Wednesday, April 16, 2014

IUD (TMI), Part II

Again, don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Welcome to Part II of my birth-control journey, the part of the story where I tell you all about the IUD insertion. Please be sure to read Part I in the saga prior to delving in to today's post. You wouldn't want to miss out on all of those juicy details.

Again, if you're not interested in the Journey of TMI, you may just want to exit out of this ol' blog now and stop back for a PG daily recap later this evening. You're welcome.

After leaving my gynecologist's office and before heading in for the actual procedure, I did my research (shocking). This mainly consisted of talking to every single one of my girlfriends about what it was going to feel like, but it also included perusing the lovely brochure my doctor gave me:

Just look at those women: relaxing by the ocean, basking in the sun, loving life with their IUDs.

And then comes the requisite illustration of female anatomy.

Interestingly, I did not do a whole lot of online research, which was probably a good thing. I'm doing a bit of research now to write this post, and I am terrified by what I'm reading. So, just cross your fingers that perforation, expulsion, ovarian cysts, and/or an (immaculately-conceived) ectopic pregnancy are not in my future.

Before I knew it, April 9th (aka The Day) rolled around, and I was terrified. First, I couldn't take any drugs beforehand (which is what the doctor recommended at my previous appointment) since I am likely allergic to all sorts of NSAIDs. Second, I had no idea what to expect -- aside from the crazy pain that I experienced during the "let's check the depth of your uterus" procedure.

I took a few hours off from school and headed to the doctor's office. When I was finally called back, I peed in a cup (not pregnant) and was taken to my room where this awaited me:

Yep, I took a pic in the gynecologist's exam room. You're
lucky this is the only pic I took in the exam room.
That alone sent me into a conniption. I have never seen so many tools and gadgets prior to hopping into those stirrups, including when I had a colposcopy done a few years ago.


I was honestly shocked that my blood pressure was somewhat low -- and not through the freaking roof. I was about to lose my shit.

One thing that I did not take a picture of was the exam-room table. Not only did it have the stiff tissue paper and the sheet just waiting for me, but it also had one of those puppy pads: you know, the thing that you put in your house in case your dog isn't potty-trained.


Yep, that.

That upped my holy-shit factor by about 20 bazillion. Was I going to bleed out on the table?

As directed, I stripped from the waist down and sat on the puppy pad while I freaked out some more and waited on the doctor.

When she entered the room about five minutes later and cheerfully asked me how I was doing, I told her the truth: "Scared shitless." She, of course, laughed (because I'm soooooo funny, duh), told me I'd be fine, and started prepping the torture devices.

I laid back on the table, scooted my butt down "just a little further," "relaxed," and started freaking out even more.

(Are you sensing a theme? Lots of freaking out happened a week ago.)

First, she inserted the speculum, which was just the usual discomfort. She continued to tell me how well I was doing, and I thought to myself, "If this is all there is, piece of cake! Bring on the IUD!" She continued messing with the gadgets on the table, and then according to the Mayo Clinic (since I was too preoccupied with not dying during the procedure to ask questions), "cleansed the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution."

Around this time, she also did the whole "stab-my-lungs-through-my-vagina" procedure to try and kill me "test the depth of my uterus" and "align my cervical canal with my uterine cavity."

This time the test took quite a bit longer than the 20 seconds it did in the previous appointment. And I'm not going to lie: I definitely screamed holy shit! and Exorcist-crawled backwards on the exam table. The doctor kept trying to soothe me: "You're doing just great. You're almost done. Awesome job."

Yeah, right.


Thankfully, after what seemed like an eternity, I got a little bit of a respite while she prepped the next stage of the torture procedure. I'm pretty sure she was talking to me (and I may have been answering, who knows), but I was too focused, again on not dying, that I have repressed that part of the appointment.

The doctor turned from the line-up of instruments back to my pain-riddled lady bits, and I instinctively slammed my knees together -- until she told me to "just relax" yet again.

Lady, you are jabbing pointy objects into a place that is not supposed to be entered. There is not going to be any relaxation happening.

But, I relaxed as much as possible, thinking that a.) the faster I relaxed, the faster this would all be over, and b.) maybe if I relaxed, it wouldn't hurt as badly.

The next step of the procedure (again, according to Mayo) was to insert the actual IUD through an applicator tube.

There are much more interesting pictures/photos online,
but this is the tamest I could find. I'm sure you all know
how to use Google if you're so inclined.

This step, just like the last one, was so incredibly painful -- and this is a pain that is indescribable, a pain of which you are not even aware unless you have also had your uterus manipulated from the inside. Honestly, I cannot even remember how it felt, and I'm not sure I could even describe it if I did: it was the most unique (and most crazy) pain I have ever experienced.

Just like when she used the stab-y uterine sound, I shimmied backwards on the table, clenched my hands in the tightest of fists, and may or may not have dropped the F Bomb and a few other expletives -- prior to, of course, apologizing to the doctor for my language.

It's hard to believe that something this little and "cute" could
cause so much f'ing pain.

I was still stuck on the table with the speculum oh-so-comfortably jammed between my legs while the doctor trimmed the strings to the IUD.

Immediately after the procedure was done, my first thought was well, I no longer want a natural childbirth. Seriously, that's the first thing I thought. Ever since reading Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, I have wanted natural childbirths (and have had an even greater appreciation and respect for my mama). After this tiny little procedure, I'm thinking natural childbirth might literally kill me.

The doctor was cleaning up the counter, talking to me the entire time, and I was lying right where she left me. I felt super queasy, literally exactly how I felt before fainting after my first tattoo and before passing out while donating blood. So, instead of sitting up, I laid right there on the table, legs still in stirrups -- spread eagle. (You know I must not have felt good because I gave two shits about what it looked like down there and kept my feet right where the doctor had them throughout the whole thing. I was not about to move.)

I'm pretty sure I looked just like this.

In the meantime, the doctor told me that I was not allowed to wear tampons for the rest of this cycle, as the strings were still getting themselves situated, and she didn't want me to risk pulling them out. Um, yeah thanks: I don't want to risk that either. But, I have also not used a pad in, oh, 17 years, and I also wore a thong today. Awesome.

After a few minutes, I decided I should probably attempt to sit up. I didn't necessarily feel any better, but I also knew that the situation was not going to improve with me just hanging out in the gyno's office. So, I sat up -- and was immediately washed over with the most extreme cold sweats ever. You know how sometimes you sweat profusely while shivering? Yeah, it was exactly like that. I was pretty much two seconds from passing out.

The doctor apparently thought I was doing just fine, however, and left the room. While I was hanging out on the exam room table, trying not to pass out and/or puke all over, I heard the conversation in the next room (why the walls at a doctor's office aren't thicker, I don't know):

Doctor: So, are you thinking you want to go back on birth control?
Patient (who presumably was about six weeks postpartum): Yeah, I think so.
Doctor: What were you thinking?
Patient: Well, I was considering the IUD until I heard what happened in the neighboring room, so now I'm just thinking the Pill.
Doctor: [nervous laughter]

Oh, crap. Someone had the pleasure of listening to me panic and curse. Awesome.

I sat there for a couple more minutes and then literally thought to myself, "Okay, Em: you just need to make it to your car. You just need to make it to your car. You just need some air. Just get to the car. Then you can puke if you still need to." (Yes, I had totally perused the room, and there was nowhere to throw up if necessary, and I wasn't about to have Nosy McNoserson hear me vomit up my pain anyway.) So I haphazardly threw on my nice work clothes and headed out of the office.

It felt like it took the desk clerk 18 years to make my four-week check-up appointment (to make sure that the IUD is still in my uterus and not in my liver or colon or diaphragm or outer space). I just. needed. to get. outside.

This picture has nothing to do with anything: I just thought it was funny.

Finally, after getting some air and chilling in my car for a bit (and not throwing up all over the parking lot), I felt a bit better.

Aside from a few cramps throughout the day (either from the IUD insertion or just from my period in general), I felt pretty darn good. I went back to school and led professional development, I met with my student teacher, I went bowling, etc. I felt fine.

And now a week later, things are absolutely 100% normal: no period, no cramping, no nothing.

Here's hoping to it staying that way for the next five years.

Thanks for following along on Emmy's BC Journey.

What have been your experiences -- positive and/negative -- with birth control? Any good stories to share?

post signature


  1. You are the most descriptive writer! Your Exorcist-crawling line almost made me snort coffee out my nose! And I'm guessing the pain is just like childbirth - you know that it hurt, but you just can't remember HOW. Until the first contraction with your next baby.

    1. My goal is always to get you to snort. SUCCESS!

  2. This literally made me laugh out loud sitting at my desk at work. I had the Mirena in August and I was lucky enough to have only about 2 seconds of pain during the actual insertion. I had (thank the Good Lord) taken a valium, 2 percocet, and 2 xanax about 2 hours before my procedure. I was golden.

    The best thing about my day was my boyfriend had to take me since I couldn't drive myself due to all the narcotics. EIGHT different women and men congratulated him on my pregnancy! ;)

    1. Amy, this COMMENT just made me laugh out loud at my desk at work! I wish I would've thought enough in advance to take that cocktail of drugs. I BET you were flying high!

  3. Emmy, this was too funny! You are a good writer. You should consider writing a book of some kind. I would sell them for you. Ha! I would be careful with the IUD though. I have a friend here who had a bad infection that got real bad and she needed a hysterectomy. Don't jeopardize your body so you can never have a baby. Abstinence, my dear! Abstinence! Ha!

    1. I will definitely be careful with my IUD: I am a super-freak when it comes to my body (especially my lady bits) and will be at the doctor's office the second I feel like anything is wrong. Abstinence is not necessarily realistic, but the IUD is more for menstrual regulation than anything else.

      And, Aly and I are strongly considering writing a book together! Thank you for the positive feedback!

  4. Oh, Emmy! When I had mine inserted I was so excited because I had only heard wonderful things about it.... not one single person warned me of the pain. I went through the room spinning and feeling like I was going to pass out, too! I will tell you this- three out of four of my babies were delivered without drugs. The IUD insertion was a million times worse! I had mine taken out after two years... it just wasn't the right fit for me. (not literally- LOL) I will let you know that you have nothing to worry about when it is time for it to come out. :)

    1. I'm glad to hear that natural childbirth is still an option! Thanks, Cindi! :)

  5. Emmy, Your post made me laugh, I can totally relate! I have had the Mirena IUD inserted twice now. The first time I had the same kind of pain you describe, it was HORRIBLE! I had to lay on the table forever because I kept almost fainting! I wasn't sure that I could make it home without losing it from both ends (yes I'm kind of TMI as well). I had no warning beforehand that it might hurt so much! But I have to say, this form of birth control works THE best for me. I love love LOVE not having a period! I had the first IUD removed so I could get pregnant with my second child (first one was conceived while on the pill yikes!). After I had my baby I had the second IUD inserted, and when I told the doctor how scared I was about the pain he assured me that it all depends on how "experienced" the dr. is with IUD insertion. He said his skill had improved and sure enough it didn't hurt much at all. I'm not sure if that's really why it didn't hurt, but I was so relieved! I hope your IUD experience from here on will be positive like mine!

    1. TMI is my favorite! :) I'm glad you've had such success with the IUD -- now that it's in there, it's been totally great for me!

      If I have to get another one put in, I think I'm going to go with Amy's suggestion from above. :)

  6. Now you can come to michigan and lay by the beach and enjoy your IUD!

  7. How does iud insertion pain compare to contractions and labor pains? Anyone who has had a baby please answer.