Monday, September 27, 2010

Mama Montage: DITL

A day in the (weekend) life of this working mom, her family medicine intern doctor hubby, and our 4-month old daughter in eastern North Carolina, 9/26/10. This is my second day-in-the-life (DITL). I'm really glad we were able to capture this weekend in photos, as my hubby won't have another day off for the next two weeks. We don't get a lot of leisure time together these days.

(x-posted to DITL community, my LJ, and here)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wife, M.D.

Too cute! Via Neatorama. Totally could see this as a gift for Sprout.

Yoga Split

I admit that I haven't been good about finding time for a personal yoga practice lately, even though having yoga in my life is very important to me. It's so easy to find the excuses, but even carving out 15 minutes for myself would be very beneficial. I might just need to start getting up at 4:30 AM, if Sprout will allow me by going to sleep a little earlier!

I'm at least managing to do some yoga on the weekends, when I have the time and motivation to plan or prepare for my upcoming classes. I just need to get more creative with squeezing in my yoga, perhaps. For example, I sometimes do a headstand in Sprout's room after I've put her down in her pack n' play--especially if she's still fussy and I know it's going to take a little while to get her to sleep. After all, I might as well spend the time doing a little yoga rather than hovering near her door when I know she's going to start fussing in a few moments!

I will start teaching my gentle yoga class and co-teaching my mama-baby yoga class in a little under one month. I'm really excited, even though my postpartum body is still pretty deconditioned. Either way, I've been having fun planning the class with my yoga mama co-teacher who I'll call Seattle. We'll be teaching the class in Seattle's home studio, and Seattle was kind enough to offer her studio for my gentle yoga class as well.

I'll teach one hour of gentle yoga 30 minutes before the mama-baby yoga class on Saturdays, starting October 16th. My gentle yoga class is already full, with seven students pre-registered. I've taught five of the seven students before, so that makes me a little less anxious about starting up again and having Sprout with me while I teach. I wonder how many other yoga teachers have instructed a class while breastfeeding, which I'm sure will occur in my class at some point? Yoga wear for breastfeeding moms, now that's a new market that should be tapped, too! This cute Momzelle nursing top could work, though it is pricey at $50.

Ha! And after doing a quick google search, check out this (Israeli) video clip on the challenges of being a breastfeeding yoga mom: see here. Heheh, smart baby, and that mama has good balance!

The mama-baby class has space for only one more mama. So, we're already successful on student recruitment--and I'm still receiving emails a few times each week from new students! It makes me happy. Seattle and I are the only people offering mama-baby yoga within a 50 mile radius, I'm pretty sure, and both Seattle and I are learning as we go. At least we're learning with our own babies :). I also purchased many books on mommy-baby yoga, and have been borrowing Netflix videos on baby yoga.

It's really a joy being able to do yoga with my daughter. After teaching the baby yoga class, I'll be able to say I've taught through the phases of life--from baby, through pregnancy, to yoga for seniors. Not bad for someone who just started teaching in February 2008 as a "extracurricular" passion.

Wife, M.D.

I am so glad the hubby is off cards rotation. He's now on NICU, which is still long hours (7AM-7PM) but at least it's shift work, as the hubby calls it. Cardiology was a rough rotation--his first real one since orientation/family medicine lead-in. Cardiology was good in the sense that it reaffirmed the blessing of the hubby not matching to internal medicine (the Scramble was Hell, but turned out for the best!). He also received some nice compliments from a few of his patients, including one saying she finally understood what was going on after he talked with her.

However, the Q4 overnight call schedule really stunk. It put the hubby out of commission for two nights (on-call absence and post-call zombie) and made him a volatile cocktail of groggy and stressed. He fell asleep at the dining room table more times than I could count, and there still is a handprint on our bathroom mirror where he fell asleep standing up and then caught himself on the mirror so he wouldn't fall forward.

If I didn't have so much trouble getting Sprout to sleep and my own self in bed, I would've worked harder at ensuring the hubby made it to bed--taking him by the hand and leading him to the bedroom so he wouldn't pass out in the kitchen. The problem was that he would try to do one more thing at his computer before heading to bed at the same time as me, and then he would fall asleep at his keyboard. I would be passed out from my own exhaustion so couldn't shepard him to the bedroom. I'm hopeful that the NICU schedule will be kinder to both of us and get the hubby on a better sleep schedule. His circadian rhythms can't be more screwed up than they are right now.

Finally, I wonder if other medical spouses struggle as much as I do with addressing their doctor husband's physical health. As I've described above, his work schedule is just going to royally mess up his sleep schedule; that's almost a given. Anxiety and high-stress are also part of the normal status of the medical intern. However, I'm really starting to worry about my husband's weight. He's always struggled with his weight growing up, but med school and my pregnancy (husbands mirror some of the preggo weight gain, it's true) and starting residency have not been kind to him. It's amazing and sad looking back at the healthy, fresh-faced guy he was when we first started dating, only five years ago. He's gained over 70 lbs since then.

True, I'm four months postpartum and who am I to call the kettle black (hello, 20 lbs I need to still lose!)? Being body-focused on myself also makes me more sensitive to others' weight struggles. However, when is my hubby going to reach that pre-contemplation to contemplation stage of change readiness? What is it going to take? He's already on meds for cholesterol. Diabetes runs in his family. He guzzles diet Mountain Dew and other diet sodas, which pisses me off since I don't want Sprout drinking that crap. He owns 3x as many clothes as I do to fit the various sizes he's been at, and our closet can't hold any more clothes. He knows all the health implications of being overweight and tells patients to "not be like him" when he prescribes healthy behavior, but that knowledge/modeling isn't enough.

Stress sources have only increased over time, which is what life tends to do--more responsibilities, more challenges. I think a big problem is that he's doing most of his eating at the hospital, and he's eating to stay awake. I cook healthy food at home and purchase healthy snacks (lots of fruit), but he doesn't eat them or pack them. I can't force him to eat the food I make, and I don't have time to pack his meals when I'm struggling to pack my own and get Sprout's supplies ready each night.

So, what is it going to take? Do others struggle with their medical spouse's weight? What can be done, when he's pressed for time and is chronically sleep-deprived and is stuck at the hospital? I want a healthy husband back!

Mama Montage

My little girl is now over 4 months old. It's hard to believe how fast time is passing and how much she is growing. On Monday, she had her 4 month check up and weighed in at 12 lbs 10 oz (19th percentile). She was 21st percentile for height and 27th percentile for head circumference. Sprout received an oral vaccine and two shots. The shots are always worse for the parent than the baby--because who likes to see their child hurt, even though it is for their own good? Two nurses came in and were very well coordinated in giving her the two shots simultaneously. Sprout screamed indignantly for a minute and had two huge tears roll down her cheeks, but a little cuddling calmed her. She nursed when we got home and, although she felt a little warm that night, she slept just fine and I didn't need to give her any painkillers. I was very happy about that, since the hubby was on-call that night.

I love how Sprout now smiles and giggles when she sees me (although it's a mixed blessing when she does it after I've tried to put her down to sleep at night in her pack n' play, smiling and kicking her legs when I come in to check on Miss Fusspot). She reaches out and grabs anything that comes near her face or body--including my hair (ow! no more dangle earrings for a while...), and she's snagged the hubby's glasses more than a few times. She still hasn't quite mastered rolling onto her tummy; she's close, but can't quite get the shoulder tucked yet. Instead, she rotates like the hand on a clock, and I often find her bunched in weird S-shaped positions in the morning (head back, sleeping on her side).

She has started to become a little ticklish too, since I can sometimes get open-mouthed smiles and giggles by kissing her neck. As for vocalizing, she's moved from French "r"'s to occasional happy squeals, which are very cute right now but I know will be lovingly headache-inducing in a few months :P. Finally, she's just now starting to become interested in grabbing her toes. She often tries to go for them when she's on the changing table. Her increasing mobility sure makes getting a cloth prefold diaper and cover onto her a challenge at times, but I don't regret going the cloth diapering route!

Breastfeeding still continues to go well. I know I've been lucky to still be exclusively breastfeeding. I pump at work around three times during my 10-hour day, usually getting 11 to 14 oz total. When I get home with Sprout, I nurse her for long stretches at night until Sprout goes to bed around 9 or 9:30. She then sleeps through the night until I get her up at 5AM (I know, I have a charmed baby). I nurse her a little in the morning before I then get all my bags packed and drop her off at her daycare at 6:30. While the pediatrician said she could start some solids at anytime now if I saw the need, I'm probably going to wait a bit longer--if only because breastmilk poops are so much easier to deal with (water soluble) than solid food poops!

Here's an unposed (if you can believe it!) photo of my whole little family. As others have commented upon seeing the photo, we're going to need a bigger bed, heh.

I want to end this post with an ode to my crockpot. The only way that I have been able to get any real food on the table in the past few weeks has been because I discovered the wonderful crockpot. I think the one we have at our house originally belonged to my MIL, and I've been using the heck out of it. So far, I've made many batches of steel cut oats (which I eat rewarmed with milk, almonds, raisins, and honey in the morning while nursing--trying not to drip on Sprout); a curried apple-zucchini-bean soup (I thought it was pretty good, but the hubby didn't like it); BBQ tofu (that the hubby liked); veggie soup with cabbage, chickpeas, celery, carrots, and tomatos; vegetarian 3-bean chilli (dinner tonight!); Jamaican red bean soup (quite good, with coconut milk); and sweet n' sour tofu with broccoli (I think cabbage does better in the crockpot than broccoli, but it still came out OK).

I'm on the look-out for more vegetarian crockpot recipes (preferrably ones that can cook for 8-10 hours while I'm at work or for 3 hours when I'm home on the weekend). Send any recipe recommendations my way!

Monday, September 20, 2010


This post inaugerates my first foray into more public blogging. I've had a semi-private online journal since October 2003, so I'm definitely not new to blogging. However, my previous blog was self-limiting in the types of online connections I could make with real-life friends/family or new 'virtual' contacts. Hence, my need to create this blog.

I titled this blog "4-Way Split" for a few reasons. First, like many working new moms, I now feel like my life pulls me in many different directions simultaneously. I have to fulfill the demands of my identity roles: wife, mother, full-time worker, self. More specifically, I have the four-fold roles of the family doctor's wife; the full-time public health program coordinator; a community yoga teacher in my spare time; and a pseudo-single mom to my baby daughter, 'Sprout' (her blog pseudonym here). The other reason I chose the blog name "4-Way Split" was because I liked how it played off my passion for yoga--with 'split,' get it?

So, I will structure this blog such that I give updates on the four-fold nature of my life:
  1. Wife, M.D.: What it's like to be married to a family doctor resident, going through primary care practice training, or how I live my life in the (frequent) absence of my doctor husband while he saves others' lives. This section will cover love and marriage and relationship ponderings.
  2. Paycheck Prattle: My day-to-day work as a public health program manager, working in Eastern North Carolina to prevent heart disease and strokes. This section will deal with my professional development and job musings.
  3. Yoga Split: Tracking my love of doing and teaching yoga in my community. This section will cover my thoughts about instructing yoga and my body/spiritual/personal work explored through yoga.
  4. Mama Montage: All things parenting and domestic as I journey through this new land called "Motherhood."
I know I could start a whole separate blog off of any one of the above topics, but that's just too much work for me. That's why I hope organizing my blog under topic headings will help give a framework for my posts.