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The Vagina Doctor

Every girl has to do it. Some go earlier, and some don’t need to until later. It’s scary and invasive, but every teenage girl has her first appointment with her gynecologist. (Think first bikini wax meets first time your pediatrician touches your boobs.) It seems intimidating and uncomfortable, and trust me, IT IS. Kidding. It’s really not that bad! It’s been almost a year since I met my OBG-YN and yes, it was super awkward, but totally worth it. Also, she happens to be awesome.

Right when I turned 18 and passed some pretty big milestones in my short teenage life, my mom decided it would be the right time to take me to – what my dad likes to call it – “the vagina doctor.” Clearly my parents think I’m as sexually involved as a plank of wood. (Or that I am just Plank from Ed, Ed and Eddy) This actually wasn’t the first time there was discussion of this in my house. A few years ago I had arm surgery and did not get my period for 4 months. Worried sick that I might be the next Virgin Mary, (I’m Jewish so I’m guessing my chances are pretty slim…) my mom made me an appointment with her gynecologist. Who happens to be a dude. Gross. I whined a lot, but she insisted. Her goal was that my anxiety over the appointment would “shock my period into arriving.” It actually worked. Seriously though, this logic worked. The Sunday before my impending doom, I got my period. I was safe – for about another year and a half. Cue the Jaws theme song.

But then 10 months ago I sat down with my mom to talk about finally seeing a vagina doctor. Just 18, I was a senior and I felt empowered! You do not have to wait until my age or talk to your mom, you can talk to anyone about this: aunt, sister, cousin…. even your dad (shout-out to male gynos!) I told my mom that I needed to go to a woman, and that I needed to go before leaving for college. The most obvious reason was to regulate my periods – after 5 years of consecutively irregular periods, I was getting annoyed at Mother Nature’s inconvenience. (Getting that gift on the school retreat was not my greatest moment… picture girl in cabin with pants around her ankles screaming and searching for salvation.) Luckily, my mom understood and claimed that she wanted me to be on the pill before going off to college anyways. You know, in case I decided to “explore my naughty alter ego” after breaking free from the confines of my home. I know, 18 might seem ancient for some of you, but here are three words: Jewish Day School. I am still unsure if my mom was joking or not though…

After a few weeks of searching for a woman doctor, mother dearest found someone and made an appointment. I drove there with her, got the paperwork to fill out and sat in the waiting room with all the other women getting vagina checkups. I filled out the paperwork myself, hidden from my mother of course (typical teenage mischief) and sat awkwardly waiting to be taken into a room – alone. I was soon greeted by a young, smiley assistant who guided me into a room. Blood pressure was taken and medical history was reviewed. Normal stuff. And then she told me to change into the robe. “Everything comes off.” Okaay… I thought, I’ve been in hospital robes before, this can’t be that bad. Then I saw the robe. Ties in the front. I was cold. With my clothes in a heap on the chair I felt right at home, (messy room joke anyone?) I was ready. I put on my backwards cotton snuggie and hopped onto the exam table with the little sheet over my lap and my minimal robe held tightly over my chest. My winter pale, unshaven legs and their socked feet hung over the edge of the table.

I lay there laughing at myself for a good five minutes. I looked ridiculous. I felt stupid and the room was really cold! Waiting to meet my vagina’s new best friend, I thought of the incredibly inappropriate slice of advice my father decided to impart onto me. “You better hope she doesn’t have cold hands!” Thanks Dad! (They wear gloves, so don’t worry.) Within minutes, a tall, nice looking mom-woman walked in and shook my hand. She had great hair and spoke in a calm, but serious tone. We made small talk for a bit, and she went over my medical status and then asked the infamous question: “Are you sexually active?” Honestly though, what does that even mean? For every girl that phrase could mean something completely different. I chose the simple response, “Yeah… with Ryan Gosling… in my mind.” No, but really. Okay, no really, that kind of talk is saved for tumblr guys. Doc told me that I did not have any reason to get a pap smear due to lack of sex (counting my blessings…) and that I just had to put my arms up over my head while she did a routine examination. She checked for breast lumps and other assorted womanly things… it tickled a bit.

During the 5-minute exam she spoke to me about school, college admissions and her daughters – she made normal mom to random teenage girl conversation. My anxiety was gone and I just lay there letting some woman make sure I was healthy. The “worst part” of the entire exam – according to her – felt like she was putting in an XL tampon in and then taking it right out. Only instead of cotton it was metal and was not prone to getting stuck inside of you. Ever. Nothing, right? The actual ‘weirdness’ came afterwards when she brought in my mom to talk about me going on the pill.

My mom is very cavalier or just realistic about these things (thank you to my older brother) so she was totally okay with the entire arrangement. Doc told me that she would give me a low dose pill that would regulate my period and act as a contraceptive. During the conversation she told me to call her with any issues I had (and now there is a contact in my iPhone under “Vagina”), especially if any problems came about at college. And then for about six minutes she stressed the importance of wearing a condom. So now whenever someone says “STD,” I just picture two good-looking moms going “WEAR A CONDOM.” Thanks ladies!

As easily as I walked into that office, I walked out. I didn’t have a bag, so my sample pills were stuffed inside my coat (a tad insane looking, but hey, no shame) and I strolled out. The entire experience was completely fine. It was actually kinda fun! And now I can go through the next few years without any “uh oh” periods and the stress over the first appointment is gone forever. Oh, and me + sex does not = Teen Moms. (I love MTV, but…)

I know it seems like it would be the most awkward doctors appointment ever, but it’s really not that bad. If I have any advice to give from this, it’s to try and get a female gynecologist (if possible) because, well, they have vaginas too! Every girl has one, and every girl should make sure that theirs is healthy. So calling all my college girls, young virgins, old virgins and those who’ve already had their “special moment,” make sure your vaginas are safe! If you are above 18, you don’t need a guardian’s permission – take care of yourself. We even have services on campus! And if you are self conscious because you think that it’s “weird looking” or you feel strange about another person going down there… remember, its their job. They’ve seen tons of vaginas and yours is no different. They are just helping you. So if you want to explore your options about going on the pill, or just feel like its time to get a checkup, go!

And if you’re lucky, you won’t come home to your father shouting, “Hey Liz, how’s your cooter?!?”

That actually happened. Hi Dad. You’re funny. Stop making vagina jokes though. It’s weird.

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