Late last summer, I made an attempt to get an IUD placed as I’d recently stopped using condoms with The Texan; things didn’t work out so well. I wanted a copper one, but the office I went to didn’t have any, so I opted for the Mirena instead – but when my gynecologist tried to place the IUD, my cervix was so narrow that she couldn’t get the tube in. She said I had two choices: come back again when it was a better time in my cycle and my cervix was more open and malleable, or sit around and get my cervix dilated. I hightailed it out of there and said I’d come back later.
During that appointment, she said I should go off the pill; I never asked why. Instead, I kept taking them until The Texan left in December, after which I finally went off after twenty years of hormonal birth control… and I waited. I wanted to get my IUD in during a period when I knew I wouldn’t be having sex (the highest risk of infection comes in the three weeks after placement), so I waited until one partner was gone for the summer and another one was leaving Korea AND timed it so I was both off work that day and in a place in my cycle that would be conducive to a slightly more open cervix. Sheesh.
Women who have IUDs have lots of feelings about them; some love them and some hate them. I did as much research as I could; determined not to go back on hormonal birth control, I found a hospital that had a small copper one and set a date. It was my first time seeing a male gynecologist; I thought that would make me nervous, but it didn’t. What did make me nervous is when he showed me a uterine sound and told me he was going to insert it to check the depth of my uterus. And after that hurt like a son of a bitch, he then told me that he was going to need to dilate my cervix a little with bigger sounds to get the insertion tube in. Eek! I consider myself a strong person, but that didn’t stop me from crying a bit and saying “OwowowowOWOWOWowowow” over and over. It made me feel completely in awe of any woman who has actually pushed a human baby out through her cervix. He told me to relax. Ha! “I’m going to put this metal stick into you – so you know, just relax.” That being said – it worked this time! Hurrah!
|"It can't hurt that much, lady."|
Day one was pretty awful, not gonna lie – lots of bleeding and cramps. Days two and three involved lots of bleeding and almost no cramps; days four and five were reversed (the worst cramps I’ve ever had, but very little bleeding). So… we’ll see. Is it worth it as a backup method? I’m still using condoms with my partners as I have more than one, but I really don’t want babies. I like having a just-in-case birth control method. And who knows? In a year or two I may end up with a partner with whom I decide to bond fluids.
Oh, and that whole gynecologist wanting me to go off birth control pills thing? I asked this doctor about it and he said, “Yeah, you shouldn’t be taking the pill for more than two years at a time.” WHAT. Thanks for telling me that, no gynecologist I’ve ever had. He then said gravely, “You should probably get a mammogram – extended pill use is linked to breast cancer.” “But I’m only thirty-five,” I said. “Do it before you leave Korea,” he retorted. (Korea has amazing health care – the kind where you can just walk into any office any time without an appointment and it’s cheap AF. My copper IUD was only $100; in the US it could easily be $500.) So it looks like I’ll be getting a mammogram this year… at thirty-six.
On a complete tangent, I found this amazing website where someone documented his partner’s cervix through actual pictures the first month after she got her IUD in; it’s completely fascinating!!! It made me feel better knowing that other people have experienced the same things I’m experiencing (and likely will be for the next month or two… ugh). I’ll make a full report on my first post-IUD penetrative sex later and I promise it will be much hotter than talking about mammograms and sounding.
 A note on the articles I read while researching: IUD placement seems to be quite different in the US than here. I got no Misoprostol, no numbing agent, no prior STI tests or pregnancy test… pretty sure my gynecologist didn’t even wear gloves.