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My doctor sent me to the pharmacy with a prescription for a three month’s supply of “Diaphragm – whatever brand is available”.

PH insisted on coming to the pharmacy with me so he could have a good laugh at pharmacist’s dumbfounded expression.

Let me backtrack.

I went in to see my doctor, saying I wanted to “discuss my birth control options” because somehow “I want her to measure my vagina” wasn’t my first choice of words when speaking to the receptionist.

My doctor told me that the mini-pill would be best since I’m breastfeeding. I found that odd because my OB-GYN said I should take no hormonal stuff at all. So I said I’d rather avoid hormonal routes altogether. She said that leaves me with the IUD.

Now, I’ve thought for years about getting an IUD after my first child. Sounds easy. However, so many people have gone “Nooooo, don’t doooo it” whenever I have brought it up that I’ve been put off the whole idea.

PH and my mother alike are terrified that it’ll scar my uterus and leave me infertile, and we want at least one other kid. A friend of mine told me horror stories about what happened to HER friends who got IUDs and ended up with horrible hospitalizations for vague reasons. Only one friend (who has used an IUD for 10 years and is done having kids) has endorsed the idea.

So that pretty much left me with the option of diaphragm, and now my doctor wasn’t even presenting it as an option.

“What about a diaphragm?” I asked the doctor.

“Oh… I have a couple patients who use those…” said my doctor. “You realize that it isn’t as effective as an IUD or homonal contraception? They’re only about 80% effective.”

“That’s ok. We want more kids, just not right now. If I do get pregnant, it isn’t the end of the world.”

“Do you need a prescription for one?”

“I have no idea.”

“How much do they cost, do you know?” my doctor asked.

“I… don’t know,” I said, feeling like the conversation was a little backwards.

“Well… why don’t I write you a prescription. I’ll just say whatever brand is available because I don’t know what brands are out there.,” said my doctor, scribbling on a pad. “Why don’t I get you a six month’s supply to start.”

I felt a little at sea in this conversation. “Um… I thought they were reusable.”

“Right. Yes. Well, why don’t I write a prescription for three months, and you can tell me if it is working for you. Call me if you have any problems, ok?”

I took the prescription because I was riddled with self-doubt. Part of me was saying “but I thought she had to fit me for one of these!” and the rest of me was saying “Shut up, if that isn’t right you’re going to look like an weirdo who wants doctors to prod her vagina unnecessarily, and if she is wrong, then clearly she doesn’t know what to do anyway, so what’s the point?”

And that is how I came to be standing at the pharmacy with a prescription that made no sense. The pharmacist gave me a really weird look when I handed it to her apologetically.

“My doctor is useless, I’m sorry,” I said. “Is there anything you can do with this?”

She wrinkled her brow, wrote down the available sizes of diaphragm, handed the prescription back to me and then commented on the fact that my son’s prescription was also wrong.

“I see your doctor has taken your son down from 15 mg twice a day to 10 mg twice day.”

“Oh Gawd.” I said, looking at the other piece of paper. “My doctor’s an idiot. She meant to leave it the same. She thinks Ranitidine comes in 10mg/ml concentrations, even though I keep telling her it’s 15 mg/ml. So I told her he was still getting 1 ml twice a day, and she thought that meant 10 mg instead of 15mg.”

The pharmacist looked dubious.

“It’s for GERD?”


“How much does he weigh? 6.6 kg?” She pulled out her calculator and tapped away. “Well, 10 mg BID is well below the recommended dosage for GERD, and even 15mg is quite low. The old dosage should be fine and you could even go as high as 20 mg twice a day, so I’ll give it the old label.”

“Thank you,” I said meekly, and I slunk out with a chuckling PH trailing behind me.

Now my first period in over a year has arrived and I still don’t have a diaphragm because I don’t want to go back to my doctor and force her to measure my gooch against her will.

Mostly because I assume she doesn’t know how.

Maybe I should just get a damn IUD.