The IUD vs. The Tilted Uterus: A War Story

I know it’s probably a little dramatic to call something involving a conflict in my cervix a “war story,” but ya had to be there to really get the full effect. Jonathan was there, my doc was there, they can vouch for me that what happened Thursday afternoon was a real pain in the —…

So, here’s the short version of a really long saga: I can’t take birth control. I’ve covered this ad nauseum in other posts, but any kind of hormonal birth control makes me a red-eyed, slobbering, screaming, emotional, water-retaining banshee. Just a few days of synthetic estrogen and progesterone coursing through my veins, and suddenly I’ve gained 5 lbs., my hair starts falling out, I cry at the drop of a hat, and I start to scare – no, genuinely scare – my husband. It’s basically the equivalent of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde – but on a whole other level, since…well, neither of those guys had female hormones to add to the mix.

A lot of people would ask: “Why not try another method? Diaphragm? Cervical Cap? Shot? Patch?” For one thing, the shot and the patch are both hormonal methods that seem to make most women – not just me – slightly crazier than they would be on the pill or the Nuvaring insert. And the cervical cap or diaphragm…well, let’s just say I once spent about an hour and a half in my doctor’s exam room trying to figure out how the heck to get those things in place and then remove them, and I’m clearly inept in that department.

So really, for me, this attempt at the IUD was a last-ditch option. It’s either this or we’re just gonna have to leave it up to some pretty unreliable options. Which sucks, but ya know…it’s life. I’d rather be a nice person that my husband and child actually want to be around than a crazy zombie woman who is conveniently protected from pregnancy. We’re gonna put off baby #2 at least until Russ is three, if we can – but we get no guarantees.

Thursday was the day of the IUD insertion attempt, and it just didn’t go well at all. Having recently had a baby, I figured the thing would slip right into place and would be no problem whatsoever. WRONG! After one failed attempt to get the hormone-free IUD (brand name: Paragard) about two and a half years ago, I was really excited to finally get to use this highly recommended and oh-so-convenient-and-easy-and-wonderful method of birth control until Russ’s third birthday or thereabout. But the pain I experienced when the doctor even tried to MEASURE the whole…um…”situation” for where to place the IUD was actually worse than any pain I ever experienced during childbirth. Granted, I made it to about 4 cm before I got my epidural and I was basically high off my ass on Ambien, but I was definitely hurting bad by the time I got my epidural. So, to say that this hurt worse is really something. Poor Jonathan was sitting there (it is often suggested that someone drive you home after an IUD, since you might faint or feel dizzy…super pleasant stuff we women deal with, isn’t it?), holding Russ, looking at me like he felt so bad for me. He came over and held my hand, but after 45 seconds of what felt like having my guts pushed into my belly button from the inside, my doc said she thought I was not a good candidate for the IUD after all. Apparently I have a little bit of a tilt to my uterus of something – clearly nothing that prevented me from getting pregnant and carrying Russ to term, but enough to keep me from being able to have this miniscule, two-inch IUD device placed.

As bad as I was hurting at that moment, I didn’t even question her. I just said “Okay, that’s fine, whatever you think.” I’m pretty sure what I really meant was “Oh, THANK GOD! I was *thisclose* to biting my own arm off to help take my mind off how bad this hurts!” Honestly, I’d rather go through the worst parts of childbirth recovery again than have to feel that pain once more. The doctor said that was completely and totally abnormal for an IUD insertion to be that painful, and she felt it safest and best to not proceed.

So here we are. I don’t want to make any predictions about when and if I will become pregnant again. We’re certainly not planning on it for at least a few more years, and I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t on birth control for 2 years before I got pregnant with Russ. There are…*ways* to keep that from happening that don’t involve popping little pills or other traditional routes. We weren’t trying until December 2009, and that was the exact month that I got pregnant – yep, the very first month we tried, BAM! Baby was in the works. So, I’m hoping that luck will continue. Once I’m done breastfeeding Russ, I’ll probably start cycle timing again and we’ll use some back-up methods for that.

A few friends have advised that I get a copy of “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” which is basically the bible of fertility charting, cycle-timing, and other natural methods of birth control for women who cannot or will not use hormonal methods. Turns out, after Googling the book, I recognized it immediately…I have a copy upstairs in storage that I bought several years ago!

An online friend of mine from a message board I post on was saying the other day (she’s due in just a few weeks with her little girl) how it’s so crazy – “We’re so used to wanting to be pregnant, now the idea of trying to prevent it is a little weird, isn’t it?” It is a whole different mindset, but I’m really fine with putting off baby #2 for a few years. I actually had a dream (or rather, a nightmare) last Sunday night that I found out I was pregnant and Russ was a mere four months old!! So, I know that’s definitely not my first choice of circumstances, but I know I also have to keep an open mind about the timing between children, since we all know from high school sex ed that no birth control is 100% effective. I’m hopeful though that God will bless us with the right timing for our family, and since no other options seem to be panning out for me (for reasons well beyond my control), I have to have faith that whatever happens is what is meant to be. We’ll see what happens.

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