I'm 20 with generalised anxiety disorder, until my fitting I had never had a pelvic exam. I was fitted about 18 hours ago. I had 500mg paracetamol and 400mg ibuprofen beforehand.
All I can say is thank you to everyone who commented and answered queries, it was encouraging. This one's a loooong one, I just needed to unload and compartmentalise everything, I hope maybe it can help someone else too.
So, I was so nervous the day of the fitting I gagged as I forced down a cheese sandwich that I knew was in my best interest to have. Met my partner and we went together. The appointment was half an hour late and during that time my anxiety built up, few heart palpitations, nausea and more than once wondering how I was going to do it. I was relieved to be called in, even if my legs were barely moving forward. Left my also nervous partner in the waiting room.
Dr was friendly and confident, sensed my anxiety but I did explain how bad it could be, when she took my pulse it was 106 bpm. She got a nurse to assist - I think that's for everyone's protection in the event of harassment claims. Couldn't believe what I was doing as I got undressed and on the couch with nothing but a pointless strip of paper to offer a vague notion of decency. When she pulled back the curtain it immediately became useless as she helped me get my legs into the rests and I just kept focussed on breathing, giving her short answers as she encouraged responses from me to know I was okay. Felt very exposed with two people just hanging out at the other end of my junk, but the Dr kept a friendly confidence and didn't hesitate too much as she said what she was about to do at each step and then did it, asking if I was okay after.
Bimanual exam took all of 3 seconds and she told me everything seemed fine, she could feel my uterus. Even explained the clanging I would hear would be some of the tools moving and that she was just going to change gloves so she could proceed to sterilise me. The nurse had prepared a metal speculum but the Dr asked for a plastic one for me and said she had used lots of lubricant but it might be uncomfortable. This was the first point at which I questioned if I could continue - when she set it open I was just uncomfortable and so full, as she fiddled with the base of it and moved it about tiny bits I really thought I'd give in but I kept breathing.
Then she warned me about applying the numbing gel (she allowed me to choose if I wanted injecting with anaesthetic too but I said preferably not, so unless she had to dilate me she was quite happy to go ahead without) and it might feel strange - it did, left me feeling kinda queasy with the strange liquid sensation and then we had to wait 3 minutes. I almost laughed because I was freaking out a bit and so uncomfortable, but she and the nurse had gentle conversation which eased tension and said she was sorry, it's typically what feels like the longest time. Then there was some sterilising solution applied and I once more thought I might not manage, wondering how much liquid was actually going on down there, kinda uncomfortable when it dripped out but the wiping around was done soon enough. She warned me that she was about to clamp my cervix and generally that's the worst part and honestly I think it's true - I just wanted it off, from the moment it was done there was unsettling nausea and a deep aching.
Then, when it was done, I was warned again that I'd feel period like pains as she inserted the sound through my cervix and I can't explain the sensation, apparently it slipped in nicely but it was a strange gut deep feeling and cramping. I now know my uterus is 7.5 cms though.
Almost relieved when it was removed, only to be told I'd feel the same again as she inserted the applicator and I was so ready for it to be over. Didn't feel anything like the arms opening just a lot of cramping and was extremely uncomfortable. She happily informed me it was done and it was fine, I almost couldn't believe how quickly it had gone - my anxiety almost entirely slipped away in those few second after she released the clamp, her and the nurse helped me move back and lie down for a while. I was fairly shaky, but the Dr was lovely just asking how I felt but wasn't too concerned, brought me water and helped me sit up - even catching my glasses and my hands were entirely incapable of fiddling with them.
Stayed there for about 10 minutes, suddenly kinda okay with still being half naked while I dealt with pulling myself back together. The Dr filled in notes and the nurse stayed out the way, I was occasionally asked a few bits but always met with a reassuring smile. Then asked if I thought I could stand up or would need help but I thought I could manage, so she checked my pulse and said that as expected, it was much healthier now than beforehand. They pulled the curtain and let me get dressed.
Almost had an existential crisis at this point as I looked down at myself, wondering how I actually managed, mixed with a sense of pride and a general weakness in my legs. Took it slow and was dressed and given the information of my fitting. Checked I'd have someone who knew about the procedure and they were happy to know my partner was waiting, told me to go let him know I was alive and call if I thought anything was wrong.
Wasn't until I left that I really started cramping again, relieved to be in the open air, my legs just felt very weak and sometimes as I stepped I'd get a sharp cramp but kept going feeling great relief with my experience and my choice. I was largely okay when I got home, except for the need to get myself clean and managed until my next lot of painkillers that I took as a precaution and because I'd felt like I had non-stop period pain. I was awake with it for about 8 hours after that, cramping got to the level of a terrible period and no movement or position made it easier, with the painkillers it still felt like the kind of terrible period pains I'd take meds for so reached the end of my tether and there may have been tears but I made it.
Strangely, all my cramping was on the left hand side - lately I noticed this side has twinged more. The morning after I feel fine, just delicate and a bit twingey still, I'm minding how I move, but it's still on my left with the pain, occasionally in my back. I'm hoping this is okay and doesn't mean anything bad. I'm gonna get on with my day now - I've yet to have painkillers, but I will just to soothe the sporadic pains in movement as I have some meetings to attend. Also, bled very lightly but I don't think anything of concern.
As for after care, I've been told to use condoms until my check up in a month, just in case it moves or expels as well as to steer clear of tampons until then. Also, I was not given antibiotics as my partner and I were each others firsts and are exclusive, so she also didn't take swabs for STD's. Finally, I took the bus home and all I can say is speed bumps, frequent stops and corners are not particularly helpful with the discomfort but it wasn't terrible.
So there it is, sorry for the length, I just thought that if I could do it, you might feel able to. Also, I feel like there's an imbalance of peoples bad experiences because, certainly, if I had a terrible experience I'd want an outlet so that's not to invalidate those with terrible experiences, I'm just adding to the picture - whereas mine was as positive as I felt it could be given the procedure so I made sure to come and share.