Monday, March 28, 2011

Fellowship Bombshell

And I'm not speaking of a hot blond fellowess. No. I mean the fellowship bombshell dropped on me over this weekend.

I guess I knew this could happen. All of Chad's friends are applying to fellowships, so he wasn't going to be the only one who didn't right? I hoped so. Too bad.

Chad has decided to apply for Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship. We'll see how that goes. If he doesn't find the right place we'll just go to Plan B: get a real job.

Let's say he does match somewhere here are my questions about Plan A:

Where do we get the cash to move with? We are already coming up negative each month, especially with crazy gas prices. We went $200 over on car gas alone over the last two weeks. At least with a real job they cover moving expenses.

Chad is off-cycle, which means he would start Oct.1st with Fellowship instead of July 1. Would YOU move early and start kids in a new school for the one year OR would you move with hubby and start mid-school year, OR would you move with hubby and home school that year?

Monday, March 21, 2011

gross stuff

can i let out a huge groan right now? im trying to put together the application for the Residency Relocation Loan right now and i just want to barf. im about 95% sure we'll need a co-signer to get the loan, but i really dont want to ask. and it's not pride either. it's guilt.

i feel this massive amount of GUILT whenever we need to ask for help because there's only one option: his parents. and i hate that. i hate feeling like i might be burdening them. or making them feel like we're using them. because i dont want them to EVER feel like that. i keep telling myself that everyone is investing in Scotch's future. that there will be a time when we can pay everything back to everyone.

i dont want much. i promise. im not looking for the big "payday" at the end. we matched in Ortho, which means there will be money {serious money} down the road {god willing nothing changes}. but i dont want the big house or the expensive cars. i want to get rid of the MASSIVE private medical school tuition debt. i want to pay off our house and debts. i want to buy my kids shoes without worrying. i want to take my mom out to lunch. is that too much to ask? i hope not.

you're talking to a girl who put herself through college. i came/come from NO MONEY whatsoever. in fact, we struggled pretty heavily all growing up. my parents still struggle. it breaks my heart and i hate watching it. so, money is a hard subject for me. it makes me feel sick and nervous.

and despite all of this, im filling out the paperwork and working up the courage to ask for yet another favor. is this normal? do you all feel like this? we go to a private school and our tuition bill is SKY HIGH. so i dont even understand this "loan utopia" that ive heard about. we live off of less than $1600 a month. im being real people. and reality hurts.

Reflecting on Match Day

All this talk of matching allowed me to reflect on my own match experience, which, I of course, caught on video...

Friday, March 18, 2011


clever title, huh? sports are an integral part of my life and they'll only become more important as time passes. not only did orthoman match in orthopedics, but this year we'll be going to a stereotypical midwest town!!! that's right folks, we matched to the University of Generic-ness!!! it's a huge sports med program and orthoman even "adopts" a HS sports team each year and is their personal team doctor.

i've got to admit that it's pretty freaky to think of him as being someone's doctor. but freaky in a good way, not "wake up in your mom's body" freaky.

when we got our envelope orthoman handed it to me to open. and i hesitated. my hands were shaking and i paused long enough for him to say "well? open it!" but my hands just didnt work. so the envelope got torn in half {oops!}. and when i saw it said Toledo, it just didnt register in my brain. it definitely took a few minutes for me to understand. maybe that's stupid, but we waited SO LONG to get to this point that when it came, it was overwhelming.

we kissed, we smiled, and we waited for the ceremony to be over. once everyone was "matched" orthoman kind of took off without a word to go talk to his buddies. everyone was celebrating and happy. and i just sat there. i mean, i was happy, but it i was feeling SO MUCH. it didnt help that my 2 best friends {we're a core group of 3} BOTH matched to Mayo. and so i sat there and tears slowly fell.

i felt elated and happy and sad and mournful. because as excited as i am to meet the other "resident wives", i have a HUGE group of "med school wives" here in St Louis - as in there are 16 of us. it's taken me a full day to digest everything. i think i need another week to completely work through it all.

i guess i always assumed that there were only happy feelings on match day, but the reality is that it goes both ways. because starting residency means that we end the schooling chapter of our lives. it's madness! madness i tell you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blessed Day!

Today we found out that Ben matched at his #2 pick. This means that instead of packing up to move to Temple, El Paso or Corpus Christi, TX, we get to stay right here in our house in Fort Worth, TX.

We are very excited about this for many reasons.

1. Our family is less than 5 hours away. It would have been farther for us to visit family at any of those other locations. We wanted to be close to family because both of our moms are not in good health, and because I am expecting Baby Blake #3 in October.

2. We would have had to sell our house for much less than what it was worth to be able to sell it quick and buy a new house in a new location.

3. We like it here in Fort Worth. It is very family oriented. We have a strong church family support system here, an established business, and many friends. Plus, we live near Eagle Mountain Lake, and we are planning to buy a boat. The cost of living here is awesome!

4. Ben's main stress-relieving hobby is hunting. Here we are closer to the land where his hunting cabin sits. With the money we saved by NOT moving, he can buy a 4 wheeler to drive around on our land.

5. We never would have been able to get into another house with as much space as ours has for the money we would have had to spend on a new house. Our house is 3,000 sq. feet with 4 bdrms, 2.5 bath, a dining room and a large loft/second living area. It sits in an extra large cul-de-sac lot and backs up to a large field where several hundred yards away sits the playground of the school Jackson will start Kindergarten in. We bought it in 2007 for a base price of $119,000. It was a promotional house. Our builder builds spacious (but NON-CUSTOM) homes. (There is nothing customized about our house. No ceiling fans, no curved entryways, no vaulted ceilings or crown moldings. It is just pure space. Which was fine with us because Ben is quite handy and could add that stuff -and has - as we wanted it.) It WAS worth almost $170,000 before the housing market crashed. Now it is worth about $140-150,000.

When we move Sam into Jackson's room, so they share and each have a twin bed, we will STILL have a nursery, our master bedroom AND a guest room/office. The rooms are very nicely sized.

6. Because we saved so much money to move and now don't have to, we have an abundance of extra spending money to buy fun toys and things we want like a hot tub, a used four wheeler and boat, a new computer, a shed for the backyard, updates on the house, etc. Plus, I don't have to work next year if I don't want to. My days of running a child care facility with 10-12 kids are OVER, unless I want to. If I do, I have made a reputation for myself. I can easily pick up a few kids if need be.

7. At JPS, Ben only has to work 8 hour shifts in the ER, and makes a higher salary than those other places, and gets full insurance for the whole family paid.

To sum up, I am ecstatic. This was the best choice for our family. Other choices may have had more competitive programs, but this is, by far, the best choice for our family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the beginning

hi. im natalie.

i figured i should at least introduce myself before i let you put your hand up my shirt {and ten points if you know what show i snatched that line from}.

if you havent noticed, my name is now on the sidebar under "Contributors". to say im stoked would be an understatement. maybe my uber excitement is lame, but im a nerd and that's just how it is.

so, background. im a jersey girl {yes, i love fake nails and desperately miss having them} who went to college and fell in love with and married a premed from colorado. we got married, got rejected by all of the med schools we applied to, waited a year, and reapplied. i figured that once we started med school, that was it. once we started though, we realized that getting IN was just the beginning.

somewhere along the way we found out we were having a baby {yikes!}. now we have a 17 month old "little bug". she's pretty cool. now we're newly matched and like Colleen, waiting for Thursday to come.

but honestly, im just happy to be along for the ride.

WE matched!

yesterday was one of the biggest days of our life. as Stacie pointed out, this is one of the last "we" moments in medicine. WE found out that WE matched in orthopedics. this is a pretty big deal for our family. my husband took 3.5 years and a leap of faith in choosing this field. he debated for months between family medicine and orthopedics. it was like trying to decide whether you want cheddar cheese ruffles and oreo cookies. both delicious, but completely different flavors.

and then there was the uncertainty. despite his ROCKING step I score, great grades, awesome letters of recommendation, scott was a nervous wreck. he freaked himself out about scrambling. awful doesnt even touch it. there were so many long talks into the night - all of our conversations seemed to focus on whether or not he was a legitimate candidate. my ears prickled every time he opened his mouth. but i knew better. and i was patient.

so when the email popped up yesterday congratulating him on matching, i screamed. when he came home last night, i swear to god he looked different. he had his confidence back. he really did *look* like a doctor.

then again, maybe it was just because he was wearing his white coat and was carrying his stethoscope.

Close Call

Ben texted me this morning and said, "350 students were unmatched this year in Emergency Medicine. There are 3 spots open this year for ER in the scramble. 2 of my close friends didn't get in." He also said, "ER was the most competitive specialty this year. It had the most unmatched applicants and the fewest scramble spots." Ben's specialty is Emergency Medicine.

Thank you, Lord, for taking care of my little family! Please be with those who are trying to figure out what to do right now.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Match Day has left us in good spirits. We found out that we did match to one of the 4 programs Ben interviewed at! Where? We won't know until Thursday, but for now, a sigh of relief that scrambling is not a nightmare we will have to face.

My faith was well-placed in my husband, as usual. I told him I was not nervous at all, that I had complete faith in him, when, okay, let's be real, yes, I was a little nervous about the possibility of having to scramble.

In this last 6 weeks, he was so full of self-doubt, and was sure his risky decision had cost us our life plan. It was a little disconcerting to see my type A, confident, smart, very successful husband worry so much about this. It is so not like him to doubt himself. Last night he was practically wearing a hole in the carpet from pacing with anxiety. This morning, when he called from his current (and LAST) rotation in medical school, he was elated! He said, "I can't tell you how much it means to me that even though I doubted myself, you always believed in me and were so supportive. I am so glad that your confidence in me was not in vain." I guess I made the right decision to keep my anxiety to myself. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

There is no "we" in residency

Things are quite different in Residency than they were in Medical School. Stephanie's comment is true, "it's something else." Something else entirely.

I felt actively involved somehow during medical school. As he learned in medical school, I learned. Perhaps by osmosis, not sure, but I came out of there feeling ready to be a GP!

I feel completely shut out of residency. They leave, then come back hours later... days later... I know nothing, NOTHING about what Chad is doing and learning. His training is mostly hands-on behind secured doors.

Unlike a school setting where just anyone can show up and walk around, a hospital is locked up tighter than a drum. We aren't welcome there.

Things are different on the home front too. He no longer gets the free pass he did from me in medical school. I expect him to pitch in and help out with dishes and kiddos.

With Loan Utopia gone, government aid gone and private loans demanding payback, the party is over. Out goes the feast and in comes the famine.

Do take comfort. As you run the marathon it only gets harder, but you're closer to the finish line.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"We" went to Medical School

This is not something I intentionally say, like "We' are pregnant" in an effort to include or be included. It is something I say unconsciously then finding myself correcting my statement to something like, "Well, I mean he went to med school and ... I was there..."

Unless you've been the woman behind the man it is hard to explain. Many of us have been super involved from writing their application essay for them to keep up with them in their text books.

We also sold our home, packed up and moved away to go to medical school; we lived there in student housing on campus with him.

Our dear hubbies get the sympathy vote in med school, "poor guy with the fam," but we know these folks are deceived. We are the secret weapon.

While other med students have to go to school, study, shop for groceries, wash their clothes, clean their living space, take out trash, etc... Our man does not~

When Chad was in med school, my goal was for him to only need to eat, sleep and med school. It's no wonder he did so well! And I take ownership in his success. I may not have gone to class or taken his tests, but I played a huge roll in his success in medical school and his further success in getting into a competitive fellowship.