About Stork and Storm

What Can Be Found on The Website?

I created this site to provide general medical information to patients as well as provide a unique perspective as a practicing ob-gyn on various medical concerns. Over the past decade, I have spent countless hours counseling patients in my office and I have appreciated, first-hand, just how complex and emotional many circumstances may be.   The topics we discuss can be complicated, not to mention fairly emotional, and the answers may be difficult. Moreover, I’ve learned that issues that may have seemed crystal clear in the office can quickly become less so once spouse, family and friends, all well-meaning, begin to question.

This website is to provide additional information on common topics ob-gyns typically encounter in the course of normal practice.   IT IS NOT TO REPLACE DIALOGUE DIRECTLY BETWEEN THE PROVIDER AND THE PATIENT, and the information is simply that, not advice regarding particular care for a woman, her pregnancy or medical condition.

About the Name

The “Stork”: This probably is the more obvious and symbolic part of the name, reflecting the more prolific part of my job as an ob-gyn.   I’ve realized over the years, when people find out I am an ob-gyn the discussion trends to the “stork” aspect of my job, the care of women during their pregnancy and their delivery. And it truly is an amazingly rewarding experience, but a considerable part of my day is spent with other challenging issues, including pregnancy complications, birth anomalies, infertility, menopause and cancer, facing complex situations such as surgery, infidelity, and relationship difficulties.   Therein lies the “Storm”.   I wanted a name that reflected all aspects of my job, acknowledging not only the gratifying aspects of pregnancy and delivery but the more difficult concerns many women face from their adolescence through their menopausal ages.


About Dr. Tracy Etten

My career trajectory can be described as either a prescient midlife crisis, approximately 15 years early or a slacker mentality at age 19. Regardless of the characterization, the path to my career became my first “real-life lesson”, the type of lesson everyone speaks of that you later need to tell your kids to learn. And the lesson was this:  You will need to work for the things that matter most; be it in a physical, emotional, spiritual, educational, or creative nature; you will need to work hard, very, very hard.

I grew up in a small Iowa town, uncertain regarding a future career. I always thought medicine was pretty cool and as a kid I loved Marcus Welby and Emergency! At five, I received for Christmas my first Hasbro toy medical kit, and I was enthralled with the stethoscope and tools of the medical trade.  Later in early elementary school, I “opened” my own hospital in my bedroom. I would line my stuffed animals along my bed, infiltrating their furry paws with sewing needles and thread, the thread taped to Mason jars, suspended precariously upside down on broom sticks, providing makeshift I.V. fluids. My Baby Alive doll went through a lot as I performed my first procedures, incising her abdomen from pubis to sternum (or stem to stern) to see how the bottle fluid actually progressed from mouth to the flimsy kleenex I used as a litmus diaper.

My “hospital” was open 24-7, my “medicine” was lots of kisses and an inmiscible  mixture of talcum powder and water, and my “patients” never complained. It was great. All this is to say, not that I was an uniquely precocious child, because I wasn’t either unique nor precocious, but to affirm I have always loved medicine and the endlessly fascinating combination of science with the ironic fulfillment that in helping others you gain more.

I started college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a pre-med major in 1985. But by the end of my sophomore year, I had had enough with the prerequisite classes. I was too impatient and  immature and yet too eager; I wanted to work with patients and be a part of their care. The impersonal nature of the required chemistry and physic classes and their endless labs, (including FRIDAY afternoons, no less!) with their permanganate titration and the stopwatch timing of leadball momentum were too remote for what I wanted, that of direct patient care and the interaction with them. Hoping that medicine was simply a wistful and foolish dream, I decided to take what I then considered an easier route, (i.e. no extensive Friday afternoon labs!). I graduated with a degree in Economics and was accepted to Drake University Law School on scholarship in 1989.

I enjoyed law school, to the extent of learning. I found the classes interesting and challenging, but it didn’t take long to realize I had made a mistake in terms of what I wanted for my ultimate profession. (By the way, it wasn’t a very warm fuzzy to learn that my parents had been right). I graduated early in December 1991, moved to Illinois, passed the state bar and began the science courses necessary for medical school application. In the interim, I worked part-time at a Chicago law firm, on Lake and LaSalle. But instead of deposition preparation and reviewing records, I spent a fair share of time, some 20 floors in the air, looking out the window, thinking what a mess I had made, contemplating that what had once appeared to be an easier route had paradoxically become the longest of journeys. The upside? I was now 100% committed to all the previously scorned classes. The laws/labs  of classic physics may be remote from the challenge of providing direct medical care, but it was infinitely closer than the meandering haphazard track I was on.

As successful people are aware, acknowledging a dream deferred is one thing;  it’s procurement, another. I was, needless to say,  very poor at this point, working part-time and taking science classes randomly throughout the state as I could afford, which was hard as former classmates trekked along respectively on their career tracks, be it corporate ladder or law partner. And so there and then it was, in those days, I learned one of life’s fundamental lessons, the axiom which many learn in life far earlier than I; you will need to work hard, very, very hard. The epiphany was exceptionally late in coming but the impact profound nonetheless.

Once accepted to medical school, things became the traditional and ordinary, familiar to every doctor:  school, residency, job and the associated long hours and emotional highs and lows, experienced exclusively by those providing patient care.  The expectations I had of practicing medicine have been filled enormously beyond and I am so very grateful to be a part, (albeit extremely small), of the lives of women and their families. Additionally, I am blessed to have the truly amazing opportunity to work directly with other dedicated and exceptionally talented professionals, whom themselves, are committed to medical care.