Elena shares her story about infertility. She describes a negative experience she had during one of her medical procedures.
OBOS Today: If you want to start with your experience with infertility, if you want to just talk about when that first started?
Elena: Sure, so, um, that started in my late 30s, or kind of my mid-30s to late 30s. So I had recently— I always knew that I wanted to be a mother, but I wasn’t someone who was interested in jumping into marriage and building a family quickly. And I did end up finding a partner kind of late in life, so— and who I lived with for a while and then got married to at the age of 35. And my partner is a man, so he’s my husband. And we both really wanted children. And started, um, trying, and just after a while, it became clear that it was not going to happen easily, so we had all sorts of tests done. Diagnostic, um, I went through a series of diagnostic tests, and, um, it was really difficult, I realized. More difficult than I thought it would be, to be poked and prodded and, you know, just kind of— just by the very situation, made to feel like there was something wrong with me and that somehow, I had done something to make it happen or I was doing something wrong, and I, um, I had a doctor who was very well known in this area, um, a male doctor, who was— who just a lot of women in my cohort went to, um, who were dealing with infertility.
And I wasn’t really that comfortable dealing with a male doctor, but it was— at that time it was— not that many people did that work and a lot of what my interface with his practice was with the nurse practitioner who was a woman, um— But ultimately, I did end up having some procedures.
And one was a— and I don’t even remember the name of it, to be honest, but it was just something where I was— a scope was, went up to my tubes and to kind of check around and see what was going on. And it was a very traumatic experience for me. Really traumatic. And I was actually in graduate school at the time, and I was told it would be nothing: you know, I was told it would— you know, wouldn’t be a big deal, and so I didn’t really clear my schedule afterwards. That was like— I was supposed to proctor an exam, and so I went and I had this done, and it was so painful and so cold and I felt, I really had this feeling that even though I obviously knew this was not the case, but I just had a feeling of being raped, I just had this feeling of, um, just, you know, this thing poking inside of me that I didn’t want there, and it hurt incredibly. So, I— and my husband was there, holding my hand and he was, he was great, he was doing fine, um, but ultimately I just made the doctor stop. And I just jumped off the table and I went into the ladies’ room that was nearby and I just sort of— I just was kind of shaking and I just felt really profoundly violated.
And then I came out. And you know, my husband gave me a hug and made sure I was okay, and I, um, I don’t remember what my interaction was with the doctor at that point. And then, then, at some point, as I was leaving, or there was some kind of an exit procedure or something and I was talking to someone— a woman, who I think was a nurse in the practice, and I told her, and she said, “How are you doing?”, and I said, “Well actually not that great— it really, really hurt,” and she said to me, “You know, he’s known to be kind of rough with his procedures.” And I just felt like, “Why is he doing this job, then?” You know, and why did I not know about this? There’s just something that just felt so profoundly wrong about this, and about— and just the idea that there would be this doctor that all these women were flocking to, that he would be so insensitive, that he was known to be rough with his procedures. There’s something just really not right about it.