This is a weird one, as it is a personal choice to inflict this pain on myself. I have been struggling for a while now to find a method of contraception that works for me.
The combined pill worked well, I don’t really have much of a problem remembering to take a pill everyday, but I have been recommended against it due to a couple of dodgy blood pressure readings.
I moved on to the Progesterone only pill which caused a lot of problems; I was left with a fairly constant light period for months on end (which to be fair worked quite well as a contraceptive in itself).
Then the depo injection, which worked brilliantly but is not supposed to be used as a long-term method.
Finally, I tried the implant which worked!… until it didn’t. After just over a year I was back on a constant period which led to part.1 and part.2 you may also have read about.
This left my GP recommending me the coil and after all my problems with hormonal contraceptives I decided a nice mechanical method that works for 10+ years sounded brilliant!
The coil (aka. IUD or mirena the hormonal version) is a small T shaped device that sits in your uterus and stops conception. Just to clarify for those who, like my father think ‘it won’t hurt to have it put in, there are no nerve endings in your cervix’, I would like you to first have a cervix and then have someone stick a tube through it and then, and ONLY then, can you decide whether it will hurt.
Having the coil fitted was probably the least traumatic though! But then saying this, I am also fairly experienced in having my legs up in stirrups by this point. The process of getting the coil was fairly straight forward, I called my GP’s office and asked ‘can I book a coil fitting?’ The receptionist told me I needed a consultation with the Doctor who would insert it first.
This seemed reasonable and was a fairly useful appointment. I asked all my questions about the different coils and my medication, I was told to take paracetamol before my appointment and that although it may hurt a bit most women ‘could tolerate it’.
Bearing in mind the things women ‘tolerate’ I wasn’t much comforted by this. However, I left well informed and booked to get it inserted.
Now we fast forward to insertion day and I am sat nervously in the waiting room trying not to think about how many people have told me it hurts. Is this a good idea? Is it really necessary? Maybe I could just cancel the appointment and go home and just live with the constant slight period that my implant has caused!
Alas! My name has been called – there is no going back now!
‘So Mirena or Copper?’ – The two different types of coil, one uses a small dose of progesterone hormone, one seemingly uses black magic to do with copper. I opt for the copper version purely because of my previous experiences with hormonal contraception, I am not going through getting a coil fitted just to find out that it causes the same response as the implant!
Here we go again! Pants off and legs up in stirrups. Surprisingly, in this appointment it’s only me, the doctor and one nurse (who while I’m sure doing a whole host of very important things, seems to be there purely to comfort and distract me).
The one thing that really got me this time was that I didn’t take my socks off. It didn’t occur to me due to the cold floor but the moment I put my legs up in the air and said I was ready I was completely overcome with the thought that I should have taken off my socks. How bizarre to be fully nude from the waist down and yet still sporting my glittery space themed socks. Feet warm and yet breezy in the downstairs. Do you think people usually take their socks off? I wonder if when I’m nervous my feet sweat like my hands do, because if so it’s gonna be real grim putting my shoes back on! Do you think I have time to stop them and take my socks off before they start? Or will drawing attention to the socks make the fact that I left them on look even more weird? Its official, I had missed the sock gap…
Luckily the nurse and I start chatting straight off and my brain stops focusing on my socks. I love the nurses and doctors who are good at small talk!
‘What did you get up to this weekend?’
‘What would you be doing today if not this?’
‘What have you got on for the rest of the week?’
If there is one thing that helps keep my brain off pain it’s rambling incessantly about stuff that doesn’t really matter!
Me and the nurse talked Netflix and Yoga while the doctor popped in a speculum and had a look around. She also had a bit of a feel around at one point which was a more awkward look away and pretend it’s not happening moment. Once she was back in with the speculum stuff started to get pretty uncomfortable and crampy, but I kept nattering away about my weeks plans. When she stopped I sighed a breath of relief.
‘Not too bad… is that it then?’
No no, that was just my cervix being measured. The insertion was where the real fun was at! I was mid talking about the work I had to do that week and then came along a new kind of pain, an ‘ooo that would be in my cervix then!’ kind of pain.
Then in almost no time she was done, the lovely nurse helped me shuffle up the bed a little so I could have a little lie down and a breather. When I was ready I tried out a sitting up position, then when that was alright I donned my clothes again (noticing that I was right, I should have taken my socks off after all because my feet had nervously sweated).
I was again given a bunch of leaflets (I have a nice hefty disorganised pile and folder full of these darn leaflets) about the coil and a questionnaire to fill in after a couple of weeks.
I left breathing heavily, there was a lot of pain, when I made it home I set up shop with mildly entertaining TV and a heated pad and sat and groaned ‘till well into the evening. In reality, it was probably not far off the crampy-ist part of my period.
After that day things got good, pretty quick. I had minimal to no pain the next day. I did bleed for 3 weeks, although, I think I deserve it after shoving something into my uterus. Fingers crossed a long-lasting method of contraception that is going to work for me. Nothing works for everyone, that I can certainly attest to! The coil certainly won’t! But for those who are interested, it isn’t as bad as you think it will be and the pain is temporary!