A few weeks back, I wrote my post about getting a replacement IUD. Here I am, on the other side of the procedure and, boy, do I have a lot to share. Only, that is, if you want to hear it. If you’re particularly squeamish or simply don’t want to read about my reproductive organs, move along. If, however, you are considering the copper IUD or are simply curious about my experience, I present, without further ado:
The Crime Scene in My Pants, Part I of II
I’m kidding. Mostly. Picture the scene I’m referencing in No Strings Attached. It’s the stereotypical moaning, groaning group of women cycling together that seem to be incapable of function properly even though one scene beforehand they were all perfectly capable doctors. Do doctors not keep Advil in the house?
In any case, picture that scene.
Several Fridays ago, I went to the gynecologist to have my first IUD, Skyla, removed and replaced with Paragard, the copper IUD. A quick refresher: Skyla is the 3 year, hormonal IUD, while Paragard is the 10 year, non-hormonal. I admittedly did not read up much on either before I had them inserted; I mostly chose the first because taking a pill every day was annoying and I’m, above all else, lazy. For my replacement, I chose Paragard because of its long term efficacy. The doctors, when I requested Paragard, assumed I was only interested in going off hormones. They inadvertently convinced me of that, as it turns out. You hear “non-hormonal” enough times and you think, “Hey. That’s probably better, right?”
Hormonal IUDs work in similar ways the pill does: stopping ovulation, thickening the cervical mucus, etc. The copper IUD, on the other hand, acts as a spermicide. It’s not as effective as the hormonal IUD, technically, but it still does the trick pretty darn well.
So, as I was saying, I went to the gynecologist for my procedure and waited an absurdly long time to find out that my nurse was a regular at the place I used to work. The doctor performing the procedure, I already knew, was the father of a girl with whom I’d gone to high school. So, off the bat, I was in an awkward situation made more awkward by my acquaintances, and here I am telling you about it now. It’s all in the spirit of removing any discomfort you may have about the subject, I assure you, but feel free to giggle at my misfortune.
As for nerves, I was fine up until I sat in the waiting room for a half hour, alternating between looking at Twitter and picking my nails. When I finally went in, I peed in a cup for the mandatory pregnancy test, went into the procedure room, took my pants off, and waited for the nurse to bring my consent forms. I considered Livestreaming the whole thing but, then, what would I have to write about?
Once the paperwork was settled and the test was negative, the doctor came in and introduced himself, at which point I pretended I’ve never met him before.
The procedure itself was not pleasant. I won’t lie. It was worse than the first time I had it done and I don’t think that’s just my memory failing me. The doctor I had was recently featured in a Huffington Post piece for using VR during a birth and, when he offered the headset to me, I jumped at the chance. I saw it on Facebook, okay? Anyway, I’d never used one before, and was more curious about VR itself than its relation to what would be happening below the belt. I put on the headset and acted like a child for a few minutes, turning my head so much I’m surprised I didn’t give myself whiplash.
When the time came, I lay back and let them guide my feet into the position us women know so well. I was watching the sunrise over the ocean. As promised, it was a welcome distraction.
When my first IUD was inserted, my cervix was numbed beforehand. I’m fairly certain that did not happen this time. I was told I was swabbed with iodine and that’s all. After, the doctor inserted the speculum and here is where I lose any smart words. He fished that sucker out of me. It felt weird but I wasn’t quite yet in full blown pain yet. The entire trouble was the cervix which, when poked and prodded, will hurt like a son of a bitch. From what I understand, IUDs are designed to be easily removed. The “arms” will fold up when the string is pulled down, and it slides out. Easy. I guess. Like I said, I was trying to focus on the sunrise.
I was given a few moments to get my senses back in order before I was being poked again. I couldn’t see, since I had the headset on, but I remember from my Skyla insertion what basically looked like a long stick that gets inserted into the vagina and, from there, past the cervix and into the uterus. The IUD is at the end, patiently waiting to have its arms popped out so it can get comfortable in its new home. I’m sure it was having a great time. I was not. I’ve never had children but I kept thinking (internally screaming) childbirth is worse. It was like being punched in the gut, from the inside. Because, essentially, I was being punched in the cervix. I alternated between deep breathing and nervous laughter. And looked at the birds flying over the ocean. I didn’t feel the arms pop open this time, because my lower abdomen was a ball of fire.
Have I sold you?
When the procedure was finished, I took the headset off and pretended I didn’t feel like someone wrapped their hands around my insides and wrung them out like a used rag. The nurse was kind, and got me some juice and crackers while I waited until I trusted my legs to support my weight. I sat on the table with no pants on for, at least, ten minutes. After I finally got up the courage to (slowly) put my pants on and (slowly) leave the office, I left and took the backroads home, in case a sudden twinge in my uterus impaired my driving. There were no incidents, thankfully.
I don’t even remember what I did when I got home. Took a nap? Passed out? Who knows. And then I went to a friend’s house because I don’t listen to basic directions like “Take it easy.”
Oh, well. Stay tuned for The Crime Scene in My Pants, Part II of II.