Whose Cervix is it Anyway?

So, I’m probably in the minority here, but I check my cervix.

It’s fairly easy to feel the changes in texture, position, and openness throughout your cycle and since I’ve been checking it, I’ve seriously considered buying myself a speculum so I could actually partake in the joy of seeing the little pink donut. I’m weird but, it’s just that interesting and above all, educational. While trying to conceive I mostly checked my cervix to get a better idea of when I was ovulating.  (During ovulation a cervix is “SHOW” –Soft, High, Open, and Wet.)

But the day I started bleeding I checked it again to see how bad the blood situation was and to see if my cervix was open (which would indicate inevitable miscarriage).  To my great relief, I found that it was closed and that there was a small scratch on it. I didn’t scratch it. My husband didn’t scratch it. So I’m going to have to say that the giant ultrasound dildo wand was the culprit here.

Anyway, I called my OB’s office today to tell them of the bleeding over the long weekend. I wanted to know if 1) I could get a qualitative blood test to see if my levels are still rising and 2) whether it was possible to see THAT much blood from a small scratch on the cervix. Instead of actually getting an answer to that question, I got a long and condescending lecture about how I made the bleeding worse, that I should never check my own cervix, and that nothing but a vaginal ultrasound or a doctor’s pelvic exam should be up in my lady bits right now.

I haven’t had such a stern reprimand against touching my private parts since church youth “standards nights.”

I told her that I found it very helpful to know what was going on inside of me and that once I discovered the scratch, I decided to put myself on pelvic rest for a few days. She countered with an argument about how pelvic rest means no tampons! No sex! AND NO CERVIX CHECKING!  Yep. I am familiar with the term, I grumbled inwardly.  In the same breath this nurse told me that there is NOTHING to be done about preventing miscarriage (a fact we are all aware of by now). So let’s follow the logic: Bleeding is a sign of miscarriage. Checking your cervix makes bleeding worse. But there is nothing that you can do to prevent miscarriage. But you should keep your vaginal orifice free from anything….so that you can prevent bleeding. Which is a sign of miscarriage.

I was sick of arguing with her, so I finally asked whether I’m at any risk of a missed miscarriage. I’m terrified of the idea of the baby dying and my body not realizing it until I show up for a later ultrasound. I would rather move on now if that’s what happened. And just as with my cervix question, she didn’t really answer what the risk level was or what to look out for. Instead she said “are you trying to get another blood test? Is that what you’re aiming to get at?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Whatever is the least invasive way to check the pregnancy’s progress.”  And thanks for saying “aiming” like you might say the word “conspiring.” I wish that had been the end of our conversation, but the nurse pressed on, trivializing my concerns by saying that “in her day” pregnancy tests didn’t happen. And that you had to miss at least two periods to be considered pregnant. And that now when we find out so early about pregnancy, everyone get’s so invested in the outcome. (Those stupid, foolish people! Hoping for the best for their babies! Having curiosity about their bodies! They should leave the thinking for the professionals!).

This office is a problem. It seems that the less informed I am, the better I am treated. They are happy to order ultrasounds and blood tests when I have mysterious problems. But when I have the audacity to check my own body and come to them with an informed and reasonable question I’m treated as some cavalier idiot– endangering the life of our sea monkey whose potential miscarriage we can do nothing about.

I’d also like to point out that not once did I ask her to save my sea monkey. But she repeatedly and condecendingly told me that their office would do nothing in the event of a miscarriage.  I had two concerns. One concern was ignored and the other was addressed in such a way as to make me feel guilty for caring.

So I’ll go in and get my levels checked today, but it’s the last time I’ll visit that office. I don’t know where I’ll go at this point, but I checked my cervix again today as an act of defiance. And I’m happy I did. There is no more residual blood. The cervix is closed. The scratch is still there, and I was very gentle with it. I even have resumed creating my normal (for pregnancy) creamy cervical mucus. I think I may even relieve myself from pelvic rest.

As for the bleeding here’s my best theory: The vaginal ultrasound roughed up the cervix a bit. I had pink spotting with tissue right after the ultrasound and the next day I was not only active, but I had an Earth-shattering sneeze. A sneeze to end all sneezes. I have no doubt that my pelvic floor reacted in such a way that it’s possible that it ripped open my very delicate scratch which caused it to bleed.  I guess we’ll never really know.

Anyway–I’ll let you know about my blood levels, but I am very hopeful.

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4 thoughts on “Whose Cervix is it Anyway?

  1. Sheesh! I think I would be finding a new doctor too! Good luck finding a provider that listens to your concerns without jumping all over you.

  2. Damn, sweetie. That sounds simply awful. How DARE you take an interest in your body and your baby, and take affirmative steps.

    And *ahem*. Who is going to be more gentle with your body? Your own hands, or the Hitachi dildo ultrasound wand? Really now?

    I have found run-o’the-mill nurses to be some of the most uppity and difficult to work with people on the planet. They know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to offer useful diagnoses or feedback. They wield a fair amount of power over our medical experiences, however. Oh, the business about “so you’re AIMING to get another blood test?” Seriously?

    Are you going to check out the group of nurse midwives, or are you considering going the CPM route or even possibly another OB? Sheesh.

    At any rate, I suggest you to drink a gigantic glass of lemonade and take a nap. LitChick’s orders.

  3. Wow. Just . . . wow. Yes, I’d say finding a new office is definitely in order now.

    As for the cervical guilt trip, I call foul. With both of my last two pregnancies, I had to take a daily progesterone supplement for the first 12 weeks. There’s not that much difference between self-administered vaginal suppositories and self-administered cervical checks. And seeing as the former is prescribed in order to try and *prevent* miscarriage, I really can’t see any sort of justification for yelling at you instead of listening to your concerns. (Especially when giant ultrasound probes brandished by college-age ultrasound techs are considered safe. But maybe that’s just me.)

    Good luck with everything. I hope you’re able to quickly find a provider who sees your efforts to be informed as responsible and not irksome.

  4. The whole time I was reading this post I was getting ready to ask if with your insurance you had any other Dr. options. So glad you’re going to look elsewhere. I think we’re about the same amount along, but I’ve only been to my GP, who’s not an OB, and now you’ve got me scared! Or motivated to call the birth center! Hope the tests go well 🙂

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