So, on the 10th of May I went up to the local health centre to talk to the counsellor about being sterilised. And, honestly, she was fantastic. She had no qualms at all about whether or not I needed the procedure, she understood that wanting the weight of fertility off my mind was an important thing, so we talked about physical methods – I obviously wanted it done transvaginally, because incisions would risk adhesions, and she agreed that was a great idea. The local Trust don’t usually work transvaginally, so she referred me on to my usual surgeon, Mr GB, and suggested that a ligation followed by putting the Mirena coil back in place (So that I was sterile AND had no periods) would be absolutely ideal for me.
She waved me off with a smile and a promise that all it would take from now was a bit of form-filling and a quick consult with the lovely Mr GB.
So, on the 11th of June when I had to go up to StJ to see the surgeon, I wasn’t worried. I rode in, happy to be out on the bike on its new tyres, and was called up into the office pretty promptly. To see… Not Mr GB. An assistant. Fair enough, I thought. We had a nice chat to start off with – She’s a zebra too, and I was amazed that she’s the second zebra gynae that I’ve met *at that hospital*, and a biker, so we chatted about the bike, and then;
“Well, the bad news is, there’s no way that we’re going to give you a ligation. Our trust just do not do them on anyone who’s not already had children.”
I got angry, swallowed it back down into a hot ball of sick sweat in my chest, and felt myself flush a terrible colour.
“Have you considered vasectomy?”
I fought back. I’m not my partners’ property, so I exaggerated a little; “It doesn’t seem fair to give half of the city a vasectomy just to avoid letting me have the snip.”
She tried another tack;
“I know it’s boring to have to come in every five years and have your coil changed”
“Traumatic.” I corrected her.
“At my first coil change, I told the nurse to stop and take the speculum away. Her response was ‘no’, and she continued to try to grab my cervix in forceps whilst holding my legs apart. I kicked her, broke the speculum, and curled up crying in a corner. The reason I’d needed her to stop was because I was beginning to have flashbacks to being raped with a handheld object by an ex-girlfriend. Since then, I’ve needed to have them done under a general anaesthetic.”
“Well, next time, come here and we’ll do it under a local.”
“Did you not hear me? Plus, you should know this, I have EDS, you have EDS, local anaesthetics do nothing. Christ.”
“They might. Try. You can’t keep having them done under a general”
“But that’s the only birth control that works for me. And the only way to install it. This is why I need to be sterilised.”
“I know, but we just… Can’t. What if you want babies later? It can’t be undone!!!”
I eventually got her whittled down to doing an out-of-area referral, to send me a few hundred miles away to be done as a day surgery, but first it would have to pass some other long panel of people who clearly Know What’s Best For Me Better Than I Do. Someone in that line will almost definitely decide that what I really need is the coercive threat of being a broodmare to keep me in line. If just one set of administrators decides that it’s not worth their time or money to put me under a general to get my coil changed, then that’s just it. My sex life ends.
Somehow, I managed to get out of the appointment without raising my voice once. But, really, this is the kind of nightmare that feels like it should be left in the past.