{the life} Evicting my Deadbeat Tube

by Rachel on April 26, 2012

I went to the doctor this week for a pelvic ultrasound (have you had one? they aren’t fun!) so we could see how my fallopian tube is doing. I found out I have a hydrosalpinx and had my IUD removed back in December, but the tube has kept on being a little jerk. Because the hydrosalpinx hasn’t gone away and it still hurts pretty frequently, my doctor recommended surgery to remove the tube altogether.

And honestly? I’m kind of glad to see it go because I kind of hate this tube. It’s a deadbeat tube. It’s in there fucking shit up — not doing its job, causing a ruckus, and holding my ovary and its poor eggs hostage. I have to think that my right tube must be really happy to see it go. I think she’s looking over there just shaking her head and saying, “Well, what did you expect, asshole? You can’t treat your landlord like that and expect not to get evicted.”

The good news is, the procedure itself isn’t terribly invasive (it’s laparoscopic, and, frankly, going through my belly button sounds a hell of a lot less invasive than these transvaginal ultrasounds I’ve had to have). Even though it’s scary to think I’ll be down a tube, I’d rather worry about my reduced fertility (my doctor said he estimates I’ll still be able to get pregnant within a year of starting trying and said he has two patients right now who had the same procedure and are pregnant; none of this proves anything, but it’s still comforting) than worry that my condition will worsen and affect my ovary, or worry that I’m going to have an ectopic pregnancy (which is a pretty real risk for me right now).

After my doctor and I posted the eviction notice, I changed topics and asked him something that has been on my mind recently: “If I accidentally got pregnant and came to you…what would happen next?” With all the shit hitting the fan re: women’s rights, this seemed liked a logical question. I’ve started talking to Eric more about all things gynecological, but I felt like the next step should be to talk to my doctor.

(And can we just talk about doctors for a second? I love my doctor and that’s kind of a big deal to me. I’ve moved around a lot in the past several years and finding a new doctor sucks. And leaving a doctor you like really sucks. I’ve mostly done the casual thing  — “Oh hey, Planned Parenthood, you’ll do!” — and hadn’t built up any long-term relationships with doctors. I met this doctor when one of the partners in his practice was unavailable and I just took an appointment with him instead. I like him more than probably any other doctor I’ve had for anything; I love that he remembers me and everything about me and I feel like I can be completely real with him — it makes everything about these visits a million times easier.

And yes, I have a male doctor. I sort of knew it was uncommon to go to a male OBGYN — I read an article in Glamour a few years ago about how male doctors can have a really hard time getting hired/staying in practice — but the topic came up this week with some male coworkers and they were really surprised that any woman would want to go to a male doctor. My thing is that I’m going to detach myself from the experience anyway, so I don’t really care at that point who the person is, as long as he or she makes me feel as comfortable as one can feel during a pelvic exam. Thoughts on this?)

Anyway, I told my doctor that with all the ways women’s access to abortion (and birth control and basic fucking health care) is being threatened right now — especially in Texas — that I would like to know how this affects me personally, and I would like to know that now. While I obviously can’t say with 100 percent certainty what I’d do if I got pregnant before I was ready (especially given my reduced fertility), it just seems like a good idea to know the details on the sort of hoops I’d be required to jump through if I chose to have an abortion.

I was actually really surprised when my doctor told me that he doesn’t do them for personal reasons. I don’t know why I was surprised; I had no reason to believe he would. I think I was just surprised because I like him so much, and I wanted him to agree with me that the attacks on women’s rights are awful. The good news is that he sort of does agree with that; though he doesn’t do them, he is pro-choice and said that if that was a decision I ever have to make, he has a list of doctors at the same medical center that he’d refer me to. (No word yet on whether or not my insurance would cover it; I e-mailed them this morning and I’m honestly expecting the response to be the e-mail equivalent of a “Howler” letter from the Harry Potter books.) It’s good to know that I have decent access (and much better access than many women have), and he reassured me that he wouldn’t judge me for any choice I make regarding my health care, but the conversation still left me feeling a little disappointed. Or maybe it has nothing to do with my doctor at all; maybe it’s just that I feel sad because I know I’m not the only woman trying to make sense of her feelings and fears about getting pregnant and not getting pregnant in the exact same doctor’s visit.

Anyway, I haven’t scheduled the egg chute surgery yet, but I’m actually looking forward to having it done sooner rather than later; I haven’t felt truly healthy since I started having these problems last summer. I feel really optimistic about the surgery. I mean, I gave the deadbeat tube an honest chance to change its ways and it’s still being a crappy tenant; I’m basically giving it 30 days notice and then I’m letting it go.

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hannah April 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

That is sort of a bummer about your doctor, but it’s nice that he seemed so agreeable anyway. There are plenty of mean-spirited doctors who would probably try and make you feel guilty either way. That was so smart of you to ask about your options ahead of time. Of course, I hope, hope, hope you won’t have to make that difficult choice!

I hope your surgery goes well. As a 20-something, I would be terrified to lose a fallopian tube, but it sounds like you’re probably more at peace with it after all this time.

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2 Lindsay April 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I have a male gyno too and I love him! I don’t know why but that has never bothered me. He’s very professional and nice and has a great bedside manner– much better than my female primary care doc who’s a woman! Good luck with your surgery! PS you’re also inspiring me to head back to yoga. :)

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3 Alli April 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm

That’s really disappointing to learn your personal doctor wouldn’t be able to help you in a situation like that, but at least he’s supportive of your rights and willing to help you find someone who will – and I’m sure it’s better to learn now then down the line if it did happen, right?

I also have a dude doc, something I never thought I’d feel comfortable with. I actually initially saw him because I needed urgent care for something and my lady-doc (who I wasn’t that crazy about to begin with but, eh, you only see them once a year) wasn’t able to see me short notice and he was first on my insurance provider list who was. He was so rad and thorough that I decided to keep seeing him. The only downside is that his office is REALLY far away (Westchester, and I’m coming from Brooklyn) but, again, you only see them once a year….

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4 Pamela Wall April 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

When I first visited the “lady doctor,” I thought I would never be comfortable having a male doctor. But after seeing a female OBGYN for years, with whom I never really felt comfortable–she seemed rather detached and cold, and I figure, if you’re gonna linger down there you should at least be pleasant– I sought out a new doctor. I’ve had some health problems crop up, so I decided if I have to see the gyno more than once a year, now is the time to make sure I actually like my doctor. And I’ve found an amazing male doctor that makes me feel so at ease. At least for me, it’s not gender but personality that makes me comfortable getting my feet in the stirrups.

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5 Emily Susan April 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I too have experienced disappointment when someone I truly value and trust has a different opinion than me on controversial issue, however, I try not to judge because that just closes the lines of communication, but its hard. Maybe a better way to look at this disappointing experience is to be thankful that we live in a society where people are still able to make their own decisions. Your doctor isn’t forced into doing a procedure he is morally uncomfortable with, and that is kinda what freedom means to me. Sorta of along the lines of “I don’t like what you say, but I am glad you have the right to say it” ?

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6 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Very true! Well said!

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7 Emily Susan April 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Also, my first doctor was a male, and I was much more comfortable with him poking around “down there” than my current female doctor. I think I feel more judged when I am seen by a women, which is ridiculous I know, but its the way I feel. I think this relates back to I didn’t care if my bikini area was perfect when I saw a male, but I didn’t want the female doctor to think I was lazy lol.

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8 Bess April 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I feel the same way… I prefer a male OB/GYN because I feel like there’s less “judging” . So many people think I’m strange for seeking out a male gyno, but I feel much more comfortable.

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9 Rachie G April 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I have had mostly female OBGYN’s, now I have a male Dr. and he is the best! He just seems overall more concerned with meeting me and talking to me about any manner of topics before diving between my legs.

Perhaps women Dr.’s don’t feel as obligated to develop a bedside manner because we are the same gender.

Good luck on your surgery, I will be interested to hear what your insurance says.

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10 Anna April 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Re: Male OBGYNS: I have a male doctor and I like him much more than the family doctor I first went to back in the day. She just embarrassed me in pretty much every way and wouldn’t stop chatting about what was going on…with my male doctor, it’s all business and he usually asks me how MSU’s campus is (answer: always under construction). No pressure. I don’t know if I’ll ever switch to another doctor, actually!

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11 Alie April 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’ve had a few male doctors and like them but then I started having abnormal paps and was having to go in every 3 months so I switched doctors to a female. I also worry about having a baby because they had to cut a tiny piece of my cervix off and she said it might be difficult to get pregnant. Hope it goes well!

I also had a complete bitch woman as an OBGYN one time. I was very young and was asking her about different types of BC and she told me if I went on the seasonique, “don’t waste her time calling if I had spotting”. First and last visit with her.

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12 Alexia (Dimple Snatcher) April 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

WOW, you don’t seem at all terrified at having reduced fertility. I’d be terrified! Best wishes with the surgery. You seem so brave about all of this :)

What bothered me though about this piece was your ‘disappointment’ in your doctor’s personal views. What does liking someone have to do them having different views then we do? I’m guessing that all of your friends think in the same ways you do.

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13 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

It’s not that I’m not terrified about it, it’s just that there’s nothing I can do about it. (Whether or not I have the tube removed, it’s still a very real risk for me.)

I don’t assume that everyone I meet is pro-choice, but yeah, I’m disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to the doctor I know and really like for this procedure if I needed it. I’d be disappointed if any doctor told me that his or her personal opinions might affect the quality of care or health advice they gave me (i.e their professional opinions). That’s kind of scary to think about right? But I think it’s good to know that going in so that I can make more informed decisions when it comes to my body and my health.

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14 Chrissy (The New Me) April 27, 2012 at 7:10 am

Personally, I am disappointed anytime I find out anyone is not pro-choice. To me, it indicates that the person doesn’t trust or respect women to make their own decisions about their own body. (And you can be pro-choice without ever considering an abortion for yourself – pro-choice just means you do not want to limit the rights of others.) I think this case is especially disappointing because your gyno is the person who is supposed to help you with all lady-related issues. The fact that he will not help you in one case, due to “personal reasons,” would be enough for me to look for another doctor who would.

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15 Chelle April 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

“I’d be disappointed if any doctor told me that his or her personal opinions might affect the quality of care or health advice they gave me (i.e their professional opinions). ”

Which is exactly why I wouldn’t be able to go to a Dr knowing that he isn’t pro-choice or feels that he can’t morally perform it.

I feel like abortion should be viewed by my medical professionals as what it is – a legal and sometimes needed medical procedure. And I feel like they should be willingly to perform it or at least give me a referral.

Personally, I think your Dr crossed the line a bit by saying he’s against it for moral reasons. A simple “I can provide a list of more qualified Drs.” would of been better.

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16 Jenn April 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Wow, do I feel like an outlier.. I go to a female OBGYN and I think she’s fantastic. I referred all my Boston-transplanted college girlfriends to her, too, and they all loved her (you know, as much as you can love going to the gyno). I feel as if she has my best interest in mind, has a terrific bedside manner, and has even called me personally to answer a question she couldn’t fully answer during my appointment. Interestingly enough, her and her father had an OBGYN practice TOGETHER before he retired.

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17 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I have had a few gynos since I was 12 and my favorite was actual a male doctor (the same doctor who birthed me) and met with me from the start of my period (13?) until I was 18 and moved away to college. Since then I have had a number of doctors all who seem to wisk me in and out and not remember much of what I say or take it very seriously. I’m definitely in the process of looking for a new one.

I am very much pro-choice, but I respect a doctor who may say they don’t want to do it themselves but would still recommend you to someone who would or wouldn’t talk you out of whatever choice you decide to make (i.e. still gives the best professional opinions without adding in their own personal opinions).

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18 Adrienne April 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I just stopped by to wish you good luck on your surgery! I had my left fallopian tube removed this February after a second ectopic pregnancy happened in that tube. Although the surgery isn’t “major”, please be kind to yourself and give yourself time to heal. My surgery was on a Wednesday, and I did not feel nearly well enough to return to work until the following Tuesday. Obviously though, everyone is different and hopefully you have a quicker recovery. I hope you feel much better after your surgery!

(Also, just to agree with your doctor, being down one tube doesn’t mean the end of the world. My surgery was February 1st and I am already 7 weeks pregnant after trying over a year before I got rid of the tube.)

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19 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you for this!! Your recovery time sounds similar to what my doctor described but it’s so, so helpful to hear from other people what they’ve experienced!

And congrats on your pregnancy!! Reading that put a huge smile on my face.

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20 S April 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I hope your surgery goes well. it must be comforting to have an action plan.

I have a male OB/GYN who I am actually now personal friends with. I think it’s funny when people are surprised that I have a male doctor because I don’t see the difference really. And most OB/GYNs just several years ago were men, were they not? Anyway, I love my doc and even if we ever move to the suburbs I’d like to stick with him.

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21 Megan C. April 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I’m sorry about your jerky tube…guess no one explained the rules of getting along with others. As for doctors I had always gone to male GYNs in the past. As a matter of fact I had one I loved but he had to go all crazy, fall in love, get married and move to be with his wife without even consulting his patients. But seriously he was wonderful, he had a great bedside manner, and even made you chuckle while doing the exam. When he moved I tried a couple others in the practice but they weren’t as good. Now I go to a GP who also does gyno exams. I love her. She is very good at what she does and makes me feel relaxed.

As far as your doctor not doing abortions for personal reasons I actually applaud him for making a personal choice and sticking to it. Now that being said I believe it is a woman’s body and she should be able to do what she wants.

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22 Kiki April 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I wish I could “like” comments! I really respect that your doctor has made that decision. It shows thoughtfulness and consideration for a really big issue. That’s how abortion SHOULD be treated, thoughtfully and individually. As long as a doctor gives their patient clear and comfortable access to care that they cannot/will not provide themselves, I think that is totally appropriate.

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23 Stina April 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Your comment is almost exactly what I was going to say. To me “pro-choice” involves just that – having a CHOICE.

I do think doctors should have the right to choose not preform services that they do not personally/ morally agree with; however, I do not think they have the right to remove the patient’s choice by blocking or interfering with her access to care.

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24 francine April 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm

yes, this. also, i’ve had male and female gyn’s and i love my female one. not because she’s female, but because she has great bedside manner. i didn’t like my male one because he acted annoyed when i asked for a transvag ultrasound for my terrible cramping, but i stuck with him because i ended up needing laparoscopic surgery for what ended up being severe endometriosis and he happened to be the best laparoscopic gyn surgeon in the area. bleh.

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25 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie April 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Wow, this is a great topic, and one I’ve never heard anyone write about from their own perspective/based on their current experiences versus a theoretical/my beliefs are sort of stance. And it has never occurred to me to ask a doctor if they performed abortions, which now that it’s been brought to my attention, seems like a horrible oversight on my part.

I’m not comfortable getting a massage from a strange man so having a male OBGYN isn’t something I’ve really ever considered. But I feel like its almost the same relationship as with your waxer, personally I want someone who will chatter about nonsense for the duration of the appointment so neither of you have to think about what she’s doing between your legs… :)

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26 Stephanie McKay April 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

The attack on women’s rights is terrifying to me, so pregnancy has become terrifying to me. But I don’t fear the physical pregnancy: I don’t fear the discomfort, the fact that it will wreck my body for a while or even the labor. What I do fear is the legality of pregnancy and my rights as a woman. If I want a natural birth, will the doctors decide to push meds on me and therefor the baby, revoking my rights to make these decisions by claiming I’m under duress? If I miscarry, an already traumatic event, will I be investigated for fetal death and have to prove I didn’t do it on purpose? If I end up with a dangerous pregnancy, such as ectopic, and my life is in danger unless I have a life-saving abortion, will my doctor be able to just let me die because of personal feelings about abortion, or worse yet if I end up in a Catholic hospital in an emergency? What if the baby dies in vitro or will not survive to term, will I have to carry the baby for the remained of the pregnancy, possibly months, until I go into ‘natural’ labor to deliver a still-born? These are terrifying possibilities, especially when taking into account the fact that only 50% of all fertilized eggs die or are stillborn.

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27 Caitie April 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Sorry about your wayward egg chute, and glad to hear that your outlook is positive! I will also chime in that my male doctor is the most bomb- ass physician I’ve ever had. I think how lady-parts are dealt with may be different in Canada, because I can go to a GP here to get pap tests, std checks and pelvic exams. The only reason I’d see an OB is if I was actually pregnant. This male doctor that I have is a GP at my campus health clinic…his wife is an OBGYN and his mom is a sexual health nurse and he is just fantastic. Anyways. I think your doctor’s response to your questions is really, ideal. The reality is that *very* few doctors are trained or willing to learn how to perform abortions because it is, after all, a personal choice for them too (and in many states, the necessary training is all but illegal). As long as your doctor respects and honours your right to choose, it’s all good.

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28 Maggie April 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

So I’m going to go ahead and disagree with most people about your doctor’s reluctance to perform procedures that he as an OB/GYN might be expected to perform. I don’t understand why I shouldn’t expect medical care from the people who are required to provide it to me. We don’t have this moral loophole in other professions; we don’t, for instance, allow public defenders to refuse to defend criminals they find morally reprehensible. If someone is not comfortable fulfilling the requirements of his position, then he probably shouldn’t accept that position.

I also don’t think that referrals compensate for refusing to provide medical care. Full disclosure here: I had an abortion, and I learned firsthand that when someone says “oh I/this hospital/this insurance plan doesn’t provide/cover abortion but don’t worry we can find you someone that does” you are in for a looooong and difficult search that will leave you exhausted and frustrated and even humiliated. And time is often of the essence, not only because being pregnant when you don’t want to be pregnant is psychologically difficult, but also because delaying termination can make it impossible for you to have a medical abortion, if that’s the option you prefer. Thank God for Planned Parenthood; they treated me like a rational human being and helped me in a timely manner. I think we can expect the same of our doctors.

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29 Stephanie McKay April 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Very well said.

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30 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Thank you for this! I think the point you made about other professions is a good one. What I’ve been thinking about since reading this is…do we want people to be allowed to disagree with the established norms of a profession based on moral/religious disagreements with those norms? We probably do, and I think that’s the point a lot of other people were making here. I kinda do want to be able to say I won’t do something for a customer who is a racist, sexist piece of shit because that goes against my moral code.

The problem, of course, is that so many times, this just isn’t really fair in practice. Yes, I can just go to another doctor…but not everyone can. I am lucky enough that I can probably afford to jump through the hoops…but not everyone is. So I’d hate the fact that I “can” go elsewhere to distract from the fact that not every woman has the time, money, insurance plan, mode of transportation, and/or flexible work schedule to do that. If a doctor had said this to a woman with considerably less luxuries than I, would people be more disappointed? I kinda think so. And the problem is, that’s what’s happening all across the US.

So, I don’t know. I want to live in a world where people can disagree with those in power based on their own moral code, but I don’t want to live in a world where that right is so often exercised by those in power at the expense of people who have been marginalized historically.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience! I really appreciated hearing it.

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31 Maggie April 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thanks for starting the discussion. And for what’s it’s worth, I live in Boston, a bastion of liberalism and a city with a slew of great medical centers, and getting a safe and timely abortion was still infuriatingly difficult. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for women elsewhere.

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32 Chelle April 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

This. All of this.

A lot of people are saying “well its great that even though he’s against it, he can refer you to someone.” But what do you do if everyone in your area is against abortion?

Abortion is a medical procedure. For some people, there are moral issues that they bring to the table that involve women’s lady bits. These are not the people that should be responsible for women’s health and they should not be taking positions that invovled it.

Would your dr be willing to perform an abortion if your life was at stake? I think this is the question that women should consider when finding a dr – is your life or his morals more important?

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33 Stephanie McKay April 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I think if a person does not want to perform an act they deem morally reprehensible, they should not going into a career field where said act is expected and even common. Would we allow other medical professionals, say a heart surgeon, to forgo a certain procedure, say a blood transfusion, because they are a Jehovah’s Witness? They strictly forbid blood transfusions, but allowing a patient to die for it? Perhaps going into a profession that often uses blood transfusions was a horrible mistake on the individual’s part, and those who need blood transfusions should not suffer as a result of the individual’s beliefs. Religious freedom for a doctor is great, but it stops where my religious freedom begins. How can one expect to go into a profession and NOT do the procedures that the profession requires?? I’m a graphic designer – I work in the tech field. It would probably be a bad career choice if I was Amish.

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34 Maggie April 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Yes, this was exactly my point. No one thinks that an individual should be forced to act against his or her morals, but then again, no one is forcing a person to become a gynecologist. I just don’t get how reproductive health care has become this field in which doctors can selectively choose what care they provide (abortion/no abortions, certain forms of BC over others, etc.). And as you said, Rachel, it’s actually hard to find good doctors, so the fact that you have to scramble to find one who will give you the full range of services to which you are entitled is really just mind-boggling.

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35 Laura April 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I think male or female as long as the doctor is good it doesn’t really matter. On that note though the only issue I had with having dude OGBYN is that by law here they have to have another women in the room with them while they do their thing. And that just kind of weirded me out because I felt like there were too many people checking out my vag. I now have a women and she is amazing. After my male Doc. couldn’t figure out an issue I had for over a year, she solved it in two visits.

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36 RAIN April 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

It’s so important to have a gyno that you like.

I think after what he said I would like him more.

DON’T worry I am not going to say something super controversial and make everyone mad again.

I just think the fact that he stands behind his beliefs is admirable.

I am pro choice btw.

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37 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Aww don’t say you made everyone mad! I’m glad you came back and commered today because I REALLY hope that my blog is always a safe space for questioning things and for discussion and I would be upset if it had kept you from commenting ever again. I have seen some ugly debates in blog comments but I think most of the women here know how to do it well (which isn’t an easy thing to do!) and I think there is a lot to be learned from those comments and discussions, so I do my best to always welcome dissenting opinions.

So…keep ’em coming!

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38 Nikki April 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

It’s crazy that in a post essentially about abortions, you only used the word “abortion” twice. I think it just goes to show how taboo the topic still is – you should be just as comfortable using the word abortion as you are any other medical term.

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39 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Ha — you don’t miss a thing! In all honesty though, I noticed that too, when I was writing. The fact is, though, that abortion is not JUST a medical term for so many people, and I couldn’t not think about that, as this is the first time I wrote about abortion from a more personal POV. I truly had/have no idea how people would feel about this post, so I really felt like I was dipping a toe in to test the waters. I hope that doesn’t sound like a cop-out; I was really just trying to get a feel for how to write about a pretty sensitive issue.

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40 Nikki April 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I totally get where you are coming from. I work in animal medical research, and I spend so much time “feeling out the conversation” and testing the waters – because quite frankly, there are a lot of people in the world who are going to hate your viewpoint beyond any rationality, and nothing will convince them otherwise. So sometimes there is no point in entering the discussion!

I think sometimes the conversations that are awkward or the hardest are the ones we really need to be having.

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41 Leigh April 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Both my primary care doctor and gyn are women and I love them both! I feel super lucky to have doctors I trust and like. I shopped around for my primary care doctor but my gyn I have had since I was 15 (I’m 27 now). I don’t think the gender matters too much, though, as long as you trust the person and feel able to talk to them.

I’ve had a laparoscopy for endometriosis and it wasn’t bad…I had it on a Wednesday and went back to work on Monday…but take it easy! Get delicious snacks and something good to watch. Best of luck!

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42 Aly April 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

The doctor does not do abortions for personal reasons, but did he explicitly say he does not do them because he does not personally like the procedure? Ob/gyns have one of the highest rates of malpractice insurance and I don’t know how one automatically connects he does not do something for personal reasons and personal reasons must be he doesn’t personally support the procedure unless I am missing something? I guess I’m just missing how his personal reasons must be related to morality instead of the reality that many doctors choose not to do risky or complicated procedures because of not wanting to deal with potential lawsuits or continued education for those procedures, like I said, I might be completely missing something in this post.

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43 Rachel April 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm

That’s a valid question and I apologize for not being more clear. But yes, he did explicitly tell me that he is against abortion for personal moral reasons.

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44 Stephanie McKay April 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I would just like to point out that abortions are one of the safest medical procedures out there, so opting out of performing them because of risk or complications is not really a valid reason. Other than that, I think you make a good point that ‘personal reasons’ may mean something other than morality or religion.

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45 Chelle April 28, 2012 at 12:40 am

Giving birth is actually 14 times more dangerous than getting an abortion – for the woman. This isn’t considering all the things that could go wrong for the infant during birth that the dr could be sued for.

A dr using malpratice lawsuits as an excuse not to perform abortions is either lying or a complete idoit.

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46 Aj May 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Being in a profession for which I need malpractice insurance, I want to correct the assumption that one can neglect care for a patient *already under one’s care* for concerns about malpractice. That is neglect. For instance, if I receive a call from a potential patient who makes me think I have an increased risk of being sued (e.g. a history of ligitation with other professionals), I can choose not to begin a professional relationship with that person. No one is required to take a patient. However, once someone is under your care – unless you are not qualified (by training, e.g. I’m in family practice but my patient needs a cardiologist, or practice limitations, e.g. I’m trained as a surgeon but I don’t have hospital priviledges thus patients in my family practice requiring surgery must get referred) to continue responsible care for them – you continue to provide care for them. Neglect or abandonment is considered malpractice. And, importantly, responsible care means *what the patient needs* not *what you personally believe.* Except for gynocological practice. Where, apparently, it is acceptable professional standard to refuse to provide care to a patient.

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47 Tonja April 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I hope your procedure goes well and you have a quick recovery. Can’t wait to read all the details.
Like a few other readers I have also felt judged by a female OB/GYN. Shouldn’t they have gotten over it in medical school? My current OG/GYN is male and I was referred to him after an abnormal result on a test done by my PCP. I have been a patient for 9 years now he is great. A few years ago our local hospital contracted w/ a Catholic Hospital chain and no longer offered any family planning or birth control procedures for men or women. My OB and his wife were out there picketing and gathering signatures on petitions at the local stores, parks, and festivals. It took time but the hospital ended the contract and we once again have our choices back thanks to his taking the lead.

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48 Bridget April 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I go to a male gyno. I just needed to get in and he was the first available. After he asked me if I had a partner, he asked if it was male or female. I knew he was great then. He was a bit awkward at first (stumbling over my shoes, dropping equipment, etc) but that’s why I liked him! Look, you’re looking to my vag and it is kind of awkward. Let’s call it like it is! But he was super nice, he was the only doc to ask if I wanted specific STD tests, he ordered blood tests since I have PCOS, and was just generally nice. The women gynos I went to were b*tches! My very first gyno experience the lady goes “yeah, you have acne, you’re overweight, you probably have PCOS. Here’s a pamphlet and birth control.”

My sister is a doc so I completely understand where your doc is coming from. I think alot of people forget that doctors are first and foremost PEOPLE. You only see them in their lab coats in a small room once or twice a year. But your doctor is a real person with a family, with a history, with a religion, with their own moral compass. I talked to my sister about it and she said it’s not that she would judge a patient or think of them as immoral-but she would feel different about HERSELF if she performed it. Choice works in all directions.

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49 Chrissy (The New Me) April 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

This is a good point, that doctors who are morally opposed to abortion would feel differently about themselves if they performed on, without judging the women they’re serving. However, I also think that if a woman is pro-choice and wants full access to abortion, if needed, she should find a doctor who’s moral views line up with her own.

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50 RAIN April 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

I completely agree. Well said!

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51 Chrissy (The New Me) April 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

If I were you, I would look for another doctor. Like another commenter said, the last thing you want to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy is search high and low (especially in Texas – I lived there for seven years, I know) for a doctor who IS willing to provide the services you need (and are legally entitled to!). You should also ask your doctor how he feels about Plan B, because if he’s also not willing to help you get that, you could easily miss the window for taking it.

I strongly believe that in today’s political climate, we should go out of our way to support the doctors who ARE willing to perform abortions. I regularly donate to Medical Students for Choice, because our rights mean nothing unless we can access them. http://www.ms4c.org/

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52 Chelle April 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

She’s over 18, so she can purchase Plan B over the counter.

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53 Chrissy (The New Me) April 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm

She can purchase Plan B over the counter, IF the pharmacy has it in stock and IF the pharmacist is willing to actually dispense it, and not withhold it for their own “moral” reasons.

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54 Chelle April 28, 2012 at 12:42 am

That’s a completely different situation than the one you brought up – you suggested that Rachel might need plan b one day. If she does, she doesn’t need her Dr to sign off on it.

Please don’t present situation A and then correct me as if I was answering situation B instead.

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55 Chrissy (The New Me) April 28, 2012 at 6:42 am

Oh, I was trying to be snotty! I’m just saying that in some places, Texas especially, I wouldn’t take anything for granted. I think access to Plan B is important to consider, whether or not you’re old enough to get it over the counter. I actually called my pharmacy and asked them about it – if they carried it, what would happen if I needed it right now – just to be sure. Much the same way that Rachel asked her Doctor similar questions. I didn’t intend to confuse the situations, so I’m sorry for that.

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56 Chrissy (The New Me) April 28, 2012 at 6:42 am

Ack, I WASN’T trying to be snotty. Perfect place for a typo.

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57 Chelle April 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm

No worries!

Plan B is a godsend – its saved my lady bits so many times.

Frankly, whenever I run into someone that has an issue with Plan B, thats a key sign to me that they don’t care about “babies” but controling women and their bodies.

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58 Chrissy (The New Me) April 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Word.

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59 Rachel April 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

“I strongly believe that in today’s political climate, we should go out of our way to support the doctors who ARE willing to perform abortions.”

That’s a good point. After reading these comments and thinking about it more, you know what I think it comes down to? And I know that what I’m about to say kinda sucks, but I’ll be honest here. It’s the fact that I was so happy I finally found a doctor who I really like and trust and I’m bummed about finding a new one. I think my initial sense of disappointment was because I felt, on some level, that I should find a new doctor and I really didn’t want to. It’s sort of like when you find out that your favorite store is doing something really unethical or just something against your own moral code and you’re like, “Really? So now I can’t shop here? Now I have to dislike you? Cause I really like your products but now I just feel icky.”

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60 Chelle April 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

It is difficult and unfortunate. I wouldn’t stop seeing your Dr – frankly, you’re in a red state. Could you find a dr that would perform an abortion in your area? Maybe but if you don’t intend to ever have one, I wouldn’t worry.

Ideally, it would be great if one day people would stop seeing abortion as a moral issue and just what it is – a medical procedure that helps women.

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61 Stephanie McKay April 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I think the bigger picture is that no one ever intends to have an abortion.

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62 Chelle April 28, 2012 at 12:45 am

No freaking kidding, but if Rachel and Eric have talked about what they would do if she got pregnant and the answer is keep it, than Rachel does not intend to get an abortion.

As opposed to someone else who is not in a relationship, can not support a child, doesn’t want a kid, etc, they would need/should find a dr who is willing to perform one or has actual connections to one if they are not qualified.

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63 Aj May 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

If Rachel and Eric got pregnant.

I also plan on never being pregnant given my 3 forms of birth control a) messed up lady parts, which as Rachel mentioned may or may not have an impact on fertility so let’s say 50% effective b) birth control pills [for aforementioned messed up lady parts] 99% effective when taken correctly and c) same sex partner 100% effective.

That said, say I miss my BC (because honestly? that’s not why I take it), my gimpy ovary is working and I get raped by a man? It makes sense to think about what you would do if you had an *unwanted* pregnancy.

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64 Chelle May 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm

See my comment below

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65 Chelle April 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

What I’m saying is – in an ideal world, all women (and men) would unit together and refuse to use Drs who don’t want women to have access to all their rights. And yes, even if a Dr morally proposes it but offers connections he is still denying a woman her right to an abortion in a long about way.

In an ideal world, OBGYNs wouldn’t be allowed to practice unless they could and were willing to perform abortions.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and as much as we work towards it, it won’t be any time soon that abortion is accepted as a normal medical procedure.

Until then, particulary in areas like TX, Rachel needs to take what she can get.

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66 Chrissy (The New Me) April 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

It’s a personal decision and it comes down to what makes you feel comfortable. Personally, if my doctor told me he didn’t perform abortions because he was morally opposed to them, I would find a new one, even if I had previously liked and trusted him. Kind of like when you find out your awesome, perfect boyfriend cheated on you. Suddenly he’s not so awesome and perfect any more.

If I got pregnant right now, I would have an abortion. I am 100% certain about this. So, for me, having a pro-choice doctor is of the utmost importance. If you feel differently, then I can understand why you’d be willing to overlook that.

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67 Layne May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I wouldn’t make any rash decisions, you like the guy, and he did say that he’s pro-choice. He wants you to be able to choose what you do with your body. And that same pro-choice proclamation gives him the choice to perform or not perform procedures he’s not 100% comfortable with. As a society, if we want to be pro-choice we have to be ready to accept people who make the “other” choice. Acceptance across the board is what it’s all about, right?

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68 Becca April 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

You are brave to have asked – I’m always too afraid to ask where people stand on the subject, because I’m afraid that I’ll just feel uncomfortable around them afterwards.

Regarding the gender of your OBGYN; I had appendicitis when I was ten and the (male) doctor performed a rectal exam – one of those “dear God, why?” moments. I think it was probably a positive thing overall – since then I have had no qualms about flashing my bits at anyone whose job it is to look at them. Now, post childbirth and breastfeeding, I’m even worse!

I know anecdotal evidence is far from scientific, but here’s something cheery, anyway. I have two friends who have faced fertility limitations – one lost a tube after a particularly brutal ectopic and one was born with only one ovary. Both have become pregnant with great ease. Best of luck with your surgery.

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69 Kate April 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

I’m with Maggie on this! I completely disagree that a doctors personal views on abortion should affect your access to treatment. The relationship is a professional one and therefore his private beliefs should stay just that; private.

Medical professionals are from a diverse range of backgrounds and therefore have a diverse range of beliefs – would you accept your GP refusing to treat you if you were gay? Or refusing to give you contraception if they didn’t believe on sex before marriage?

They are there to provide a service as professionals and frankly I don’t care what they personally feel about what I do with my body or what their own personal history or moral compass is; that’s irrelevant to their job.

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70 Stephanie McKay April 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Truth!

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71 Emily Susan April 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

“I don’t care what they personally feel about what I do with my body or what their own personal history or moral compass is; that’s irrelevant to their job.”

I think it is far better for them to be up front about their moral compass, for purely practical reasons. I certainly don’t want someone performing an important surgical procedure on my body to feel uncomfortable or be going though their objections in their head when they should be focusing on me, my heath and the task at hand.

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72 Di April 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Rachel

I have never commented here before but read your blog quite frequently. I think it is great to be pro choice but at the same time I believe you have a good dr. There are alot of Dr’s that won’t do certain things for one reason or another. It is just his belief but he did tell you he would refer you to someone and would never think badly of your choices. I say if he makes you comfortable and you feel bummed about changing doctors then don’t do it. It is hard to find an OB that you can feel comfortable with and of course I have seen you say many times everyone should be entitled to their choices.

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73 Becky April 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

This is an interesting post. First of all, I just can’t condemn your doctor. I would condemn your doctor if he tried to convince you not to get an abortion, or if he didn’t offer other resources. To me, that is his medical responsibility. However, I do feel that each person should be allowed to make the decision about whether or not to perform certain procedures. The oath doctors take to “do no harm” may give certain doctors pause. Doctors can always refuse to perform procedures that they deem harmful to a patient. I suppose many people could argue that this is a “slippery slope”: a Jehova’s Witness could refuse to perform blood transfusions, another person might refuse to proscribe anti-depressants. However, I guess I think that we are better off when we are honest with others and ourselves about our beliefs. It sounds like this doctor is–in all other ways–a great gynecologist. Would the world be a better place if he were turned away from this profession based on this one procedure? It doesn’t seem so to me.

On the surgery note, I just wanted to say you have a great attitude. I had to have laparoscopic surgery to remove a large ovarian cyst last month. I was very scared. You seem very calm! All went well. I would recommend NOT googling the surgery. Ha ha. Rookie mistake. I got myself all worked up for nothing. I went home that night, and I was only in pain for about three days. After that, things were pretty good, though you still want to take it easy, obviously. I have three little marks on my abdomen that continue to fade. Pretty impressive when you think of what they can accomplish with such tiny holes! Just buy something cold and/or buy throat lozenges. I didn’t think of it, but my throat was actually the sorest part of me the night after because of the tube!

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74 Chelsea April 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Has anyone considered that even though it is likely that the doctor in question is morally opposed to abortions, perhaps he doesn’t perform them for some other reason? Perhaps he is afraid for his life or the lives of his family (hey, there are some crazy pro-lifers out there). Perhaps he once performed an abortion and something went wrong and he was scarred (I know a nurse who that happened to and afterward her whole view changed)… It is important to remember that if we do not want to be judged for our actions then we should not judge others for their lack of action. I say this, while feeling very differently about two similar scenarios. I wouldn’t want to force a doctor to preform abortions if he or she didn’t feel comfortable, but at the same time I think it is unacceptable that a pharmacist can refuse Plan-B… Perhaps I am a hypocrite as most of us are on some level.

Either way I’m curious to ask my gyno the same question. Having come from a very liberal state where I was never once concerned that I could get the care that I needed should I want it, I now live in the South where Bibles reign supreme even if it means hurting women and treating them like livestock. Thank you, Rachel for bringing this very important issue up and speaking about it honestly and openly. We all benefit from these conversations.

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75 Stephanie McKay April 27, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’m kind of curious about what happened to your nurse friend? If you feel comfortable sharing.

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76 Chelsea April 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I don’t remember the details because I only heard about it one time (and never wanted to hear more about it). It happened before later-term abortions became illegal… She said after that experience she refused to assist one ever again and went into dermatology.

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77 Chelle April 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I’m glad to hear that she decided to enter another medical field rather than pull a Jill Stanek.

However, I must speak up in the defense of late term abortions. I think the one you’re refering to is partial abortion – and while its a awful concept, it was done so the mother/parents would be able to hold their child.

Late term abortions get a bad rep – well, all abortions do. There seems to be a sterotype that the women getting abortions are teenagers to women in their 20s who don’t use birth control or don’t understand “what an abortion is.” This is false – most women getting abortions are moms and all women getting third abortions wanted their child but can’t either due to a risk to their life or the baby’s life.

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78 Anna S. April 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm

This is really interesting post. I’m glad to see someone in the blog world talking about this. I currently fall in the “in grad school too mobile/poor to find a regular gyno” category, and I really love the Dr. at Planned Parenthood I’ve been seeing to get my Depo shot. I’m sad I will be leaving the area at the end of August. It’s so hard to find a good doctor. I’ve never been able to find a regular doctor I like, and I still just go home to go to the dentist. (Come to think of it, I also have a hard time finding a hair stylist I like).

Good luck with your surgery!

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79 jenna k April 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

i wasn’t going to comment, but after reading through the others, i just wanted/needed to put my two cents in.

i am pro-life, but not necessarily sure i’m strong enough that i would vote on the issue if it was on the ballot. as i’ve grown up, i’ve come to see both sides through my and my friends’ experiences, though i definitely still consider myself pro-life. i intend on starting medical school next fall, and while i’ve never leaned towards gynecology, i would never EVER want to perform an abortion if i did go that route. it would disturb me too much. i would consider performing one on a case where the mother’s life was at risk. but i just completely disagree that all abortions are medically necessarily, so i think some of these comments demanding all doctors be required to perform abortions are absurd. i completely agree with what Stina said above– that pro-choice means there IS an actual choice. and in my opinion, everyone should have a choice on the issue. basically, i would be just as offended to be forced to perform abortions as i would be upset/mad as hell to have to carry an unwanted baby to term.

that said, i understand that you would be disappointed that your doctor wouldn’t do one. it’s always disappointing to discover you disagree with someone you respect on such an important issue.
i guess strength comes from necessity sometimes, but you are being so brave about the procedure. i hope and pray everything goes well and that you will soon be pain free!

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80 Chelle April 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Not to be blunt, but then you shouldn’t go into gynecology.

I’m sorry but lets be real – we do not let other professions pick and choose.

Yes, people have a choice – we don’t force people to become OBGYNs. Birth is a risky business in this day and age, so I’m not sure why you suggest not every case is the mom at risk – you don’t know that. Pregnancy is dangerous and while most women do live through it, a lot don’t. Women shouldn’t have to through that chance just because the risk isn’t edvient right now.

Give your spot in med school to someone who is willing to deal with all the things a woman might need – even if it goes against what they would do.

Again, not to be blunt or a bitch, but I’m tired of people viewing abortion as this awful thing when it does save women’s lives.

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81 Alexia (Dimple Snatcher) May 2, 2012 at 12:48 am

^this point of view is ridiculous. best wishes with your studies, jenna, whether you pursue gynecology or not

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82 Chelle May 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

How about you put together an actual argument before dismissing mine?

Everything I stated is correct – we do not force people to become OBGYNs. If people do not want to deal with every aspect of women’s health, they should not become OBGYNs.

Pregnancy is risk and women do not always have warning – a woman dies every 90 seconds from pregnancy complications. EVERY pregnancy is a risk to the mom.

Frankly, its depressing that you so easily dismissed what I said, since I bascially said women deserve full access to legal, live saving procedures. Your dismissal of that is part of USA’s over all dismissal of women’s rights. And that is ridiculous.

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83 Chelsei B April 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

I hope my doctor recs helped you out! Glad to hear you found a great one either way, they make such a HUGE difference. I love my male doc!

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84 Aj May 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Finally my own comment — clearly I’m opinionated on this!

Rachel, you probably already know that I have been through a lot of reproductive parts issues, dating back to age 8. I’ve had surgies laproscopic and more invasive, including during times I thought I did want to become pregnant one day. If you ever want to chat…send me an email or tweet or FB me…I am more than happy to discuss my experiences from admission to the hospital to the crazy maxi pad and disposable granny panties they made me wear afterward!

I think I expressed my views on women’s access to reproductive health services above. But I do want to say – as someone in a caregiving profession – it is necessary to check yourself at the door and provide good care and remove barriers to care regardless of your POV. Abortions, like any other medical procedure, should be accessible, affordable and without apology.

Because I have a complicated business going on in my lady parts, I do have less choice when it comes to gynocological care. I need regular transvaginal ultrasounds and have had surgery more times that the average bear. I need a skilled gyno and one who’s beliefs are aligned with mine when it comes to my health: cautiously conservative – not jumping the gun on another surgery but also wanting to do everything necessary to save my remaining scarred ovary. So when I moved to LA, I did a lot of research and the most highly recommended MD was a male. So I went to him. Twice a year. And then he died (see my comment on why it’s important to have a will for your business!). I just met with the partner he left his practice to…another male! And I adored him! He was wonderfully sarcastic…describing a woman’s period as when a woman “failed to do her womanly duty and get pregnant” (typing that I realize how that sounds, imagine an eyeroll accompanying it). He also let me know that he dislikes calling BCP “birth control” because most women, like me, don’t take it for birth control – indicating to me that he recognized and valued my sexual orientation. Like my previous Dr, our first meeting did not happen when I was in a gown, with my feet in the stirrups, rather in his office while I was fully clothed. And although I didn’t think to ask him directly, I noticed a book on his office bookshelf on providing abortion.

Getting along with and being comfortable with your doctor is important. Only you know how much his refusal to provide you with a medical procedure you may or may not desire in the future impacts your comfort.

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85 Aj May 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Derp *whose!

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