Yesterday I live tweeted about my experience getting an IUD placed inside my uterus. In case you missed it or aren’t following me I’m putting all of the tweets here plus some extra details and info.
I have been having quite a few problems with birth control in the last year, each kind not working out for one reason or another. Jason and I aren’t interested in having children but not quite so sure we want to take the next permanent step. So we’ve opted to push that decision back until I’m 30 years old with a grace period of 5 years in case at 30 we’re still thinking ‘I really just don’t know.’ So now I have an IUD which hopefully will work well and I can keep it for the 5 years it’s meant for.
The website for the IUD describes it as thus:
What is MIRENA®?
MIRENA® is an intrauterine system which prevents pregnancy by slowly releasing small amounts of a synthetic sex hormone known as levonorgestrel into the uterus. “Intrauterine” means within the uterus.
Levonorgestrel is a hormone commonly used in combination with oral contraceptives (the “Pill”) and is similar to progesterone, a sex hormone produced naturally by the body.
It releases approximately 20 micrograms of the levonorgestrel into the uterus per day for up to 5 years. The way it prevents pregnancy is two-fold. First it thickens the cervical mucus to prevent the passage of sperm and second it reduces the lining of the uterus. If sperm does manage to make it through and fertilize an egg it is unlikely the egg will successfully implant. The reduction of the uterine lining also lightens periods over time and many women report their periods disappearing altogether after about a year.
Near the bottom of the photo you can see the t-shaped IUD itself (not well, bad photo). Also I described this slightly wrong. The doctor uses a separate probe to measure the depth of the uterus and the colored ring is then set at the correct depth so as to avoid stabbing the top of the uterus.
Ahahaha I was so naive. Honestly though I know there are many women for which this procedure is nothing more than a pap test. Not me though.
So I was given the usually instructions to ‘change below the waist’ and ‘there’s a sheet for you on the bed’. I sat for maybe two minutes before the doctor came in.
Previously I had a doctor tell me that my uterus was slightly tilted backwards but this doctor said it was tilted forward if anything. *shrug* No idea. It was important however for knowing the angle that the IUD applicator should go at. I would say they got it right but it was pretty painful so I’m not really sure how I would know.
This was done with what felt like a little plastic brush. Didn’t really hurt, just felt like pressure.
This part was where it all started to go downhill. The doctor told me that in order to push the probe and the IUD applicator through my cervix it had to be held in place because it is soft and would otherwise just move away from the probe. The horrid horrid device to ‘hold’ the cervix actually pinches it and I don’t think I can even describe the feeling. I managed to keep typing at this point though just to distract myself.
The probe hurt a lot but it was quick so that was good. It did make me gasp however.
Then the IUD went it and it was like getting stabbed in the belly three times, one more painful than the last. Everything was pulled out quickly at that point, the strings were cut and it was over. Then the cramping began.
I laid on the bed for a long time as my body effectively screamed “GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT”. I was told the cramping should subside in about 20 minutes but that is not what happened. I unfortunately have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the cramping and the stress that my body just underwent was too much.
There was a moment when I really didn’t know how I was going to get in the car and drive myself home but thankfully after a few bathroom visits and a slow walk around the room I started to feel better. The doctor was extremely kind and let me stay as long as I needed. Slowly I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out any more.
The bleeding still hasn’t entirely stopped but it’s much better. I should have also brought a panty liner. Oh well.
I got home and took some more pain killers and had a nap. Things started to feel a lot better after I had some food.
I can only echo the sentiment of my doctor at this point and hope it works out for me after all the pain it took to get it.
Oh, and one more thing. The booklet that comes with the IUD lists all of the possible risks which include: circulatory disorder, breast cancer, diabetes, infections, ectopic pregnancy, cysts on the ovaries, and uterine perforations. Along with this information there is also an odd little note:
Driving or Using Machines
The effect of MIRENA on the ability to drive or use machines has not been studied. Do not drive or use machines until you know how you react to MIRENA.