IUD Diva no More

3 years ago I posted this about switching from the pill to an IUD and my experience with the insertion.

Well, today I got it removed. The IUD I had inserted in 2014 was called the Skyla, an IUD specifically designed for women who have never had children, therefore smaller, with less hormones, and less time to leave it in; it’s only good for 3 years.

The process was exceedingly simple. My sleepy mind, however, made it a little difficult.

Some context: I work the graveyard shift at work so I’m not home and in bed going to sleep until around 0430-0500. My appointment was at 0930, which meant I only got a few hours of sleep. And I also never go to the doctor so I don’t know how that all works. I checked in, paid what I think was my copay (they asked if I had one, I said I think so, they asked how much, and I said a number that sounded right). Then I walked into the OB/GYN area and the two receptionist ladies were busy so I just sat down. After a minute one of them asked me suddenly if I had an appointment, the hidden context being if I didn’t I needed to GTFO and why hadn’t I checked in with them when I walked in.

I don’t have the time or the money to get a certified copy of my divorce decree-thing so for the time being I still have my ex’s last name, which prompted the receptionist lady to ask me if I had any relation to my ex-mother-in-law. But, stupid tired me didn’t even realize who that was when they said her name. My brain just went, “all of your relatives are in Montana or north Seattle so no one down here knows who you are” and I said “NO” quite certainly and didn’t even put it together until I was in my little exam room.

Other than my mental embarrassment that no one knows about but me and now the entire internet, the removal took half the time the insertion took. And honestly the most painful part were the speculums. She grabbed the strings, pulled quick like ripping off a bandaid and it was done. I felt nothing. I had the tiniest cramps immediately after for maybe 20 seconds and it was done.

And now I’m currently on nothing. I want to see how my body functions hormone-free. And since I don’t plan on having any male partners for the rest of my life, pregnancy isn’t a concern, which is something they had a really hard time understanding and really made sure to drive the point home that I now am, in fact, fertile.

Will I ever get one again? I might. I get really bad periods, or I used to. In the last 3 years I had maybe 4 periods total that were barely anything. If I get my pass-out painful periods again I’ll have to go back on Skyla (assuming women can still obtain birth control in a few months but that’s another story), but if not I think I’m good letting my body be and taking ibuprofen if I need to. I really recommend it, though. If you’re thinking of getting one don’t be scared by all of the horror stories. I had the best experience on mine and won’t be upset if I have to get a second one.

IUD Diva: 1 Week Check-In

So I’ve had this thing for a week now and I have to say that I am LOVING IT! Kinda beating myself up for not switching sooner, honestly, but that’s a segway into a whole other post for a whole other day. The lower hormone dose is great. When I started the Pill about three years ago I was to the point of tears at least once a day over pretty much nothing. Now I’ve been in a pretty great mood every day up until last night, but that was because of random computer issues. Apparently right before finals is a good time for the touch pad to stop working. Thank goodness for my external mouse. Anyway, yes, I have been in a much better mood for every day since then. The computer thing would have put me in a bad mood regardless of whether I was on the IUD or the pill.

I have had minor cramping over the last week, but I would take 1 ibuprofen and that would fix it for the rest of the day. I haven’t really felt any cramps today, though, and those cramps were so minor compared to what I normally get the first 2-3 days of my period. I could at least walk with these cramps.

I haven’t felt moody. I’ve been in a really good mood probably because I’ve been in a really down mood for the past 3 years and now I just feel awesome. Checking the string the first few days was annoying, because I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that part of my body very well. Now I do know and it takes seconds to find the strings. You don’t have to check them every day but I am still dealing with anxiety and it just makes me feel better to know they’re still there. I imagine after a month or two my anxiety will subside and I’ll check them once a month.

All in all I’ve had a fantastic experience with it. It only lasts three years and I hear the removal process isn’t fun, but I survived the insertion, so I think I’ll be ok. I’ll have to get another one, and I don’t know now if I’ll get another Skyla or get the Mirena, but I have a 3 year window between 27 and 30 that we can try to have kids if we are ready at that point, and since the Skyla only lasts 3 years, I’ll need another one because I’m at the age that I can start actually trying to have kids.

So, I definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about birth control options. I didn’t even have trouble remembering to take the pill, I just wanted a change and getting the pill refills every month was always annoying. Don’t let the fear of insertion pain stop you. It’s literally like 2 minutes and then you’re done. And the IUD is really fantastic. Now, it’s not for everyone, but I have really bad periods which you would think would be a sign for me not to get one but I’m doing swell. I guess you just have to test it out, and if you do get one I hope your experience with it is as positive as mine. If you’re thinking of getting one feel free to ask me any questions you might have about the experience. I’m not an expert on the IUDs themselves, and the companies all have really informative websites you can look at for that stuff.

IUD Diva

Today I made the leap and got an IUD. Now, for the past two days I’ve been searching the internet and reading all kinds of horror stories about the insertion and time afterward, so I wanted to put something that addressed the other side. It is important to note that before I was on the pill I had extremely painful periods to the point where I would almost pass out in the first two days. I only didn’t because I would recognize it coming on and lie down, which would hold it off. The pill didn’t make them less painful, I just was able to more accurately time the midol/ibuprofen so that it would actually be effective, whereas before I’d wait till the last minute and at that point it doesn’t do any good. So, after 3+ years of taking the pill and paying every month for the refill and the hassle of trying to get my refill on time I finally decided to get an IUD.

There are now 3 IUDs on the market. The copper IUD Paragard which is non-hormonal and good for 10 years, but most doctors will tell you it can be used for 12. My mom used the copper and then they said 5 years but it would work for 8 and she was one of the (un?)lucky few to get pregnant on it and had my little brother. Then there is the Mirena and the newest one the Skyla which is by Mirena. Both of those are hormonal. The Mirena lasts for about 5 years and the Skyla lasts for 3. The Skyla is made specifically for women who have never had children before, but they’ll give it to you if you have had a child before. It is smaller than the Paragard and the Mirena and has a smaller dose of hormones. The Mirena releases 20 mcg of levonorgestrel a day, and the Skyla releases 13.5-14 mcg of levonorgestrel a day. I got the Skyla. I was thinking of the Paragard for a while, but one of the side effects is more painful and heavier periods, which I already have, so I didn’t want to risk making it worse. So, I opted for the Skyla. Less hormones sounds good to me. I did some research and if I did my math correctly (which I might not have. I never took calculus), then on the pill I got 300mcg of norgestrel/day, but now I’ll only get 14mcg of levonorgestrel/day. Basically, I’ll be getting less hormones, which is what I wanted.

So, the insertion. I was so nervous leading up to it. I was just as nervous as I got right before I walked down the aisle at my wedding, except I felt more like I was going to hurl rather than pass out. The Actor drove me to the OB/GYN where I had to take a pregnancy test and then went back for the whole ordeal. My blood pressure was 102/68, which surprised me because I was so nervous. I thought it would at least be close to the average 120/80. Then I had to strip waist down and wait. I am on my period. They told me it is easier to insert then because the blood can act kind of like a lubricant, and the cervix is easier to open and lower down. I sat waiting, rambling about nothing to try and steady my nerves, until the doctor came in. Everything moved very quickly. I put my feet up in the stirups, and she felt around to get a sense of my uterus after lubricating, and then she placed the speculum, which I’ve never liked not for the stretching which I don’t mind, but the sudden almost sharp edges. She cleaned my cervix and then measured my uterus to make sure it was big enough. Now, I’d read that the measuring part hurt the worst, and it was uncomfortable, but it was ok. I did wince but it was more out of a desire to make her stop than me being in actual, terrible pain. I’m not going to say that it was a walk in the park, but it wasn’t like ohmigod that was awful pain. She did measure it twice just to get an accurate reading, and my mind did silently curse her when she said she was going to do it again, but it was ok, really. Then came the actual placement of the Skyla IUD. Measuring takes a second, and the IUD feels about the same, except it takes maybe 3-5 seconds so the uncomfortable part lasted just a tad longer. I assume this is because the arms of the IUD are folded down and have to snap out once it’s placed. Then came the cramping. She asked me on a scale of 1-10 how bad the cramping was. At the time I said 7, but it really wasn’t that terrible. I’ve had 7s and it was really more like a 5-6. It subsided quickly down to like a 3 and stayed that way for a while. I got it in at 1, it’s been 2 1/2 hours and now I feel pretty much completely fine. I’d taken 200mg of ibuprofen an hour before and took 200 more when I got home, so that probably helps. They said to use a heating pad but I have a ice pack/heating pad and keep it in the freezer so I left it out to defrost, but I don’t think I need it now. Honestly, stuff hitting the uterus was what hurt, not the cervix expanding.

Was it painful? No. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Was I crampy afterward? Yes. It’s not the best experience in the world, but the benefits greatly outweigh the 2-5 minutes it takes to get the thing in. I can’t say much about the actual IUD just yet, as it’s only been a few hours, so in a few weeks I’ll recap my experience with it then. They said that spotting and irregular bleeding is normal for the first 6 months, and it can take 6 months for your body to adjust to an IUD. Skyla and Mirena also claim to make periods lighter or stop them altogether, so we’ll see.

It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with birth control is going to be different. I just happen to already have shitty periods so getting an IUD was like a walk in the park compared to them. It was also a walk in the park compared to my last tattoo which took an hour to get and left me in pain for several hours afterward, unable to do anything except sort of focus on the first Harry Potter movie. So don’t let insertion stories scare you out of getting one if you’re considering it, and feel free to ask me any questions you have about it between now and May 2017 when I have to get a new one.

A Whole New “Terrified” Part WTF

I had an interesting morning. Early morning was normal. I got up, ate, and walked to work. But sometime around 8 AM I could feel my breathing get off. I was breathing, but it felt like I had to make more of a conscious effort to do it than normal, and I felt like I wasn’t getting all of the oxygen I was inhaling. Kinda like when you hike up a mountain and the air gets thinner. I started to get shaky. My hands started getting clammy, and my coworkers said I looked a little pale. I wanted to ask if my relief could come in early so I could go home, but I didn’t see the manager until forty minutes before my shift was to end. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was really afraid that I would pass out, bang my head on the concrete floor, and one of the cooks would have to give me CPR. I was afraid that it would be more than just passing out. Like I’d wake up with a concussion, or die because I’d hit my head too hard going down. Or have a cardiac arrest like my mom.

My manager was really nice and helpful and let me go early, even driving me to the health clinic. I was feeling light headed and dizzy, and I knew that walking home wasn’t an option. I was fine physically, though. They took my pulse, my blood pressure, my oxygen, and listened to my heart and lungs to make sure I wasn’t asthmatic, and everything came back the perfect picture of health. They decided it was an anxiety attack, and let me rest on a bed in the “TLC room.” I ended up walking home.

I went back later to see a doctor. He had me do the depression and anxiety screening which determined I do have anxiety problems and mild depression. Honestly, by that point in the day I was just so pissed at myself for asking to leave work early when there was nothing physically wrong with me and losing out on a half hour’s pay that I was flustered and upset and just doing my best not to cry. He prescribed Prozac and told me to set up a follow up appointment with him and an appointment with counseling. I went home and researched Prozac, and along with heart palpitations and arrhythmias being a side effect (something I really want to avoid with my family’s newly discovered heart issues) anorexia is also a side effect, along with a couple other things I’m already dealing with on my birth control and don’t want to make worse.

So I’m not going to fill the prescription. I should have asked for more information, or remembered that my birth control has been giving me issues since I got on it and I was just too scared to change it, even though it’s probably contributed to my anxiety problems. I’m going to call tomorrow to cancel my follow up, and contact a OB/GYN in town to figure out a new birth control option. If I can get non-hormonal that would be great, but I already (TMI) get really bad cramps that used to leave me clenched into a ball on the floor, and some of the hormone-free options make that worse. I obviously have some thinking to do. I am going to go to counseling though. If I can get this figured out without drugs, great. I know they help some people, but I would really like to do this with as few drugs as possible.

I should have said something. I was just flustered and upset and just wanted to go home. 

I’ve had minor anxiety attacks before, but never in a public place, and that just made it scarier. Most of the time it’s at home where I have my micro-plush blanket, bed, my music, and the internet to help me get through it. Take all that away and add a college dining hall during the breakfast rush and it gets a heck of a lot worse.

So I’m pretty upset with myself, and anxious about going to work tomorrow, which I know won’t make it any better. At least tomorrow is Friday, which tends to be a more relaxed day all around. I’m sure that if I had to, someone could watch the register while I went and sat down for a minute or two. It’s just not been the best day. My gym time was good, but I forgot my lifting gloves so my hands hurt a lot from gripping the weights.

I bet if I had a cat I wouldn’t have so much anxiety. I never did when I lived with my kitty.

Yeah, I’m pretty much just pissed at myself at this point. I am so tired of things being wrong with me. Why can’t I just go to college, be a wife, train people, work out, eat awesome food, and have fun without worrying about anxiety attacks or depression or an eating disorder?