I’m 35 years old. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind about not wanting kids. Even my sister giving birth to my nephew didn’t change my mind. Don’t get me wrong. Sagan is adorable, but that does not mean I have any interest in having kids of my own.
That said, this past year, I realized I was sick of the pill. I have been on it for 17-18+ years, and I am not sure about being on hormones for the rest of my life. So I decided to look into a more permanent solution.
Several years ago, I wondered about getting my tubes tied, but I kept reading horror stories on the internet about Post-Tubal Ligation Syndrome, and I wasn’t ready for those side effects. Ugh. Then I thought about the IUD route, but I found out my insurance didn’t cover that form of birth control. So I stuck with the pills…
So, at my last pap smear, I mentioned that I wanted a more permanent solution, and the doctor immediately suggested Essure, which is a fairly new permanent sterilization procedure where they stick coils up into your fallopian tubes. After 3 months, scar tissue builds up around the coils and then you can no longer get pregnant. I asked about PTLS and the ob/gyn said that this procedure didn’t have that risk because they weren’t doing surgery near the ovaries. I asked what other side effects and risks there are, and she said, “Only regret.”
Armed with the brochure from the doctor’s office, I started googling online. I came across a forum that had several pages of comments. They started out wonderful and praising the method and everyone loved it. So I skipped ahead to the later pages, and suddenly it was filled with pages and pages of regret, pain, side effects, horror stories… The pamphlet that was given to me didn’t specifically mention what the risks are, but said to go to the Essure website for information. After digging on the Essure website, I found the risks, and yeah, they don’t sound fun. And with it being permanent with these coils, I really wasn’t sure what the option would be if there were complications. The horror-story forums kept talking about women having to have hysterectomys to fix the problem. No thank you. I’m not ready for that.
So, I made an appointment with another OB/Gyn that I got from a recommendation from Planned Parenthood to ask about the good old-fashioned tubal ligation procedures…. Then the hormone-free Paragard copper IUD route crossed my mind again, so I decided to find out the costs (since the IUD is not covered by my insurance) just in case. At the ob/gyn appointment, the doctor said I’m still too young for tubal ligation, and talked to me about the IUD. But the cost without insurance was going to be sooo much. She estimated $900 for the Paragard, and $1200 for the Mirena.
So, after that, I called Planned Parenthood to find out how much they would charge. ~$400 was much more manageable.
I had my IUD inserted on October 4th. Yes, the insertion was painful. Usually when a doctor does something that hurts, they stop it immediately and the pain lessens. Well, the doctor numbed my cervix, clamped it open, and then when she stuck some instrument into my uterus to measure it was the real pain. She took that out, and it still hurt quite a bit. She said “I am just getting the IUD ready now”. Finally, she came back and inserted it. More real pain. Then, FINALLY, she took that stuff out and there was some relief. I still felt the cramps, but it was manageable.
I went home, and laid around in bed from like 2pm until 4:30pm. The cramps were just like bad period cramps, but they were also slightly different…. it was strange. I fell asleep for a bit. By 4:30, I was pretty bored, and getting hungry, so I went ahead and got up. I was supposed to take 3 more ibuprofen at 5pm (they told me to take 4 ibuprofen when I left the house on the way to the appointment), so I figured I’d get up anyway. I tried to take it easy for the rest of the evening. I was still pretty crampy, but it wasn’t as bad. We played BSW and then Clint wanted to play Quake. I played a couple of games of Quake, but I mostly watched Clint.
When I woke up the next morning, I was amazed to be pain-free. I still have some bloody spotting, and every so often, I’ll feel a crampy twinge, but nothing major.
I was also worried about what effects I’d be facing with going off the pill. But, I am happy to report that 3 months later, everything has been a breeze! I’ve been tracking my cycle using the MyDays app on my android phone, and it has come pretty regularly so far. (about 27 days).
The first period was the week after I had the IUD inserted, and it was normal, but I was still taking the pill at that time. The 2nd period had a 2-hour window of “Holy Period, Batman!” where I soaked a tampon in 2 hours on like the 2nd or 3rd day. But other than that 2 hour time span, the periods weren’t really out-of-control heavy, so I’m very happy about that. I did have some random acne breakouts throughout the month the first few months, but even that seems to have calmed down. (Knock on wood. Hope I don’t jinx it! )
So, all in all, I am very happy with the Paragard.