“At 27 weeks I had emergency surgery and was on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. A plan was already in place, which was really appreciated by my colleagues.”

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

Be lazy and enjoy a Saturday where all you do is pamper yourself and meet your needs on your schedule because that is going bye-bye.

What was your primary motivation for deciding to return (or not) to work? How early did you tell your employer?

I am in a group practice, so when one of us is out for an extended time it usually means us having to hire someone new or others picking up a lot of extra work. My boss was told privately at 6 weeks, only just after our parents, so he could have as much time to plan as possible. That was a big benefit to me, because at 27 weeks I had emergency surgery and was on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. A plan was already in place, which was really appreciated by my colleagues.

How much leave did you take, and how comfortable were you taking it?

3 months. I was lucky in that I could schedule my shifts and initially come back part time. However an area that was designated for breast feeding was never established as promised. As an ER doc, I don’t get meals or breaks, so the only place to pump was in a hospital bathroom if I had time and wasn’t constantly interrupted by patient and nursing requests. So sometimes I could not find time to pump until after 9 or 10 hours. I had to stop breastfeeding much sooner than I would have preferred.

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

My husband, for getting up in the morning so I could get more sleep. My mother, who is always willing to take the baby for a couple of hours if a planned 11 p.m. stop time becomes 3 a.m. because I had sick patients. My boss, for the first 3 months, for letting me decide what days and times worked best.

My husband and I took a babymoon to St. John’s and spent a week on a secluded beach together. It was a wonderful, relaxing time with my husband that really helped us plan on how to take care of our relationship once our daughter came.

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