Pussying Out of the IUD
At 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29th of this year, I was scheduled by my gynecologist to have an IUD (intrauterine device) inserted. At 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29th, I made a frantic call to my gyno’s office to cancel said appointment. At some point in between, I pussied out of getting the IUD.
Since high school, I’d had every intention of getting one. After conducting some research, where I’d found out that the IUD was low-maintenance, worked with a 99.9% success rate of preventing pregnancy, and lasted three to five years depending on the type of IUD you picked, I was positive IUDs were the best form of birth control, despite all the other alternatives. l decidedly told my mother that I planned on getting one instead of taking the pill, much to her horror – she has a thing about inserting foreign objects into one’s body, not that any other foreign bodies were entering my body anyway. And to this day, they still aren’t; but better safe than sorry, because you never know when the opportunity for consensual sex arises and you’re left with condoms that, while effective in preventing STDs (and you should always use them if you’re having sex with multiple partners), are not as foolproof when preventing pregnancy.
And, it turns out I cannot take the pill. I was told by my gynecologist that due to my slightly higher blood pressure, taking birth control pills could risk worsening it, so that was off the table. And while I could still use injections, implants, and rings, my doctor recommended the IUD to me, specifically a hormonal IUD called Kyleena. It was the most effective IUD on the market and the longest lasting too, preventing pregnancy for a five-year period. All I had to do was check with my health insurance company about whether or not I was covered to get that particular brand, wait for my Aunt Flow to visit (as my period-tracking app likes to call it), and get in touch with the office when it did so I could get my birth control in order before I left for school again.
A week later, I got my period and called my gynecologist’s office, pumped to finally get this done – in less than three minutes, an appointment for the next day was made and I was given a prescription to take misoprostol, a medication typically used to induce labor. You heard that right, you’re “going into labor” to insert something you use to prevent pregnancy. That’s the circle of life for you. That, paired with your period, is meant to further dilate the cervix and make inserting the IUD easier (and supposedly less painful).
My big mistake? It was after I’d already taken the misoprostol that I decided to read more accounts about the process of getting the IUD. Helpful hint: The Internet is not your friend, especially when it comes to medical matters. Much like when you search up the reason for your cough and WebMD tells you that you have a rare, fatal illness, I was referred to a website where every person who’d gotten the IUD bemoaned it, complaining about months-long periods, severe pain, and other nasty side effects. At the mere thought of inconvenience and discomfort, my conviction fled and I changed my mind.
I don’t know if it was Mother Nature or karma or some other force punishing me for my cowardice (it was definitely the misoprostol), but as soon as I decided I wasn’t going to go through with the appointment, I got the worst cramps of my life. Up all night, curled into a ball, and wanting to cry and push a non-existent baby out of me, I was completely miserable, but standing by my new decision to hold off on IUD insertion because if it was this bad now…
If even one of those online reviews had been accurate, moving into my apartment would have been rough to say the least, but my case of cold feet completely screwed with a decision that I’d really been set on and would have given me a lot less to worry about in the long run. After all, I still need reliable birth control. In situations like this, calling my doctor for reassurance or an alternative would have been a smarter decision. And, despite one’s fears, conquering them and maybe facing a few weeks of discomfort is worth years of peace of mind.
Illustration By: Hayley Joseph