Tag Archives: Baby Daddy

To Dr. Baer

May 17, 2015

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Today Austin graduates from medical school. It has been a long journey, but an important one. Despite long rotations, solo parenting, and difficult exams– these have been some of the best years of our life. We’ve made dear friends, had our babies, and found a village. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When Austin first told me he wanted to leave his graphic design job to go to med school, I was worried we would lose each other in the process. I was also worried that I’d have to take a backseat to his career and raise our kids alone. None of it and all of it came true. Hills and valleys with every path in this life. We have been so lucky.

Today isn’t the finish line. After one year of internal medicine, four years of radiology, another match, and a fellowship–Austin will be almost 40 when he’s an attending physician. And yet we celebrate. We celebrate the choice to start over, four years of hard work, and the end of a very good chapter in our book. We also celebrate the beginning of a career. There is nothing like finally doing something you love.

It takes courage to leave your desk job at 27 and start again from scratch. Something to celebrate today.

To Dr. Baer.

***

First Day Of Med School
Marrying A Student
Being Sad About All The Studying
12 Steps To Becoming El Doctoro
Residency Tour
City Search
Match Day
Last Day Of Med School

Match Day

March 20, 2015

Winner

Today is Match Day, the day fourth year medical students across the country are paired to a residency program in their speciality during a weird ceremony designed to give you a fart attack.

For most of you, this information is strange and slightly boring. But for my little family and community, it’s a big day. A day that decides what the next six years of life looks like.

If you are new here, my spousal unit Austin is in his fourth year of med school, intending to graduate in May. I have conveniently put our timeline into an easy to read list in The End Of Medical School following an equally gripping post on Marrying A Student.

Match Day is confusing. No matter how many times I explain it, our parents still ask us over and over what is going on and is he a doctor yet. If only, parents. If only.

Here’s how it works. First you go to medical school! Actually first you sit at a your desk job doing graphic design until you’re 27 and realize you are in the wrong career. Then you apply to medical school (hard), get accepted to medical school (harder), and work hard to pass each year (hardest). Then in your fourth year of school, you interview on a residency tour before submitting a list of programs ranked by preference while the programs do the same about those they’ve interviewed. Finally a computer takes this information and spits out where you’ll work and live for 3-6 years, depending on your speciality. This is your “match.”

Bored yet?

It would be nice if someone simply called after your interviews and told you if and where you’ve gotten a job. You know, like normal people. Instead the medical community has made up a bizarre ceremony called “Match Day” where nervous med students read their destiny in a dimly lit room while the local news hovers (really) and spouses cry happy or sad tears. Kind of like the hunger games, except nobody dies (except our spirits).

Last year’s match day at Penn State, a visual aid:

 

We arrive today at 10am and open the letters at noon.

Some things are certain. On Monday Austin got an email letting him know he did, indeed, match to a program, as some students “scramble” into leftover programs or don’t match at all (nervous poo). This was great news and means we know for sure we’ll be headed to one of four locations on our rank list:

Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Boston, Massachusetts.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Portland, Maine.

Staying in Hershey is our first choice. Not only is it located only 45 minutes from our dream destination, it’s close to New York, D.C., and most importantly–community. A community helping us raise our babies and grow into adult skin. For all its quirks and strange habits, small town living suits our stage of life right now and, for a long list of reasons, makes it easier to parent while also pursuing our dreams.

Of course the other three spots would be great, too. Giant, life-changing pros and cons to each place.

Austin graduates in May and then begins the six year journey to becoming an interventional radiologist this June in a location to be determined in just a few short hours. Pass the Pepto.

Four very different futures at our feet.

Hershey, Philly, Boston, or Portland, here we come.

Onward and upward.

***

Results will be posted on FB & Instagram following the match!

Residency Tour 2014 (Hunger Games Pre-Show)

December 8, 2014

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We are leaving today for seven days which means everything we own has been crammed into Target bags and placed in the back of the van where I will not find it. Some things remain up front; snacks to be crumbled, toys to be thrown, a stray phone charger, and a book I will never, ever read.

The trip is part of what I’m calling Residency Tour 2014!, like a Leslie Knope wannabe. Unfortunately there are no binders or Rob Lowes. The tour schedule consists of places like Baltimore (MD), Allentown (PA), Danville (PA), Harrisburg (PA), Hershey (PA), Boston (MA), Portland (ME), Wilmington (DE), Albany (NY), Monmouth (NJ), and a hundred trips to the city of cheesesteaks–Philadelphia.

If you are new here, Austin is in his fourth year of med school interviewing for residency programs. I have conveniently put our timeline into an easy to read list in The End Of Medical School following an equally gripping post on Marrying A Student.

Today he interviews at Hershey, tonight we leave for cheesesteaks, and Thursday morning we head north to Boston and Portland to pretend we aren’t freezing.

For a long time I convinced myself that this trip would be a vacation and we would really enjoy ourselves as a family. But I’ve since lowered my expectations and am just hoping no one puts their hand through a wall. I love to travel, but as we all know, traveling with kids is simply parenting in a different location. Thank you Jesus for borrowed iPads.

After we return home next week, the interviews continue through January. Then we submit a list of programs ranked by preference while the residency programs do the same about those they’ve interviewed. Then a computer takes this information and spits out where we will live for six years to be read in front of peers and the local news. Kind of like the hunger games, but boring and nobody dies (except our spirits). #drama

This is all a big, long post to say: we’ll be gone for a bit and I’ll be blogging via Instagram with a few pre-scheduled posts here around Evie’s first birthday.

Pray for our fragile, delicate nerves as we embark on a weeklong trip up the coast with a three and almost one-year-old who is going through a “car seat stage.” If anyone knows a place in Boston or Portland to day drink, let me know because 18+ hours in the car with two toddlers is not for the faint of heart (I am faint of heart).

Here we go.

***

When It’s Time For A Rewrite.

April 9, 2014

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Yesterday I spent three hours writing a really sad and boring post about how medical school is making my life hard and then promptly deleted it because a) who cares and b) everyone has hard times sometimes and we are fine.

Two years ago I wrote a post about marrying a student that chronicled Austin’s sudden decision to become a doctor to our situation in the beginning of medical school. It is not an overly unique story. He was a bio major turned graphic designer turned 26-year-old guy getting married who was pretty bored at his desk job. The return to school after such a long break wasn’t easy, but he did it. We moved four times, twice with a newborn, and here we are two kids later, living a student’s life in a sleepy town in Pennsylvania.

I still get emails about that post, probably because so many of us have chosen to go back to school while also trying to start a family. It is tricky business.

He is at the end of his third year now which means he “works” every day on various rotations. Work means no pay, keeping your mouth shut, and sometimes holding open a skin flap. Right now he’s on trauma surgery and his next day off is two Sundays from now. It is bad, but not as bad as it will be two years from now when he’s in residency and working 80 hours a week for minimum wage. And really it will never be great. He will never be one of those dads who is always home by 5 and has every weekend free. He will be a dad working Sundays and late nights and every other holiday. He will be a dad who will definitely miss soccer games.

I joke that medical school is “the other woman” in our marriage, but really it is less of a joke and more the reality of coming to the end of a really long day of parenting and wishing your co-parent could take over so you can hide in the bathroom and take a quiet, peaceful shit.

I knew it would be hard, but sometimes the weight of it is very heavy, prompting me to feel very sorry for myself which is both unflattering and tiring. The moment I let those sad-faced demons in is the moment I begin to unravel. When I feel myself becoming the kind of woman I said I’d never be–ungrateful.

Here’s the thing: there is a time to let yourself feel overwhelmed and upset and quietly curse by the recycling bin and there is the time to remember how many other wives and husbands and moms and dads are working long hours and late nights and Sunday mornings. A time to remember that I am just one of many women (and men) staring at the clock and doing bath time and bottle time and dinner time alone.

It is hard work but it is good work. We are not alone.

And the good news is that the glass always ends up being half full even after Claire Dane cries and ugly breakdowns. Austin and I are in love even though he leaves his shoes all over the house and I leave my postpartum hairs all over the bathroom sink. He is a good dad and I am a good mom despite our big egos and impatient personalities. We can do hard things.

Carry on.

***

Love Story

April 8, 2013

I got engaged when I was 18 years old on a cold day in December to a boy I would never marry. He was my high school sweetheart and everything a girl could want; smart, sweet, handy with jokes. He was the guy you elect class president, the guy you take home to your parents. He took me to the beach and put the ring in a shell. I was shivering and expecting it and very, deliriously happy. It is a good memory.

Three years later we said a final goodbye after a series of very un-final goodbyes. I had been awful to him for a very long time. He should have walked away and he did. I was filled with so much regret that I wanted to die. I almost did. It is not a good memory.

I graduated college a few months later with a stomachache and the realization that I majored in a useless degree. I was a depressed and hopeless cliche. I drank too much, ate too little, and dated people I didn’t actually like. At one point I woke up at 3am underneath my car in a driveway that was not my own and thought, “I need to get it together.” It was very unflattering.

Then one day a stranger in the class above me messaged me with a friendly hello and I think you’re cute. I rolled my eyes and laughed with my roommates. He was cute too but I didn’t know him and had better things to do like get drunk in plastic baby pools, attend poetry readings, and generally act like an asshole. My friends hated me.

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Then one night when I was bored and lonely, I decided to write back to the stranger. I was aloof and cool and trying not to act interested. All I knew was that his name was Austin Baer and he’d moved a few states away. I had nothing to lose.

For the next three months we proceeded as casual online friends. We never spoke on the phone and there was never any mention of romantic intentions. We simply wrote back and forth about our days while I slowly got my life back together. When he finally did ask me on a date, I was cautious but excited. We went to a Format concert in Washington DC with a group of his friends. I changed my outfit ten times before I left. I don’t remember the concert, but I do remember my hands. I never know where to put my hands.

A few months later I packed up my car and moved from Virginia to Pennsylvania to continue our relationship. I said it was for “employment opportunities” but everyone knew it was for a boy which was embarrassing. The whole drive there my brain was stuck on repeat. Don’t let this be a mistake. Don’t let this be a mistake.

We took things very slowly. I learned he hates Christmas placemats and Sufjan Stevens. He learned I hate carrots and loud chewing. Seasons changed and so did we. We fought, we made up. We moved, we changed jobs. Most importantly, we fell in love.

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Then one pale Christmas Eve, I opened a handmade jewelry box and inside was my great-grandmother’s ring. It was three in the afternoon. I said yes.

I know it’s not kosher to compare, but I’m going to anyways. I’ve been proposed to three times and this time was different. This time there was no grand gesture or drama or tears. This time I was not deliriously happy in the way you are when you’re 18 and think love means never going to bed angry. Instead, I was happy in the way you are when you’re looking at your future and you know it’s right.

I am not one to gush and neither is Austin, but I will say this: I love him. I love him because he is tall and smart and has dark eyes and tries hard at things. I love him because he is not perfect for me.

We’ve been married for a few years now, and if there’s anything I’ve learned–it’s this: Marriage is not just a spiritual union. It’s taking out the trash and folding the other person’s underwear and asking if they’d like the last piece of chicken. It’s saying you’re sorry when you’re not really that sorry and biting your tongue when they are slurping their cereal and you just want to scream.

I know the hardest parts are yet to come, but I have to hope that our foundation is strong enough to withstand the worst of storms. I also know that love, in all its ambiguity, grows and changes for better with time. As always, Mark Twain says it best: Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.

 ***

Kate and Austin Baer