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In Your Own Words: Emily Miller, M.D., MS, FAAP

KMA is sharing the first-person accounts of physicians from across the state as they prepare for and battle the COVID-19 pandemic. These stories will also be published at If you are interested in submitting an account, please email Emily Schott,

KMA spoke to Emily Miller, M.D., MS, FAAP Neonatal Fellow with the UofL Department of Pediatrics regarding her experience.

I mentally prepare for my first hospital shift since the pandemic started. My hands skip over the neatly hung professional clothes and quickly pull scrubs from a pile. I tie my hair back into a ponytail. This feels so foreign. I try to calm the anxiety as I kiss everyone goodbye. I drink my coffee quickly; I don’t want to risk taking it into the hospital. I mute WFPL’s morning report – I feel like the weight of it will break me this morning. I recall the last few week’s events in silence.

As a Neonatal Medicine fellow just three months from graduation, my family of six was gearing up for big life changes – new job, new city, new house – when my husband and I suddenly found ourselves homeschooling our older two children and our income cut in half due to my husband’s abrupt furlough. With daycare also closed, I found myself hoarding moments with my children, time that had been precisely rationed for sports practices, Girl Scout meetings, and birthday parties. But now the moments are abundant – early morning coffee on the back porch with my rosy-cheeked eleven-month-old; a front-yard bouquet of flowers from my rambunctious three-year-old; watching my anxious six-year-old ride her bike without training wheels for the first time.

I take one last, deep breath. I won’t take my mask off for the next twenty-eight hours as I rush premature infants away from their intubated mothers. Some families will be separated for weeks due to quarantine restrictions. I pray there will be no deaths. Tomorrow I will be exhausted, but content. I am unspeakably grateful to be part of this battle. I am terrified for the day I lose a colleague in the fight. I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all. And I am ready and willing pull out another pair of scrubs and do it all again the next day.

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