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.