“Give me a cough,” says the Doctor.
I’m in a lithotomy position.
The Doctor sends the nurse to hold my hand. I feel like I’m about to give birth.
‘Is this going to be painful?’ I ask.
I get a vague answer.
This is the second time I attempt to do something like this.
I am so nervous. I was given a blanket to cover myself and ended up wearing it as a scarf. The nurse laughs and says she will cover me with it.
They ask me to get close to the border of the bed. They lift the blanket. I wonder why is there in the first place.
They ask if I am allergic to latex. Because the Doctor is not wearing a uniform I start thinking she may be an impostor. They are supposed to put a condom in the ultrasound scanner, but it is invisible. I feel I am about to have unprotected sex with a scanner. She introduces the cold scanner with gel. This doesn’t hurt. I’m doing well.
While they scan me I think about lunchtime at work. One of my colleagues said she takes the pill because she heard that this is SO painful, just like the first part of labour.
I remind myself that Mirena – the name of the contraceptive coil- is a beautiful name, meaning ‘of the sea.’ How painful can it be?
Besides, I know pain. I’m a pain soldier. I will write about this when this is over. Just like mothers like explaining how painful their labour was while scaring young women.
I will be like a war veteran, with thousands of stories to tell. People may like hearing about the pain of others, that’s what fills a lot of newspapers.
The Doctor starts the procedure. I’m in pain, but they just dilated my cervix. They didn’t put anything yet. I thought it was finished. I understand why people describe this kind of procedure as invasive. Maybe it is designed exclusively to test how much pain a person can take with no anaesthetics. I asked for it, but they want to do it without it.
The Doctor makes pressure. I am in so much pain that I ask her to stop. She does. I’m trying to explain what I am experiencing. The nurse says to me the word I might be looking is stabbed.
I feel like running away from that bed, but I’m asked not to move. I‘m asked to breathe deeply. The Doctor says ‘Keep your bottom down.’ The nurse says I can shout, but not move. If I shout my partner outside will be alarmed.
After trying twice I say I need a break. The Doctor says that she can’t give me that. ‘Your muscle will go into a spasm and we won’t be able to proceed,’ she says.
This is so difficult. My legs are shaking on the stirrups. The nurse is holding my hand. She wants me to tell her about the Rio carnival in Brazil. She thinks I’m Brazilian. I want to tell her I like her Afro hair, but it would be a bit strange in a moment like this.
The Doctor says that she can see I can do it.
‘I can’t’ I say. It’s too painful’.
She gives me a choice. I can bear it or walk away without it.
I can’t think clearly in pain. She says ‘You wanted this.’
That’s what I was told when I has my ears pierced with a man with a machine at the age of 6. They did one and I started crying so badly that he didn’t know what to do. I swore and said that wearing earrings is so silly. If we needed this we would be born with pierced ears. He said I could leave it like this and only have one.Was he kidding me? My friends would call me a coward. They were so tough; they said they did it to themselves with some ice and a needle. My mom started complaining about the unused earring going into waste. This whim of mine was costing her money, she said. That’s when the man said ”You wanted this.”
Now she says: “You said you wanted the coil”.
I need to have this done. My Doctor said so.
I nod. She proceeds again.
My cervix is dilated. My sensitive cervix that is made for love. Instead, I feel like the prostitute of the film Se7en, just before she died.
I was told the whole procedure takes fifteen minutes, but I feel I’ve been there for an hour. The nurse is making an effort, but she doesn’t seem to be a great conversationalist. She just asked me where I live. What is she going to ask me next, where do I study? She does that. I have to put myself in charge.
I ask the nurse where is she from. She says: Democratic Republic of…”
Just when I recall I have trouble remembering the country of origin of new people I meet, I jump in pain.
The Doctor says ‘It’s done.’
She says she never was so scared in her life because of the way I jumped. Before I can react and run away from there, she introduces something else. She is double-checking that she didn’t harm me. It is the cold scanner again.
Everything is fine.
I start relaxing, although I’m still in shock. I let my head rest in the bed and sigh.
My legs are still shaking. I don’t remember what to do next. For a moment I don’t remember how to dress back.
Then, I have the feeling I usually have after a plane I’m travelling in takes off successfully.
I feel light. Relieved. I have triumphed.
I look at the ultrasound screen. I can see the coil in the centre of my uterus, like a plane among black and white clouds.
I have a little sky in my lady parts.