Back to Medical School, MS3

The first time starting MS3 in 2013, first day of my surgery clerkship! Scrubs don’t fit my middle schooler frame…

Welp, summer was over – it was back to MS3! I had time for one four week clinical rotation until it was going to be too risky to be on rotations while pregnant. I decided to keep it close to home and start with OB/Gyn. I started out on the labor and delivery suite. It was entertaining to run into rooms and each patient would say something like… “whoa! when are you due!?”

Second time going back to MS3 in 2017! First day of OB/Gyn!
Disguised as a patient, but actually the medical student… Well both simultaneously!

I was definitely the “pregnant medical student”, which was fun and I seemed to be memorable to most.  I was also entering into a new class of MS3 students and was able to meet a few of my new colleagues.

It was definitely hard to transition back into clinical care. All of the acronyms were new again and learning how to learn new diagnoses and terms specific to the field of OB/Gyn was difficult. Thank goodness I had the slightest introduction to the field by having a baby already… I remember specifically when the instructors would show us diagrams of the cervix at full dilation, or discuss pregnancy related complications – they would glance my way, haha, and I would reassure them that I wasn’t scared, haha – it was my second, and they would breath a sigh of relief.

Studying at a small local coffee shop at 6AM, before clinic!

The rotation was fast paced. Especially for someone who had never used the computer systems. The last time I logged into the inpatient record was 4 years ago! I was a bit slow navigating the electronic medical records, but slowly found where to location information quickly. In the evenings I had lecture that resulted in getting home after my little guy finished dinner. I would hop on the bus and head home to greet the family, and bury my head in a book after bedtime and look up the next day’s patients. It was a whirlwind.

I finished the rotation with a week and a half of surgical service. I was on Gyn Onc and the hours were pretty intense. I would arrive at the hospital a little before 5AM to pre round on my patients. Luckily I convinced Paul to drop me off at the hospital each morning. He got out of bed early to take me. On the outpatient clinic rotations I didn’t have to be at the hospital until 8AM, so I would study in a coffee shop until clinic opened. Mornings are much more efficient and fresh for me. Studying in the morning before the world wakes up also allowed me to have the evenings with my little man during his last few weeks as an only child!

Cannot take his eyes off of the splashing elephants!

While the week day hours were crazy, we did set aside some time for family fun. We went to the zoo on the weekend and let our little man check out his favorite animals: the elephants and giraffes!  The monkeys also put on a show and were howling like crazy.  One Sundy morning we also made Uncle Tuffy buttermilk pancakes – I made them into Mickey shapes, which was a family favorite!

Getting nice view of the Giraffes with daddy! It pays to be tall!

I am glad to be on the other side of my first rotation. The first rotation back seems to be the most difficult, as its such an adjustment from the research world. I also made it through without having my baby in the OR’s while on Gyn Onc! Thank goodness for compression socks!

Now it was time to snuggle in and enjoy the last few weeks as a family of three before baby #2 arrived, and I was back at the hospital as a patient!

Making Tuffy Pancakes! So yummy! I didn’t let him stir them flat like I used to!


Alyssa & Luke Visit Pittsburgh!


Alyssa and Luke fresh off the plane! #ShortProblems

It was definitely a quick weekend.  Whew, Alyssa and Luke were surely traveling on the Marsh schedule and putting together one last hurrah before all of Luke’s sports seasons start!  They came out to Pittsburgh for a Pirates game!!

While they were here, we were able to do a tiny bit of site seeing, we went up to Mt. Washington to give them the best view of the city. We also made sure to hit up Primanti’s before going to the baseball game. It was a gorgeous afternoon, so we sat outside and enjoyed our meal. Taylor and Katie met up with us too. No one can turn down Primanti Brothers!

A taste of Pittsburgh! Pirmanti Bro’s!

After we thoroughly enjoyed our food, we stopped and grabbed Soren from the side of the road. Soren works in the lab next to mine and was here solo for a few months doing his post doc while his wife and little one were back in Germany! We had so much fun the last time they were in Pittsburgh, so of course we started where we left off and Soren was coming along on our many “family” adventures whether wanted to or not – hah!

Cannot get enough of this view! We love PNC park!

Once we got to the game, it of course started pouring… like buckets of rain, haha! We waited it out, and it quickly passed. The game was nice, and the view spectacular. It was so nice to have Alyssa and Luke visit for a quick weekend! I hope we can do it again, bring the little kids and really let the party begin!! Winsand reunion!

Ice cream in the cold weather, why not?

I should also mention that around the same time we welcomed other Wisconsin visitors for a quick dinner. Jera and her hubby were out visiting for a Pirates game, and catching a few ballparks on their road trip east for a conference! We had the pleasure of having them over and showing them our place after they did some self touring of Pittsburgh!  The Wisconsin visitors were flowing in – which always makes me VERY happy!  Thanks so much for stopping through, and let this be an invitation to others who want to venture east! 🙂

Wisconsin visitors!!

Becoming a host family!

As an MD/PhD student, life is about transitions. We begin the program with research months trying to stay analytical…  then we move right into anatomy and test our abilities at route memorization. After anatomy, it’s two years of basic sciences and organ systems, with summer research rotations. Follow this with USMLE Step 1 (our first step of the boards) – and off to research land for 3 to 4 years. We often switch and transition from one person and one mode of thinking/learning to another. It can be a challenge, but also has its perks.

In graduate school we welcomed our first son – who’s now 2.5 years old! Crazy! It was tough to manage getting him to daycare and school while a full time student myself, but grad school affords you flexibility. I was able to do a lot of work on nights and weekends, which allowed me to juggle the demands of motherhood.  Soon this flexibility would be no more.  I am unfortunately done making my own schedule for the next few years as I return to clinical medicine.

Happy Birthday! A welcome and birthday party!

This reality meant that Paul and I were going to have to get extremely creative with our childcare situation. I wasn’t going to have any say over my hours as a medical student – and I wasn’t about to be the only person on the team who had to ask for exceptions to leave early, and there are no sick days as a med student.  My MS3 schedule was going to be unpredictable, changing from month to month and rotation to rotation. Paul’s schedule was no better as an attending, and often works 24 hour in-house call shifts, and with a clinical schedule like his, he cannot simply leave the OR if a childcare emergency arises. Sick days for our little guys would be frankly impossible to manage without family in the area. Additionally, our friends who we rely on heavily for help are also full time medical folks who deal with the same challenges we face.  Paul and I love our professions and work, but it means that we needed to stretch our creativity to find solutions when I went back to medical school full time.

Time at Lake Eva on the Pontoon!

In the end – we decided on a new family adventure and started the process to become a host family to an au pair! With the move into our house we were able to turn our converted attic into a nice cozy space for our future au pair! I had the chance to decorate it and make it a cozy spot for our new family member. We then went online through an agency and interviewed a few lovely candidates. In the end – I decided quickly with a gut reaction and we asked Lovis to join us for the year! She agreed – and the rest is history! She joined our home in July and we’ve been so fortunate to have her as a family member. Oh – and of course Drew absolutely adores her!!

The best picture of Drew from our Maternity session! Haha! Look at how gorgeous!

Life is all about moments, friendships, and sharing time with those close to you! I’m so thrilled we made the decision to become a host family, and we’re looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!

Last Wisconsin Adventure 

God-roomie / God mom and Drew four wheeling around!

After our adventure to Missouri, we road tripped back up to my stomping grounds in Wisconsin!  At 30 weeks pregnant, you can bet I was wearing my compression socks and had my feet up.  I was also trying to study up on old med school material since I was going to be heading back to the wards in a few weeks, after four years of doing full time research. I had some major catching up to do, so I was trying to work my multitasking mom skills.

Fishing with the little guy… he loved to wind, but didn’t like when mom had to cast!

Once we rolled into my parents place, we waited for Lovis to arrive after a long and delayed itinerary from Pittsburgh. Lovis, our amazing au pair, was going to join us to experience the joys of Wisconsin and Michigan!  Well, of course they canceled her flight from Chicago, and rerouted her to Green Bay (instead of Appleton) and lost her luggage along the way. It was a loooong day in the airport for Lovis. The next morning, Lyssa came over (my right hand gal) we packed up and drove up to Houghton to spend some time at Lake Eva! I was so excited to be able to run up for a few days of Lake Eva summer time. It is seriously one of the best places on earth, in my book.

The dream team! Curly and Drew busting into the skeeto in the background.. me, Lyssa and the new kid visiting in style in our GB and Michigan Tech gear!

Up at Lake Eva we did some four wheeling, boating, fishing, and of course a little swimming! The water was a brisk Michigan temperature, but it was refreshing for both mind and spirit to float in the cool lake water.  In the evenings we watched some old romantic comedies that were stored away at the cabin from the mid-90s. During the daytime we hit up a few of our favorite spots. We shopped around main street houghton at the hardware store, the surplus shop and the new antique and coffee store that I love so much. I got Drew the next size up winter boots, in hopes that he can wear them in some of that fluffy Michigan snow this year!

Early morning boat rides and coffee! I just love this time of year! We have a new driver too!

We also ventured up to Calumet to check out the copper store and roam the streets of what could have been Michigan’s capital! Last on our favorite local stops was of course the Mosquito! We stopped in to grab some cheese curds and introduce Lovis to the local cuisine of the curd. It did not disappoint. The four wheelers were a blast and we splashed through the puddles! We had an amazing time taking in all the fresh air.

Checking out the farm! Looking good after chores!

After touring the UP – we drove back to Green Bay and took in the local sites. Lovis was able to see the Green Bay stadium and Drew ran around Lambeau, which makes a mom proud. We also made sure to see the VanDeHei farm and give Drew a up close view to the calves and dairy cows. We missed chores, or as the Erwins say “choring”, but soon Drew will be old enough to hook up that milker!  He loved the cows and enjoyed the tractors too, but wasn’t so sure about getting sand in his crocs… haha, country boy fail!

Standing in front of tomorrow’s milkers! Good morning ladies! The three amigos!

While in Wisconsin we visited family and grandparents. We stopped in to see Grandpa VB and took Grandma Marsh out for her birthday at the Petticoat Junction. My dear cousins were kind enough to throw a BBQ so we could all get together and let the kids run free in the backyard. Drew man loves hanging out with his cousin, and it was a blast to see them squeal with delight while dunking the ball in the basketball  hoop! So much fun. Thanks again to Andrea for hosting and letting us mess her kitchen with food and good company!  I hope we can continue to get back so they grow even closer with age!

Out for lunch in Seymour with Great Grandma Marsh!

The week went fast, and we closed the week by joining Ben and Jen at their wedding!! Luckily I remembered to bring some sort of maternity wedding apparel. It was a close call, but I pulled something together out of my suitcase. It was a treat to see so many of Joel’s friends all in one spot and to catch up with everyone, and truly an honor to be included as a part of their special day and wedding celebration. I loved seeing Ben so happy!  Listening to him “repeat” his vows was so Ben, and absolutely made the day!  Dinner and dancing were fantastic! All 31 weeks of my little man and I were out on the dance floor! It was a wonderful night. We are so blessed that Joel was and is so loved by such amazing people. We couldn’t ask for better friends.

The next day I was back to Pittsburgh and gearing up for the MD/PhD retreat and getting ready to start medical school! What a fun summer – the last summer before re-entering my clinical training in medical school. I was not looking forward to seeing this chapter of my MD/PhD training come to a close. However, celebrating with a few days at Lake Eva and a few days in Green Bay surrounded by family and friends was just the energy I needed to start a bittersweet new chapter! Thank you for being a part of my journey – now it’s off to the land of clinical medicine!

Our vacation comes to a close, back to Pittsburgh! Posing in front of the selfie wall in Appleton Airport! Twinning!