The lovely Amanda Palmer (she of 'Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra' tweeted a link to "Getting a Mirena IUD" - a blog post by Jodi Thibeault (@pixelsnake) documenting her live tweets from getting a Mirena IUD.
Why am I blogging about it? Simply because I recognised the experience and when you google about it, the pain and the awkwardness really is glossed over massively.
I chose to get the Mirena IUD because it was the only practical contraception available to me (not wanting to muck about with spermicide and the like) - the Depo-Provera injection, the pill, the implant, vaginal ring etc all being unavailable to me due to releasing too many hormones. Hormones are ugly stuff when it comes to keeping my body healthy so my consultant is headmaster levels of strict about what I'm allowed to use. The Mirena does release a hormone (Levenogestrel) but the dose is much smaller than anything else (about 1/7th compared to the pill.)
Before getting ready to have the IUD inserted I hadn't even had a smear test, and found the idea of some doctor poking around 'down there' a bit embarrassing and very nervewracking. I got over myself quickly once it was happening, thankfully.
The whole procedure is foul. You lie on a bed with your knees up (feeling somewhat odd because you're dressed from the waist up and naked below that, and that's just generally weird) and cold clamps and bits and pieces are stuck up you. I was at least warned to take painkillers twenty minutes before hand but Jesus nelly it hurts. I wanted to kill my boyfriend for daring to want to have sex with me at that point. For a good half hour I'd have happily been celibate for life. Stick me in a nunnery, just get your hands and your nasty medical contraptions out of me.
It wasn't fun.
And I was told I coped better with it than most and many women have to stop the procedure.
But hey life's great now right? No squealing babies, no humongous periods?
Well no. First off, after I had it inserted I bled for days and days on end. Twice, if not three times the length of my usual period. Then my body took pity on me and had a couple of days break. And then it started again. I did the natural thing for a neurotic 21st century girl and decided doctors were foul things and googled it instead. Apparently the bleeding could last for up to six months. If you can stick it that long. But then it would be rainbows with sparkling unicorns jumping over them! Or something. I did visit a doctor in the end, but her only advice was to stick with it.
It's been six months now. My periods are no longer constant but are incredibly random. I'll have three one month, none the next, etc etc. (And 'none the next' is quite scary when your medical problems basically equate to early pregnancy morning sickness and aches and pains. No amount of "over 99% foolproof" is comforting; I'm a massive fool.)
Having ranted, I'm still incredibly glad I have it. It does give me an aura of safety that I never had before. Plus I'd have it over the pill if I could take the pill - my memory's rubbish. It's a great little idea. Just don't be fooled by those women who tell you they barely noticed it - it's possible, but it's certainly not that way for everyone.