IUDs & Pain

My first IUD insertion went a little something like this:

Fucking painful.

I’ve always said it was the worst pain in my life, a 10 out of 10 on my pain scale. When the NP dilated my cervix, my legs were shaking crazy bad, I had trouble breathing, my whole lower abdomen cramped up as if to say I don’t fucking think so! It took her three times before she made the insertion.

So you might understand why I have been just a tad apprehensive about getting my new one reinserted.

Two weeks ago J went with me to my primary care office to have the removal and reinsertion done. I was completely amped up, and not in a good way, although having J there to rub my shoulders and help me breathe felt like an amazing gift. Ultimately, my GP was unable to finish because she said my strings had been cut too short. She recommended I go to a provider who could remove it with the help of an ultrasound. I cried afterwards because of how anti-climactic the whole thing was and how stressed I had let myself become.

Fast forward to this past week. I made an appointment at the Women’s Health Center at OHSU, and was relieved to see that my doctor has done research on pain during IUD insertions. I tried not to think about my appointment until the night before. I tried on a new mantra of It’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it (supposedly, that helps). I got up, and took the 4 recommended ibuprofen. I got there, and got to talk to the nurse, the doctor, and the resident a lot about how nervous I was.

Because of my first experience and my nervousness they said I was a good candidate for a cervix numbing blocker. Which was an injection, and felt like a dull ache that referred straight up my abdomen for about 3 seconds. Pulling the old IUD out was uncomfortable. Using the uterine sound to measure my uterus was a dull ache that referred straight up my spine and lasted for about 5 seconds. Inserting the new IUD hurt for about 3 seconds. I was even able to close my eyes, envision Little Beach, and breathe through the whole thing- I think that probably helped too. (PS- no ultrasound needed. They used a special tool that allowed them to yank on the extra short strings)

I almost cried afterwards from pure relief and happiness. I felt like a rock star all day. I’m so proud of my cervix!

Despite my low pain tolerance and hard first experience, I’ve always pushed IUDs on anyone who has asked my opinion about birth control options. They are one of the most effective forms after tubal ligation, and are the most cost effective. Get one, yo!

The less-than-great part of my appointment: the resident was reviewing my medical history with me, and when we got to the part where we discuss my sexual partners, the doctor pretty instantly was concerned that I have more than one male partner. “Well, we definitely need to test you for chlamydia and gonorrhea.” I have had one other male partner besides J since I was last tested for STIs, and I am pretty sure I would know if I had had one since then. Even after saying I was completely comfortable without a test, she pressed the issue. It could have been more for liability, but I don’t know. This obnoxious part of my appointment was well worth the fabulous experience I had otherwise.

Breast Bikini Ever

I’m sure many people have seen this, but I needed to share it myself. It’s so awesome: The TaTa Top

Also, it was a crappy week for women’s reproductive rights.

The abortion ruling from SCOTUS


The Hobby Lobby ruling from SCOTUS

I enjoyed this post from the Gottman blog on emotional attraction

Any news-y news you want to share?

Vasectomy: Done

We drove across the river today, much earlier than either of us is normally up and functioning. I dropped him off in front of a tall building while I parked the car.

I raced to get to the tenth floor so I could make sure to be with him during the procedure.

The most painful part was the injection of local anesthetic. He also had low pressure beforehand, and so he got pretty faint feeling during the procedure. I kept my hand on his head or shoulder, and from where I was sitting could see the cheery, older doctor work. The doctor made small talk, talking to J about law school, talking to me about public health and social work.

And then it was over. (Like yesterday: Eight, ten minutes, tops? Married? Vas deferens cut and skin sewn back up? Big things can happen so fast).

And now J is at home with a bag of frozen blueberries on his groin. Soreness has set in, but it shouldn’t be that bad for too long.

We’ll continue to define “family” in new ways in the years to come, and this was just one more definitive step toward our dynamic view of family.

It will also ensure J is able to more fully relax with other partners (all of the women at my house last week agreed that it sounds terrifying to be a man with only two options of birth control- have y’all seen this, though? Pretty cool!). Having control over one’s body and one’s ability to reproduce seems so important in fully engaging with one’s sexuality.

I’m proud of you honey!

Vasectomy, Kids, & LGBTQ Research

The time will come soon enough when J and I will be having a vasectomy shower. Ha, not really. We (apparently; I don’t remember being the origin of this joke but J insists I/we made it up) go around talking about our “little baby vasectomy.” So it’s happening soon.

I feel really good about the fact that I have a partner who feels the need to do this. I am of the belief that I don’t control him or his body. For me, it seems somewhat similar to being in control of my decision to get an abortion. What if I was with someone who really wanted kids, and even if we both decided that “now wasn’t a good time to get pregnant,” wanted me to follow through with an unplanned/unintended pregnancy? I would want the choice and control to get an abortion if I didn’t feel ready to have a child. I don’t want kids right now, but let’s say I did. Even if I wanted kids, I don’t think that I, as J’s primary partner, really have the right to instill control over his body. I think we, as primary partners, could join together in a conversation about what we each want long-term and what we want to be priorities in our lives, and then go from there. I don’t think that I get some sort of ultimate say over how he controls his fertility.

I also feel really good about the fact that if I change my mind about wanting kids or raising kids, I would want to adopt. Ethically, it feels like the best thing to me, given all of the kids who are in foster care and are put up for adoption. J feels similarly.

Also, ideally, if I were to raise children, I would want more than one other co-parent. Yes, I think this could complicate relationships and life logistics. But I watch friends and family members and neighbors who are one- or two-parent households and it just looks so difficult. I would want more help. I would want more community. Three adults raising a kid? Four adults raising a couple of kids? Sounds way more ideal, sane, and humane to me (for everyone involved). In fact, reading a bunch of research this week on LGBTQ individuals and couples and their decisions to parent or not and how was really enlightening for me. Many LGBTQ couples end up raising children from previous straight relationships, parent children in their extended family (chosen and of origin), and use methods like surrogacy to create unique family structures. In addition, many LGBTQ individuals around the world have unique family relationships and structures that allow for more fluid and communal parent-child relationships.

I wish that more than condoms and vasectomies existed for male-bodied individuals wanting to be mindful of their fertility. Female-bodied folks have lots of options, and males deserve the same family planning mechanisms. Until then, J and I will be celebrating our little baby vasectomy.

PS: J’s urologist informed him, too, that vasectomy reversal is actually quite successful (“they” just don’t want that published too much). So in the rare event we drastically change our minds in the future, we can probably make some baby Ks and Js. ;)