, a couple of nights ago, my husband was on-call and had several patients to observe at the hospital. At 1:30 in the morning, our 2 year-old-son, who's been sick with a nasty cold, woke up with a fever over 104 degrees! I gave him medicine and fluids, but I felt so frightened and lonely trying to figure out if there was anything else I could do for him while he screamed and cried and burned with fever. It was at that point that I was so thankful we had added text messaging to our cell phone plan months earlier. My husband was, luckily, awake, and he helped me get through our ordeal by texting me and actually talking to me over the phone for a little bit. The best part was he came home the next morning and took care of our little guy while I ran some errands. Knowing he practices at such a great office is what gets me through our frequent separations. He works with five other doctors, and they rotate their call schedule. Whoever is on-call for the night takes care of all deliveries and emergencies in the hospital as well as any after hour calls from patients. That means, the other doctors can go home, leave their work at the office (unless they absolutely have to finish it at home), and not have to worry about a single patient. Also, when the on-call doctor finishes his/her shift the next morning, he/she goes home and has the rest of the day off. I know it's a very unique situation, and few physicians have the ability to do this. We were so lucky that my husband found an office where everyone is so family-oriented. He's only on-call about one night a week, one Friday a month, and one entire weekend a month. My son and I see him so much more now than we did in residency, and I think we're finally getting used to his new work schedule. It's still erratic because his call night changes each week, but I can't complain. When he was in residency, his days at the hospital were long, and when he was on-call, he had to work a regular shift the next day. It was hard on him, and I came to realize how single-moms must feel. I dealt with the loneliness by reaching out to other stay-at-home-moms in my community. My son and I joined a great play group, which would meet each week, so the kids could play and we moms could chat about our lives. It was such a tremendous support for me, since we lived so far away from our families at the time. Even though we've moved back to our home state and closer to our parents, I still keep in touch with the moms in that group because, even in e-mail and Twitter form, they're so supportive and helpful. I wasn't sure what kind of schedule my husband would have when we moved to where we're now living, so I prepared myself by finding a new moms' group to join right away. It was the best decision I could have made. My son and I are so busy now with scheduled meet up events practically every day! We've gone to so many of them that I decided to help out and become an assitant organizer for the group. The moms are amazing, and both my son and I have made some great friends. We plan on staying in this town for a long time, so I hope these new friendships last a long time. Besides having friends for support, I'm now closer to my parents and in-laws. We've seen them a lot since we came back to our home state, and it's been so nice to be able to talk to them face to face rather than over the phone. Moving here has also allowed us to renew and strengthen our relationships with some of our college friends. One couple moved here before we did and helped us out socially by asking us to be a part of their weekly board gaming group. We've had so much fun meeting new people, and we've spent a lot of time entertaining friends at our new house. I've found that on the nights when I do feel lonely, watching a movie, playing with my son, reading a book, or even just surfing the Internet have really helped. And, with today's technology, my husband and I can communicate with each other through text messages and e-mail whenever we're apart. Really, there isn't any reason for me to feel lonely, but the truth is that he's my husband, and I love him, and I'll always miss him when we're separated for too long. It helps knowing that when he's done with his call shift the next morning, I get the rest of the day with him.

I know that my situation is very different from that of other doctors' wives and their spouses. If you're married to a physician, how do you handle the loneliness and your spouse's constant absences? You can leave your stories in the comments of this post, e-mail them to me at
asktheobswife@gmail.com, or tweet me on twitter.com (@asktheobswife).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why Do Men Become OB/GYNs?

The following is a guest post I wrote for my friend, Momma Bear, back in February. She, and many of her readers, wanted to know why men would become OB/GYNs. It was her question and many others I've received recently that made me think about starting this blog. Enjoy!

When the question of why a man would become an OB/GYN came up recently, I was asked to write a post about it. I’m qualified to try to answer it because I’m not only curious about it myself, but I’m also married to one—a man who happens to be an OB/GYN, that is. After I was sent an e-mail posing the question, I pondered it a bit, and then, I turned to my husband to get his reaction. Immediately, he felt it was a sexist question to ask. It is probably as relevant today to wonder about such a thing as it would be to ask why women would become race car drivers. I leave it to someone else, though, to go up to Danica Patrick and get her thoughts on that matter. As for the subject of male OB/GYNs, I can see his point, but I can also see it from the perspective of the women who wonder about it. I grew up with a male doctor as my primary care physician. When I was a teenager and still growing into my body, I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable during my first pap exam while this man, who I trusted completely, rooted around in my nether regions. Really, though, what woman isn’t uncomfortable with a metal speculum pushed up inside her while she silently wonders what the doctor behind the sheet is looking at “down there”? But, I digress.

To know why a man would become an OB/GYN, I should probably start with my husband and his career. Every doctor has a reason for pursuing his/her chosen field, and those reasons vary widely. I can only speak on what I know of my husband, but I think many other OB/GYNs, whether male or female, can relate to at least one of his experiences. I have known him for over twelve years, and we have been married for seven of those twelve. We met in undergrad, and I remember that he thought about becoming a family doctor or a general practitioner. However, when he started rotating through the various departments in medical school, he discovered that he enjoyed both obstetrics and surgery. He got excited at the wonder and joy of birth, but he also liked the complexity and challenges of every surgery during which he assisted. Then, he found out that a residency in obstetrics and gynecology would only take four more years of training, and the field itself had the added bonus of being part general practice and part surgery. He applied for six different residency programs in three states and was matched with his second choice. When he finished his residency, he not only had a thorough knowledge of the field, but he also came out of it with a large group of friends and colleagues on whom he could rely later, most of whom are female, I might add.

Besides being the best of both worlds for my husband, obstetrics and gynecology has many other positive aspects. For one, he spends more of his time dealing with patients at the beginning of their lives than with those who are nearing the end. What is more joyous than watching a beautiful baby come into this world? That’s probably why such television programs as “A Baby Story” on TLC are so popular. Also, he enjoys being given a challenge or a good problem to solve. He doesn’t get bored with treating the same illnesses day after day. Instead, every surgery, every delivery, and every infection keeps him on his toes depending on its complications and complexities, and no two days at work are the same for him. He is also very active at work and spends little time sitting around waiting for something to happen, except on those days when a particular patient’s labor or delivery is taking more time than expected. Probably the best and most important part of his job is he gets to save lives when he performs surgeries, monitors fetal development, prescribes medications, or decides the best course of action for a particular medical situation.

There is a question within the question I’m trying to answer, though. Most women probably want to know if all the exposure to vaginas and breasts is distracting or a turn on, especially if the OB/GYN is straight and/or married. Hopefully, if the OB/GYN is a professional—and in my experience, most of them are—then, it is all just part of the job. I think most physicians, no matter what their field, believe in the idea that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, whether they are hearts, livers, or vaginas. Also, one of their main job requirements is to diagnose medical problems. Honestly, does it sound sexy to have to look at and touch body parts covered in sores, warts, abscesses, or something else equally or more disgusting every single day? There is always an exception to every rule, but any doctor going into a field because he/she has some sort of perverted fetish related to it probably wouldn’t last very long due to malpractice and/or the possible impending sexual harassment lawsuits. My husband spent twelve years in undergrad, medical school, and residency. During that time, he learned to become a professional and objective clinician. In order to be a successful doctor, he must look at everything from a purely clinical and scientific viewpoint. Physicians learn to become desensitized to such things from the very beginning, when they spend their time in anatomy classes recognizing body organs and tissue in dissected human corpses. I don’t think there is anything sexy about that. For those women who wonder about being married to an OB/GYN: I can say that it is probably like being married to an engineer or an artist or a computer technician or a man employed in any other profession. My husband’s professional and personal lives are completely separate, the exception being when I was pregnant. Even then, he made certain my own OB/GYN took care of me, while he watched from the side lines as the expectant father. He did do the very first ultrasound in which we saw our baby’s heartbeat at only five weeks of development. It was one of the most poignant and wonderful experiences of my life and one of the true advantages of being married to him.

When it’s really important, though, does a doctor’s gender really matter, as long as he/she is competent and proactive when it comes to a patient’s healthcare? Will it really make a difference when a woman is in her 36th hour of painful labor and really just wants that baby out? Or, when the baby’s heartbeat suddenly drops and a C-section is the only recourse? Should it really matter? Besides, the question is almost becoming a moot point because there are now many more females going into the field than there are males. We witnessed this firsthand, both during my husband’s residency and also within his current practice, where the ratio of female physicians to male physicians is exactly equal, or 4 to 3, if you count the nurse practitioner. So, the next time you see your doctor, you might think about asking him/her why he/she decided to go into obstetrics and gynecology. The answer just might surprise you.

If you have any other questions you'd like me to answer, remember to leave them in the comments section of this post, tweet me at twitter.com (@asktheobswife), or email them to me at asktheobswife@gmail.com! Thanks!

*The Disclaimers:

1. This will not be a "medical advice" blog, so if you have any questions pertaining to your personal medical situation, please do not ask me. My husband is the physician, not me. I know how to put band-aids and kisses on boo-boos, and that's about the extent of my medical expertise. Also, please do not ask me to take your medical questions to my husband to be answered by him. I just don't believe that's ethically right, especially within this type of forum. Please seek the guidance and care of your own personal physician for any specific medical questions you may have.

2. If your question is in any way personal, I may not answer it. If you ask me anything about parenting or motherhood, especially if it pertains to this blog, I will most likely answer you. However, if you want to know my full name, date of birth, address, phone number, the health of my sex life, etc., I'm not going to give you a reply. For those who are curious, I'm a Cancer, my current favorite color is purple, my favorite number is 7, and my interests include cooking, sewing, reading, assisting in the organization of my local moms' group, spending time with my family and friends, playing board and role-playing games, Twittering, and blogging, of course.

3. If you think words like "vagina" and "breast" are best left for the bathroom and/or bedroom, then this blog is probably NOT for you. I live with a doctor full-time, so the correct medical jargon for body parts is a part of my everyday vocabulary. I am certain, considering my husband's chosen field, that I will be using such words quite often when I answer your questions. Yes, I say "penis" and "breast" around my 2-year-old son. He's bound to hear them someday, and it might as well be from his parents. Also, I personally believe in teaching my children the correct names for their body parts.

That's it! Everything else is fair game! Thanks for sharing and reading!