Our daughter is the light of my life. My husband and I adore her more than words can say. But we are a one child type of family. And I’m either just so constantly enthralled by the very deepest mysteries of the universe or so tired and forgetful that I have gotten a little, shall we say, flexible with the taking of my birth control pill. Several friends of mine had given their IUDs rave reviews, so I decided that perhaps something that did not require daily attention was a good idea for me. I made the appointment and immediately began psyching myself out about how painful the procedure would be. Remember, the last time something traveled through my cervix it was about as enjoyable as gobbling up glass shards covered in sriracha, so I was a bit gun shy about the whole idea.
Having received no warnings from my midwife to pre-comfort myself with ibuprofen, bring a friend to drive me home, or make sure my living will was on file, I guessed that the procedure was not a big deal. Still, I was a bit amused by the regularness of the whole thing. No special room, no special gown, no lecture from the nurse about after care. I felt the occasion was a bit of a milestone – a reversible milestone, but still a marker of the end of my reproducing years. An acceptance and official recognition that I will never again sniff a fresh baby head that I made, mix up a bottle of formula of my choosing, or try to negotiate a breastfeeding attempt at 3am with an infant who feels very strongly that no matter what we try it is all wrong and terrible. As you can guess, some of these things made me a bit sad, and some of these things were a big relief.
The first step of an IUD insertion is having your uterus sounded. I happened to know what sounding means, as during a wine fueled evening of raucous laughter with R and some of our best friends, we got into one of those conversational tangents that led to an Incognito-Mode exploration of some of the more hilariously NSFW sites online, and discovered the wide world of medical fetishism. Evidently some people derive pleasure from having the depths of their urinary or reproductive organs measured by way of insertion of a metal stick with markings. My personal experience was almost completely unnoticed by yours truly, as I asked how long it would take and my midwife replied that she had finished already.
The point of this exercise in this case was to determine how long to cut the strings that hang off of the IUD, through the cervix, and into your vagina. After all, you don’t want danglers. But they have to be long enough for you to check that they are still there every month, so you know that your IUD hasn’t perforated your uterus and gone wandering around your body, wearing socks with sandals and stopping to take tourist photos on busy sidewalks. Or giving you sepsis. The most disturbing part of this is that evidently you can’t feel it when an IUD perforates. Notifying you that there has been a perimeter breach is not high on the list of things to do for the average uterus.
Once the IUD has had its haircut, it’s insertion time! This process takes about thirty seconds, and for me, was about as painful as a hard pinch. Then it was pants on and pay up time.
I went home and spent the rest of the day having pretty bad cramps, which they said was normal. I think this is why they want you to be on your period when they place the IUD – all the cramps just blend together and by the time the week is over it’s all a hazy menstrual memory.
It’s been a couple weeks at this point and I’ve had no issues so far. I still sometimes stop and wait to see if I’ve managed to sneeze hard enough to dislodge it. Have to keep yourself entertained somehow.