She Says… No More Babies (For Now)

Disclaimer: This post discusses my ladyparts and is for those who are interested in TMI posts about fertility stuff. If you read for the cute baby pics, sit this one out.

I remember at my 6 week postpartum visit after Owen was born, my doctor asked me what I was planning for birth control. BIRTH CONTROL?! I scoffed. Thinking about sex was kind of the last thing on my mind. All I could think about were my nipples that burned and felt like someone was jabbing them with a knife whenever I dared put a shirt on them. Or how many minutes it had been since I last nursed and how many minutes I had to go pee before I had to nurse again. Or if I walked out the door in my pajama pants. Again. Birth control seemed like a lifetime away.

And yet, it’s vitally important, especially if you really aren’t ready for an oops baby.

So last time I was too paralyzed with new motherhood to make a decision about what kind of birth control I wanted to use. The comments on this post were extremely helpful, but I just couldn’t make myself make the appointment to get a sharp thing stuck in my vagina after that big slippery thing had just come out. As I said in that post, I am anti-hormone, given my infertility issues in the past, and I wasn’t ready for an IUD (mentally), so I chose not to choose.

This time, I was ready.

Even before I had Emmett, I talked with my midwife about ParaGard, the hormone-free IUD. I wanted to be held accountable so someone would make me do it. We had to reschedule the insertion date due to my extra-long postpartum recovery and then unexpected surgery a few weeks ago, but yesterday I put on my big girl pants and just did it. I had a lot of anxiety around this process, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I couldn’t find very many candid blog posts about what it actually feels like. So, here you go internet, here’s the real deal about getting an IUD inserted (for me — everyone is different, obvs).

My doctor advised me to take a bunch of Motrin 30 minutes prior to the appointment to dull the pain. Umm, thanks. That made me about a million times more nervous than I would have been if they’d said, “It’s no big deal. Just come in”. Once I got there I saw piles of cotton balls and some brown goopy stuff and tools and those sealed bags of medical accoutrements sitting on the counter. Ew. I waited an uncharacteristically long amount of time for my doctor, which made the anticipation mount even more. Once she arrived and the pleasantries were out of the way, she had me spread ’em and put in the speculum. She prodded around figuring out where exactly my uterus was, which way it was tipping, etc. This was actually the surgeon who had just done my hysteroscopy, so she was intimately familiar with my uterus (score!). She swabbed the area with soap, which just felt like a dull pressure, not pain. Then she told me to take deep breaths while she inserted the little copper T. It was kind of like when you get a shot and they have to squeeze the medicine into your arm. The shot part is a quick sting, then the liquid going in doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels all hot and weird and it gives me the willies to think about what they’re doing. So I felt a pinch, and then a hot, cramping feeling. Not terrible at all… just… strange. Like a really minor contraction or a medium-grade period cramp. It lasted maybe 30 seconds to a minute while she inserted it and positioned it. I yoga-breathed and stared at the ceiling. Then she cut the string to the right length (there is a string so it can be pulled out when I want), which I couldn’t feel at all, and we were done.

Not comfortable, but nothing compared to the other things my uterus has had done to it recently.

I mentioned in my other post that I had heard people say their partner could feel the string of their IUD during sex. Ew. She said that she has heard this complaint with Mirena (the hormone-releasing IUD), but never with ParaGard. Apparently the strings are made from different materials and the ParaGard one is preferable. Phew.

Since then I’ve had some minor cramping, like a period (not that I remember what THAT feels like!), but really nothing to complain about. The thing is good for up to 10 years if I want it, and the whole thing was covered entirely by my insurance. Hooray.

So glad it’s over, and it really wasn’t that bad. This was definitely the right contraception choice for us, and I look forward to condomless and baby-free sex.


P.S. If any friends or family members are still reading, I’m sorry. And I told you so.


11 responses to “She Says… No More Babies (For Now)

  1. Oh God, this is bad as I was imagining. Please keep us updated on if you like it or not. I’m worried about the thing migrating. I bounce up and down when I run and I run a lot so it’s a terrifying thought. Shudder.

    This is why I’m leaning toward a vasectomy 🙂

  2. I had a Mirena before I had children and a Paragard after I had children. HUGE difference pain-wise for the insertion. I had cramps for days pre-kids but post-kids, it was basically nothing more than a Braxton Hicks contraction (which is to say, mildly annoying and worse in my head than in real life). I am extremely active (running, swimming, biking and skiing, both water and snow) and have never had an issue with either type of IUD moving or migrating. Hubs noticed the string with the Mirena but not with the Paragard so that has held true. Overall, it’s amazing not to have to worry about birth control every day/week/month. Super worth it. Hope you have a positive experience too and thanks for sharing details!!

  3. I’m glad it wasn’t too bad. I had the ParaGuard put in when Simon was 7 weeks old. The procedure was about as painless as you mentioned – so not a big deal. I will say that I was unlucky enough to experience some of the side effects – namely really heavy bleeding/cycles for much longer than normal. I ended up taking the minipill in addition to control it until we were ready for number #2. I don’t think this is common though so I really hope you have a good experience.

  4. I got the paragard about 8 weeks postpartum. I found the insertion process to be as painful as a Pap smear, as in, not at all. But I had just given birth vaginally without drugs so that completely changed my pain tolerance! I haven’t had any issues, my husband can’t feel the strings. I love it so far!

  5. My only advice is to “keep an eye on it” make sure that you can reach up in there and feel the string yourself about once a month. They can migrate (not overwhelmingly common, but it does happen), so if you are on top of it then you won’t get any surprises. Also, if at any point you can’t feel the string just go see your dr. and get an x-ray, make sure it is still in the right place.

  6. I have never been pregnant (her other mom did the pregnancy, not me). I have the Mirena hormonal IUD. Getting it inserted felt more strongly crampy than a PaP smear, but not so painful (or long lasting) as my actualy menstral cramps.

    I am very active (jumping rope is my go-to work-out!). I’ve never had any issues with it migrating or any issues at all.

  7. I’m so glad you posted this! I got the Mirena placed about 6 weeks ago, after having an oops! baby (100% wonderful, fabulous blessing, but not going to let that happen again!). Like you, I had major anxiety leading up to the appointment, almost cancelling the morning of due to the mistake of googling about the pain of insertion the night before. And like you it was MUCH less painful than I had expected. I went back last week for a month check and my dr can’t find the string, or the device on ultrasound- eek! She said she’s not too concerned and I shouldn’t be either, but I’ll go back in another couple weeks to recheck. I haven’t had any pain, so I’m hoping it’s in the right place. I’m assuming all is well and look forward to up to 5 years not having to worry about birth control- yay!

  8. @Elizabeth I’d go back in and get an x-ray asap, if the string wasn’t there, and it couldn’t be seen in an ultrasound get the x-ray as soon as you can. If it migrated you don’t want to have any complications…

  9. Thank you for this honest and candid post. I am 34 weeks pregnant with our second child. We were told, that due to male infertility it would nearly impossible to get pregnant so when we did (naturally) with our son we thought it was miracle. We also, foolishly, thought our chances of getting a pregnant again were impossible and we were not “careful.” Well, surprise! Definitely exploring our options this time. My husband says he will get a vastectomy but it isn’t covered by our insurance so we might have to wait awhile after the new baby is born to save some money. I hear having and IUD is less expensive so it might be a better solution for us right away.

  10. Thank you for this post!! After #2 is born, I have the exact same mind set as you about hormonal birth control after our IF struggles, so ParaGard is what I was thinking of getting too.

  11. I loved my ParaGard and I plan on getting it again in a week or so. My one word of warning, when you get a period be very prepared for a possible “OMG I must be dying so much blood just suddenly exited my body” moment at any time. For me the first 4 periods had the first 3 days each of sudden torrential bleeding that sent me running home for a change of clothes on several occasions. After those periods everything went back to completely normal as my body got used to it. Just be warned! 😀

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