Ah, the Mirena. The wonder IUD! Shining younger sister to the grumpy whoa-TMI copper Paragard. Right? I’m getting ahead of myself.
A couple years ago, I went through a phase where I felt the need to rid my body of anything chemical or artificial. I stopped taking my birth control pills and became vegan. I felt awesome. Like, really awesome.
And then I had this boyfriend who made me sound like a huge loser for not wanting to be kitschy and Southern and eat fried chicken together. I told myself that it’s “OK, because those chickens have spurs, so it’s not as bad as the fat, nearly paraplegic Tyson mutants, right?” Right!
Jonathan Safran Foer wrote Eating Animals as a big conspiracy theory with Natalie Portman to boost the produce industry! It’s true! Google it!1
That concession of personal convictions led me to a whole slew of unhealthy choices–primarily fast food for breakfast, a steady diet of Diet Pepsi and Cajun potato chips, and a fridge full of 5 Hour Energy. But they’re natural, so they’re obviously not bad for you. Right? Right.
Yet I still felt uneasy about renewing my stream of birth control pills, felt itchy about the hormones circulating in my blood stream day-in and day-out. It’s simply not natural, but neither is Red Bull Sugar-Free. Yet this entire transformation of my body into an artificially infertile, man-pleasing sewer system still bothered me.
Wait, wait. I know the solution! You don’t have to have hormones piped through your body like fluoride in the water system. There’s a better way! Get a piece of plastic actually inserted into your uterus. There’s only hormones circulating around your womb with that godsend! Nothing to fear!
And here’s where I issue a warning. This post is about my nightmare with birth control. If you’re a guy (or a guy who believes that lady stuff is “icky” and that women do it to gross you out, rather than, I don’t know, bear the human race) or a squeamish chick (or potential client), look at one of these posts instead.
I think it’s important to be up-front and honest about these things, if only to inform one other woman out there so she can make a better, more informed decision. So let’s get down to it.
The actual insertion process of the Mirena was startlingly disturbing, but relative to the five years of uninterrupted infertile bliss I’d be enjoying, it seemed more than worth it. I felt a sharp pain in my internal organs, which is terrifying enough, but more than anything? I felt odd and protective for the next week. I felt as though I’d been violated, and not in the way the Situation was dancing on that girl last week on Jersey Shore. I didn’t want to be touched, but when I was, I was startled and shrank away from it.
But again, totally worth it when you think about the benefits, yeah?
For the first few months, it was fine. It was OK. I mean, it was decent.
We could “feel it”, but it wasn’t that bad. It was OK. Decent. It only hurt every now and then. And that sharp, crippling pain I experienced (“experienced” not in that out-of-body way, but in that near-death way) every time I endured the slightest bit of stress–or heck, for no reason at all–when I could feel the Mirena actually moving against my insides?
“It’s just like all of the cramps of a period put together,” I told myself and any witnesses. “Plus giving birth. No big deal. I’ll be fine!” I sputtered, doubled over in costume backstage at a show on tour. “Hey! At least it didn’t happen on stage! Ha! Ha ha! Ha..”
The other more “intimate” pain continued, but I quelled my concerns. I read up on the device and found that often the “strings”–which are more like fishing wire–don’t “curl around the cervix” and ought to be trimmed. No problem! Let me make three doctor’s appointments to get these suckers trimmed.
Yet this continued for months. And three actual doctor’s string-trimming appointments later, it became unbearable. Nothing had improved, and it was causing actual wounds. The benefits began to wane drastically against the harm, and when I thought of the next four years with Mirena, I was terrified, rather than calmed.
I decided that I’d take those hormones floating around my bloodstream day-in and day-out over this destructive alien in my most delicate of organs any day, so I made an appointment to have the Mirena removed. If only it had been so simple.
…to be continued.
1This is no way true.
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