… of women who will not get pregnant thanks to reliable birth control.
Alternate title: Why I chose to get an IUD
Consider this your warning to stop reading if you don’t want to know about the current state of my uterus, or my history of birth control.
I was going to do one long post about why I chose the IUD, and about getting it in. But it got long, so I’m splitting it up (because it’s such a riveting read!) Also, at this point it’s only been in 16 hours, so I want to give my body more time to get acquainted.
So, Part 1 – The Why. I mean, as if that picture isn’t worth 1,000 words.
I was on hormonal birth control for much of my 20s. Started with the pill, tried a couple different options, switched to the Nuva Ring. But I felt … off. Not like myself. I had no sex drive (the pill is even more effective when you’re not having sex!) but I also didn’t have my usual lows … or highs. My moods were just … flat.
Eventually, I took out my Nuva Ring as planned for that cycle … and didn’t put one back in. Yeah, I know, you’re supposed to talk to your doctor about such things. But I didn’t. And just like that, I was off of birth control for … roughly 5 years. My sex drive came back. My moods came back. I felt like me again.
During that time, I followed the Fertility Awareness Method, thanks to Fertility Friend. Many women use that site to try to get pregnant; I used it to avoid it. And it worked. (Well, to be frank, we also used that in conjunction with pulling out, and adding spermicide when I might be fertile.) Knock on wood, I’ve never had a legitimate pregnancy scare. (Yes, it occurs to me that one of us might not be that fertile. But maybe we’re just that good.)
However, the older I got, the more scared I got by the possibility of getting pregnant. What if our luck ran out? No method is perfect, especially ones that have a lot of room for human error. I used to have the mindset “well, we’ll try to not get pregnant, but if we do, we do.”
But now, I look at our life and don’t want to change a thing. (OK, I’d like less debt and a bigger living room.) The thought of Baby Makes Three in our life? No, thank you. We’re good. Maybe we’ll feel differently when we have less debt and an apartment/condo/house that has room for another person. Or maybe not.
Or maybe my boyfriend will move in. Or maybe we’ll adopt and/or foster. Or maybe we’ll just get another cat and travel a lot for a start.
As you may have heard, the IUD made a comeback in the States. It’s much improved over the old version from our mother’s generation, and what is available now is much safer. Kelly had a good experience with it, and the more I read up about it, the more it sounded like a good option, and has much less of a chance of error than what I had been doing. And I learned that there’s even a non-hormonal option with the IUD! That’s what really started to sell me on it. Then I heard that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s often covered 100%. Thanks, Obama! (There are still loopholes, so check with your provider.)
Upon further exploration, I decided to give the hormonal option a try. For one thing, the hormones are different (no estrogen), and local (although so was the ring), so there is a chance they won’t have the same effect on my moods. Additionally, on the hormonal IUD, there is a chance my period will go away or get lighter. (After 20 years, kind of over this whole bleeding-every-month-thing, amirite??) With the copper (non-hormonal) IUD, there is the chance my periods will get heavier and crampier. Ummm, no thanks. So I’m trying hormones again and opted for the Mirena.
Like any good Millennial, in addition to talking to my doctor about the IUD, I did some Googling. And of course … there are horror stories. I realize for most of them (pregnancy, expulsion, perforation), they are rare. But there were so many cases of women who were in terrible pain during insertion, or who vomited or fainted afterward. I’ll admit that it scared me. I’m a fainter. So I put off getting the IUD for three months so I could gather up my courage. This article helped. Yes, there are a few horror stories, but a large majority of women who choose the IUD are happy with it. Usage rates among female gynos are high, if that tells you anything.
So that’s what led me to choose the IUD. Come back in a day or so and read all about getting it in. (Spoiler alert: Apparently, I have a really great cervix for this type of thing … )