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31 January, 2009

The Standardised Woman

Back when I was evaluating possibilities for a care provider for my pregnancy, I called the office of a highly recommended (and thus highly in-demand) gynecologist to see if she had any space available.

"And when was the date of your last menstrual period?"

I had been asked that question so often that I could just rattle it off without thinking, so I did.

"Let me check The Wheel.... Okay, your due date is ...."

Let me take a moment to explain my understanding of "The Wheel". The idea is that since the standard-issue woman has a standard-issue menstrual cycle of 28 days, therefore one can use 'date of last menstrual period' to determine 'date of ovulation' and thus 'due date' on a standard-issue pregnancy. All standard-issue medicine and standard-issue bureaucratic paperwork.

"I'm sorry, she doesn't have any space open for July. And we're not booking for August yet."

"I'm almost certainly not going to have this baby before August."

"The Wheel says ..."

"I have a long cycle. I ovulated on this date, not the Wheel-assumed date, which means August, not July."

"We go by The Wheel."

"Even though I know when I ovulated because I was tracking my temperature?"

"We go by The Wheel."

Well, okay then.

I have my doubts I could get decent medical care from an office that expects me to gestate on the clock, anyway. Punch in, punch out, I'm not gonna get paid for this overtime, am I?

My defective long menstrual cycle and I hauled our ass to a midwife.


Ailbhe said...

I believe standard procedure is to take ovulation date, subtract 14 days, and lie. Well, except for my friends with REALLY wacky cycles, who honestly said "My last period was 8 months ago," or "two years ago" or whatever.

Sage said...

My mom was at least two weeks overdue with each kid - and she's a mathematician so I really don't think she figured it out wrong. So I did what Ailbhe suggested - told them my LMP was two weeks earlier than it was to accommodate my own cycle because they won't make accommodations for anyone outside the norm - even midwives (all my babies born at home).

Anonymous said...

Yes, by Gods, thou shalt make your body conform to their wheel. It is the new and modern meaning of "being broken on the wheel" you see?
Well, something is broken, anyhow.::::::::goes off, grousing::::::::

Anonymous said...

And the worst part is, many of the ob/gyn's subscribing to this standardization are women themselves, and should know better than to think that we're all operating on exactly the same predictable system. I can't imagine all of them have had neatly predictable 28-day cycles their entire adult lives.

Peeeeka-chu said...

That makes me happy I can never remember when my last period started. It made things easier...

antiprincess said...


yay yay yay!

how are you feeling today?

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Muddling through. Morning sickness is mostly done, though I had a Snack Rejection Failure this evening.

Trying to kick this cold that's been plaguing me for the last month -- cannot run immune system and pregnancy at the same time! Eesh!