“Feet up in the stirrups, butt all the way down to the edge of the table,” my gynecologist told me and I awkwardly shifted my vagina closer and closer to his face (yes, my gyno is a dude, no, it’s not weird). My knees subconsciously tried to remain close to one another until the doctor lightly pressed his hand on my inner thigh, signaling to me to spread ’em wide. I relaxed my hips and my doctor took his lubed-up instrument of torture and placed it inside me before opening it up, like a mechanic propping up the hood of a car.
He carefully took the long, sterile rod from the nurse and I caught a glimpse of the IUD before it disappeared from my view. I wish I had gotten a better look, seeing as we were about to become very close for the next two to three years. I closed my eyes and tried to think of something, anything other than what was about to happen inside my own body.
“You’re going to feel a little bit of pressure…”
Let me back up a bit. It all started at my yearly gyno appointment. Well, to be honest, it really started when I turned 18 and started taking The Pill. I hated it from the get-go. I always forgot to take it, I never took it at the same time, and largely because of those two factors, I was always, always second-guessing its efficacy. I literally never had sex without a condom and even then I popped Plan B like it was candy. Was that a little unnecessary? Probably, but my dad had not one but TWO “surprises” in the form of children so I figured either my dad was an idiot (strong possibility) or we were fertile as fuck. I wasn’t about to take any chances, so I decided to start looking into other options.
That’s when I discovered the IUD. It is one of the most effective forms of birth control and it’s literally zero maintenance, which is just what my irresponsible ass was looking for. I trolled the internet for statistics and testimonies about the IUD. The more I researched, the more I wanted it. I kept reading over and over that it was the best form of birth control that very few women are taking advantage of, largely due to misconceptions, like it’s only an option for women who’ve had a baby or that it can seriously fuck up your baby-making parts, both of which are totally untrue/extremely rare.
When I talked about it with my doctor, he essentially said the same thing: IUDs are awesome. He recommended I get Skyla, the smallest IUD on the market and the shortest lasting. Skyla lasts three years, and while others like Mirena and Paraguard last up to 10 years, they’re bigger so they would probably hurt more, and I haven’t read the greatest things about Paraguard. Three years is still a freaking long time, so I was all about it. My doctor scheduled my appointment for insertion and told me to take two Advil an hour before I come in.
The day of the appointment came and I had never been more nervous. In all my research, I had read a few horror stories about the insertion process. Some women said it was the worst pain of their lives, some said it was worse than childbirth, and some even passed out right there on the table. At the same time, there were others who said they couldn’t even feel it. As I walked into the tiny little examination room and undressed, I prayed I would be in the latter camp.
In preparation for what could be the worst pain of my life, I scheduled my insertion for a Friday morning so I would have the entire weekend to recover. I took the entire day off work and emailed my professor to tell them I wouldn’t be making it to class. I also bought a heating pad, some trashy magazines, and a few of my favorite Gaterade flavors, as I assumed I would spending the majority of the weekend laying in bed.
Back to where we left off: me, lying spread eagle with my gynocologist’s head between my legs.
He warned me there would be pressure, and that’s really all it was. It felt like a Pap smear, which is something nearly every woman has gone through. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable. It felt like a really bad cramp. The best thing? It was over in, like, five seconds. Five seconds of pain for three years of worryless birth control? Worth it. So worth it. The whole appointment was twenty minutes long, and that included the five minutes I spent playing with the model vagina waiting for my doctor to come into the room.
I drove home that day feeling like I had normal period cramps, but by the time nightfall came around, I felt nothing. Glorious nothing. I had a tiny bit of cramping over the next few days, but nothing debilitating. Everyone’s body is different, and I guess my body was just as psyched about the IUD as my brain was and decided not to be a fucking asshole to our new guest.
I contribute my easy IUD experience to my amazing doctor and also the size of my IUD. Most of the horror stories I read came from women who had the Mirena or Paraguard. I’m sure a bigger IUD would hurt more and take your body longer to adjust to it, but if you’re willing to endure that for a longer-lasting birth control option, by all means go for it.
A lot of women that I talk to about my IUD say the idea of something being inside them 24/7 for a long period of time like that freaks them out, but you really honestly can’t feel it. And just in case you’re wondering, neither can he, if your doctor cuts the strings short enough. If for some reason your boyfriend/hook up/whatever can feel the strings, you can just go right back to your gyno and have them cut the strings shorter, easy peasy.
I went to my follow up appointment a month later, and that visit was even shorter. He reached up there just to check that the little guy (I picture my IUD as a buff dude with a machine gun, firing away at any an all sperm trying to attach to my egg) was still there. Low and behold, my tough soldier was still there, standing at attention waiting to decimate any strong swimmers.
We’ve been together about a year now, and I gotta say, we couldn’t be happier. I just had my yearly gyno appointment and was pleased to see my little buddy was still working hard up there. My periods are light, my mood has improved, and as for pregnancy scares? LOL, what are those?
Yes, getting the IUD is painful, but I would (and I will) do it again in a heartbeat. At least until male birth control hits the market, and then it’s my boyfriend’s turn to go through a little bit of pain for the sake of our sex life. .
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