date with the doctor

Yesterday, I went to my annual gynocologist checkup. I use the word “annual” loosely, because apparently the last time I went was sometime in early 2011. Anyway, I had been six weeks earlier to have a mysterious spot investigated (it was a harmless blocked gland), and mentioned at the time that we were planning on trying to get pregnant later this year.

I love my gynocologist (in a non-romantic way – trust me, this distinction becomes important). I love that she gave me a stern lecture about being assertive with the scheduling staff if there is something I am worried about (like the blocked gland) and advised that I should ask to speak to her directly if they give me a hard time. I like her purple glasses and motherly attitude. I like that she sweetly asked my 48 year-old wife who would be carrying the baby. I like that she gushes about how fantastically healthy I look every time I go in. I like everything about her and want her to be my obstetrician. Which is why, at this annual appointment, I was supposed to ask her if she would be.

I was very nervous about this, because it felt a lot like asking her on a date. I have never asked a woman on a date, preferring that they ask me, or else I would just be “friends” with them until things progress on their own, if you know what I mean. Asking out was never, ever something I did.

Fortunately, Dr. R brought it up for me. “So, have you given any more thought to child bearing?” she asked me brightly. This would not be awkward at all, except that her hand was in my vagina at the time, investigating the condition of my hopefully egg-laden ovaries. “Um, yes.” I mumbled. “We still want to do it.” I couldn’t very well ask her out on the date to be my obstetrician while her hand was in my vagina, although this actually was rather in keeping with my general method of taking relationships to the next level.

When the hand was removed, and she had pronounced that everything seemed to be in “good working order,” I told her that we were planning on trying after our trip to Paris, which was scheduled for July. Then I took a deep breath. “Are you, um, also an obstetrician?” I asked.

She laughed, “For now!” FOR NOW? What does that mean? I realized through my confusion that the nurse was also laughing. I had no idea what was going on. Seeing this, she stopped laughing for a second and said, “Yes, yes. I’m an obstetrician.” But I was so thrown off by her answer, that I just said, “Okay, thanks.” We moved on, and she advised me to make an appointment with her friend, Dr. P, a reproductive endrocrinologist, “just to see what’s what,” and so that she could walk me through the sperm bank/insemination process and just generally make sure there are no unforseen issues before we get started. Apparently, Dr. P only works part time, so I may have to wait a while for an appointment, which is why she said I should go ahead and call now.

In the parking lot, my wife looked at me expectently, with raised eyebrows. We had done that really lesbian thing of having our appointments back-to-back, so that we could carpool. “Well? Did you ask her?”

“Sort of. It was all a little vague and I don’t understand her answer. But she referred me to Dr. P! A fertility doctor! To learn about the process!”

“What do you mean ‘vague?’ Will Dr. P then be the obstetrician? How does it work?” she asked me. How am I supposed to know? I am just a passive recepticle for information. I take what is presented to me. The whole medical machine is very intimidating.

Apparently, Dr. R had also spoken to my wife about our upcoming plans (though not with her hand in my wife’s vagina — I asked about this). My wife said that Dr. R seemed as excited as we are. This is exactly why I want her to be our obstetrician! Sigh. My wife is much more assertive than I am. I informed her that if anyone is going to be asking our gynecologist out on dates, it’s going to have to be her, not me.


Be forewarned. This will likely be the first of many posts tiptoeing into the realm of TMI. Ah, well, that’s the kind of writer I am. You’re here to read my thoughts, and today, my thoughts are on cervical mucus.

Since I’ve started reading books about conception, I have started to get worried about my cervical mucus. I realize this is a weird thing to worry about. I honestly had never given any thought at all to my cervical mucus before this. Okay, in reality, I didn’t really know what cervical mucus was. However, after reading chapter after chapter of ways to chart your fertility, I started to worry. Once I learned what cervical mucus was, I recognized it as the “snot” that periodically turned up in my underwear or on the toilet paper. But I definitely didn’t notice it every month. What if, the month we decided to start trying to conceive, I didn’t have any? What if I had STOPPED MAKING CERVICAL MUCUS, RIGHT WHEN IT WAS NO LONGER KIND OF GROSS AND UNNECESSARY, BUT I ACTUALLY NEEDED IT. I realized this was a little nutso, but that is my personality. Frankly, it makes me dread a bit the period where I am wondering whether or not I am pregnant, over and over again. If I am this obsessed now, before we are even trying, what is it going to be like when I could actually be pregnant, but it is impossible to tell if the symptoms are early pregnancy or PMS?

Anyhow, the mucus obsession. I have been charting my menstrual cycle for a little under a month, meticulously noting in the relevant iPhone app whether I am bleeding (sometimes), how much (a lot one day, then practically nothing, stretching on for a week in a very annoying manner that is tempting to just ignore at the end), whether I’ve taken my vitamin (usually yes, but I tend to forget on the weekends), and how much exercise I’ve been getting (not enough. never enough). I have been waiting, in vain, for some cervical mucus to chart, but it just doesn’t appear. The yellow dot representing my anticipated date of ovulation came and went, with no mucus. I decided that probably I had stopped making it, and was doomed to a year of basal body temperature charting to confirm my pee-stick readings. Or worse, that I did not make it, so we could not inseminate at home, as our thawed little swimmers would have nothing to swim through. Just an arid desert, complete with mirages and camels, where my cervix and its mucus used to be. Does my body not realize that sperm have little swimmer tails, not legs? They cannot walk through an arid desert. They need to SWIM.

Then, today, VIOLA. Spin. Spin, I have learned, is the egg-whitey kind of cervical mucus, and the kind that is perfect for excited little sperm to swim through and typically coincides with ovulation. So, even though we are yet months away from starting to inseminate, at least I can rest assured that when the time comes, there will not be a desert, but rather an ocean. Or really, probably more like a swamp or some other moderately damp type of climate.