Friday, August 13, 2010

Poster Child.

Yeah it's been quite a year. In terms of my body. I know what I am about to divulge might be a delicate subject to most of my readers. However, with what I have read on other blogs, message boards and in general conversation regarding this subject; it seems to be a growing trend. 

It was last year, oh sometime in October I think, that I walked into my OB/GYN's office and had the copper Mirena IUD inserted. 

Now I was no dummy. I did the research. I read the typical pamphlets, listened to my obstetrician, and perused the internet for others experiences. I read the many terrifying accounts of women who, Oh My God, recounted the experience as MORE PAINFUL THAN LABOR. Yet, I filled out that form and paid my $500 trying to only think about the period free days, months and years I was promised. 

Sitting there in the all too familiar waiting room, I nervously awaited my name to be called. Trying hard not to think about all the horrible things that might happen, and the pain. Oh the pain. 

"Rachel Briggs?"

That's me. Oh wait, I could just pretend I didn't hear that and let them think I wasn't me. Except all the nurses know who I am. It is a rather small practice. So in I went. Remembering to take deep breaths. It felt like an eternity waiting for the doctor to arrive, sitting there in that gown, all exposed and vulnerable. 

I was meeting her for the first time as my regular OB/GYN does not do the insertion of IUDs. But she was easy to talk to, nice, friendly demeanor. And talk I did. I was so nervous, I didn't shut up. Talking about life, my kids, on and on until she said, "ok, that's it. We're done."  Huh, what? I was so confused because I didn't feel a damn thing. There was no way it could be over. Where was the worse than anything I've ever felt, grab the table screaming like a banshee and then throw up, pain? Shocked, I admitted my childish fears about what I'd heard. She was sympathetic, letting me know that yes, some women experience pain but me; I am "the poster child for Mirena."

I walked out of there relieved for having felt no pain, cramping or other symptoms described in the many message boards and blogs I read. Sweet! This Mirena thing is the best decision I ever made. What was I so worried about? Life is gonna be awesome from now on. Then I got my first period after having the IUD inserted, and my love affair with Mirena ended. 

All I can say is at least something ended because my period; not so much. Constant spotting in between the heavy cycles I normally experience. After a few months I was convinced it would never stop and I'd bleed for the rest of my life. I kept joking with friends, no wonder you don't get pregnant on Mirena. You can't have sex in order to become pregnant because you're bleeding ALL THE TIME! That's how it works. Approximately five months I endured this inconvenience, always praying that maybe this time it would end. And one day it did. 

I don't remember the exact date, I just remember noticing that I hadn't had my period or spotting in a really long time. Hallelujah! I've enjoyed this new state of period free life for four glorious months and felt less regretful about my decision. No more worrying about what color pants to wear, no more changing plans because so sorry kids there is no way in hell mommy is getting in that water when she is hemorrhaging between her legs. No more pads and tampons to inconspicuously hide in my diaper bag, or back pocket for those frequent trips to the bathroom. No sir, I am living the high life and not looking back. Quite honestly menstruation is by far my least favorite thing about being a woman. Even though it gave me my two wonderfully, beautiful children. I'd really rather just have it gone all together. 

So imagine my complete and utter disappointment when yesterday, I got my period. 
What the....!? Yeah, just about every expletive word I could think of came flying out of my mouth. I've been racking my brain, trying to come up with reason why this happened; I started exercising. I mean really exercising, intentionally, on the elliptical for 45 minutes a day. I started taking naproxen twice a day, per my primary care physicians orders, for the pain in my shoulder that has lasted more than two weeks. The planets Venus and Jupiter are aligned and my cosmic karma is biting me in the ass, hard. No, seriously though, I can't seem to come up with something that totally makes sense as to why after FOUR MONTHS of nothing, my period would suddenly show up. NO WARNING!!

Frantic and frustrated, I broke down and called my OB/GYN's office praying they'd have the answers. But all they could give me was the advice to wait a month and see what happens because they couldn't do anything for me right now. And my exercise didn't seem to be excessive enough to cause major change in my menstrual cycle. I even went back through the literature and NO WHERE DOES IT SAY, OR EVEN SLIGHTLY MENTION, YOUR PERIOD MIGHT RETURN AFTER YOU HAVE ENJOYED IT'S BLISSFUL ABSENCE. Not a single sentence, or reference in any of the pages or their website. So I turned to the only thing I had left, google. And guess what I found? Other people having the same questions and similar experiences. Though a lot seemed to have worse experiences.  I suppose I should be grateful that I still have all my hair, I'm not experiencing pain or cramping, and don't have mood swings from hell (at least not caused by my IUD). Maybe I've been experiencing a lack in sex drive that others have claimed is a cause of Mirena. Or it could be the two kids I spend ALL DAY raising, but who is really placing blame here anyway.

I don't want to freak anyone out. Honestly I'm not at the point of regretting my decision. I mean, I am probably the worst at remembering to take a pill every night, much less at the same time each night. Add mommy brain to that and I'm hopeless. I might as well just pop out the third kid right now. Plus I have really enjoyed the four months of not worry about bleeding. The best part is I've had no migraines. Is the timing of this unexpected return less than stellar? Yes. Will it be a huge inconvenience if it doesn't go away by the time our beach trip arrives? Yes. But as my husband likes to tell me, there isn't anything I can do about it so why dwell and stress. It is what it is and we'll deal with it the best we can. Besides there is hope. Most people who experienced this said that their period returned only for a short time, didn't last long and then was gone again for months on end. The constant spotting on the first 3-6 months seems to be usual and due to the lining of the uterus thinning out, which results in the blissdom of little to no periods some of us experience. So yeah, it's par for the course. Am I worried something more serious might be causing this sudden onset of bleeding? Sure. Could it be the sudden taking of medication? And might it stop once I stop taking said medicine? Probably. But I'm not a doctor, I can only speculate and why spend the next month freaking out over something I have no control over at the moment? (Cause that's what I do. I am a woman.) I am trying not to and instead focuses on the fact that others have been there done that in this situation and got through it. And somehow for now, that seems enough.

Mostly I just wanted to say, yeah I'm left with questions and not exactly in the most ideal situation that I dreamed of when I first signed up for this IUD, but my experience seems to be fairly normal, if not better than most. I'm not ready to yank mine out. Not yet. I'll give it the month suggested by my OB/GYN. Would I recommend it? Sure. If you are like me and can't remember to take a pill every day. If you don't like using condoms and are not yet ready to make anything permanent and are willing to deal with a few months and possibly days intermittent of inconvenience for the overall joy of not worrying if you washed your black underwear and pants cause today is out for the white you normally wear. Or stopping mid romance to search for that one condom you swear you still have, where is it damn it? If that is you, yeah I'd get it. 

If you have been experience the same situation and are left wondering just like me, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I hope this gives you some peace of mind, some comfort and eases your fears. If you've been there, done that, maybe this will inspire you to tell your experience to help someone with theirs. And if you're still reading my blog after this, thanks.
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