Okay let’s get right to the point. I had my yearly pap smear yesterday.
Pap smear. Pap smear. Woman test. Pap smear.
Now if there is anyone uncomfortable with that topic then they just clicked off the page. Like probably my husband who says I should really keep some things to myself.
What fun would that be though?
I make the yearly appointment well in advance. Then the actual exam day approaches and I try to come up with an excuse to cancel. But I don’t
I walk into the office. There are two groups of women: those who have round, baby bellies and those who don’t. This time I don’t.
I march up to the window and sign in. I am handed a few forms to update. After that I sit and wait.
Then my name is called. I am escorted to the back. A nurse asks if I can work up a urine sample for testing.
I have delivered four babies. I can pee on command.
Next comes blood pressure and weight. She asks me to step on the scales. Which I do but only after I remove everything from my body that is not absolutely necessary. Like my shoes. And my sunglasses. And earrings.
Finally I am escorted to an exam room.
Upon entering the room I am asked to sit on the exam table. The nurse asks a few health history questions so she can update my files. Then she reaches into one of the many cabinets and pulls out what appears to be folded paper towels.
But no, it is not paper towels. It is a gown and blanket. She tells me what I should do to properly prepare for my exam.
She hands me the paper goods, tells me to undress completely, the paper gown opens in the front and the pink blanket goes in my lap. Then she pulls the curtain closed and walks out the door, closing it behind her.
The it is just me. And some off brand paper towels. Wait. What did she say I was supposed to do again?
I feverishly undress and begin to wrestle with the folded paper goods. I unfold both trying desperately to figure out which more resembles a gown.
I manage to find two arm holes. Score! I put on the gown. I don’t worry with trying to find the tie to secure it. BECAUSE THERE ISN’T A TIE.
Now with an oversized paper towel loosely draped around my body, I fold my clothes and place them in a chair, careful that my panties and bra are neatly tucked inside, out of sight.
Because I can’t have the doctor suspecting that I wear underwear.
I hop up on the exam table, placing the “blanket” over my lap…..and I wait.
At this point I start wondering what my hurry was in getting undressed. I was so afraid that the doc was going to come springing through the door to find me standing there naked.
Because she is about to see parts of me that I have never seen before. And she delivered my babies.
So except for all of that, it is important that I keep my modesty in tact.
By now I have read all of the fancily worded medical degrees hanging on the wall. Still waiting. I look at my feet and wonder exactly WHY I didn’t get a pedicure yesterday.
Because clearly she is going to be staring at my feet. Why do I never remember socks?
Finally there is a knock at the door. She wants to make sure that I am decent. Before she looks at my internal organs.
In she walks. Smiling a reassuring smile. She has seen a thousand of these before.
There is an attempt at small talk. After all this is her job. And after all I have delivered four babies. No biggie.
Except it always is a big deal for some reason. Maybe it is the fact that she is wearing an adorable pant suit with a cool white doctor’s jacket. And I am wearing paper towels.
Before I know it I hear my favorite words. “Please scoot your bottom down to the edge….a little more…..a little more.”
After that it is one big blur.
It actually only takes about 30 seconds. And then it is over. She washes her hands (thankfully) then shakes mine. She will see me next year.
After I got dressed and gathered my things, I walked out of the exam room and down the hall. Just like I always have.
This time something was different though. This time it occurred to me that I was REALLY done having babies. Like completely done. I was strictly here for my health.
Don’t get me wrong, I am okay to be done with all of that. Pregnancy is as difficult as it is amazing.
I am at a different place in my life now. Those days are gone. I had four pregnancies. I have four amazing children. Most would say I am richly blessed.
Never again would I come into this office for an ultrasound to confirm a pregnancy.
It was a sad revelation.
The miracle of life is just that. A miracle. Realizing that my contribution to the circle of life is done is an adjustment. Every mother has to acknowledge this at some point.
Aging is a process. I am feeling my way through it each day.
These days, instead of feeling kicks from a baby growing inside of my belly, I spend my days listening to the short stories that my daughter wrote for me at school. They are amazing.
Instead of watching my belly expand, day by day, I kiss boo boos away, each time my big boy falls. Only mom knows how to make the hurt stop.
Instead of the count down to my due date, I count the days until my baby is five. He may soon turn five, but he will always be my baby.
No matter where you as a mother, you have a very important job. And you still matter. I still matter.
I will continue to go in for my yearly checkups because there are four people who really need me to stay around for as long as I can.
I am their mother. And that is the most amazing thing that I will ever get to do in my life.