Until recently, I never bothered with finding a good OB. All I’ve ever needed in my adult life from them is birth control, so why worry about who’s supplying it? Planned Parenthood was as good as any doc covered by insurance, as far as I was concerned. As long as I was protected and having normal paps, I was worry-free.
But now that I’m engaged, and my fiancé and I are planning on starting a family within a year or so after we get married, I really actually care about who my doctor is. I’m actually thinking about who’s going to be my hand-holder during pregnancy, reassuring me every step of the way [aside from my fiancé, who will likely be rolling his eyes and telling me I’m fine #truelifeihaveanxiety].
Prior to our family trip to Europe, I really didn’t have time to research any doctors. I was scrambling at work and also trying to get wedding details together, and I figured there wasn’t any reason to start that process when I would be taking off and leaving the country for two weeks. But when I returned, I put my feelers out into the Facebook world and asked my fellow females for some OB recs. It was amazing how many women responded and loved and highly recommended their doctors. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cross all borders, and, like everyone else, I am limited to a number of doctors who take my insurance.
So I took people’s recommendations and starting researching the docs who took my insurance. Honestly, there are hundreds of OBs out there, but I didn’t want to just throw a dart at a map and pick one. I wanted to know that who I chose would be my medical support system before, during and after pregnancy. Some websites will give you a bio on the doctor – what they specialize in, where they studied, things like that, which I love. And since several women on my mom’s side of the family have Endometriosis and PCOS [see end of post to read more about these], I wanted to be sure I found a doc that was knowledgeable in those two diseases in the higher than normal case that I may be affected by one or both of them.
As a woman, I have always been hesitant to have a male doctor examining my lady bits. That may be feminist or close minded, but regardless of how much education you have under your belt as a man, you will never actually know or experience what we ladies go through on a day-to-day basis because we were blessed [or cursed, pick your poison] with ovaries and a uterus. The free clinics like Planned Parenthood only staff women, and since I’ve frequented those since I was 18, it’s sort of been a non-issue since I’ve had lady docs by default. But so many women who responded to my Facebook post recommended male OBs. And I’m at a time in my life where my health, the health of my future children, and the safety of any and all pregnancies and childbirths ahead are more important to me than whether the person examining me has a uterus. So, after a week of researching doctors and comparing several different ones [all of which ended up being men, by the way], I finally narrowed it down and made an appointment with a man who had an extensive list of specialties [including abnormal bleeding, Endo, PCOS, and many other “issues” that us females are lucky enough to deal with].
Yesterday I had my appointment with this doctor [just a consultation], and despite my nerves that he was a man, I was feeling confident that I’d finally found a reliable and educated doctor that I could trust. I was armed with a list of things I’ve been dealing with for the past several years, and was prepared to feel like the man understood me and could guide me through the next few years of my life.
To say I was let down is an understatement. The man essentially steamrolled me. Oh, he was very nice and very friendly, but he wrote off all my abnormalities as being on the wrong birth control. The ten days of debilitating cramps and abdominal pain I recently dealt with? In which everything I ate literally went right through me? The stabbing, cramping pain in the site of my right ovary last week? Bleeding every single day, all month long for the last several years? Oh yeah, that’s all normal symptoms of a birth control not strong enough for my body. WHAT?!
You guys, I wanted to scream at this man. I know these things aren’t normal. I know they aren’t because of birth control because I’ve tried 85 different kinds over the course of the last 11 years I’ve been on it and I sure as hell don’t feel normal nor do the symptoms ever change. Oh, and when I voiced my concerns about Endo, he told me I had nothing to worry about because my weight was healthy for my height and since I’ve never had an abnormal pap I am a fine 30-year-old female specimen. And even if I ended up having Endo, the best way to deal with it was to keep on birth control and take pain meds. Had I not known so much about the disease since I personally know SEVEN women effected by it, I probably would have believed him. However, Endo is an estrogen dominant disease. It is worsened by the presence of estrogen, which, if you know anything about birth control pills, they’re packed full of estrogen. So basically, if you have endometriosis, you’re aggravating it by being on a birth control that is estrogen heavy [ie: contraceptive pills]. And nobody wants to be on painkillers that do jack sh*t for that kind of pain.
You know what’s even worse about this whole scenario? This guy was the best doctor I could find out of all of the ones that were recommended to me and of all the lists of local docs that I went through. So this man, who claims to have an extensive knowledge of all sorts of female reproductive issues, completely shredded his credibility to me within a 30 minute conversation. If this guy is the best there is for me, am I just doomed? Do I trust this guy to get me to the finish line when I’m super pregnant? Will he reassure me and give me peace of mind if or when I feel like something’s off during pregnancy? Sure doesn’t seem like it.
And you know what else is frustrating? I’ve never had this issue with any other type of doctor. My GP, dermatologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, naturopathic [yup, I’ve even seen one of those].. All of them listen intently and don’t interject or tell me I’m crazy when I question the health of my own body. And not to say that your general day-to-day health isn’t important, but why, why when it’s the one doctor that’s supposed to watch over your reproductive system and the process of building another life is it treated so haphazardly? This seems completely backwards to me.
This turned into a lengthy, venting post which I apologize for. I’ve just truly never been so frustrated with our healthcare system and doctors and how little they educate themselves after med school. And after taking Otis to our vet the evening before, who had just attended not one, but TWO, new seminars on new veterinary studies, I found myself wishing that she was my doctor. At least I know my dogs are getting the best possible care. As obsessed as I am with them, that definitely counts for something.
If any of you are local Sac ladies and have an OB recommendation for me, I am all ears! I am not going to just settle because this guy was the “best” I could find. There may have been someone I glanced over or missed, and I am willing to take the time and steps to find the absolute best doctor I possibly can! My future babies depend on it!
For those wondering, Endometriosis and PCOS [Polycystic Ovary Syndrome] are two reproductive disorders that can greatly hinder your chances at getting pregnant and/or carrying a baby full term. Endometriosis is a condition where your uterine tissue grows outside of your uterus. And when the female period happens once a month and that lining naturally sheds.. Yup, you guessed it! It sheds elsewhere inside the body, too, causing internal bleeding that has no chance of escape. If it sounds painful, it’s because it is. Endo effects at least 1 in 10 women, but the fact that I personally know 7 ladies who suffer from it leads me to believe it’s more common than we even know. If you want to read more about either or both, you can definitely Google them. I also recommend reading the two blogs I’ve listed below. One of them is my best friend who was diagnosed with Endo 11 years ago. Her blog is all about her journey and how she’s found her source of recovery [Endo is not curable, by the way]. The other blog is by another close friend of mine who developed Endo after she gave birth to her child via C-section. She was recently diagnosed within this last year. I’ll also list their Instagram profiles as well – they are both very open about their disease and their struggles and are more than willing to talk to anyone who has it or thinks they do. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and is definitely, sadly, more common than we think!