I'm a newly minted 4th year med student, and my daughter was just born! Unfortunately, she was born at 30 weeks due to a critical illness and will be in the NICU for a very long time if she survives. I had planned everything so that I would finish my sub-i and step 2 before she was born and be ready for residency applications in the fall, but now I fear all that is out the window.
Any advice from my fellow medical mamas? At this point I'm seriously considering a year off, but although my baby is clearly the most important thing in my life, I don't want to derail my career completely. Anyone had a baby in the NICU and handled maternity leave/life stuff?
PS So honored to have finally joined the ranks of MD/future MD moms!
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! I have not been in your position, although I know what it is like to have a very sick child, and I'm sorry for what you are going through.
I'm also sorry that your well-thought-out plan for your 4th year has suddenly been completely changed. It sounds like you will want to spend every possible moment with your child at this point. It also sounds like you don't know exactly what will happen in the long run, and it will be hard to make any decisions until things settle out a bit. Later on, if you get to a point where she is stable and you feel comfortable leaving her with the nurses for a while, then you might consider trying to start out with a light rotation, or trying to get credit for things you are learning in the NICU. I think that if you did an important rotation like a sub-i before you were ready -- if you were distracted because of the baby's issues or if you needed to leave a lot because of medical crises -- it might not work in your favor. Also, if the rotation is very time consuming, you may feel that you are not there enough for the baby. If things remain hectic and it looks like working is not a possibility at all, then just be there for your baby and take a year off. Taking a year off won't derail your career and everybody should understand. But it seems like you don't have to make a decision yet.
Totally agree with everything sahmd said above and just wanted to echo her in saying congratulations and that this must be an incredibly difficult time for you & I'm sorry... Other than that, I just wanted to emphasize that particularly as you're planning to go into family med, everyone will almost certainly be very understanding. I don't think I really thought about until I went on interviews (peds) and spent a portion of almost every single interview talking about family (the fact I had 2 kids was in my application and I showed up very pregnant to my interviews) that the vast majority of the people reviewing your application and interviewing you are a bit older and tend to have kids. They understand the difficulties of balancing family and career and certainly in a situation like this, no one (except at a program that you probably wouldn't want to be at anyhow due to its environment) would fault you for taking a year off. Please take care of yourself and keep us updated on what you decide! Best of luck!