Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My IUD diary aka Mirena and Me

Facing the impending termination of my insurance (Am I really turning 26 already? How did this happen?!) I decided to finally WOMAN UP and get an IUD, Mirena to be specific.  Yes, I had been terrified, of the cost and the procedure for years but I knew it was finally time to grow up and get some big-girl birth control.  I have been tooling around with different kinds of birth control for years, yanking my body this way and that, changing methods and hormone levels by taking whatever I could afford.  I received sample packs of Nuva Rings and used those until they ran out, I got pills from Planned Parenthood when I had the time and patience to sit there and wait, or file all of the paperwork necessary to sign up for Badgercare.....and then there were always condoms.  Boo condoms.

So I found myself in a doctors office, legs spread wide in the ice cold stirrups, ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille!  But I'm getting ahead of myself...let me take you through the process from beginning to end

The day before:
Tell all your friends that you're getting an IUD tomorrow.  Brace yourself to hear every single horror story that they heard from a buddy of their former roommate's boyfriend's roommate.  
                   
                                       "Someone told me that their friend said that it hurts more than childbirth!"

"My mom's boss's daughter got one and it poked a hole 
in her uterus and she had to go to the emergency room!"

                                             "I heard they can force their way out of you, ripping your vagina to shreds!"

.................OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!

The day of:
Pick out your ugliest underwear, because it'll probably get ruined.  You can throw them away afterwards and treat yourself to some new ones!
Orange undies? Good riddance!
Next, borrow your dads car so you don't have to schlep your crampy ass all the way home or take public transportation.
Cadillac? Yes please!
Go to pharmacy, get drug, take drug.  It's called Cytotec and it only cost me $2.50 (not bad!).

Unfortunately it made me reeeeeal queasy for the several hours leading up to my appointment.  But it's totally worth it because it relaxes your lady bits making insertion way easier.  I imagine this sly little pill smoove talking my cervix, all "Baby, it's cool, just relaaaax. Lie back, let me play you some Marvin Gaye, and just go with the flow."  It's like the Ladies Man of pharmaceuticals.
"Mmmmm girl, Let me service your cervix"
So when you're all loosened up and you've popped your Cytotec and some ibuprofens and some Soma (you good little citizen, you), it's time to head to the doctor's office.  And here's where things get, um, uncomfortable.  If you've ever had a pelvic exam, you know what the "duck" feels like.  I can't remember the technical term, but ladies, you know what I'm talking about.  This cold torture device we are all familiar with:

When they've opened your wide with this ^ friendly tool, the doctor swabs some iodine inside your vagina to make sure everything's nice and sterile.  Then they apply some local anesthetic to your cervix with a quick injection, which just feels like a tiny pinch.  This is all well and good, but it's not going to help all that much because the real source of pain is going to be inside your uterus, which there is no anesthesia for.  That's right ladies, in case you didn't know, there is no medical way to numb or reduce pain inside your baby-oven, that is unless you get an epidural shot which short circuits your nerves by interfering with your spinal cord.  In case you are wondering, the answer is no: they will not offer you an epidural for this procedure.

Ok, now you're wide open and ready for insertion.  But first, the doctor will measure your uterus.  This process is EXACTLY like checking the oil in your car.  They take a long metal stick with little notches on it and stick it in you as far as it will go: when they take it out, they can see how far the notches are coated in blood and TADAAH that's the length of your uterus.  It's as if gynecologists the world over shouted, "Technology be damned!  We want to measure wombs by poking them with a long stick!"
Valvoline, or Vulvaline? Get it? Get it?!
I'm not going to lie, this measuring process was the hardest part of the whole procedure.  No matter how gentle your doctor is, this part involves sticking something inside you until they feel resistance by hitting the back of your womb.  It hurts.  And it's a weird pain: it comes in waves and is simultaneously sharp-stabby and all over dull, uncomfortable, and nausea inducing.  On the plus side, this really only lasts a minute or less.  If you're unlucky like me, and your uterus is freakishly small, the doctor will have to measure you from different angles.  Yay!  It turns out that my uterus is only 6 cm long, which is the absolute smallest it's allowed to be to be eligible for IUD insertion.  In fact, it's so itty bitty I'm calling it my "cute-erus" now.  Once the measuring is over, congratulations!  You're ready for your IUD!  
Meet my new best friend! This one was on a keychain in the MD's office,
so ignore the metal dangling stuff at the base, it's not part of the device :)

The insertion is nothing compared to the poking, stretching and measuring that leads up to it.  It literally takes about two seconds and is over before you even know it is happening.  The whole process from stirrups to standing up takes about ten minutes.  

You can expect a bit of spotting, and your doctor should provide you with a pad.  Some of the discharge is actually going to be the iodine that they used to sterilize your love canal, so if it looks like a lot don't freak out.  Cramping follows for a couple of days, but it's nothing that a little ibuprofin and a some margaritas can't fix.  Just make sure you don't have any strenuous activities planned for the next day because it will hurt.  

Oh yeah, and no fucking for a while.