I think, in general, that I’ve been pretty lucky in my interactions with medical professionals, no matter how much I fret about the appointments prior to going. I always think the doctor is going to think I’m faking, or that I haven’t tried to figure out what’s wrong, or that I am an alarmist about my super special snowflake symptoms. But that doesn’t seem to have happened much, read at all, so that when I started to feel like something was wrong, last week, “down there”- I didn’t even worry about meeting a new practitioner, I just blithely made the first appointment I could.
Random details you may or may not be interested in: since we moved here to Long Beach just three months ago, my “network” is small and limited. You know- how people always tell you to ask your friends for referral to any sort of professional, be it a plumber or a doctor? Well, when you have three friends, none of whom either own their own home or have ever been pregnant, those amazing referrals I’m supposed to be getting are few and extremely far between. AND BESIDES- just because Jane likes her doctor doesn’t mean I’m going to like her doctor, or her tax preparer, or what have you. My mother’s advice was, of course, to ask my co-workers- none of whom know I am pregnant, and besides, I’ve been here a month. I don’t have any co-worker relationships strong enough to withstand a conversation that starts off with “So, it burns when I pee…” Note to self: grow a damn pair, and stop asking your mother for advice.
Anyhoo- all of that, and this doctor’s office that I called was actually referred to me by one of my aforementioned three friends, but when I called, only the nurse practitioner was available for a same day appointment. NOW. Know that I love nurse practitioners (my best friend is one. No, really)- they were nurses, so they tend to have a bedside manner, and they tend to be able to spend more time with you than the doctor. So when I was able to get a same day appointment with an NP, I was pretty much thrilled.
Until, that is, she started talking. Look, I know my circumstances are a little special- since my relationship is missing a key baby-making ingredient, we had to start off at a fertility clinic, and that clinic discharged us as 9 weeks, and I’ve been looking around for a midwife, and therefore, between weeks 9 and 10.5, I wasn’t under anyone’s care, midwife or OB. There is also a notable absence of flannel from my wardrobe, and my hair is long, and my tattoos hidden (have I covered all stereotypes of butch lesbians?).
But Nurse Practitioner Know-it-All wasn’t interested in hearing my special circumstances, she was interested in berating me for not having an OB. Three separate times she asked me if I had one, and when I said no, each time, she launched into her spiel about the absolute necessity of getting an OB RIGHT AWAY. We’re ten minutes into the appointment, and it’s finally dawning on me that she thinks I’m GUESSING about my pregnancy. Indeed, she offers to confirm it by urine test, just in case my period is simply TWO FUCKING MONTHS LATE. No, no, I tell her. I know I am pregnant, I just got discharged from a fertility clinic.
Oh, says Nurse Practitioner Know-it-All. So you’re having trouble getting pregnant. The arched eyebrow indicates her further incredulity at my lack of obstetrical coverage.
No, no. I’m gay, and I was artificially inseminated.
Oh, she says. That’s ok.
HOLD THE PHONE. “That’s ok”? Oh, really, Nurse Practitioner Know-it-All? It’s ok with you if I choose a partner of the same sex as I do and spend a significant amount of money in order to start a family? Are you sure? You know, because if you’re not, I’ll be sure to run right out and get straight just for you.
Not satisfied with the hole she finds herself in, Nurse Practitioner Know-it-All proceeds to hire herself a backhoe and dig a tunnel directly to China with this next gem: “These OBs I’m referring you to- they can handle that.”
They can handle my gayness? Good Lord, sign me up with these paragons of understanding and virtue! We all know gay pregnant women are a completely different category of pregnant than REGULAR women, and these OBs are particularly adept at handling this interesting and intriguing, novel kind of pregnancy.
I’m going to have to stop there, before I choke on my own sarcasm, but no before I finish it off by telling you that when I inquired if she knew any midwives, she looked at me as if I’d asked for the cheapest human baby sacrificing kit.
Perhaps I am naive in thinking that since I live in a suburb of gay-mecca Los Angeles, in a town where there are gays and hipsters in equal numbers, that “alternative” lifestyles shouldn’t be the most shocking thing any medical professional sees on any given day. And perhaps I am naive in thinking that I personally wouldn’t get that sort of treatment because of… I don’t know what, but that afternoon in the doctor’s office was eye-opening in more ways than one. I’m lucky enough to be able to go elsewhere, and see someone else. But what if that’s what you’re stuck with? And for the record, I did, that afternoon, make an appointment with an OB. We still live in a culture where medical professionals are seen as keepers of knowledge that’s above and beyond mere mortals, and three lectures was enough to scare me into making a choice I’m not sure I would have otherwise.