IUDs (intrauterine device) can be a wonderful option for some women. I decided to go the IUD route because I was sick of having to change birth control pills so often. They just stopped doing what I needed them to do (aka, regulate my cycle and prevent ovarian cysts). I had done a ton of research on IUDs and knew what to expect. I didn’t think I would have any issues with it. Insertion is painful, doesn’t matter who you are. I took two ibuprofen about an hour before the procedure, just to be on the safe side. I also made sure that I was hydrated and had a snack. I didn’t want to risk dehydration or low blood sugar. I brought my stuffed owl for support, I was told that a friend or my mom could go in with me, but I chose Mr. Snuggleowl. I love my friends, I love my mom, I love my sister, and I know any of them would have been in that room with me. But it was personal and weird, I didn’t want anyone but me and my doctor in there…and trusty Mr. Snuggleowl. Insertion was painful, but not too bad. I almost passed out, but that’s because my body likes to be dramatic (I had a Vasovagal response). I went home, popped some more ibuprofen, and took a nap with a heating pad. I had some cramping, which was to be expected. Peeing was a lot weirder than expected. I was very aware of my uterus in a way I had never been before, and I was so afraid that using any of the muscles down there would pop the IUD out. FYI, no, that will not happen.
Over the next few days the cramping continued to increase. I took more ibuprofen, and was attached to my heating pad. I knew the cramps would go away eventually, and I wanted to wait it out. I was told that cramping for a few days after would be normal, so I expected it. I knew there was a chance that the cramping would get a bit worse before it got better. Three days after insertion I was in so much pain that I could barely walk. I can’t even describe the pain I was feeling, there are no words. I begged my mom to take me to the ER, I couldn’t even stand up straight because of the pain. When we got to the hospital, I was in so much pain that I could not walk. My mom had to run in and get help because I could not get out of the car. A security guard came out with a wheelchair and had to lift me out of the car and into the chair. Once in a room, they gave me pain meds, but the meds had no effect what so ever. On a scale of 1-10, the pain was easily a 15. I am not joking either. When the doctor came in, she told me she couldn’t remove it because it was an elective procedure and I would have to wait to have my gynecologist take it out sometime that week. After another dose of ineffective pain meds (pain was still at a 15 after two doses) and a call to the on call ob/gyn, the doctor was told to remove it immediately. My body was rejecting the IUD. After watching some videos online because she had never removed an IUD before, the doctor finally removed it. As soon as it was out, the pain was completely gone. I was able to sit up straight (something I hadn’t done since the insertion) and I was able to walk.
The days afterwards were difficult. Later that same day, I had to call 911. My mom wasn’t home, and I was having serious issues. I was dizzy, I had the chills, I felt nauseous, my blood pressure was all over the place. I knew I needed help, and I was worried that my body was going into legit shock. When the EMTs got to my house, explaining my situation to them was tough, they were all older men. I had to keep explaining to them what an IUD is and what happened that morning. One of the EMTs thought that I had surgery to plant an IED in my ear and was having complications. For those who don’t know, IED stands for improvised explosive device. I was so frustrated. Intrauterine devices and improvised explosive devises are NOTHING ALIKE! One is a birth control implant and the other is a bomb. I couldn’t understand how he was getting them mixed up. And this was the guy that was riding in the back of the ambulance with me. After trying to explain my situation to him again, he just said “never mind, I’ll let you talk to them yourself when you get there”. He didn’t even want to understand what was going on with me. The doctor I saw was very compassionate and understanding. He said that my body was in “shock” (not the real, life threatening, shock) from all it had been through. It would take a while for me to heal, and to go back if I had any more problems.
Fast forward to the next day, I start bleeding. More than I ever have before. I’m talking pretty close to an overnight maxi pad an hour. The nice doctor from the day before (the afternoon guy) called to check up on me. I tell him that I’m bleeding quite a bit, and its worrisome. He tells me to come back in ASAP so that he can check things out to make sure there’s no damage to my uterus or vagina from the IUD. I get there about a half hour after he called…the dude is no longer on shift. I got stuck with a guy who told me that women get periods (no shit) and that out of the thousands of women he’s seen with period problems only one ever came close to bleeding to death. Then he discharged me. No exam, nothing.
It did take me a while to recover, and a year later I was finally able to have a hysterectomy.
No one could have predicted that this was going to happen. My gynecologist and I thought it was going to be the perfect option for me. I know my body is really screwy, but I never expected this to happen. The experience was really traumatic, because of the pain, and because of how I was being treated in the ER. And I definitely should have gotten help a lot sooner rather than waiting until I couldn’t walk. Go figure I’d be the one to have a rare side effect to the thing.
Moral of the story, always look at both sides of things before making a decision. An IUD can be a fantastic option for some women, but I wish I had been more aware of the things that could go wrong. I had been told by so many people to not worry about a thing. To ignore the bad stories I read about them. Now I’m one of those stories.
Also, you know your body better than anyone else. If you have an IUD and something feels wrong, get it checked out!
On another note, I really think that all men in the medical field need to be better educated on female reproductive health. I came across too many during this time that knew so little about it, or brushed it off. That is not okay. I’m lucky nothing bad happened because of uninformed EMTs and doctors. The fact that the EMT didn’t know about IUDs shouldn’t have amused him. That doctor that told me I wasn’t going to bleed to death should have actually made sure I wasn’t going to bleed to death. The whole situation was scary and frustrating, I am so glad I will never have to risk going through it again. AND I wasn’t given an interpreter at all through this. I asked every time I was in the ER, and was told “no”. I could have had that video interpreter thing that they have now, but I really don’t like that and its not a good option for me. It added just another level of stress to this whole situation.