A lot of what will happen is still up in the air since I haven't talked to the Dean yet. I don't know if its possible to take a year off after 4th but I should know more next week. From the sounds of it, its not possible or advised. Thats fine, I wouldn't mind starting my year off half way through 4th if I had to.
I wish I knew more about what 3rd and 4th year are really like for my school. If Im working 40-50 hours during 3rd year and the dean says its definitely possible for me to have someone bring the baby to the hospital for 30min or so every day so I could breast feed or at least give them bottles and see the baby for a minute (during lunch, if I even get a lunch), then I might decide not to take a year off at all. If it sounds manageable I would do it. I really love being a part of my class so Id love to graduate with them even though thats not my main priority. And if 4th year is as "easy" as everyone makes it sound, then its quite possible that I won't need to take a year off then either. Again I just don't know and I hope to get some insight next week.
Matching in Michigan -- Im making a lot of assumptions but since Im aiming for a residency that generally has tons of unfilled spots by the end of match, I guess Im being optimistic. Michigan has a TON of hospitals especially in the detroit area. I also have some connections back at home so I'm hoping all those things help me get a spot. There are so many rural areas in Michigan too so who knows. If I don't get a residency in Michigan it wouldn't be the end of the world, it would just be nice. So Im not really worried about it quite yet.
So just replying again for anyone that might be interested. I spoke with the dean of my school and he said its reasonable to have someone bring the baby to me during 3rd year outpatient rotations like FM, peds, psyche and I should expect to be working 40-50hrs per week. He said IM you work 12-14 hour days but once you're done rounding, they work 3-4hrs into your schedule each day for reading (to present the next day) so he said it was also likely that I could nurse a baby during that time as well. Obviously surgery and OB are way to unpredictable and are the longest hours. He also said (although I don't plan to do this but its nice to know) that I could push boards off until September (any later and they will think I failed the first time around). This is if it seems way too impossible to take boards with a 3 month old. Lord willing my pregnancy will go normally and baby will be healthy so I should be able to take boards on time. Taking a year off and doing some research so that I can have a year to bond with the baby is not a bad idea. He said every mom is different so Im sure Ill be making up my mind about a gap year when the time comes. Basically in February I will be assigned one of 12 rotation schedules and I can trade for the one that will work best with a baby (as in pushing OB and surgery as far back as possible).
I didn't ask about a gap year right after 4th year since I think someone on this thread answered that pretty well. If I have a second baby during 4th year, I will either be fine since 4th year is so flexible or I would start leave half way through the year.
He did say the timing was pretty good since toward the end of 2nd year, the classes tend to get more focused (women's health, peds, geriatrics) which will make them easier. To be honest, 2nd year seems easier already because its more focused. Not saying its "easy" because there is a lot more information, but easier because clinical stuff makes much more sense to me than seemingly abstract biochem. I guess thats just how my brain works. So just from what I know already about 1st and 2nd year, I'd say its probably easier to have a baby during 2nd year because you have the flexibility to take a gap year after boards if you want, whereas you can't really take a gap year between 1st and 2nd because board scores tend to drop 15-20% (just quoting the dean with this figure).
I hope this helps future Dr. Mom's out there like me, just wondering how in the world you can have both a family and a career in medicine If I remember, Ill post after I take the boards and let you know how it went and what I decide.
Congrats on the pregnancy! Sounds like things are working out. The one thing I'd just mention is that you might want to be careful about making sure your OB & surgery rotations are not back-to-back even if you push them back a little. Certainly the pumping/nursing issue would be easier once your baby's older, but if your OB & surgery rotations are anything like ours are, you'll be absolutely exhausted by the end of them and you'll basically see your kid & husband for a very minimal amt of time/day for multiple rotations in a row. I think it's a good idea to push them back, but definitely make sure you have something with easy hrs in between them to give yourself some time to recharge and feel somewhat sane Keep us updated on how it goes.
Thank you for the advice!! I hope I can work it out that way I'll know in February what my schedule will look like. Maybe I'll be able to post it here for general reference. Looks like this thread has been read a lot so if I can help others out there, that would be great!
For those following the thread and *hopefully* find it helpful, thought Id give an update. I had quite an unexpected surgery just a few days ago that is going to require additional surgery after the baby is born, on top of newly discovered minor health issues that I will have to deal with in the near future. All of it has me rethinking my original plan about a gap year, haha. Moral of the story is life happens, and depending on what the specialist says, I may end up taking a gap year starting this January after all. It would give me my whole third trimester to relax and I wouldn't have to try to catch up with school when my baby is born. Originally I was thinking I could push through it because the classes scheduled then are supposedly easier, but with pending surgery and recovery time (and Im not even sure what else), I think I may be in over my head. I have this strong desire to encourage women like me who want to start families before they are 30 while they are in med school and prove that they can do it. I am determined I will still do just that, but perhaps a gap year doesn't hinder that as much as I originally thought (I am quite stubborn if you couldn't tell by my posts). If I didn't have some health issues come up, I still would've continued to consider the gap year but instead I would've made my decision the very day I realized breastfeeding seems impossible and baby won't sleep and I failed a test (because again...Im stubborn haha). Baby plus definite surgery plus following up with a specialist while finishing med school just might actually be insane. I am waiting to decide officially until I know more. Plus honestly Im nervous about making the decision in either direction. I welcome any advice!! In fact PLEASE send your advice/encouragement my way. I am surrounded by women who think being a stay at home mom is the only way to go so I really don't have many people to ask. Thats why I love this forum If it helps the discussion, my minor health issues and future surgery aren't fatal or even uncommon. It just sucks and taking exams 4 days post op does not equal good grades O_o