My spouse Em made a big decision a few weeks ago. Coupled with insanely heavy and painful periods, and an increase in gender dysphoria tied to those periods, she agreed that it was time we look into methods to stop her menses. Em is still working through issues surrounding her gender, labels, and whatnot. But, there were two things she knew she wanted. One was that she did not want to start T (that would eventually stop her period), but didn’t want to get any more ‘girly’. The other is that she wanted her periods to stop as soon and easily as possible.

Once some research was done, we figured that a progesterone-only birth control would be the way to go. After summoning up the courage to deal with her doctor-phobia, Em made an appointment. As our old doctor had left the practice, she had to see a brand new one. We talked about what Em wanted to say – she was going to focus on the painful periods and wanting them to stop. We wouldn’t discuss up the gender dysphoria, as that’s a topic that Em is barely comfortable talking about with me, let alone a new strange doctor. I brought up the fact that they would more than likely ask her to do a pap smear, as I know that Em has a massive phobia surrounding vaginal examinations. But, we confirmed that it was only a suggestion, and not a requirement to get on the pill, depo shot or arm implant.

Red flags began when at the very start of Em’s appointment, the doctor started bringing up a knee issue that was discussed at her previous physical. At no point did the doc ask why we were there. After 15 minutes of going over knee-related problems, Em finally broke through her overly-polite-British-nature and let the doc know why she was there. The doc asked period-centric questions that we expected – when did they start, how long do they last, what are they like, etc. The discussion then turned to finding out why her periods are so uncomfortable, and that a pap smear was needed as Em had never had one.

Cue the deer-in-the-headlights moment when Em looked at me, with tears in her eyes asked me if she had to get one. In my I’m-being-strong-and-firm-so-don’t-mess-with-me voice, I let the doctor know that based on the research we did that a pap smear is not required, and that Em did not feel comfortable getting one at this time. I confirmed that we both knew that paps were important, but Em was not ready to have one then and there. That it was something we were working through, but not there yet. Note the focus on Em being uncomfortable, not wanting one, and not being prepared to have one.

Apparently, that didn’t fly as Em was asked / told / chastised seven more times during the appointment about a pap smear. SEVEN. And seven more times I had to use my teacher-voice to speak up for my now-shaking spouse.

When we finally moved from the ‘let’s find out why your periods are so rough’ portion to the ‘let’s actually stop those periods like you’ve asked’ portion, there was what I consider the most eye-rolling conversation I’ve ever had with a medical professional.

Dr: Are you sexually active?
Em: Yes.
Dr: So you’ll need a pregnancy test before we can start you on the Depo.
Em: But I’m not pregnant. I mean…
me: Em doesn’t have sex with penises. There is zero chance she is pregnant.
Dr: Yes, but we have to have one. She’s sexually active.
me: But I’m definitely not pregnant.
Dr: Yes, but we still need to do one.

Em and I both got the distinct impression that “sexually active” to this doctor means penis-in-vagina sex. Because as far as I recall, our silicone dildo isn’t going to knock anyone up. (That, and I’d be the one who ended up pregnant if that was the case!) Then the conversation turned to what I could only assume were reasons not to start Em on Depo.

They need to inject the week of her period, to make sure that she’s not pregnant. (Even though they were doing a pregnancy test, and we would be away that week.)

Since we were going on vacation, we might want to wait as the shot won’t totally stop her period right away. We wouldn’t want our vacation “ruined” with her getting her period! (Like she would have got anyway if she didn’t start on the shots.)

There’s these awful side effects. (Yeah, the ones that we researched and went over, like was discussed at the top of the appointment. Got them covered. Weight gain, acne, decreased sexual libido – we know.)

Well, OK, we can do it now, but the nurse who needs to give you the shot isn’t in, so you’ll need to call in tomorrow to see when she is back and make an appointment.

Fine.

So it wrapped up with Em doing a pee test to make sure there was no baby Jesus growing in her Gold Star Lesbian Womb, and a trip back to Dr Tick Box’s nurse tomorrow for the shot.

Joys.

Filed under: The Mrs Goodnight

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