I'm a lowly apprentice midwife at this point and haven't yet learned vaginal exams. I'm in no hurry either, lol.
The first time I was pregnant, my midwives explained the difference between one and two centimeters dilation. Correct me if I'm not remembering this right. One centimeter is "fingertip" dilated, as in just the little fleshy pad on the tip of the finger can go into the cervix. With two centimeters, the finger can be inserted into the cervix up to the first joint and baby's head can be felt at the inner os.
So, yesterday I landed in the ER at 37 weeks after an awful stomach bug left me dehydrated and contracting. We have two hospitals here, one with the ER and one for women and children where the babies are born. My hemotologist wanted me to go to the one with the ER first, in case the stomach bug was a reaction to the blood transfusion I had two weeks ago. At that hospital, they gave me fluids, checked my cervix, and monitored baby and me for 20 minutes before shipping me over to the Women's hospital for more monitoring. The ER doc was very gentle with the pelvic and her finding was that I was one centimeter. (Okay by me...I'm hoping to go late, lol).
At the other hospital, the labor nurse didn't want to trust the finding of the ER doc and insisted on checking my cervix again. Since the first exam had been so gentle and the cervix had been easily reached, I assumed this exam would be the same. Oh my goodness, it wasn't! I felt like this nurse was trying to check my tonsils! My husband said he nearly fell out of his chair when he saw her go in hard, then rear back a bit and lunge in again, literally pushing my whole body back on the bed. I've never had a more painful exam, and I've even been manually dilated during one of my labors!!!!!
After she was finished, she said that this cervix wasn't going to be producing a baby anytime soon and said, "I had a really hard time reaching the inner os." I was speechless! I couldn't imagine why she thought it was important to even TRY to reach the inner os, considering I was only dilated one centimeter.
So, I guess I'm wondering...do I have my facts straight? And do you all examine women this way? Is it standard to try and force a finger into a cervix that is only open enough to allow the small pad of your finger in????
Thanks in advance.