My name is Savanna, and I’m a dermatology physician assistant. I attended the University of Georgia for undergrad and majored in Biology, and then I graduated from Augusta University’s PA program in 2014. After school, I started a website called The PA Platform, and now I also have The Pre-PA Club Podcast to coach Pre-PA students on their way to becoming PAs.
Has your life changed at all since you and your husband found out about the baby?
It hasn’t changed too much so far, but that will probably not be the case come June! Right now, we’re just enjoying time together before the baby gets here and planning for her arrival. Since we’ll both be working full-time, that means looking at childcare options and figuring out the logistics of our schedules as much as we can before she gets here. We also frequent the baby section at Target much more frequently.
Pregnancy can often be romanticized or portrayed as an awful experience. As a medical provider, you’ve learned about the toll pregnancy can take on your body. How did you feel when you first discovered you were pregnant? What has your pregnancy experience been so far?
I’m very thankful to say that I’ve had a great pregnancy experience. Fingers crossed it stays that way! It was a little scary finding out I was pregnant as a medical provider because I knew all of the possible side effects and things that could go wrong, but aside from being tired the first trimester, I’ve felt great! I actually feel bad when people ask because I really just feel like my normal self with a bigger belly.
What is something that you have experienced during your pregnancy that you will not find in medical books? Anything you wished someone would have warned you about or prepared you for?
I’ve learned that almost anything and everything is normal during pregnancy, and I don’t know if that is something that can be explained until you experience it. For example, I was exhausted for most of my first trimester, but one day woke up with tons of energy and felt normal. That only lasted for about 24 hours and never happened again, but I instantly thought something was wrong. I’ve come to realize this is one part of my life that I essentially have no control over, and I just have to trust that she’s doing okay in there and my body is doing what it needs to in order for her to continue growing.
How do you expect becoming a mother to impact your career? Will you be returning to work full time?
I plan on taking a maternity leave and then returning to work. I’ve had great examples of working moms, including my own mom and others at my workplace, so I have a strong support system. I might be a little more tired at work once I return, but I couldn’t imagine not going back.
How have you been preparing for motherhood?
I’m really just enjoying my pregnancy and time before the baby comes as much as possible. I’ve picked up a few books to hopefully read before June, and I’ve spent time with friends who have also recently became moms, so I can learn from their experiences. I’ve also already bought way too many little girl clothes.
Have you encountered any challenges/limitations at work?
At the beginning when I was so tired, I felt like I sometimes couldn’t be as cheerful or chatty as my normal self, but that has improved. As my belly gets larger, I feel like that will be somewhat of a limitation since my job is very hands on and I have to maneuver to be able to complete skin checks and biopsies, but I’ve adapted well so far.
Do you have any concerns about balancing marriage, motherhood, blog/podcast and medical career?
I should probably be more concerned about this than I currently am! After going through PA school while my husband was in medical school, and now working while he is in residency, I’ve learned how to time manage well and be self- sufficient. Luckily, I have family close by too, so I can ask for help if necessary. I’ve already realized that some of my commitments may need to be put on the back burner for a while, so I can prioritize and focus on what’s most important.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I work Monday through Thursday from around 8-5, and a half day on Fridays. On a full day, I can see up to 35 patients. I have a medical assistant who works with me and makes my life a lot easier. I see a variety of medical, cosmetic, and surgical patients so it mixes things up a little bit. After the baby comes, I’ll only be working one Friday a month, but my normal hours Monday-Thursday.
What is the most important advice you would offer another PA-C/medical provider who is preparing for their first child?
I struggled with timing, but there’s never going to be a “perfect” time to be pregnant or have a baby, and a lot of it is out of my hands anyways. My office has thankfully been very supportive, but you have to put you and your family first when making decisions about how your job will play into your work/life balance. And sometimes pregnancy isn’t as bad as everyone says!