The IUD has been somewhat of a mystery to me. Years ago, I asked my gynecologist about inserting an IUD and he basically convinced me out of it (he has since retired).
I spent a few more years taking birth control to make it a nice even decade. I started taking it when I was 16 and I hadn’t missed a single pill until this year. After 10 years of remembering to take a pill daily, buying new packages monthly and renewing my prescription yearly, I finally had enough. In one month I missed three pills, and I knew this was the sign that I needed to change something. My mind had checked out and this was too risky. There will be no babies for me – maybe never but at least not for the next five years.
I spoke to my family doctor and although he wasn’t too keen on prescribing an IUD, I convinced him to. I don’t really know why but he kept focusing on all the negatives about IUDs (cramps, bleeding, etc) and not really focusing on the positives (effective birth control, fewer hormones, possibly fewer periods and not having to take a pill every day). So many people have to take daily medication, but I just don’t want to. It is taking up too much of my brain space and I want it to be done.
At first, I wanted a copper IUD to avoid hormones, but they are more likely to cause severe cramps and increased bleeding. Considering that my pre-pill cramps were so intense that I would puke… I decided to reconsider and go for the Mirena, which contains progesterone.
I would highly recommend doing your own research and then talking to your doctor. I had two doctors try to convince me out of it (one succeeded). My best friend is a doctor, so thankfully I had her to help me pick the best IUD for what I wanted. I am lucky that I had her educated opinions on the matter – both from a medical point and a lifestyle point.
I waited two months to get my insertion appointment. This can obviously vary elsewhere. I also needed two separate prescriptions – one for the clinic to insert the IUD and one to purchase the IUD from a pharmacy. The clinic requires patients to bring their own IUDs, which I thought was weird at the time, but in retrospect makes a lot of sense as there are various types of IUDs and people have different health care coverage. The Mirena IUD was easily available at the pharmacy. Medicare does not cover IUDs but thankfully I have private insurance, so it came to $77 CAD. The full price is over $300 CAD. The clinic appointment is free.
A month before my IUD appointment, I realized that according to my cycle, I would be on birth control for one week prior to getting my IUD inserted. I could not find any information about this on the Internet. I didn’t know whether or not to stop my birth control pills or to keep taking them. The only thing I read was that it is easier to insert the IUD during your period because your cervix opens up. I spoke to my doctor best friend and she explained that either option was okay, except that if I took the pill for one week then I was bound to get a period the moment I stopped it, which means cramps from my period and cramps from my IUD at the same time. I opted to stop the pill, and we made sure there was no risk of pregnancy during that one week. Non-penetrative sex for the win!
My appointment was in the morning so I made sure to eat breakfast and take two painkillers (acetaminophen and naproxen). My partner was able to come with me to the clinic, which was great because he was able to drive me home after.
My doctor was… eccentric. He saw that I had the Mirena and then basically told me to get a new prescription for the Jaydess IUD and re-schedule an appointment. His reasoning was because I hadn’t had children, the Jaydess is smaller and easier to insert. It also only lasts 3 years instead of the Mirena, which lasts 5 years. This is where I am glad I have a health care background and had done my research. I asked if there was any difference once it was inserted or if it was just the actual insertion that would be easier (answer: just the insertion). I basically had to convince this doctor to insert the IUD that my family doctor had prescribed. I am really glad I stood my ground, because another $80 and 2-month wait just weren’t an option. (I later checked my insurance and they wouldn’t have covered a second IUD that quickly anyway).
The insertion was freaking painful. He froze my cervix but that didn’t really seem to make a difference. There were two moments of pain. I had only mentally prepped for one, so the second came as a total surprise. I swore, loudly. I also bled, so I was glad I had already put a pad in my underwear.
I spent the next two hours in pain. I took more acetaminophen and got straight into bed. Just imagine the worst period cramps you’ve ever had. It isn’t worse than that but it is definitely uncomfortable. After about two hours the pain went away. It was just mild discomfort. You know that feeling when you’re kind of constipated but also have your period and you aren’t sure which is which? Kind of like that. I was surprisingly okay.
The next week had very few cramps, thankfully. I did bleed. In fact, as I am writing this 1.5 weeks later, I am still wearing a liner in case of any blood. The first few days required a real pad. It was gross. There was old blood from the insertion and chunks of whatever he used to freeze my cervix. Then it gradually got lighter and I changed to liners. After about 5 days, the bleeding seemed to happen only around 5pm. Who the hell knows why, but my liners were totally clean all night and all day until around 5pm, where there was a small amount of blood.
Once I felt that the bleeding was under control and I had no worries about chunks coming out, we finally had penetrative sex. I was incredibly nervous about penetration and about orgasming. Let’s just say that our session was more of a mental feat than anything else. Most people with IUDs require a second appointment to get the wire shortened, but I haven’t had mine yet as it is scheduled for 1 month after the insertion. Penetration was slow but painless. The wire stabbed Andy every so often but it didn’t actually interrupt anything or ruin the mood. We just slightly changed positions and went on our way. My orgasm was also painless.
My thoughts? Although I am annoyed that I am still mildly bleeding, I am super relieved that I am not in any pain. Every so often I get a minor cramp but nothing too serious. I am really enjoying not taking the pill. I hope that the bleeding stops soon but I’m not complaining about it just yet.
You can read about the next month over at: IUD Diary #2 (1 Month Later).
You can read about why I took out my IUD over at: IUD Diary #3 (2.5 months later)
Thanks for reading!
(Picture from featured image taken from Mirena-us.com)