In my family, if the words "vagina" or "placenta" don't come up at a meal, it just isn't a proper mealtime.
When I was learning how to do vaginal exams, someone described it perfectly - like putting my fingers in a bowl of oatmeal, trying to find the raisin (cervix). I was rather amused that I didn't know how to find cervices considering I have had my fingers inside an extraordinary amount of vaginas both recreationally and educationally. It's a whole lot different being clinical than it is having sex.
I remember the A-Ha! moment that I first felt a pregnant woman's cervix and then the next A-Ha! when I could touch and distinguish a dilating cervix. Amazing! I never knew you could feel the head so close to the outside just by putting your fingers inside your vagina. How clever!
Being a fat, fat chick when I had my kidlets, I could barely wipe, much less find my cervix. When I used a diaphragm and cervical cap, I had to have my former husband help remove them.
So, I didn't have the added benefit my apprentice does of knowing what a cervix feels like - dilating and all. I had to put my fingers in hundreds of vaginas, feel for them at all stages of a woman's reproductive and well-women lives and learn the old-fashioned way how to tell dilation, effacement and station.
I remember thinking "this woman doesn't have a cervix!" when I couldn't find a posterior cervix. The midwifery school I went to wouldn't let us stop examining the woman until we found it, so I learned all sorts of tricks to find it. Having a woman put her fists under her hips helps in many cases. Also, "walking" the cervix around by grabbing ahold of the uterus (pressing on the inside of the vagina, not in the uterus itself) and pulling it more midline (posterior to anterior can be quite the challenge) allows it to be felt.
When a head is low, low and the cervix is really posterior, it can really be hard to find. I loved learning that even the most posterior cervix pulls around to anterior in labor - a good sign of whether a woman is in actual working labor or not - what her cervix is doing (beside the dilation/effacement part).
I've been reading the suturing book and find it amazing all the different parts of the vagina - the sulcus, ruggae (not reggae), the posterior fornix... all different parts of the incredibly accordian vagina. How cool is it that something allows a baby to come out and still gets small enough to embrace a penis or fingers delightfully?
I can't talk about vaginas without mentioning The Vagina Monologues. I wish the woman quoted in there had had a better birth experience. Maybe we could have a part two and give the vagina some luscious birth to experience.
Ayup. I think today is Vagina Day. (Let's hope I see a baby coming out of one later!)