I matched! To my first choice program in Baltimore, where I already live. No moving! Now all I need to do is figure out the best way to tell them I will need maternity leave immediately following orientation.
Thursday night, Benjamin and I went out to dinner with an old friend of ours from the youth group where we met. We went out to the Indian restaurant that catered our wedding, and I got the same dish we had at the wedding. I had been feeling pretty queasy all day, which was unusual since this has been a fairly nausea-free pregnancy.
Next thing I know, I am excusing myself from the table and hanging out in the restaurant bathroom, splashing water on my face. I threw up a few times, rinsed my mouth out, and went back to dinner. I still felt queasy but not terribly sick. For the ride home, Benjamin fashioned me a bucket by sawing the top off of a plastic one gallon gas can with his leatherman.
We woke up early the next morning to drive down to Charlottesville for the Match Day festivities (makeshift vomit bucket in place). And my financial aid exit interview. Let’s just say that over the past five years, I have borrowed an absurd amount of money. It’s not that I couldn’t have figured this stuff out on my own, but I feel very lucky that Benjamin happens to love financial planning and filling out forms.
Benjamin thought it was fun to keep saying things like “only eleven hours until Match,” “only four hours until Match,” etc. I found this very helpful and calming. I only hope he is this supportive during labor. <eye roll>
Finally, it was time to go. It isn’t traditionally a formal event, and I opted to wear a maternity top that is form fitting enough to make it clear I am either pregnant or shoplifting a frozen turkey.
We gathered in the Old Medical School Auditorium. Since we are now on the 3rd medical school, I guess I should say that this is the oldest existing medical school auditorium. The atmosphere started off festive and escalated to insane. Benjamin and I found seats in the back but quickly realized that we were in the middle of the loudest, drunkest group of medical students.
The Student Affairs folks stood at the podium and began reading names. When a name was read, that person would go down the aisle, deposit a dollar in the box for good luck, get their envelope, hug the dean, and pick up a champagne flute. Then they had to sit down, holding their envelope but not opening it while the rest of the class was called.
When my name was called (mispronounced though it was), I waddled proudly down to the front and got my envelope and my sparkling cider. I had forgotten to count how many names had been called before mine (and they are not called in alphabetical order) so I had no idea how long I was going to have to wait to open my envelope. The ceremony went past noon, and my phone was already buzzing with text messages from friends, asking about the result.
Then, finally, the last person was called, and we all toasted and tore open our envelopes. University of Maryland Family Medicine, my first choice. I was very happy, of course, but it was also a bittersweet moment, because it meant closing the door on all those other possibilities. Having all those open doors had been frustratingly vague, but the not knowing was also sort of magical. I was especially sad about giving up my second choice program in Greensboro, NC. I think I would have been very happy there, but ultimately UMD is a better place for me.
I am usually excited about setting off on an adventure, but in this case, I am really excited to be staying home for an adventure. Baltimore is my home. My family is here, however dysfunctional my relationship with them is at the moment. Benjamin’s sister and her husband are here – and they are expecting a baby, too, so the cousins will get to grow up together. Benjamin’s parents will be returning here after their year in New Zealand.
But even aside from the family, Baltimore is the physical infrastructure of my childhood. The culture here is the one that shaped me, for better or for worse. I went to these city schools and learned about the Chesapeake Bay and Lord Calvert and the Dominos Sugar sign on the harbor. I know how to say ‘hon’ and pick crabs and cheer for the Orioles even though you know you will be disappointed every year.
I get to be an adult and a parent in the city where I was born; and that is really cool. I get to bring back all the things I learned in Virginia and use them to serve my home community, and I am really honored to have that opportunity.
And now, all the things I can’t do until after Match – I can do them now. Yikes.