Getting my IUD

Now that you know why I chose the IUD, here was my experience getting it in.

TL; DR: I realize every woman is different, but it wasn’t that bad. For me. I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe I just built it up so much that I expected it to be one of the worst experiences in my life. Maybe nothing will beat getting packing ripped out of my nose post-rhinoplasty. Maybe, as my gyno said, I have a good cervix for it. Way to go, cervix!

The whole process started in the fall at my annual check-up, when I asked my doc about getting the IUD. She went over the basics, and during my pap smear told me I’d be a good candidate for it. (I asked, and I think she said that I don’t tense up when she was … all up in my business.) My doc told me I should get it inserted while I’m on my period (since you naturally dilate a little bit?), so just wait for it to come, then call the office and see when they can fit me in.

Well, to be honest, as a result of my internet research, I got nervous, and kept putting it off. Finally, three cycles later, my period came, I gathered my courage, and called to make the appointment.

So, step one to joining the IUD club, talk to your doctor about it. She’ll likely want to make sure you aren’t pregnant and don’t currently have any STDs (the IUD can make complications worse).

If you get the green light, step two, make the appointment when you’re menstruating. Meaning, wait for it to come, then call the office and hope they have something in the next few days that works for you. (I was able to leave work early in order to make it in.)

Step three, take 800mg of ibuprofen about an hour beforehand. (That would be 4 tablets.) Some women also had their doctor apply some lidocaine gel to numb their cervix. Mine did not. Might not have helped anyway. Some women get a shot in their cervix, but personally, considering how quickly the procedure is over, that seems kind of pointless.

Step four, go to your appointment. It wasn’t totally pain-free, don’t get me wrong. My husband came to the appointment with me, which in hindsight wasn’t necessary, but helped put me at ease.

The procedure starts off like a pap smear. The IUD is inserted with a … doo-hicky. What I felt was like a realllllly bad menstrual cramp. Twice. My doc warned me before each. I took deep breaths, and closed my eyes during the second one. My husband was by my side, and held my hand, kissed my forehead, and started talking to me about our cat to distract me. God bless that man.

Once the IUD was in, and the doo-hicky removed, my doc went back up with her fingers and put the strings in place. (There are strings dangling through your cervix, for removal purposes, but also so you still know it’s there.)

And that was it. Luckily, she said removal is much easier. She answered some more questions. (We can do it whenever I feel up for it. My husband can’t “disrupt” it, unless he has piercings.) 

I did need a few moments to collect myself before getting off the exam table, but thankfully, I felt fine. Considering the doctor has to forcibly dilate your cervix, some women’s bodies respond like they are going into shock. But perhaps my “good cervix” was easy to work with so my body didn’t freak out. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have someone with you if possible. Make sure you eat something that day. Stay hydrated. Etc. (So … prepare like it’s a race. But like a 5K. It is over pretty quickly.)

I was told that I could expect cramping for the next 48 hours. The internet led me to believe I would be curled up in the fetal position with a heating pad almost surgically attached to me. I even cancelled my plans for that evening. But, I guess the drugs I took beforehand (800mg of ibuprofen) really worked, because I felt nothing for the rest of the evening. Around 3am, I woke up and felt very mild cramps, so I took a normal dose of ibuprofen and went back to bed.

The next afternoon hour (roughly 24 hours after insertion), I did start to feel some mild cramping that wasn’t so much painful as it was uncomfortable. It was like the cramps that feel like bad gas. My period also got much lighter immediately after the IUD was inserted, which I was not expecting, but you know, pretty cool. I have experienced some spotting since then though.

In a month, I get it checked to make sure everything is all good, otherwise, as long as it remains in place, my risk of pregnancy is lower than if I were sterilized. Woot.

If you’re interested in the IUD for yourself, ask your doc about it! I’m glad I did. Do some reading up online, but stick to trusted sources that aren’t just anecdotal, and if you start reading personal accounts, realize that every woman is different (apparently some of us have a cervix that is really easy to work with), and those who had bad experiences are likely to be more vocal.

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Sticking to fur babies for now. 

16 thoughts on “Getting my IUD

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  1. I did have a friend drive me to/from my appointment (which seemed excessive ahead of time, but I was SO thankful for the offer when I felt like death afterward AND when I wanted lunch on the way home) but I wish I hadn’t been in the exam room by myself. So even if it didn’t seem necessary, it’s awesome that Robert was there to hold your hand and talk you through it! That’s seriously all I wanted during mine. So, next time…

    1. At first Robert was like “So when the doctor comes in, I’ll leave the room, right?” And I was like “Um, no, that’s kind of the point of you being here. But stand by my head, please.”

  2. I had a really bad reaction to the insertion (migraine, nausea, feeling faint….the whole nine yards!), but I still say that it was one of the best decisions ever to get. It is so much easier than OC and has signiciantly less side effects for me. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. So … prepare like it’s a race. But like a 5K. It is over pretty quickly” — Love this! Haha!
    I’ll have to do research because I’d like to have kids but I probably won’t have them for a couple years at minimum since I’d like to get married first. So I’m not sure if sticking with the pill is the better option. Thanks for all the info though.

  4. “and if you start reading personal accounts, realize that every woman is different (apparently some of us have a cervix that is really easy to work with), and those who had bad experiences are likely to be more vocal.” Yesssssss yes yes yes yes yes. I don’t have an IUD, but when I was doing BC research in general, every single option seemed absolutely terrifying and like it would completely ruin my life. It was pretty much enough for me to consider moving into a convent just to avoid men/any reason to need to be on BC. Hahaha. BUT remembering that the people who have bad experiences (with anything–customer service, races, birth control, whatever) are the ones that make the most noise (and the most dramatic noise at that) did a LOT to calm me down…and keep me from becoming a nun 😛 I wonder what life was like before the Internet, when crazy people had less means to contribute to overall conversation about things they are 99% unqualified to talk about haha.

  5. My insertion was not as easy! I cramped up major and couldn’t even stand up all the way things were so tight. And my doctor wouldn’t let my boyfriend stay in the room because in the past boyfriends/husbands created problems because it’s so “personal and invasive”. 😦 I did get to relax and do nothing that night while he made dinner and brought me ice cream and let me watch whatever I wanted to watch on tv. So that was nice. I remember being crampy the next day but not so bad – just uncomfortable. For some reason I don’t think I went in during my cycle either, maybe that was why I had such a hard time. So worth it though!

  6. I suppose I don’t know much about IUD’s, because I had no idea such a procedure was involved. Based on the post, however, I don’t think I’d be a good candidate (not that I was considering it anyway but I am always super tense when at the OB/GYN & my cervix is definitely tilted). Anywho, now you know that:) Thanks for the insight!

    1. When I was reading all of the various “horror stories” of getting an IUD, it seemed that women with a tilted uterus had a hard time with it. So, yeah.

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