I love the OBGYN who delivered my sons, but for insurance reasons, I had to switch to another provider. I found one close to my home and was thrilled about the easy parking, so I booked my appointment and drove two minutes up the street for my routine PAP.
I did the usual things. Freshly showered and groomed, I stripped down, folded my clothes neatly, and, of course, hid my panties inside my jeans. I covered up with the pitiful paper drape and anxiously awaited my new doctor. A little while later, he and the nurse entered the room, and the next part is a little fuzzy because the only thing I could focus on was his gigantic hands. But anyway, after a brief introduction, he lubed up and got down to it.
“Scoot down this way. Keep scooting. All the way to the edge. Yep, keep going. You want your butt hanging off the table. Okay, now let your legs fall open.”
I mean, I can’t be the only one who physically cannot follow these commands. Three days later, I was finally far enough down the table, and he got started, and his giant hands are like squishing my ovaries or something, IDK, but I remember very much scooting all the way back up. I can’t be sure, but I think he was on the table with me at this point. And then he cranks up the speculum and pipe cleaners and gets to scrubbing. And I’m thinking, “Okay, good deal, we’re just about done.” Speculum out. I’m ready to jump off the table, but he’s still down there. And I feel him tug at me, as he says, “You know, I can surgically remove this extra piece. I’ve done a bunch of these if you want to see my photos.”
Excuse me, what?
The “extra piece” he was holding was my left labia. And I am stunned as I try to recall whether anyone has ever held my labia before. Reality sets in, and now I’m stunned again because I’ve had a few visitors downtown, and no one ever mentioned that anything was amiss. And that includes doctors. So now I’m in my head about it, and I tell him, that sure, I’ll look at his labiaplasty portfolio or whatever, because what else am I going to do? I’m sitting there naked save for some tissue paper and KY, and this guy pulls up a chair and breaks out his photo album like he’s about to read me a bedtime story. I start to feel clammy and nauseous, as he rattles on about some method called the “wedge technique” and “Good news is I can do this without messing up clitoral sensation and probably get it covered by insurance.” I was feeling so lightheaded that I told him I’d get in touch with him next week just so we could drop it.
I’m amused as I tell the story now, but in that moment, I felt humiliated.
I waited a few minutes, took several deep breaths to make sure I wouldn’t pass out, got dressed, and got the hell out of dodge. As soon as I was in my car, the tears came. I was shocked and embarrassed and also questioning whether something was wrong with me. Had I really been needing labia surgery for 33 years and no one told me?
If you’re wondering, I am asymmetrical. But it’s not like I catch wind resistance when I jog or float like a jellyfish in the pool. It’s just how I am, and for most of my life, I’d been okay with that.
I called my husband who could not understand why I cared so much and kept reassuring me that all my labia were fine, but I couldn’t be so sure. I spent the next few days down an online rabbit hole.
I looked at pre and post-surgery pics, read forums, and even watched porn just to look at others to compare. It was awful.
But then I got pissed. And I know you’re reading this hoping I wrote a review or reported his lack of professionalism or kicked his ass. But I did none of that. I wanted that chapter, and my legs, closed. I realized that there was no reason for him to go there. If he had medical concerns (he didn’t), there was still a more appropriate way to address me that would not risk my dignity. He caught me in a super vulnerable position and embarrassed me. I read his online reviews, and he seems well-liked and is frequently recommended. I don’t think he meant to upset me, but I think that if he really felt the need to have this conversation, there was a better approach.