A day in which you learn about “Vajazzling” and “furginas” is a day to remember.
So is the day when you pull your shit together and vent about your crappy delivery to your OB-GYN, who, PS, never showed up for the part where the baby escapes through your emergency exit. And yeah, I’m still really fucking mad about it.
Apparently, time does not heal all wounds.
As I parked the car in Dr. P.’s parking lot, I instinctively reached towards my stomach, remembering the dozens of time I had pulled into this very same parking spot months before. It’s amazing how a place can reach its arms around you and pull you back in. Seven months had passed since my last prenatal appointment, yet it was like no time had passed at all.
Minus the belly and fetus, nearly everything about the experience felt identical: the same beat-up, tan Toyota Camry was sitting in the parking lot in the handicapped space where it always was, unchanged by the passage of time. As I walked into the building, the smell of latex gloves and Band-Aids permeated the air, just as it had seven months before. And even though I wasn’t coming to check on a fetus or see a sonogram, the same feeling of nervousness sat in the pit of my stomach, inching its way up my throat.
But maybe that was just anticipation of the showdown that was to come.
Since the moment Eliana was born, I’d been pissed at Dr. P., who had literally phoned the entire delivery in. (See blog post: “Stand and Deliver”.) In fact, the only time I actually saw her during the whole “You’re actually having a baby!” process was when she “roughed me up a bit” to get the labor going during my regular weekly visit on July 14th, six days before my due date. Right afterwards, I was sent to the hospital at 1 PM; Eliana was not born until the next morning, Friday, at 7:19 AM. I know what you’re thinking: Gee, Ariel, eighteen hours and nineteen minutes is plenty of time for your doctor to get her ass to the hospital!
Yup. It sure is.
So why, praytell, was my OB-GYN conspicuously absent on July 15th at 7:18 AM, when a crowd of no fewer than six residents were hovering around my vajajay, watching me push Eliana out as if they were guests on a Dr. Oz show?
That was the very question I was determined to answer.
So this six-month postpartum appointment would be the day of reckoning, for my anger, disappointment, and mistreatment. For ignored almost-mothers everywhere, crappy deliveries dealt with only by residents, and, last but not least, my vagina.
And besides, nothing says pre-Valentine’s Day fun like a Pap smear!
The visit got off to a rocky start. For my 2:20 appointment, I had arrived politely at 2:10. 2:20 passed. Then 2:30. 2:45. 2:55. 3:10.
This whole “Hurry up and wait” thing felt awfully similar to my actual delivery. At the start of my time in the waiting room, my blood had merely been simmering at a low boil as it marinated in seven month old resentments, but surrounded by the menopausal, hormonal, and premenstrual women around me who were also being kept waiting, I felt my veins fill with rage.
The only thing worse than a Pap smear is having to wait for it for an hour and a half.
Yes, an HOUR AND A HALF.
By the time I was brought into a “treatment room” (read: vagina torture chamber), I was in no mood.
And the only thing that could possibly make me feel worse was the nurse’s order.
“Get on the scale, please.”
Kill me, now.
There it was: staring at me. The five doughy pounds that refuse to come off. In fairness, my attempt at WeightWatchers lately has involved my talking about how I should actually count my points and then watching my weight plateau while eating Veggie Booty at 9 PM after watching a series of On Demand episodes of “Shameless”.
Rather than grab a speculum right then and there and stab it into my heart, I decided to propose a business idea to the nurse.
“You know, if you’re going to keep your patients waiting forever, you should offer bikini waxes. It could be kind of a one-stop shop, you know?”
The nurse laughed and said, “Oh, and I guess we should offer Vajazzling, too?”
“Vajazzling. You know the BeDazzler?”
I did not like where this was going.
“Yeah. Well, Vajazzling is the same thing. Swarovski crystals. Down there.”
“So what you’re trying to tell me is that people glue-gun rhinestones on their vaginas?”
“Yup. I’ve seen it once or twice.”
New lows, humanity. New lows.
“Yeah, well, it’s the furginas that are really weird.”
“You know, furginas.”
Am I so out of touch? Have I fallen this far out of the zeitgeist of mainstream society that everyone in the world is talking about furginas but me?
The nurse smiled at me, the way you smile at someone so sad and pathetic, you just want to nurture them and bake them Rice Krispie treats. “A furgina is when someone cuts off their pubic hair and then replaces it with fabric or faux fur from a store.”
“What, like gingham?”
“I’m telling you! Look it up when you get home! They do feathers too, you know.”
You know what? I prefer to spend my six free minutes of the day NOT Googling “faux fur” and “vagina”, thanks.
“Well, Dr. P. will be in here in a minute. I’ll get you a picture of the Vajazzling.”
Sure enough, three minutes later, there was my nurse, with a print-out of a Vajazzled vajajay in hand.
In case you were wondering why there is a wait at the doctor’s office, just assume that it’s because the nurse is showing a patient different varieties of Vajazzle styles. The butterfly design showcases a bit of artistic genius, really.
I will never look at Lila’s rhinestone-studded turtle t-shirt the same way again. Thanks, Vajazzler.
Twenty-one minutes later, in walked Dr. P., smiling and happy as could be. After all, insurance had paid her over $6,000 for not showing up at my delivery. I’d be walking on sunshine too if I got paid boatloads to not show up for my job.
After Dr. P. ran through all the preliminary steps of our appointment, I cleared my throat. It was my one moment in time.
Me: Dr. P.? I need to talk to you about something.
Dr. P.: (barely looking up from chart) Yes?
Me: (mustering up courage) I’m still pretty upset that you didn’t make it to my delivery. I didn’t say anything at our six-week postpartum because I was still too angry to talk about it.
Dr. P.: (putting on fake disappointed face) Oh, me too, Ariel. I wish I could have been there. I hate missing deliveries. (resumes looking at chart, satisfied this conversation is over)
Me: (pressing on, not letting Dr. P get away with this) Well, I just don’t really understand why you weren’t there.
Dr. P.: (innocently) Are you sure I was on call?
Me: (subduing the urge to rip metal stirrup off of chair and jab it in Dr. P.’s jugular) Yes. I started pushing at 6:45 AM. Eliana was born at 7:19 AM.
Dr. P.: (looking shocked) They let you push without my being there? Oh, we never let them push without us being there! I’m really surprised that that happened.
Me: Well, the baby was coming when she was coming, and I think they were aware that the baby wasn’t exactly going to wait for you or one of the other doctors to show up.
Dr. P.: (making Tsk-tsk sound with her mouth and shaking head) You know, these residents don’t always follow the doctors’ rules…
Me: I was glad someone was there to help me deliver. (pause) Why weren’t you there?
Dr. P.: (stalling) I’m not sure exactly what happened. I think maybe they just didn’t call me?
Me: (sleuthing through this) Then how did you know to show up?
Dr. P.: (avoiding eye contact) You know, these things happen. I hate missing deliveries.
Well, Dr. P., you can put rhinestones on a vagina, but they just can’t vajazzle the truth. YOU MISSED THE DAMN DELIVERY!
That’s the point at which she pulled on my boobs like they were handles on a rowing machine, subsequently followed by a rather (purposefully?) painful Pap smear. I assumed that meant the conversation was officially over.
So yes, we made small talk all the way through the rest of the visit. I brought up Vajazzling, and she mentioned she had nearly vomited when she saw a patient with a clit ring.
As I sat in my hospital gown, a fragment of the woman I once was, Dr. P. looked me in the eye.
“I’m really sorry I missed it.” Then, she leaned in and kissed my cheek. “See you for your annual next year!”
The door clicked, and she left.
There had been no vindication. No validation. A half-assed apology for her absence from a major event of my family’s life—one at which she had been expected to have an important co-starring role. As Adele might say, “Sometimes it lasts in love [or in obstetrical-gynecological relationships] but sometimes it hurts instead.”
So I put my clothes on, took the nurse’s print out of a Vajazzled vagina, and left.
It was the last I would ever see of Dr. P. And it was the last she would ever see of my vagina.