This Is What It's Really Like Getting An IUD
Hi. I'm Jamie LeeLo. And I have an IUD. I got it put in yesterday.
For those of you who might not know what I'm talking about, let me enlighten you. IUD stands for intrauterine device, AKA the most praised form of birth control today.
I first heard about the craze roughly two years ago, when a bunch of my friends suddenly started getting them.
Essentially, a doctor puts a T-shaped device made of copper or plastic into your uterus, and through a series of magical powers, it prevents pregnancies up to 99.99999999 percent of the time.
Sounds pretty awesome.
The other amazing benefits include reduced hormones, birth control for up to seven years and a massive reduction in the number or strength of periods you get a year.
I was in a hurry to get one when President "I Hate Women" was inaugurated and have been looking forward to my appointment ever since I made it.
Going into this, I knew the insertion itself would take about five to 10 minutes, during which I would feel mild pain and discomfort. And after, I would have bleeding and cramping for a few weeks, like a bad period. And that was it.
I sort of thought I might actually just grow a horn out of my forehead and become a real-life unicorn.
But the way everyone sings IUD's praises, I sort of thought I might actually just grow a horn out of my forehead and become a real-life unicorn.
NOW, LET ME START OFF BY SAYING EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT. My experience getting an IUD is just one example of how it could go down, so nobody panic.
But with that said, that shit HURT.
Here is my exact play-by-play of what it was like getting an IUD.
The day before
Morning: I wake up and go to work excited about the following day. I kindly remind my higher ups that I will be leaving work early tomorrow to get an IUD, and then, I announce loudly to the whole office that I will be leaving work early tomorrow to get an IUD.
"Just in case anyone forgot or was wondering, TOMORROW'S THE DAY!"
Afternoon: I type up a hilarious Facebook post asking if I should a) Facebook Live getting my IUD, b) live-tweet getting my IUD, c) take a selfie with my IUD and post it on Instagram or d) none of the above because vaginas are gross, and we hate them.
At this point, I feel like a million bucks.
Late afternoon: I am ABSOLUTELY ALARMED to find a ton of aggressive, horrific comments from other women sharing their truly terrifying experiences of getting an IUD inserted.
One woman fainted and peed on the table, another barfed and another still had her cervix numbed. I start to panic.
You guys, I'm a fainter — BIG TIME. And if this is something women faint, pee and barf through, you bet your shiny vaginal canal I'm going to do all of the above and then some.
I spend the rest of the afternoon furiously googling IUD insertions, giggling because I giggle when I'm nervous.
That night: I tell my boyfriend he has to come with me. If I'm going to pass out and vomit all over myself and everyone else, I need him to be there to drive me home. He says he will.
The day of
That morning: I wake up nervous. I put on a casual outfit and some fierce, orange lipstick to give me confidence.
I practice breathing on the train to work and text a bunch of my friends the flamenco dancer emoji.
Late morning at work: I'm distracted and slow at my job. I keep refreshing my Facebook post to read more and more horror stories. I start texting my friends jokes about how awesome it is to be a female to take my mind off of it. I seriously consider broadcasting the whole thing on Facebook Live.
That afternoon: I'm BEHIND at work, and I have an hour left to get everything done before I have a foreign object shoved into my uterus. I'm sweaty and constantly glancing at the clock to figure out when is the best time to take a pre-insertion Advil.
3 pm: I leave work to get on the train and text my boyfriend to make sure he is en-route. I'm nervous because I worked through lunch and haven't eaten anything.
3:15 pm: On the train, I wonder if I would ever share a nightmare story about a procedure I had on someone else's Facebook wall BEFORE they get that very same procedure.
I decide I'm mad at everyone.
3:20 pm: I become furious at The Man for putting women in this position and for making me resentful of being a woman because being a woman is so hard.
3:30 pm: I get a panicked text from my boyfriend that I gave him the wrong address and he is still half an hour away. I apologize to him over and over again for taking him away from work, and I realize I will be flying solo for my appointment.
3:40 pm: I buy a $4 blueberry muffin and a water bottle at a bodega and eat the whole thing in four bites.
3:45 pm: I check in. My hands are sweaty. I feel faint already.
The appointment: There are two nurses. One is very friendly, and one will not talk to me.
They tell me to pee in a cup. I do. They tell me to stand on a scale. I do. They tell me to undress from the waist down and they will be right back in. I do.
I decide AFTER I've taken my pants and underwear off that I'd like to keep my shoes on for discretion's sake. Have to keep some mystery, right?
Then, the doctor comes in. I like her a lot because she looks like Michelle Obama, and I FOR SURE trust Michelle Obama with my lady parts. I tell her I faint very easily, and she nods.
"Sip your water," she tells me. "And take off your shoes."
I decide AFTER I've taken my pants and underwear off that I'd like to keep my shoes on for discretion's sake.
She asks if I have any questions, and boy do I: How much is it going to hurt? How long is it going to hurt? How often is it misplaced and people have to come back?
Her answers were that it varies, it varies and sometimes. Obviously, I'm not super satisfied.
The insertion: What happens next I can only explain as an absolute assault to my senses.
First, she gives my cervix a shot of numbing something or other. She says, "Just a little prick," and I see stars.
Next came about two minutes (or two hours — hard to tell) of intense, deep, dull pain that felt like someone was shoving a truck through a key hole.
I think, "It's happening. It's happening. It's in. This hurts. Ow, ow, ow. But it's in." THEN, the doctor says to me, "OK, now, I'm going to put in the IUD."
What happens next I can only explain as an absolute assault to my senses.
I'm incredulous. WHAT THE HELL WAS ALL OF THAT ABOUT THEN?
Suddenly, my phone starts ringing next to me on the bed. It's my boyfriend, but I can't talk right now.
When the IUD goes in, I become totally disoriented. It DOES HURT, like, a lot. A LOT a lot. It's a totally foreign sensation and not like anything I've ever felt before. The room starts spinning, and I think I see God's face for a second.
I literally shout out, "WWOOOoooOOOeeeee!!!" and the nurse SMILES at me.
The aftermath: My doctor removes what I assume are massive salad tongs from my vagina and tells me she's done.
I feel like I'm going to pass out. I AM going to pass out. I start passing out.
I lie down on my back, and the nurse throws cold, wet pieces of paper towel on my forehead, as my knees shake uncontrollably. I never go unconscious completely, but DAMN, did I want to.
Then, for some reason, I weirdly cry for, like, 30 seconds.
After a few minutes, I try to sit up, and my vision goes black, so the nurse puts me back down. We do this two more times before I can finally get to my feet.
I say, "Women's health is nuts." She says, "You have no idea."
I feel like I'm going to pass out. I AM going to pass out. I start passing out.
She leaves me alone with a massive, diaper-sized pad to get dressed in. I put my pants on slowly and read a text from my boyfriend. He just parked.
That evening: I limp to the car, which is weird because my legs are fine. My boyfriend and I drive with the windows down, so I can get air. My knees are still shaking.
I spend the evening on the couch, eating ice cream and holding my stomach. Even though I KNOW I can't move it, I'm worried if I pee or sneeze too hard, I'm going to accidentally start shoving the IUD out.
I try to keep my legs shut for no logical reason.
That night: I take a shit ton of Advil and an Ambien to fall asleep. I dream about lightning bolts all night.
The day after
The early morning: I wake up feeling EXHAUSTED and weaker than I hoped I'd feel. I'm embarrassed and wonder if I'm handling this all poorly or just about as well as anyone would after having a manmade object lodged into their uterus.
My boyfriend tells me he's proud of me for going to work, and I'm pretty proud of myself.
Late morning: I ask my editor if I can write about my IUD insertion and immediately regret that decision, as I start drafting down all the miserable details.
I spend the morning online chatting with my female friends who have an IUD, and I ask them a million more questions. The general consensus is that insertion is a bitch, but the pain is well worth the pay off in the end.
Currently: I feel brave, strong, weak, stupid, sad, in pain, hopeful, optimistic, female, woman and alive.
I can't stress enough how this is just one story for one person in the history of women everywhere, and whatever you decide to do with your body, I'm proud of you, too.
You is smart. You is kind. You is able to survive getting an IUD.