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

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!