Thursday, September 16, 2010

My OB at the CATHOLIC Hospital Said What?!

OK, so most people reading this know that Jason and I are traditional Catholics. If you don't, well then you should probably read the "About Us" section, or you do now! ;-) Being a traditional Catholic means that we trust Holy Mother Church to tell us what is right and that we follow Magisterial teachings in all aspects of life. For those that aren't Catholic, that means that we follow ALL the rules that the Church has laid out for us. In regards to our marriage it means that we do not use any form of artificial birth control.

The insurance we had for pregnancy and delivery was COBRA insurance from my last job. My last job was at St Catherine Hospital in Garden City, KS and if you couldn't tell from the name, it's a Catholic hospital. The women's clinic associated with it was just purchased about 2-3 years ago by the hospital; that means that now they have to follow the rules of the Church as well. That means no birth control can be prescribed, no sterilization can be done, and no abortions can be done or referred. This is wonderful, fantastic, or would be if it were followed.

I really liked my doctor; he is funny and laid back and really seemed OK with most things we were doing. He was a little over concerned if you've read any of my posts during my pregnancy, but for the most part he was great.

When I saw him a year before we were married for my check-up, right after the purchase of the women's clinic by SCH and while I was working for them still, he offered birth control. He told me, "we're not allowed to use SCH prescription pads because 'the Church' says it's not allowed--eye roll inserted--but I have some that just have my name and so I can prescribe if you'd like." I told him no thank you I was using abstinence. Meanwhile, I was totally appalled! I spoke with the hospital's spiritual director (a former priest) and he thought it might just be because they hadn't been given the "we're a Catholic hospital, here's what that means" speech. So, after speaking with my priest and being advised that I've done what I could, and that it was at most remote cooperation, I let it go.

Until my 6 week postpartum visit. I got the question of what we were going to do for birth control, and then I got a rundown of how certain hormonal contraceptives aren't good if you're breastfeeding (um, duh?!) but some were OK and did I want to get on anything. When I told him that we were letting God decide, I got a bit of an eye roll and the subject was dropped. But what if I were only a luke-warm Catholic? What if I were afraid of being pregnant again and I only needed someone in some kind of authority to tell me it was OK to use ABC? And yes, being an OB in a Catholic facility makes you automatically someone in authority. I'm certain many Catholic women "on the fence" or perhaps not understanding fully the Church's teaching on love and marriage and all that it entails have been led astray by someone in authority giving the green flag. How scary!

So, I'll be making a phone call or sending an email to that same spiritual director at the hospital and hoping to make him see that he needs to be a bit more thorough with his training at the women's clinic. Those doctors are, literally, holding the future in their hands; or cutting it off before it gets a chance. :(


  1. Hi Jeanine--thanks for the link! :) This was really interesting to read. I'm not Catholic (though my father's family is), but have been learning more about it lately (do you read Conversion Diary? One of my favorites) and it's always really fascinating. Parts of it are so beautiful to me. One of my Catholic friends actually just gave me a rosary, and I wanted to try praying it sometime as a form of meditation. I can't think of many rituals I have with my faith--Protestant churches I think are less about structure.

    I've never been to a Catholic hospital, but I was totally unaware that doctors couldn't prescribe any form of birth control! So interesting. This was a fascinating read!

  2. Kelly, praying the Rosary is a wonderful devotion. I know someone who isn't Catholic that pray the Rosary and enjoy it. I don't know what faith background you are, but she is Baptist and really enjoys it. I'll have to check out Conversion Diary, I saw a link to it today.
    Catholics are against any form of artificial birth control as it comes between the two purposes of marriage; the marital act should be both procreative and unitive. Despite popular media hype, "procreative" does not mean that every encounter must result in pregnancy, just that it must be geared towards it. Not to mention that most birth control pills are abortifaciants, and that's a whole 'nother topic! ;-)
    Thanks for checking out my blog though! :) I enjoyed reading yours today as well, and will be keeping up with it, I love reading things that "real" writers write! :)

  3. We went through the same thing with my OB (out of a Catholic Healthcare West hospital...). It's so frustrating. I even tried to explain NFP to her and her response is simply, "as long as your okay with getting pregnant." My first thought was "we are!" and my next though was "if you're having sex you should be okay with getting pregnant." It drives me crazy!

    I just found your blog from your signature on CAF and am really enjoying it!

  4. Yeah, that's usually my first thought, "if you're having sex, you should be prepared to be pregnant". It's so frustrating. The OB there worked for them before the Catholic hospital bought it out and he is totally secular, so I'm TRYING to cut him some slack, but come on, after 2 years, you'd think he would have caught on. Ugh!

    Thanks for reading! :)