This will be a continuation of this post, just so you know.
Somewhere around June or July of 2015, I told my gynecologist (at the time) that I wanted a tubal ligation.
“That’s fine! I’ll note it on your record and in a year, if this is still something you want to consider, we can pursue it,” she said.
To me, that was a win. I was living in the state of Kansas – as you all know by now – and Kansas is one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to a woman’s right to her reproductive choices. Being a young woman with no children makes pursuing a tubal ligation difficult in any state ANYWAY. But being a young woman with no children pursuing a tubal ligation in the state of KANSAS should be an Olympic sport.
None the less, I was so happy and I decided that by August 26 – my birthday – I would have my surgery.
One year later.
I found out I was moving to New Mexico. So I decided to move up my request for an operation so that my insurance would cover the bulk of it before I left the state.
I called my doctor.
I got her nurse.
“So were we scheduling a well woman exam?” the nurse asked.
“Yes, and I need to schedule an operation. Last year I spoke to Dr. Give and Take (that’s her name from now on, I really shouldn’t protect her privacy because I am still so mad at the situation but she’s employed by Via Christi clinics in case you want to avoid her) and she said she would perform a tubal ligation on me. I’m moving in two months and I would like this operation before my insurance expires.”
Because I worked in a call center for three years I’m able to sound super professional on the phone.
“Oh,” said the nurse, her voice shifting from peachy to uncomfortable. “Oh. Well. Dr. Give and Take is booked solid. She’s going on maternity leave in three months. I would have scheduled your well woman exam with her nurse, but I suppose if you were wanting a surgery then I can see if we can squeeze you in. We’ll call you back.”
I waited two days for a phone call.
Then, I called the doctor again.
“It’s difficult finding time for a tubal,” the same nurse said. “As I mentioned, Dr. Give and Take’s schedule is full. I’ll give you a call back in a few hours.”
THE NEXT DAY my phone rings and I pick up.
“Hello!” I said.
“Hello, Sarah?” It’s the same nurse. “I spoke with Dr. Give and Take and she won’t do the operation. She doesn’t feel comfortable doing it and she told me to tell you that if you were ACTUALLY serious about this that you will need to find another clinic. We will not be performing this surgery on you and we would appreciate it if you did not press the matter, or you WILL have to find another clinic.”
I wish I was making this up. But then again, I don’t wish that because it was AWFUL.
“Oh, really?” I said, my tone becoming POINTED.
“She doesn’t feel comfortable,” the nurse said, her tone matching mine.
“May I remind you that this is my body and not yours, or Dr. Give and Take’s?” I said sweetly.
The nurse inhaled sharply.
“Ma’am, do you even HAVE any kids?”
“Ma’am,” I spat back. “That is not your business and I think your entire office is disgusting. I’m ending my professional relationship with you. And I’ll be more than happy to find a clinic that can respect me and my choices. Have a great day. Never call back.”
And I hung up the phone.
And I burst into tears.
Welcome to Kansas as a woman, everyone!
Now, at the time I had a Facebook page. So I did what everyone in the world does: I hopped on Facebook to vent my frustrations.
“My doctor refused to do my tubal! Never go to Dr. Give and Take, she’s two-faced!” I typed in all caps or something, I can’t remember and I deleted my Facebook in November 2016.
I do remember a smattering of support, the errant “Well, she’s just doing her job” comment, but there was one golden comment that stood out above all that gave me a slight flicker of hope.
“Hey, go see my gyno, Dr. Goddess (that’s her name from now on). She’ll respect your decision and she’ll give you the surgery.”
“Really?” I had replied back. “Because I’m nervous and I don’t want to have to go through this again. Would she really do this?”
“Absolutely,” was the reply. “She asked me if I wanted one because I still don’t have children and I have her swap my IUD out every five years.”
By the way, Dr. Goddess is employed by College Hill OB-GYN in Wichita. GREAT clinic with empathetic and friendly staff and I really felt comfortable there.
So the next day I called College Hill OB-GYN.
The receptionist on the other end was friendly. I knew I was going to like her right away.
“So what happened was I was forced to end my relationship with the gynecologist I have been seeing for years,” I told the receptionist. “She refused to perform a sterilization procedure and was disrespectful to me when she denied it. I mean, she made her nurse break the news to me. She didn’t even have the courage to tell me herself.”
“Oh, I am so sorry! Is there a doctor you would like to see?” the receptionist asked. And she didn’t sound schmaltzy either, she was empathetic.
“Yes, I was recommended by a friend to see Dr. Goddess. Is she taking new patients?”
“She is! I can schedule you to meet her next Monday. Is that okay?”
“That’s more than okay!”
But I didn’t keep my hopes up in case she decided to say no to me as well.
Dr. Goddess is amazing. She’s a Catholic woman with seven kids, she’s tall with a long, golden mane of curly hair, and she’s very strong. Almost intimidatingly strong. But she’s a strong lady and when we first met I told her my sob story.
She looked at me, her arms folded.
“Okay,” she said when I told her I wanted a tubal ligation.
She nodded once.
“You’re 28 and you told me that you and your partner discussed it. And you told me he doesn’t want children either. I would like to think that at your age you have yourself figured out, so let me go ahead and do your well woman exam first and then we’ll schedule your operation.”
She said yes.
SHE SAID YES.
We scheduled my operation for 6:30 AM on July 7th, 2016.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
(don’t you love a cliff hanger.)