I finally did it. I bit the bullet and got an IUD put in Thursday. Though I know there are several choices out there, I went with Paragard. (Apparently people on immunosuppressants shouldn’t use Mirena; who knew?) Except for the financial part (my insurance doesn’t cover contraception, apparently, because we’re in the Stone Age), it was an easy decision: I don’t do well on hormonal birth control, I’m on MTX and need highly effective contraception (hello drug used in abortions and can cause massive harm to a fetus!) and I don’t need to think about my IUD until a) we decide to have kids or b) it’s 2021 and it needs to be removed. That’s right. It’s good for 10 years.
Getting an IUD just made sense for us, though clearly it may not be the right choice for everyone. With all the problems I had with hormonal birth control (hello no sex drive and lots of random mood swings!) and our desire to not have children for at least two years, it just made sense. Plus, it means I get to get off one drug. How awesome is that?
Getting the IUD inserted and the few days after were definitely an … experience. There’s a ton of stuff I wish I had known; it wouldn’t have changed my mind but I certainly would have been more prepared. And I like being prepared.
For example, I am used to needles. I give myself an injection of MTX and ENBREL every week. But the needle used for the pre-IUD insertion block? Sitcom large. That pictures is only a slight exaggeration.
Would I have backed out had I known a two-foot-long needle was going to be inserted into my bajingo? Nope, of course not. It would have been nice to have prepared myself for that eventuality, though.
Second: I was told to expect minor cramping after the procedure.
Minor cramping my ASS.
For the rest of the afternoon, I spent my time on the coach holding a hot water bottle to my abdomen and grimacing, curled up on the couch watching copious amounts of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” while mainlining lemonade and Cadbury Mini Eggs.
The Professor was kind enough to keep me fully stocked in anything I needed, even though he had plenty of work to do getting ready for his next lecture. I have never had such painful cramps in my entire life. Seriously, for the rest of the weekend, I stopped taking my prescription NSAID so I could ingest as much Midol as was medically advisable. (Random aside, why are there so many formulations of Midol? I seriously spent 10 minutes at the drug store staring at the shelf just lined with different versions of the same thing before closing my eyes and picking one, just so I could leave the store.)
Only two things really helped: Streak fries and, umm, well, I’ll let the cast of Scrubs say it for me:
That first five or six hours, I was in the bathroom so long I read an entire issue of National Geographic from cover to cover. I still am not really sure what that was about, but I’m glad that part is over.
The rest of the skinny on the IUD: I apparently can look forward to heavier periods and cramps from now on. The worst of it is supposed to be the first year, so I guess I’ll find out.
But even if all of that is true and even with the fallout from the first couple of days after the insertion, I’m still glad I made the decision I did; fewer pills and the increased likelihood that we won’t get pregnant (though we still will continue to use two methods of contraception, as is indicated for women of childbearing age on MTX) is no small matter. If this can help me get one step closer to normal, I’m glad I did it. Though, if I had been a normal, healthy twentysomething, I’m not so sure I would have even considered this. I guess that’s something I’ll never really know, though. So, with the life I live now—in reality—I’m extremely glad I did it. And even with all the quirks, I’d do it again.