I got an IUD on Tuesday. Which, contrary to what is sounds like, is neither a sexually transmitted disease nor a bomb. No, no. An IUD is actually a method of birth control which comes in the form of a T-shaped piece of plastic that is shoved up your vagina and into your uterus. Well, my uterus if we’re being technical.
I’ll back up a bit.
It all started about a month ago. I had grown tired of having been off and on the pill for the past seven years and wanted to switch up my birth control. Realizing that my boyfriend and I are in no way responsible enough to rely solely on condoms — and also because I’m not a bitch who would make my very serious boyfriend wear a condom in the first place, I knew that we needed some other method of birth control. But like I said, I was fucking done with the pill.
As someone who has borderline anxiety on a good day and crippling hold-me-Jesus panic attacks on a bad day, the hormones of the pill were constantly fucking with me. I was up, I was down, I was sideways. Basically, unless I was on something (hello, Zoloft, my sweet angel), I just didn’t feel “right.” And, so, after an insignificant seven years, I finally decided to be a full-fucking-fledged grown-up and take my health into my own two hands.
When my amazing gynecologist (seriously, I filled out a Yelp review on his practice. I love him that much) first suggested the IUD for me, I laughed in his face. It seemed so clinical and robotic and…weird. I didn’t want a plastic vagina. Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted the one God picked out for me at the vagina factory, not some run-of-the-mill one that any old slut could get. Obviously, though, I misunderstood what an IUD actually is. Like, vastly, embarrassingly misunderstood, because it is not, in fact, a plastic vagina. Nope. Not even close. Instead, it’s just a T-shaped piece of plastic that hangs out inside of your uterus and affects the way the sperm move, thus preventing them from ever finding an egg. Seemed simple enough. So, once I correctly understood what the eff my gyno was talking about, I told him to skip past whatever else he was going to say and just go ahead and schedule me for the “IED.”
After encouraging me to turn off E! and turn on CNN — even just every once in a while, he checked with my insurance, and scheduled me for insertion. His words, not mine.
Leading up to my appointment, I essentially did zero research on the thing that was about to spend more time inside of me than my boyfriend and tampons combined. Which, for someone who has her doctor on speed dial, is actually pretty surprising. For whatever reason, though, I just didn’t see this IUD “insertion” as a big deal. It wasn’t surgery. Hell, it wasn’t even technically a procedure. It was simply just an appointment. I’d go in, get the thing shoved up there, and head on back to work like it wasn’t a big deal.
But you know what? It was a big deal. A really big deal. A really big deal that was shoved up my vagina.
I walked into my OBGYN’s office in a wealthy suburb of Austin, just ready to go with my game face on. I checked in with the office manager who greeted me with, “Hello, Mrs. (my boyfriend’s last name)” because he went with me for a visit one day when I was sick and I simply never bothered to correct their belief that we’re married, and then handed me a glass of chilled cucumber water and two Advil. As I sat in the front room filled with rich, beautiful pregnant women and rustic barn decor, I realized two things: 1) the waiting area of this man’s practice was nicer than the living room of my condo and 2) I wanted to join the club of rich, pregnant bitches sooner than I thought.
When my beautiful god of a gynecologist called me back, I immediately told him that while I knew we had decided upon the IUD that lasts for up to ten years, I had recently decided that I wanted the one that only lasts for up to three years.
“Does your boyfriend know about this change?” He asked, while handing me a fresh pair of clean, fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm.
“Oh, absolutely! We discussed it at length.” I lied. But only shitty people break up with pregnant women, so it’ll probably work out just fine.
I undressed behind the curtain, and the nurse, the doctor, and I all made small talk. The warm weather as of late, local politics, Bruce Jenner’s transformation into a woman…you know, the usual stuff. It wasn’t until I lifted my legs into the stirrups that we even brought up the subject of pain.
“Okay, so I’m going to push it through your cervix and up into your uterus.”
Come again? I thought I was going to pass out just hearing the words, but I didn’t want to seem stupid. I should have known this would happen already. In fact, I’m nearly 100 percent positive that he told me this during my prior appointment, which is just another reason to pay attention to your doctor when he speaks to you instead of mindlessly nodding along and tuning him out while trying to figure out how to get past the level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on since 2011.
As he pushed the device up into me, I think I blacked out from the pain, though I vaguely remembering telling him to go fuck himself. Then the tears started. And they didn’t really seem to stop.
If I had to accurately describe what it felt like, I would have to liken in to being stabbed. In the vagina. It felt like I was stabbed in the vagina. Well, cervix, if we’re being technical. I don’t want to be dramatic and say that the pain was unbearable or unimaginable, but as someone who has never so much as broken a bone, I will say that it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. And that — truly — is no exaggeration. I’ve since read online that the while the majority of women experience discomfort, only a small percentage truly feel pain, and I, of course, was one of them. On the plus side, I didn’t faint or throw up immediately following the procedure, which apparently is somewhat common. So that’s good for me, I guess.
Once the device was fully inside of me, my doctor snipped the strings (you can apparently feel them if you dare reach up there) attached to the IUD so that I didn’t walk around looking like one of those vintage nutcracker ornaments that dance, and told me I was ready to go home. After I carefully put my clothes back on — still wiping away the tears — I walked bowlegged toward reception to book my followup appointment. I decided then and there that come baby time, I would be getting a C-section.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and following morning on my couch in the fetal position, convincing myself that I was the .01 percent of women whose IUD insertion had perforated the uterus, and therefore had an IUD roaming around my ribcage. At one point I even made my boyfriend poke me in the belly to see if he felt anything sharp. He didn’t — though I’m still not convinced it’s safely where it should be. I suppose we’ll see if everything’s on the up and up when I go back in a month for my followup. In the meantime, I guess I could check for the strings myself, but again, there’s no way ANYTHING is going up there any time soon. It’s funny to me that I did this whole thing so that I could have sex without condoms…but now sex is quite literally the last thing that I want to do.
When I returned back to our office yesterday afternoon (I was too busy spending yesterday morning vomiting from the pain), I was greeted by every single female wondering if I would recommend the IUD to anyone else. And the answer to that is yes. Despite the pain and the nausea and the fact that I wanted to pierce my boyfriend’s penis in his sleep so that we’d be even on the pain spectrum, I can honestly say that it was definitely worth it. The pain really only lasted for a little over day, and I think that given that the IUD lasts for up to three years, that’s a small price to pay. Would I do it again if I had to? Yes. Would I do it again because I wanted to? No, because I’m not a masochist.
All in all, I’d say that the IUD is worth it. As for how well it works? I will probably never know, because I don’t plan on ever letting anything inside of me again. But, hey, maybe that’s why it’s so effective. .
Image via Shutterstock