In 2004, Stacy Ardoin, MD, MHS, became pregnant with twins during the second year of her fellowship at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. Although she and her husband, Adrien, were thrilled by the news, the astronomical cost of day care for two infants was a specter.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2019
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At the time, Adrien managed a bookstore to help pay bills while exploring his career options. Because the expense of day care would almost wipe out his annual salary, the couple made an unorthodox decision: He would stay home to raise their children while Dr. Ardoin completed her medical training.
“It was important for us to have a parent stay at home with our kids in their early years,” says Dr. Ardoin, who is now an associate professor, adult and pediatric rheumatologist, and division chief of pediatric rheumatology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, which houses Ohio State University’s Department of Pediatrics. “Taking everything into consideration, it made more financial sense for him to stay home than for me to stay home.”
In June 2005, Dr. Ardoin gave birth to healthy twins and took six weeks off to help care for them. The couple shared ’round-the-clock childcare duties, everything from 2 o’clock in the morning feedings to rocking the babies back to sleep. After Dr. Ardoin went back to work, Adrien took over as the primary caregiver. Dr. Ardoin relieved her husband in the evenings to give him a well-deserved break and gain bonding time with the infants.
“Caring for two infants at one time, Adrien became especially skilled at changing diapers and would sometimes correct my technique when doing it,” she jokingly says.
Thousands of diaper changes later, the couple has no regrets. The outcome proved to be the right choice for everyone involved. The twins—Ty and Audrey—are now healthy, happy 14-year-olds. Dr. Ardoin achieved her career goal of becoming a pediatric rheumatologist. Her husband created his dream job by building a thriving, online business that offers college-level English literature and history courses to home-schooled teenagers and also prepares them for advanced placement college exams.
“I would make the same decision all over again,” says Dr. Ardoin. “I could not have accomplished the things I did without Adrien’s help.”