Here’s what it was like getting an IUD!
So, the nurse practitioner who put my IUD in is really awesome. She took a lot of time to speak with me to make sure I felt like I had all of my questions answered, and understood the possible risks. She also went over the procedure, complete with a little model of the uterus and a demo version of the IUD itself. Basically she stuck a little stick through the demo cervix up into the demo uterus, and then the demo IUD popped gently into place! Then the little demo uterus sparkled and giggled and one tiny but perfect rainbow appeared above each demo fallopian tube.
Reality isn’t….. quite……. like that.
It’s really not too bad, though, and I’d say that if you’re at the point where you’ve thought about the possible negative side effects, you’ve looked into the risks associated with getting it put in, and you’ve figured out how it might fit with your lifestyle, there’s really nothing else to consider. Definitely don’t let fear of the massive waves of unbearable pain stop you.
Haha, ok, I’m mostly kidding. For me, the implantation procedure really only had 3 painful parts:
1. The beginning.
2. The middle.
3. The end.
Haha! Ok I’m mostly kidding again. For real, the painful parts were 1. when she clamped my cervix, 2. When she “sounded” my cervix, and 3. When she actually put the IUD in.
I was pretty nervous when she started to prep the room for the procedure. She lifted the towel off of a small, innocuous table in the corner and revealed a tray of tools. These tools had clearly been rejected from the set of a horror film* for being too scary. I didn’t see which long, curvy, spiky metal object she used to clamp my cervix, because she told me to look away and when someone has those kinds of tools in their hands, you do what they say. But for me, the cervix-clamping part wasn’t that bad. It felt kind of like someone was pinching me, and I didn’t really want them to be. But, like, whatever. No big deal.
THEN…. she stuck in the “sound” (which is basically a stick to measure the depth of your uterus).
Before I decided to get an IUD, I did a lot of research into what it would feel like. I was especially worried about how much it was going to hurt. From what I read, it really varies. Some women experience a lot of pain, and some don’t really experience very much at all. But, for those who experienced a lot of pain, they would frequently say the IUD insertion was like “really bad menstrual cramps, but worse.” I get pretty bad menstrual cramps, and I’m no baby. So when I compared my understanding of “but worse” to 10 years of worry-free birth control……I mean come on. It’s not even really a choice. So I wasn’t going to let that stop me, but I also didn’t think “but worse” would be that bad.
Here’s the thing. You might actually have *no idea* what really bad cramps feel like. I am now SO GRATEFUL for my not-so-terrible “pretty bad cramps”. My NP explained that the uterus is really one big muscle, and when you stick something into it, the muscle cramps up. Normal cramps are caused by rhythmic contractions of the uterus. My cramps are like a dull, constant throbbing pain that radiates through my back and down into my legs. When you get an IUD though, you basically have what is ONE GIANT MUSCLE suddenly completely cramping up in response to a stick being shoved into it. It hurts! Regular cramps are downright gentle by comparison. Even the bad ones.
So yes, it hurt. BUT. The pain lasted for about 2 seconds. Then she pulled the sound out and stuck the actual IUD in, which caused the whole business to cramp up again, and then it was over. At that point the pain became exactly what I had been expecting, and felt pretty much like regular menstrual cramps.
Totally not a big deal. Definitely not something to be that concerned about. You can almost definitely handle it.
I spent the rest of the day in bed, although I didn’t actually need to. So, yeah! Basically it wasn’t that bad and I’m so happy I did it! The next few days were a bit of a different story, but that’s another blog post…. 🙂
*Terrifying Dentist and Insane Lumberjack: Together At Last