A couple of months ago, I was due for my annual lady exam. I am usually very disciplined when it comes to my annual visit, and although renewing my prescription for birth control pills wasn’t a high priority this time, I wanted to stay up-to-date and healthy.
As I’ve been reading more and more about pregnancy the last few months, I started to realize the importance of a pre-conception check-up. I had been trying to schedule an appointment with my doctor for my annual exam for several weeks. Every time I called, I was told that my doctor’s schedule was not yet available, and to try back later. The receptionist said my doctor’s April schedule was full and that her May schedule was not available. I called the following week and was told the same thing. Then at the beginning of April, after calling less than a week before, I was told that her May schedule was full and that her June schedule was not yet available.
The receptionist said I needed to have a half hour appointment with my doctor in order to schedule a pap. While I realized doctors have busy schedules, I knew I couldn’t be calling every day to see if I could catch the exact day the schedule came out. Calling once a week has been burden enough.
Finally, I decided to email my doctor directly. I had her email address because she emailed me the results of my pap the year before. I explained the above scenerio and difficulty scheduling an appointment. I also told her that my husband and I were planning to stop birth control soon. As this will be our first pregnancy, I stressed the fact that I wanted to meet with her for a wellness exam before beginning to try and get pregnant. I knew I could see any doctor in their office, but since I had been seeing her for 2 years, I explained that wanted to meet with her for this personal matter.
It worked! She emailed me back at 10:00 pm that night and said she could fit me in the next day if I could make it.
The appointment was productive, and I’m glad I was open with her about our plan. She gave me a tetanus shot and did a blood test—she wanted to test my immunity to chicken pox and rubella and check my cholesterol. She counseled me on the affects of caffeine and alcohol while trying to conceive (it’s actually okay in moderation), and gave me a perscription to prenatal vitamins.
A few days later she sent me the results of my blood test and pap. “To summarize, your cholesterol is good, you are negative for gonorrhea and chlamydia and you have demonstrated immunity to rubella and chicken pox (this means you don’t need extra vaccinations before you become pregnant),” she said. “Your pap was negative and negative for HPV. This means you don’t need another pap for 3 years.”
Three years? Really? Apparently, they’ve changed the recommendation for annual exams because they were producing so many false positives. Now healthy women only need to get them every three years. Sounds good to me.
After this appointment, the idea of having a baby started to feel less conceptual. For the first time in my life I would not be actively trying to prevent pregnacy.