the sweet spot of step 2

26 Dec

photo (90)

I cannot believe we’re already past the halfway point of this pregnancy–it feels like the post-first trimester bit has flown by!  Tomorrow should be a pretty great day.  I’m turning 30 (!!) and we have our anatomy scan, where we’ll hopefully see things like four heart chambers, appropriately-sized functioning kidneys, symmetrical hemispheres of the brain, and the much anticipated penis v. vulva.

Considering that I’m not graduating until May 2015, taking step 2 essentially 17 months prior to graduation is early.  In part, I hope I might be able to show improvement in scores from my step 1 performance before applying the residencies (fingers crossed, please!).  But a HUGE motivation was avoiding having to breast pump between sections.  Although Aurelia was already nine months old and I didn’t need to pump all that frequently, it was still stressful during step 1.  For these tests, we are given an hour break to use as we see fit between testing sections.  So, we can take a few minutes between each hour-long testing segment, or we can store up so we can have 30 minutes for lunch.  But something to consider is that the time it takes getting in and out of the testing room eats away at one’s break time.  Many minutes are lost signing in and out, getting your finger printed, having the metal detector scan you, etc.  Fitting in 20 minutes of pumping multiple times can be tricky.  Thanks to Sophie Currier I should have been able to get extra break time for pumping and make it work, but the process of getting approval would have been such a battle that I’d rather avoid it altogether.

What I did not consider were some of joys of pregnancy during the nine-hour test.  I’m not being sarcastic.  I took the test at 18 weeks, a common sweet spot of pregnancy.  By withholding liquids somewhat (I know, I know, purposefully dehydrating oneself is not advised), I avoided having to urinate nonstop.  And instead I got to feel the fairly consistent kicks and nudges of the tenant of my uterus…definitely gave me a little extra encouragement, especially at the end of the day when I was pretty much the last person in the testing center.  I couldn’t help but think back on the words of one of my favorite clerkship site directors: “Oh, to be pregnant!  It’s like having a little friend with you all the time!”

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One Response to “the sweet spot of step 2”

  1. ER December 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi Anna,

    I just wanted to say that I have been following your blog ever since I saw your op-ed in the NYT. As cliche as it may sound, you really are an inspiration to me- I graduated with my bachelor’s a year and a half ago, took a year off to work/get married, and found out a month after the wedding that I was pregnant (34 weeks today!). I thought for sure that starting my family so young would mean having to put my medical or graduate school plans on hold or giving them up altogether (still deciding between PhD and MD, although being pregnant has only increased my interest in medicine/medical school)- but now I see that is not necessarily the case. I am still apprehensive about juggling the demands of a young family and graduate work, but a little more optimistic now 😉 Best of luck to you & congratulations!

    P.S. I don’t know how you are managing medical school coursework, exams, an infant, AND being pregnant, but you seem to be handling it BEAUTIFULLY!

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