The day dawned, the light shone upon the earth, and I went this week to have my IUD inserted.
*WARNING: the following post mentions parts of the female anatomy, reproductive choices, and procedures which may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. If you think you may be one of those sensitive groups, stop reading and go check your email. Or watch American Idol. Or knit.*
After talking with my midwife about the two IUD options, namely Mirena and ParaGard, she suggested that, since my periods were fairly manageable and I was breastfeeding, the ParaGard might be a better choice, unless I had some major reason for choosing Mirena. Wanting to avoid any kind of hormonal BC, I called a day before the insertion and changed to the ParaGard. Not that it’s without its dangers as well, but I am beginning to see, as I wade through the maelstrom of BC, that no method is 100% safe and 100% effective. ParaGard, my midwife mentioned, is actually more effective than having your tubes tied. How is that possible??? Not sure, but ParaGard has the highest rate of effectiveness. Nice! Just what I need, since apparently my husband just LOOKS at me and we get pregnant.
So I went apprehensively to have the procedure done. And my apprehensively I mean freaking out. This was a combination of the fact that my mother had said that her insertion (in like, 1912) was horrendously painful, followed by cramping the likes of which Montezuma has never seen. But I digress.
So I shivered in the 6X6 cell, tiny sheet across my lap, and awaited certain doom. But my midwife was great. I very highly recommend them, BTW, so ask me if you need a GREAT Ob/Gyn practice. She explained the whole thing, asked me a series of questions- like, am I prone to pelvic inflammatory disease, etc. The only YES I gave her was when she asked if I had a tendency to faint. Um…yeah. Fainted in the allergist’s office. Fainted in the bathroom at Thai Cafe, pregnant with #1. Fainted at the dermatologist’s. So she had me do some deep breathing to prepare myself (although, paradoxically, at the same time assuring me it wouldn’t hurt a bit).
So, the procedure (and please remember, I am SO not a doctor): They use the lovely speculum (aka medieval torture device) to open you up. She located my uterus (slanted to the back, good to know) and spray you down (down) with benzocaine to sterilize the insertion point. Didn’t feel a thing, other than the hunk of chilly metal still spreading you wider than the Grand Canyon. Then came the anesthetic. Damn.
She warned me about “a cold feeling, and then a slight sting”. Yeah right. This was the low point of the procedure, for me. It stung like crazy. Fortunately, it IS an anesthetic, so after a while, you don’t feel anything. But I was already getting nervous, so we did the breathing and I calmed down. She asked me to cough, and when I did, she did the insertion. And, no, I didn’t feel a thing. I have to check monthly for the strings (or, you know, death and destruction), and I go back in a month for her to check, too.
I did have some cramping afterwards and for the rest of that day, but Ibuprofen and a little rest cleared that up. On the whole, not a difficult process, and I highly recommend it (so far) for anyone looking for a non-hormonal, long term option for birth control. After all the drama (see earlier posts), it was anticlimactic. But I guess that’s what it should be, right? You don’t want climaxes related to your reproductive system- except, of course, the good kind….:)