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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Your Gynaecologist & You

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I have the unshakable opinion that selecting your gynaecologist is one of the biggest choices you have to make in life, right up there with choosing a life partner, and a career path. A lot of people have argued with this theory, my husband especially, but it is just something I have come to firmly believe.

I never had a need for a gynaecologist for the early part of my life…or so I thought. I pretty much breezed through my twenties in the most perfect of health, save for the odd yeast infection now and then. It was the year I hit thirty that I got my first gynaecological scare. Because I didn’t know better, I just walked into my neighbourhood hospital when I had some uterine cramping. The doctor who delivered the diagnosis of fibroids to me had the bedside manner of an alley cat. He was gruff and arrogant and totally unbothered. I am not saying he should have pulled out a tissue box and had a good cry with me, but some empathy would have been nice. I got none. Instead, I was advised to “Hurry up and have kids”. Music to the ears of the 30 year old woman not even in a relationship. So demotivated was I that I pushed the knowledge of my fibroids to the back of my mind, and kept myself in denial for as long as I could. Fast forward a year later, I had found myself a fella and gotten engaged. My periods had become far too heavy, and way too frequent, so I knew it was time to get the fibroid wahala addressed.

So I got referred to the hospital I now use, let’s call it Hospital X ☺. I had a very long wait to see the Doctor, during which time I seethed, and stewed, and got up to leave more than once. I think it was the thought of the hefty consultation fee I had paid that kept me in my seat. When I was eventually called to see the Doctor, I was so ticked off by the long wait that, in my mind, there was no way I would return, no matter what. That was before I beheld the smiling face of my beloved doctor, Dr. F. He warmly welcomed me into his office, listened to me with rapt, undivided attention, talked me through my situation in detail, as well as the possible solutions. By the time I left his office, I felt the best about my condition since my encounter with the horrible neighbourhood doctor. And even though I later on got a referral to another good doctor in another hospital, which would have been covered by my health insurance, I opted for the more expensive choice of Hospital X, simply because Dr F had made me feel so comfortable.

The day I had my myomectomy, when I was freaking out about the thought of having a needle in my spine, Dr F held me whilst the anaesthesiologist administered the spinal block. I cannot even begin to recount all the paternal care and support I got from this wonderful man. I knew then and there that I had found my gynaecologist for life.

But alas, it so happens that, as much as I had come to love Dr F, I hadn’t fully realised the importance of the role of a good gynaecologist in my life. A year into my marriage, when we began the investigative trips to clinics regarding our delayed conception, I allowed my pocket be the deciding factor. I decided to go with the free option provided by my medical insurance. So off I went to a cheaper clinic. In my defence, it wasn’t such an uninformed decision, as I had heard only great things about their Medical Director, Professor O. Hmm, error of all errors. To cut a long story short, going from Dr F to Professor O was like going from a loving, doting parent to an indifferent neighbour. It might be different for other people, but I found Professor O rather cold and detached. True, there were a lot of people waiting to see him that day, but my experience with him made me leave the hospital even worse off than when I got there.

My misadventure also saw me deal with other doctors in another fertility clinic in Lagos. Hmmm. Though not as cold as Professor O, my chemistry with them was nowhere near what I had with Dr F. I found their system to mirror the same conveyor belt system as the previous cheaper hospital. Patients in, patients out, nothing more, nothing less. No personal touch whatsoever. When my cycle of IVF failed there, I felt like a stepchild. Zero after care and support. Horrible, horrible experience.

I eventually found my way back to Hospital X, for my 2nd IVF cycle. As I knew he would, Dr F took an active interest in the entire process, right from medication, till egg retrieval, to embryo transfer, even to my antenatal classes. Whenever I walked into his office, I always felt a similar kind of joy like walking into my Dad’s bedroom for a chat. No matter what time of day I sent him a text message about a worry or concern, he would always reply me within minutes!

And when my husband insisted I travel to the States to give birth, how I lamented and protested! How could my beloved Dr F not be the one to deliver me? Luckily, I had a great doctor in the States, who was almost as warm and paternal. But yet, my dear Dr F was always only an email away, and he replied all my frequent, needless, pointless emails worrying and fretting about everything imaginable.

But as much as I love Dr. F, some people I have recommended him to didn’t take to him at all, and chose to go elsewhere. Likewise, many other women I know favour some of the doctors I had bad encounters with. My point is, you need to identify what works for you, and stick to it. I realised that, for me, because I am such a sensitive person, I need someone who will give me a sense of security. I need to feel like I am being listened to. I need to feel like I matter. Some people might not care for all that. To them, it might be just fluff. Some people might prefer straight talkers who tell you as it is, without beating round the bush. Some people prefer doctors who go straight to business, no chitchat, no familiarity. Whatever the case, identify what, and whom, would best make you comfortable.

Because after all, for someone who will be even more familiar with your lady bits than your “Oga at the top”, it needs to be someone worth it ☺.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Matthias Ziegler

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

25 Comments

  1. sandra

    November 24, 2014 at 9:13 am

    pls can I hav any gud gynaecologist pls send it to my mail..thanks

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Sandra. I can’t view your e-mail address. Please e-mail me at [email protected], and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

  2. Ijeoma

    November 24, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Nice one

  3. A

    November 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Hi Nicole, does every woman with fibroid have issues with conception? do you have an idea pls?

    • DO

      November 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Not every woman with fibroid has issues with conception. It usually depends on the size and location of the fibroid. I and 2 of my sisters had fibroids but mine interfered with conception because it was located at the opening of the womb. I eventually had do a myomectomy – a procedure to remove the fibroid and leave the womb intact/unharmed.

      My 2 cents based on experience.

    • A

      November 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks for you!

    • meg

      November 24, 2014 at 11:42 am

      No it depends on most times the size and position of the fibroid.

    • A

      November 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you!

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Not at all, A. As DO rightly said, it is all dependent on location. I have friends who have had football sized fibroids, and went on to have kids successfully (and are still carrying these huge fibroids around). On the other hand, some people have had comparatively smaller fibroids, which are precariously located, thus interfering with conception.

    • A

      November 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you Nicole, since i got diagnosed with fibroid (Intramural) i have been worried sick, i am not yet married, no kids, should be getting married sometime in the new year (by Gods grace). SMH, the discovery broke me down and all..

  4. Omoté

    November 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

    My gynaecologist has horrible people skills but he gets good results. If I had a choice I’d stop seeing him. You wait for hours to see him n whn u get to see him, u feel like u’ve just been to d principal’s office. I rmbr an incident that really got me pissed. I was supposed to do a transvaginal scan n der was dis other young male doctor (who by d way was my junior in secondary school) in d office, he had just started working there. I asked if he could step out that I wasn’t comfortable n my gynaecologist just acted like I hadn’t said anything. I eventually had to do the scan. I felt like something had been taken away from me.
    It didn’t feel like I was in a private clinic anymore, I might have as well gone to a teaching hospital. Sadly he’s one of d good ones in town. Can’t wait to see 2 pink lines, going to see him is more of an ordeal.

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      WHAAAT??! That is just the height! You were in your right to demand for the other doctor to leave the room. Sorry you had to go through that. Unless you’re sure you can live with this bad behaviour, I would recommend you start shopping around for another Ob/Gyn.

  5. penelopeia

    November 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    So this happened to me; I saw my OBGYN for a procedure to check if my tubes were blocked, after 16 months into marriage and no issue. I had a brazalian wax just for this procedure (usually my hubby works through my thorns..ha) as i lay down on the table naked with my legs raised high and the doc inserting some metallic things and clamping this up and down, after 15-20 mins told me to wear my dress and wait for him in his office. I did that only to be told that my cervix was too high and slippery so he could not finish the procedure and gave me another date. I swore to myself never to repeat that, as it HURTS badly. Two months later i got my bfp and i have a beautiful daughter

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      You are so so lucky! Congrats on your daughter. They really make all the awful stuff we go through worth it in the end! Hope you have found another Ob/Gyn for #2?

  6. Been there

    November 24, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Nothing like a good OBGYN. i mean, in my case its my first pregnancy and i’m not willing to compromise. yes, i’m having to pay an arm and a leg at a specialist hospital(as opposed to using the wack hospitals on my company’s HMO list). the 1st doctor who was a female was just too indifferent, in my trimester, i complained of a constant pain and all she had to say was “i don’t know why its happening” are you kidding me? my mum thought me better, you need to get value for your money nau. thankfully i started seeing another male experienced doctor at the same hospital. going in to see him is refreshing, no question is stupid. Even when i had a scare last month, he did not brush it off, and that saved my baby.

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      You are so wise for having listened to your gut!!! Some of these doctors….I don’t know where they fall from, really! I once had a Paediatrician (who looked like she was fresh out of med school) flipping through her medical journal right in front of me. Of course I never went back there again. Thank God for you….and congrats on your baby!

  7. Lolita

    November 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Nicole….your site is all that and some more. I almost felt like we were gisting. Well done!

    • Nicole

      November 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Awww, thanks so much Lolita! This just made my day 🙂

  8. Ufuoma

    November 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    This is an eye opener for all women TTC.

  9. Britico

    November 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Wow

  10. Honeycrown

    November 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article Nicole & thanks for sharing. I have kept the same OB/GYN for years and referred some friends to her because she’s that good & she also has small hands which is a blessing when it comes doing a pelvic exam. Having a good Doctor-Patient relationship is very important for both parties involved. It fosters trust and the doctor is able to learn more about the patient & make a more accurate diagnosis. Also the patient gets to learn more about his/her condition. This plays a positive role on the road to recovery, it increases the compliance of the patient to medical advice & more than likely, he/she will practice a more healthier lifestyle in situations where it is needed.

    • Nicole

      November 25, 2014 at 1:08 am

      Thanks so much, Honeycrown! You put it so aptly! It is so very important, that doctor/patient relationship. And lucky lucky you about the small hands :). The little joys of life!

  11. MADUBUKO ONYINYE MIRABEL

    November 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Pls I need a gyna too. Haven’t conceived for ten yrs. They said fibroid after I had etopic. Need to talk to someone

  12. chennille

    November 29, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Love this piece Nicole. I’m 12 weeks pregnant, at 5 weeks I was referred to a GYN because I had serious abdominal pain. He ran a scan and in d most care-free manner I’ve seen, he said I’ve got fibroid. I got another appointment sm weeks later & this time went with my mum, she ws so angry with his attitude and that was the end of my visits there. Got a new GYN, so full of hope. Even when i express my fears, he always listens,explains, & at the end of day I always feel light.

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