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Well, that was…interesting.

So yesterday, I had an IUD put in.

This is your five-second warning—if such things unsettle you, click away from the post now.

So. IUD.

Now dere’s a ting..

The tone of the experience was set when the nurse walked in with a box the approximate size and shape of a carton of cigarettes, and I said “Dear god, tell me most of that is packaging!”

(It was. Thankfully. The nurse was amused. I wanted to tell her that I was only getting warmed up, but y’know.)

The doctor inserting the thing was an enormous black man with a positively subterranean voice, the sort you hear primarily through the soles of your feet, and he attempted to distract me for the first portion of the job by discussing the weather, the upcoming hurricane, and how he delivered a baby in the middle of Hurricane Fran some years ago.

After that, it started to get sufficiently uncomfortable that the weather wasn’t gonna hold me. I would compare it to a particularly unfortunate pap smear, of the sort I got in my youth, before there had been any significant traffic in the area if, ahem, you know what I mean. It was bearable, I just didn’t much enjoy it.

Then he had to get the forceps or whatever the heck they are into the cervix to pry IT open, and things got a little more unpleasant. Still not exactly painful, but really really uncomfortable. As I was chewing on a knuckle and staring at the ceiling, the doctor suggested that I sing to distract myself.

God help me, the only thing I could think of, despite having an extensive folk music collection, despite having lived through every 80′s pop-song ever made, despite an angsty youth that rendered me conversant in the entire Nine Inch Nails catalog, was…the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

(Look, I was on the spot! I had not expected to have to perform a musical solo while doing an imitation of a gutted fish!)

“Uh—err—okay—um—Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

There are times that this song is appropriate. In case you were wondering, sitting with your feet in little stirrups and your cervix flapping in the breeze is not it.

When both nurse and doctor had recovered themselves sufficiently to continue, and I was struggling to remember what came after the bit about trampling out the vineyard, he actually inserted the IUD proper, which meant that, possibly for the first time in history, the grapes of Wrath were stored in “OH MOTHERFUCKER!”

That bit hurt. Just so we’re clear. I mean, it was over very quickly, but it hurt.

“That is the appropriate thing to say,” the doctor assured me, probably because he felt bad for cracking up when I was in pain. “I mean, at that bit…well, yeah.” I decided that I liked him. I felt we had bonded. The nurse, who had been fanning me so I didn’t faint, managed to get her giggling under control and resumed fanning.

I am told that this process is far easier if you have been pregnant. Not, however, belonging to that sorority of women that has passed something the size of a cantaloupe through the eye of the needle, as t’were, it was pretty unpleasant.

So that was that, and I put my clothes back on, and got in the car and realized that I now had the worst cramps I’d ever had in my life. For some people, this bit may be nothing much, but I don’t get cramps. Never have. I actually got cramps badly for the first time earlier this year, and I thought I was passing a kidney stone or something.

*pause to allow less fortunate female members of audience to throw things at monitor*

These were some REALLY impressive cramps, too. I had a charley-horse lodged in my pelvis.

I drove home grimly. Various friends and Kevin had offered to drive me home if I needed it, but it was one of those I’m-going-to-be-in-pain-whether-I’m-driving-or-not moments, so y’know. I texted ahead to inform Kevin that he needed to locate the Really Good Painkillers.

So most of yesterday was spent in a grim opiate haze with a heating pad planted over my abdomen, playing tower defense games and praying for death.

Today I am a bit better, with occasional stabs of unpleasantness. It is…tender. In weird ways that I do not expect my guts to be tender. It is sort of like having very bad indigestion, except that one cannot deliver Tums to such a zone, and you do not get to hope that one twenty-minute session in the bathroom will make life beautiful again.

I suppose this is a small price to pay for five years of infertility, but that was certainly an experience, and not quite over yet.

And I had a patio to dig, goddamnit, but I think it’ll be a few days before THAT gets done…

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Having had things poked at my cervix a few times, and having had enough abdominal pain to necessitate doctor visits(an ectopic pregnancy, and something funky called cauliflower tumor), I can entirely sympathize!
And yes, an opiate haze is a good thing to have at those times.

NSAIDs work better (having had two inserted and inserted150 or so) as they suppress the chemicals causing the cramping. 800 mg of Advil every 4-6 hours for a day or so usually does the trick.

I swear by naproxen sodium, a heating pad, and those stick-on air activated heaty things. And gin.

(Deleted comment)
Here via friendsfriends. I had an IUD put in before I had kids and it was not quite as painful as having my wisdom teeth removed, but certainly up there. I also drove myself home, not even thinking that I would be in that much pain, and was praying that I would not pass out on the way there. Luckily it was a very short drive. I hope that you love your IUD and it will all have been worth it.

IUD was way worse than wisdom teeth for me. Teeth I was out for. Well, mostly. Long story.

Congratulations! (also, hi and stuff, I just added your journal a few days ago because of the red ridinghood story) I had one of those put in a few years back -- didn't have as much pain as you seem to have but OTOH the thing came out on it's own two weeks later (which I gather happens sometimes with women who haven't had kids). I hope it serves you well and the pain fades soon.

I'm so sorry for laughing at your pain, but that is the most hysterical rendition of anything to do with cervixes since naamah_darling's periods rant. And that is SERIOUSLY saying something.

Ditto. My husband had to come read over my shoulder because I was howling with laughter and attempting to explain why I don't want an IUD just yet.

Still pretty painful for me having had two kids, on the other hand I was complimented(?) by the nurse on still having a fairly tight cervix, so...

After the fitting cramps it's been great - slightly heavier periods and a bit of mid-cycle pain which I never had before, but the freedom to stop worrying about birth control and the lack of any hormonal side effects are great.

I am so, so, so jealous of the lack of hormones! Since I had my little girl a few months ago, I can't even look at birth control sideways without becoming a raging beast. :( I looked into the IUD, but we plan on having another kiddo in the next two-ish years, so that won't work. *le pout*

I used that time to tell my doctor at length that it was about time somebody came up with some decent male contraception. (Also, my IUD didn't work--after a year of near-constant yeast infections I got pregnant and had a miscarriage. So. And the nurse was like, "Oh! Your baby will be fine! We see this all the time! Have some prenatal vitamins!" Anyway, they work great for some (even most) people, but if at any point you suspect all is not well, I would definitely get it checked out!)

my experience, while atypical, was grim: kidney infection, which masked the underlying ovarian cyst, lots and lots of pain ... pay attention to your pain. if it switches from owie-new-thing-in-there to tender-maybe-an-infection?: go see doctor.

ultimately i got my tubes tied. and then the year after that i went gay.

she of the infinitely variable mileage...

Yeah.. all the docs down here won't even put one in for you if you haven't spawned yet. I've asked.. but pills continue for me.

FFS... it's not like you're getting your tubes tied. I get so frothy when people make those judgements for others.

I am reading this post while in a skype work meeting. Thank the gods for mute. And also opiates. Hope you recover quickly and that the Device works well!

Oooh! I recognize your icon! Yay Moomins!

Do Not Eat Lunch while reading Ursula, check... (not from ick, from laughing).

I think my tubal was a more pleasant experience, although anything involving general anaesthesia isn't all that great. Heating pad for a few days while the gas wore out of my system (the stuff they use to inflate you so they can find their way around seeps into your bloodstream and then for some reason migrates up to your shoulders, giving you weird shoulder pains). Laughing hurt for a couple days, then back to work. And it's forever! :)

You haven't learned that lesson yet? :p

Congratulations. I swear to you that after your body gives up and says "yeah, thing in there where it doesn't belong, not going anywhere", it won't bother you much. I <3 my Mirena, though I had given birth before getting one so my insertion was less dramatic.

I shoulda known I'd find you here....also, *hi5!* I find it entertaining that IUDs are a very personal thing, and yet people can be all Yaaay I have one too yaaaay. or maybe I'm just insane.

I've been heavily considering getting an IUD myself recently, this post has been... "enlightening". Sounds highly unpleasant, a little scary, but still sounds way worth it. Thanks to you I know I should ready the hot water bottle and procure a lift!

If you don't mind telling, what kind did you get?

Definitely get a ride -- I drove myself to my appointment and had to leave my car and get a taxi home -- definitely no fun. (My doctor gave me lidocaine shots and said I "shouldn't feel a thing." This was before I discovered that I have a fairly uncommon lidocaine insensitivity -- meaning it was just about as effective as shooting me up with tap water.)

It's brutal for a few days, but then it really is an effective and hormone-free form of birth control, which is incredibly nice when you have a body that hates HBC in all its forms!

-- A <3


I was silently cracking up and trying not to frighten the nice pregnant ladies -- I was there for the 2-week-post-surgery checkup after my hysterectomy (yay, everything is healing up nicely), and I thought the comic timing was incredibly appropriate ;)

P.P.S. Said hysterectomy had nothing to do with the IUD (which I had for 4 years and had no problems with) -- my reproductive system hated me for 22 years and finally needed removing.

Sorry, but the patriotic insertion of your IUD made me laugh out loud. I mean, I'm sorry you were in pain but the way you reported it was hilarious. I wonder what and how many other songs this doctor/nurse team hears during the course of their work week, "motherfuckers" included?

Mary MMM

Edited at 2011-08-25 04:46 pm (UTC)

I was really lucky when I had my IUD inserted (after two births it was easy peasy).

But, about SINGING... I had to have a bone marrow exam 18 years ago. On the first side, I used up every swear word I had ever learned and created a couple new ones. Then I realized they were going to do it again on the other side... I started singing a Tom Lehrer song, The Irish Maid.

I understand the doctor dined out for years talking about the patient who sang through a bone marrow exam.

Try some raspberry leaf tea. It calms cramps in the cervical and uterine muscles; the Brits used to use it during WWI and II for pregnant women when medical supplies were short. It's also got a chunk of vitamins in it, tastes decent and is easily available at most health food stores.

I recommend the ground-leaf sort that comes loose out of the big jar, rather than the sort that's already in tea bags.

Until I'd tasted the latter, I had no idea what Skud meant: http://qdb.dreamwidth.net/dw/284

Congratulations on your temporary sterilization! The human race continues unabated, but hey.

I actually went all out and had Essure installed, which I was told was comparable to IUD insertion, especially considering the whole lack of children thing. My being chatty about what the inside of my uterus looks like -- because really, who couldn't be, I mean, they put a camera in there (I wish I'd gotten a copy of the video) -- amused the hell out of my doctor and nurses, and I was too doped up on various painkillers to care all that much.

Plus, cyborg Fallopian tubes.

Again, congrats! Hope the pain settles out. Just be warned: the cramping could become a regular monthly thing, depending on what kind of IUD you got and how your body reacts to it.

Wow, I hadn't heard of Essure... that's sweet!