Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mommy's 4 week on the east coast

Dearest Chloe,

Today is my second to last day on the east coast. Mommy has been in Washington DC for a radiology pathology course that is required for all PGY4 radiology residents. It's been an interesting 4 weeks as I've never been alone since I've gotten married actually!

Of course, it wasn't an entire 4 weeks as I flew back to California half-way through the course to come see you! You couldn't keep me away for an entire 4 weeks without seeing my baby and also, your dad was able to come with me for the first week so I wasn't completely alone then either.

As I sit here in my hotel room, I realized that I am not very good at being alone anymore. Before I met your daddy, I always thought I was miss independent. I was all about my career and everything in my head pretty much revolved around myself. Back then, I probably wouldn't use the word selfish to describe myself and I would chalk it up to being ambitious and driven. Now as your almost 30-year-old mom, I do see my early 20-something-year-old self as a bit selfish.

Life has such a whirlwind for the longest time and still is! Your dad and I got married and within 2 days, I started residency and he started his PGY3 year as an orthopedic surgery residency after a research PGY 2 year. It was definitely a change in pace for the both of us. And by the end of intern year came the most beautiful surprise, which obviously was you! And then somehow, we ended up with both of us doing residency and a daughter! and of course, we can't forget our toy poodle Po!

It's our crazy little family and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been a lot of work to get to where we are now and I am so proud of all of us. I am so grateful for the support and love that I have received along the way especially from your grandmother. I know I wouldn't have made it to now without her and I know I'll continue to rely on her.

Sometimes it's easy to forget to be grateful because you get so caught up in the day to the day. Your dad and I don't live the most typical life. We don't work normal hours. We do the most unnatural thing, which is being away from you so that we can finish our training as physicians. Sometimes the days are long and it's easy to lose sight of what we are doing. I give your dad a hard time for not being "normal." I'll get upset for not being able to to do date nights, celebrate anniversaries, and even the fact that we've been married for almost 4 years and we still haven't gone on a real honeymoon.

When I think about the times I've been immature, it reminds me of my early 20-something-year-old self because in that moment, I'm only thinking about myself. And I probably would still think that way if you weren't in the picture.

I haven't really had any chance to truly reflect on what a privilege my crazy life has been. It's been in these moments of quiet in Washington DC that I am reminded of how blessed I am and how selfish it is of me to be ungrateful of the life that I've been given.

Here we are in March of 2015. You are now 26 months old. Your dad is 3 months and 15 days from graduating residency!! (but who's counting right?) I'm about 3 months away from taking boards and finishing my second to last year of residency. We are about 14 weeks away from your move down to San Diego. Isn't that crazy?  It's week 86 of 100 of my countdown!!

This part is for your grandma. I want her to know that raising you has not been in vain. It's been a little over 2 years since the end of my maternity leave (February 22nd 2013 to be exact). In these past 2 years, mom this is what you've allowed me to accomplish. I've scored the highest in my residency class in the in-service exam for both 2014 and 2015. I had 3 first author publications and participated in other miscellaneous research. I got accepted into women's imaging fellowship at UCSD.  But of course the most important academic hurdle is yet to come, which will be the board exam in June. Thank you mom for letting me pursue my career. And when you're older, thank your grandma for letting mommy continue residency without falling behind. Because at the end day, just as she is doing this for me, I'm doing this for you.

I think the reason that your dad and I sometimes feel so beat down in our training is because it's a lot of work and very little reward. However, we keep persevering because at the end of day, we know that what we do is a privilege and an opportunity that most people don't ever get to have and more importantly, we have the even greater privilege of being our mom and dad and we would never ever stop trying at something that would provide you with a better life. You are our hope and you are our inspiration. You make us better people. And for that I am eternally grateful that God has chosen me to be your mom.

Overall, I've been freezing my ass off in DC but I am really appreciative of some of the quiet time I've had to reflect because I'll go back to California feeling recharged and ready to take on the world because with my family by my side, there's nothing I really cannot do!

So here are in pictures of what mommy has been up to in the last 4 weeks! You're in here too since I did go back to visit you!!

These are from the first week that daddy was here with mommy! We went to explore DC a couple times. It was really really cold! We'll come back with you in future! We promise!

Mommy actually had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends from college. Ironically coming all the way to the east coast turned out to be the most socializing your mom has done with people outside of work, you, dad, grandma, grandpa and your uncle! I have to say it was a very pleasant surprise! That's Aunt Debra, we were roommates in college and we were in the same sorority! and that's Aunt Lin, we studied abroad together in Cambridge in the summer of 2006 together! Lots of great stories from when mommy was in college that I'll have to share with you some other time :) 

I visited my cousins (your aunt Jasmin and uncle Jason) in New York the last weekend of my 4 week stay! It was nice to see family especially when you're on the other side of the country! 

We even stopped by your dad's medical school!!

I wasn't joking about the weather! This is probably the worst weather that the east coast has experienced. But being from California, I wouldn't know since it never gets below 50 degrees in San Diego or Irvine. Either way, it was quite a shock for mommy! But it was another opportunity to feel grateful and I will never complain about the weather in California ever again!

In all honesty, my favorite part was going back at the half way mark to see you again and the worst part was having to come back. But here are some of the photos from our time together! 

And I can't forget all the great photos that your grandma and uncle Arthur have sent me throughout my time here! They have been awesome with daily updates and twice daily face time sessions! But mommy has a board review that she needs to teleconference into so we'll end this blog with my favorite photo from them and a short update on how you've been doing! You're doing so well in pre-school! So much better than my last entry. You don't cry at all at drop-offs! You tell grandma that school is fun! You come home and sing all the American nursery songs and have taken an interest in American cartoons! Korean is still your primary language but it's awesome to watch you become bilingual! You've also adjusted quite easily into eating American food provided at pre-school as well! You're so awesome little bear! You make me feel so much more confident about you moving down and starting pre-school full time! I know we can do it! It's going to be just you and me in about 4 months! Actually, you me and po! Us 3 bears are going to be just fine and daddy is going to do awesome at his fellowship! We're all going to be okay :)

Don't you ever forget that everything we do is for you! You make everything so much more worthwhile! You are our world! 

Love, Mom

Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 week countdown!

Dearest Chloe,

I started my 100 week countdown when you were about 6 months old. I think I just started my PGY 3 year of residency. I had you in January of my PGY 2 year. I went back to work end of February. At that point, it seemed impossible as I still had another 3.5 years of residency and a year of fellowship. The light at the end of the tunnel was not visible in any way shape or form. When I went up 1 year in residency that July, just maybe there was a slight flicker of light. I thought at least that's another year down. I did the math and it seemed that there was approximately 100 weeks until then to when I took my boards, which is when your dad, your grandparents and I believed would be the most appropriate time for you to move down to San Diego. Well here we are now! In week 80! I can't friggen believe it!

It is now January 22nd of 2015. You are now 2 years old. I am now a PGY 4 and your dad is a PGY 6. We have both matched fellowships. I'll be staying at UCSD for a women's imaging fellowship and your daddy will be going to Yale come July of this year for his spine fellowship. I take boards June 11-12 of this year and you my little girl are moving down June 13th and starting pre-school in San Diego June 15th. By the time you're able to read this blog, I'm sure you'll already know how neurotic I am.

It's been such a crazy roller coaster. It still is. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I try to imagine how residency would have been like or how my marriage with your dad would have been like if I hadn't gotten pregnant so early on in training but simply put, I just can't.

The heartbreak, the tears and the incredibly amount of guilt I felt being away from you has ultimately defined who I am. I am a survivor. I am a mother. Nobody can take that away from me. There will be a day when I will stop practicing medicine but I will be your mother until the day I die. I will always put you first. I will alway sleep a little less. My mind will always be a little more complicated. But it is the most rewarding role I have ever been given and I feel so incredibly blessed to be your mom.

Back to my obsessive compulsive habits. One of things that have helped me with the process of being away from you has been setting up your room. It was so hard having to take down your nursery when I first came back from maternity leave. When you were about a year and a half, I realized I had a year left to anticipate your move so that is when I started redoing your room with the help of pottery barn! It has been so much fun!

You've been coming to San Diego on weekends. We take the train down and I get a glimpse of life with you here and it is wonderful. Although, I have yet to experience what it's like to have you here during the work week but I'm sure we'll figure that out and I'm sure it will be topic of a future blog.

In fact, our place has been completely taken over by your stuff now.

Here is your room! I'm still waiting on your bookshelf but other than that, it's done! You've slept in it on the weekends you've been here and it's with great joy I watch you sleep in your bed!

This is our living room! I made your dad clear out the coffee table and a couch so this can be your play room. It will be hard to compete with grandma and grandpa's place but just know that, I tried! Most important part is I, as in your mom, did it! I built the art table and the play house! (So much for having an orthropod as a dad huh? Just kidding babe, I love you!)

I just can't get over it. It's 2015! We celebrated your 2nd birthday. You started pre-school part time in Irvine. You've given grandma a lot of grief with the morning drop-offs but you've only gone for about 2 weeks now. However, it seems like you do well when you are there. I am so proud of you! But for grandma's sake, I hope you give her a little easier time in the mornings. I had to do it for a week when I was on vacation and it is very heartbreaking having to leave you at pre-school when you're crying on top of your lungs.

Right now, I'm trying to just focus on studying for boards and the next 20 weeks will be dedicated to making sure I pass these darn radiology boards! But after being in medicine for so long, which is an endless slew of exams, I have never been so motivated as I've never been presented with such a sweet reward at the end. I'm ready (or will be in about 20 weeks)! I'm going to do this. You're going to move down! and you and I are going to figure out what it's like to be in each other's lives every single day!

Despite all the happiness of what is to come, my heart is also a little heavy. Because 2015 isn't only about your arrival to San Diego but it's also about your dad's move to Yale. We'll have 1 month as a family of 3 before he has to leave end of July.

The reality of it didn't really set in when he matched last year but now that the reality of you moving down is becoming more real, the reality of your dad leaving is also becoming more real. He's my best friend. He's my rock. I think to myself if I'm going to survive a year without him by my side.

But you know what? I have you. You need me. We're going to make it. It's going to our special year of just the 2 of us. I'm going to make up to you the best I can for what I missed the first two and a half years. I know I still have my last year of residency and I'll still have call but it's going to be different. I'll be dropping you and picking you up from pre-school. I'll be making your dinner. I'll be reading your your bedtime story. I know it won't be all rainbows and butterflies but I'll take every day, even the day ones filled with temper tantrums and "no's" because I already know I'll feel so lucky that we made it to this point.

I hope you're ready because I've been waiting for this day since my first day back from maternity leave!

Love, Mom

P.S. Here's some other photos since my last blog post in October.

We went in Seattle in October. Our first family trip!

We celebrated your 2nd Halloween and your first time treat or treating. You put us through 3 costumes. Fairy--didn't want to wear the wings. Pumpkin--it was too hot. You finally chose a devil ballerina costume--but didn't wear the horns so people had no idea who you were but you were still the cutest trick or treater!

We celebrated your 2nd Christmas!

Your 2nd birthday was a Frozen themed birthday party!

We went to the San Diego zoo multiple times but here's are some pictures from our most recent trip!

P.P.S You're also the coolest 2 year old I've ever met and I'm not just saying because I'm your mom!