Illustration: Ryan Snook
Like all great love stories, this one starts with two strangers who don’t realize their lives are about to become intimately intertwined. Unlike most great love stories, this one starts with a speculum.
He was my OB/GYN, and god help me, he was attractive. I didn’t notice this detail the first time we met, as I was in stirrups while he performed a painful gynecological procedure on me, but I do remember thinking, at the time, that he was kind. So kind that, when I found myself pregnant a year later, I thought, This is the doctor I want to take care of me.
To my delight, he accepted me as a patient. “Congratulations, you two,” he said to me and my husband as he walked into the exam room during our first appointment, looking remarkably tall, dark and handsome. Then he flashed his shy grin, looked at me with big, brown eyes framed with thin-wire glasses, and shook my hand with his warm, soft grip. I found myself wondering what it might be like to have his baby.
Oh shit, I thought to myself. This is going to get awkward.
It’s not entirely uncommon to be attracted to your OB/GYN, if various confessional blogs on the topic are any indication. And it’s probably pretty harmless, if not entirely hormone driven. I don’t kid myself that he took any special notice of me, the bloated pregnant lady choking on her morning sickness bile. I don’t actually think our banter about how I needed to cut down my coffee intake was flirtatious (looking back on it now, he was quite stern). And I don’t think his careful and detailed concern with my mental and physical state meant he loved me back (shoot, did I say “love”?). But damn if my pregnancy hormones didn’t find the thought of it all a little thrilling.
Did he notice that I started wearing lip gloss to my appointments? It’s doubtful. Did he notice me blushing when he would offer his arm to help me roll off the exam table like a beached whale? Possibly. Did he notice when I joked that he was the only doctor I trusted with my cervix? Probably, and I’m still not sure how he took it.
He definitely noticed that time I abruptly told him I knew where he lived. I mean, obviously I didn’t say it quite like that, but I’m sure “I could find you” is all he really took from my clumsy attempts at conversation.
Here’s what happened: In the name of due diligence, I asked a friend (who happened to also be an OB/GYN) if he knew my doctor.
“Yes,” he said, “he’s my neighbour.”
What were the chances? But I’m not sure my OB found the coincidence as funny as I did when I then told him all about it.
At times, my ever-growing crush was downright excruciating. My 20-week ultrasound revealed placenta previa, for instance, and Hot OB (as I’d begun to call him, in my mind) grimly informed me this meant I needed to abstain from exercise and sex.
“That’s OK. I don’t do those things, anyway,” I said, giggling while sitting in front of him visibly pregnant from sexual intercourse. Then I went home and realized I hadn’t asked any questions about what, exactly, he meant by “sex.” (Clearly, I was not as concerned about exercise.)
A month of raging second-trimester hormones later, I gathered my courage to ask for more information at my next appointment. My husband couldn't come to this one, probably because the universe was punishing me for past misdeeds.
After reviewing my most recent ultrasound, Hot OB asked if I had any questions.
“There’s one thing,” I muttered, twisting my wedding band around my swollen finger. “You mentioned no sex. But is anything, you know, allowed?”
He nodded professionally, adjusted his glasses and proceeded to dutifully answer my question in horrifying detail as I silently begged to sink into the centre of the earth. Clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm is just fine, he told me as I nodded and tried to look casual, but all vaginal penetration must be avoided. To be safe, he added, I should also avoid anal penetration.
I think, dear reader, that is the moment I actually died.
“Now, shall we listen to the baby’s heartbeat?” he asked me. He commented that my own heart rate was good and fast, too. Of course it was! My heart was aflutter and my palms were sweating. I couldn’t waddle out of there fast enough.
Later, my husband asked how my appointment went, and I muttered something about “anal,” then got so light-headed I had to drink some juice and put my head between my knees.
There was no reprieve from the indignities in the third trimester, as I now had weekly appointments due to my baby’s positioning and massive head.
“How are your hemorrhoids?” Hot OB would ask me after looking at my chart.
“What hemorrhoids?” I’d respond with a smile, my butthole, meanwhile, impersonating a bushel of grapes.
As my due date approached, my placenta and my baby miraculously righted themselves, and I started to have fantasies of going into fast-and-furious labour right there in Hot OB’s office so he could save my life, thus bonding us forever.
Instead, I endured three weeks of slow dilation and prodromal labour at home. By the time I was finally admitted to the hospital for real, and given an epidural, I was so relieved to be free of pain that I was practically giddy. So, I blissfully turned to my nurse and asked her a totally reasonable and not-at-all inappropriate question for someone lying there in a thin hospital gown with a five-centimetre-dilated cervix:
“Do you know if my OB is married?”
I still lie awake at night wondering if she ever told him.
Mercifully—despite my fantasies—a different on-call OB/GYN ended up delivering my baby later that night, so Hot OB didn’t get to see me poop myself. And I’m not sure if it was the rush of affection for my child or my husband’s joyful laugh as the nurse placed our squawking son on my chest, but my persistent crush ended right then and there.
My awkwardness, however, had a humiliating denouement.
When my baby was three days old, we had a paediatrician appointment in the same building as Hot OB’s clinic. Since he hadn’t been there for my labour, I decided to pop in to introduce him to the baby and thank him for taking such good care of us during my pregnancy. It seemed the kind thing to do.
“This is Benjamin,” I said, beaming, as Hot OB dutifully peered in at the bundle in my arms.
“Benjamin?” his secretary blurted out. “Why, that’s your doctor’s middle name!”
That was the last time he saw me, his hormonal, accidental stalker (I swear!). The pandemic came along and did us both a favour by forcing my six-week follow-up to be a phone appointment, and we haven’t spoken since.
But I guess I still talked about him fondly, because a few months later, a friend sent me a link to a blog post she’d happened upon. It was about how the writer had been in love with her OB/GYN during her pregnancy.
“Is this your Hot OB?” my friend asked me, half-joking.
But the joke was on me, because it was definitely him.
If there was any doubt left from the writer’s description of her desire, and his striking kindness and good looks, she also named him: Yup, same guy. And that’s how I found out he wasn’t just my Hot OB. He’s got a perpetual fan club of pregnant ladies lusting after him. It’s also how I found out that he isn’t married, but he does date nurses. (The blogger did her due diligence, too!)
So, just as I knew all along, my love story isn’t special, or even really a love story. But at least I can take solace knowing that I wasn’t his only inappropriately obsessed patient. From the sounds of it, he’s had a few.
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