Monday, August 29, 2011

On how the Navy believes milspouses are too feeble-minded to manage their own reproductive health

I find it really obnoxious when I go to a doctor -- any doctor, not just military or Tricare-ified -- for an issue with my finger and am asked before any other medical question when my last period was.

I find it even more obnoxious how little say I have over the function of my girlie bits.

Back in the day, when I was childfree, I asked what it would take to get a tubal ligation during a visit at the Pride of Navy Medicine, Balboa Hospital.

Doc: Your file says you don't have any children.
Me: Nope.
Doc: Typically they want you to have two before you make that decision.
Me: Kids are the spawn of Satan. I do not like kids.
Doc: No kids?
Me: That's right. What will it take to get a tubal?
Doc: Therapy.

The doc explained that I'd have to see a psychiatrist first, and then they'd consider allowing me to nuke the possibility I could pollute the gene pool. But, said the doc, with my list of medical issues, there was nil possibility I could become pregnant anyway, and since the issues were persistent, I really didn't even need a referral to the psychiatrist (unless, I inferred, I fell into a deep depression that I would never conceive*).

I never did understand this strange fascination the medical community has with my ability to procreate**. I'm downright confused by the military medical community's seeming insistence than I be a human incubator as often as my uterus and ovaries will allow.

This really became an issue for me when the assurances I received as to my infertility were proved horribly, terribly wrong. Turns out my list of medical issues was actually just one issue, and that one issue is resolved with exercise and a low-GI diet. Imagine my shock when, after hiring a personal trainer and strictly following her ungodly diet, two--count them! two!--pregnancy pee sticks turned positive on me.

I eventually got over my shock, sometime around his fifth birthday.

Not a year after my elder sprog came bleating into the world (literally, as he was a preemie, and his cry sounded like a baby goat, which was cute and horribly terrifying at the same time), my ovaries decided it would be HIGH-larious if they popped out another viable egg in spite of my lack of exercise and not-so-low-GI Weight Watchers diet***. Luckily for that sprog, he turned out cute enough that I decided not to sell him on eBay.

When I got pregnant with younger sprog, I decided Something Must Be Done. I hadn't wanted any, and here I was about to have my second. This would not stand. So I thought back to that fateful convo with the lying doctor who said I didn't need to worry about a tubal. She said I had to have two. I was about to have number two. I went through all the paperwork I'd gotten from Bethesda and saw something about opting for a tubal during a C-section. I didn't want a C-section, but my first pregnancy had ended in one****, and my health was headed in the same direction during that second pregnancy. I had a fair to middling chance that I'd end up on the operating room table with a shaved cookie and my excavated uterus perched on my belly.

I called to ask the doc about this. "You'll have to take a class at Bethesda, but it's just two hours, you sign the paperwork, and then if we do a C-section, we'll do the tubal ligation at the same time," said the doc.

Mother. Fucking. Woot.

I called the designated phone number to sign up for the class. The woman gave me the time, date, and location for that wonderful class, two months away (and--whew!--the last one before my due date). I showed up early, intent on not fucking up my chance to skewer my innards. When I sat in the waiting room, I noted how loud it was. There were a metric fuck ton of preggers and their service members sitting there with me.

The one next to me had a gleeful look. "So this is your first?" she asked.

I thought that was an odd question. "Nope, my second," I said.

She gave me a really weird look, like I had grown a puckered asshole on my forehead, and turned away. She didn't speak to me again.

I thought that was even more strange. Until we were called back for the designated class, for which I was registered.

It wasn't Let's Wrangle Our Fallopian Tubes and Motherfucking Hogtie Those Bitches class.

It was the new parents orientation shit. You know, how to put a fucking diaper on your kid. How to feed them. When to feed them. How not to be a shitbag of a parent.

I was so embarrassed. No wonder that gleeful 'zatch acted like I had motherfucking leprosy.

I left, naturally, and asked on my way out when the Getcher Tubes Tied class actually was.

The week before.

Mother. Fuckers.

Cut to a few weeks later. My health sitch had totally spiraled at this point, and the docs were telling me they'd take the first opportunity to induce labor. Then they got their excuse. The way shit went, I opted to just get the C-section to avoid the complications and issues we'd had during the first sprog's entry into the world. I jokingly said how nice it would be to get the tubal I'd tried to have. The doc gave me a weird look and asked for an explanation. So I provided.

The doc said, "Let me talk to the other surgeons. Since you have another child and have taken all the steps except for the class*****, I'm okay with doing the tubal anyway. But we'll have to make sure everyone else is." She implied it was an ethical concern.

Color me confused. Ethical?? Whatevs. Go corral the motherfuckers and twist some fucking arms. Only one surgeon had concerns, and she came to speak to me personally. I received the following list of questions:

  1. Are you sure this is what you want? Absofuckinglutely.
  2. Are you sure? Absomotherfuckinglutely.
  3. What if you change your mind? I won't.
  4. What if you want other children? I'll adopt. 'Cuz, yanno, there are tons of kids out there who need homes.
  5. What if you want your own children? 1) My genes suck. Why would I want my "own" children? 2) What kind of shitbag mom would I be if I considered adopted sprogs not my "own?"
  6. Are you sure? Bitch, do you see me with an exploding eye and a possible stroke on the way? How the hell is this something I'd motherfucking want to repeat?!
She was okay with my responses at that point. But then, the piece de resistance! She basically asked my husband if she had his permission.

YodaMan is intelligent. His response was something along the lines of, "She's an adult. Why are you asking me?"

I got my tubal. Thank the ever-loving gods. I just had to have two sprogs and my husband's permission first.

Apparently, at least in the milspouse world, we have about as much right to our reproductive freedom as Saudi women have to theirs. Which, IMHO, is motherfucking awesome******.

In happier news, our house in VA Beach survived both pieces of evidence that God hates people who hate teh gayz. I got to ride out the hurricane with LAW and Smurfette's husband. And my younger sprog today saw something awesome and said to me, "Shut the front door!" My sprogs fucking rock.

This post brought to you by Smurfette's shock when she heard second-hand about this issue and demanded a post.

*Ha haaaaaa!


***Ha haaaaaaaaa! So fucking funny.

****My first pregnancy was a clusterfuck beyond all reason, makes for excellent birth control when I tell womenfolk about it, and should have qualified me for a tubal right the fuck there. Alas....

*****YodaMan, to hedge our bets, also signed up for a vasectomy to ensure someone in this marriage would cease to be fertile. In news of high-larity, he was given 30 pain pills for his V. When I left the hospital with my second c-section in eighteen months, I was given 10 pain pills. Same pill, btw. Because major surgery during which your innards are splayed out on your stomach and a new life pulled from within that muck is not as painful and its recovery not as prolonged as a quarter-inch incision for an outpatient procedure. Yeah. This.

******Fuck that noise.


Slightly_Rifted said...

OMG, thank you for posting this. You're right, I was utterly floored, I mean floored when Senior Jefe told me this. I nearly died, and instead just burned his ears up with the most inappropriate language.
They have given me shit about birth control, but lately they have left me be once I had an allergic rxn to the birth control and then found a nice doctor to give me an IUD. Me loves my IUD.

Tiffany said...

I google "navy wives" and I have to say reading this made my day. You're right on all counts. I don't want kids, EVER, and I'm 27 years old. I think if I want to have my shit snipped I shouldn't have to see a shrink. I also can't find anyone to give me an IUD at the risk my "uterus" will contract around it and cause all sorts of issues. It pisses me off The DoD assumes that wives are around for breeding only!

harmonyfb said...

It's not just the military who does this.

After our second child, the husband went to talk to his doctor about a vasectomy. You know what the doctor said? That I would have to come in and talk to him and sign a consent. I told my husband to tell the doctor that hubby wasn't my fucking child and he didn't need my permission to have outpatient surgery on his own body.

And it was worse for my friends who were women. Like we need our spouses' permission. UGH.

Amanda said...

They give me shit about my birth control every year at my yearly pap appt. They seem to forget that the black box warning is worth it because A. I'm psycho when I'm allowed to cycle, and B. I'm even more psycho on estrogen based BC. But oh no, I don't have a hormone imbalance, and despite family history and personal history saying otherwise, there's no reason to just take out the spare parts. Assholes.

And it's not just military. It's I've ever dealt with. Male, female, MD, DO, and midwife. It's like if we're not properly fucking up the population, we're not doing our jobs as citizens.

ohsoang said...

I don't know if they think you're feeble-minded so much as the fact that you exist only to make more soldiers. Also babies = money to medical professionals. Of course they're all for you having some oopsies.

I've found the same attitude in civilian doctor's offices too. I had a couple of doctors in my early 20s who refused to give me an IUD because they said I had to have already had 1 child and/or been over the age of 30. I found out in my late 20s from a very HONEST doctor at Planned Parenthood that that's bunk and I could get an IUD any time. It *might* have more issues in a smaller uterus, but it's perfectly ok. I love my IUD now! And I'm still not 30 nor have had any kids.

Lazarus Long said...

......and you wonder why you're not allowed on Camp Phoenix...............

A said...

I just found you through another blogger, and I have to say you are hilarious. I was cracking up while reading this post. It is so true about what we can and can't do with our reproductive system.