Thursday 19 April 2012

Lay back, legs open and relax.

I read a post a while back BareNakedMummy’s blog which highlights the importance of smears/cervical screenings as she writes about going to have her smear test.  She decided to add a linky to the post for other bloggers to join in with their smear test stories and help spread the word about smear tests/cervical screenings.  At the time I thought about linking up but then procrastinated about writing about my own experiences with smear tests.  As I think that smear tests are very important and if a little post from me could help spread the message then I really should join in and thankfully the linky is still upon. 

Deep breath here is my own smear test story *blushes*  -

As I live in Wales smear tests are offered from the age of 20 and as such I have had a few tests done now.  I had my first ever smear test promptly after being sent my letter when I was 20 and had it done by a doctor at my doctor’s surgery.  I remember being very nervous about having it, worrying would it hurt and embarrassed at the thought of spreading my legs and exposing myself.  I’m not sure how it happened but during the smear test the doctor somehow cut me, only a tiny nick but it caused a tiny bit of bleeding and she said it might have tainted the sample and to not worry as she expected my results would come back abnormal and I would have to another test done.  That’s exactly what happened, after a few weeks I had a letter in the post saying my results were abnormal and to arrange to get the test done again.

Because the doctor I saw had nicked me (how on earth she had I don’t know!) I really didn’t want to go back to her again so decided this time I would go to my local family planning clinic instead.  That smear test even though a tad uncomfortable was a better experience and thankfully after having the test a few weeks later I got my results in the post and they were normal.  3 years after those tests I was invited (makes you feel special being “invited” shame it isn’t to something a little nicer and a little less exposing) to have another smear test and went to the family planning clinic again and had a normal result.

Flash forward another 3 years to 2011.  A few months after having Tristan it was that “time” again and I got my invitation through the post.  Unlike the other times I got my invitation letter this time I did not promptly have my smear test.  This delay was not due to dislike at having smear tests or embarrassment about spreading my legs in an undignified manner (after exposing myself to so many strangers doctors, midwifes and nurses during pregnancy and labour having a smear test is nothing).  It was due to the fact that since having Tristan in spite of exclusively breastfeeding and suffering from PCOS my periods returned 7 weeks after giving birth and have been very irregular with some periods lasting a long time.  Due to my period issues I just did not know when I was going to have my period and if when it arrived how long it would last for, as such I had to cancel a few appointments due to the witch my period arriving at the same time or bleeding not ending in time and could not get another appointment at a “good time” and when someone to look after little man.

In December I had an appointment, a period free week and my mum said she would look after Tristan whilst I was having my test, no reason this smear test could not be done at long last.  The days leading up to my appointment little man was teething big time and was very clingy but I did not want to cancel yet again and as my mum was there to look after him and keep him happy I thought it would be no problem as I would be in and out quickly.  Unfortunately it wasn’t as quick as I hoped.

We arrived at the family planning clinic about 5 minutes before my appointment and they checked my details were up-to-date and said they’d call my name when they were ready.  We patiently sat in the waiting room for my name to be called. mum had planned on taking little man for a walk whilst I was having my test to keep him happy as he would be busy looking at everything on his walk instead of getting upset as mummy wasn’t with him.  We sat and we sat, with time ticking away.  At first Tristan was happy but then he slowly got grumpier and grumpier, chewing on anything he could get his hands on with nothing give him any relief and all teethers I offered were rejected.  In the end my appointment was over 30 minutes late and Tristan was not impressed.  I was in two minds whether to just forget it and go home to deal with my little man but my mum assured me she would be fine with Tristan and once I got called I wouldn’t be long having it done.  At long last it was my turn and my mum and Tristan went off on their walk whilst I had my test.

The nurse apologised for the wait and started asking some background questions, when was my last test, when did I have my son, when was my last period etc.  After the paperwork has been dealt with she told me to go behind the curtain and undress waist down, get on the bed and use the paper sheet to cover myself to help keep my dignity (ye right! It’s just a paper sheet!).  Whilst I was laying there ready to spread my legs there was a knock on the door and the nurse was asked if she could take an important phone call and she excused herself saying she would only be a minute.  Not long after she had left the room, laid there waiting I heard a baby crying in the waiting room.  My baby was crying.  I know his cry and he did not sound happy at all.  Waiting half naked on the bed I thought to myself the nurse said she would only be a minute she would be back any second now and it would only take a few minutes to get the job done do the smear test.  From where I was laid I could see a clock and the minutes were ticking by with my son still crying out for his mummy.  I was about to get my clothes back on and walk out when the nurse reappeared.  She asked me whether that was my son crying and I said yes that he was not happy because of teething and waiting around so long.  Apologising profusely she said she would be quick unless I wanted to go.  I wanted to go to comfort my little man but as she was back I thought a few extra minutes so that the smear was done with for another 3 years would do no harm.

Lying on the bed she asked me to bend my knees and flop my legs out whilst she aimed her lamp at my nether regions and had the speculum ready in hand to dish out some discomfort.  She told me to relax (easier said than done) as the instrument went in but she couldn’t reach my cervix so out it came.  She had to use the larger one so that she could reach my cervix and in it went but she still couldn’t quite get at my cervix so she told me to fist my hands and put them under my bum to tilt my position.  With hands under bum she could see my cervix and took the samples.  All done, she apologised for all the delays and she said she would get out of my way so I could dress myself and get out quickly so I could deal with my screaming son.

Off I went to go see to little man and found my mum trying her best to placate a very unhappy Tristan.  She said he had be good on their little walk and had a little chat with a few people but then suddenly realised I wasn’t with them and it wasn’t his mummy carrying him and started crying and everything she tried to calm him down wasn’t helping at all.  She came back to the clinic hoping I had nearly finished and she said it was like he knew I was in the room and he was looking at her with sad teary eyes questioning why he couldn’t be with his mummy.  As soon as he was in my arms again he quickly stopped crying and clung onto me.

A few weeks after having this test and putting little man through a terrible ordeal (bad mummy) I got a letter in the post saying that my results were normal.  In just under 3 years time I will be getting my invite again and will be making my appointment as even though it is only a screening test and isn’t a final diagnosis I think its important to have it done as smear tests/cervical screening can save lives.  A bit of discomfort and embarrassment is worth it for the reassurance cervical screening can give you.  If you are due a smear test or have delayed it and not had one for years make an appointment and have one done.


  1. Thanks for joining in. I can't believe the nurse just made you wait!


  2. I know!  I felt really exposed and unsure of how long I should just sit there waiting.  Thanks for the linky x