What to Expect when You’re Expecting…an IUD

What to Expect When You're Expecting An IUD

(before reading this post, click here to find out why I chose to get an IUD)

As of last June, I am officially a member of the IUD secret society. While I have personally told everyone from my best friend to my hair stylist about this marvelous device, many women simply don’t talk about it. And I think that’s a real shame. Here’s the whole truth about getting my IUD and what to expect when you’re expecting an IUD:

Before the Appointment

My gynecologist didn’t give me any pre-procedure instructions but I wasn’t satisfied with doing nothing to prepare.

I scoured the Internet for pain management tips and learned that taking 800 mg of ibuprofen a half hour before your appointment can reduce discomfort upon insertion of the IUD and quell cramps afterward. I figured it couldn’t hurt and I followed this advice.

I also decided to break my No Sweatpants in Public rule for this occasion…

At the Office

When I arrived at the office, I signed in as is the custom and within a few minutes a nurse called me to the front desk. She handed me a plastic cup for a urine sample. I wasn’t expecting this but I did remember my gynecologist mentioning something about needing to rule out pregnancy and infection so it made sense.

After my pee test, I awkwardly walked back to the waiting room, not making much eye contact since everyone knows I just peed in a cup, and inevitably on my hands. I washed them, don’t judge me.

I started to get nervous awaiting my call back to the exam room. I was sitting next to some sweet elderly ladies each accompanied by their grown daughters. What would they think of all this IUD business?

During the Exam

Once taken back to the exam room, I was instructed to remove my clothes from my waist down. I was happy to keep my “Let the Good Times Roll” sleeveless t-shirt on because it made me chuckle with irony.

My enthusiasm waned after spotting the largest medical tools- OMG what are those for?– ever known to mankind. I wondered if I could just call the nurse back in and tell her I changed my mind.

And then my doctor walked into the room. We exchanged polite pleasantries and the good times began to roll…

It started out much like a routine gynecological exam. My doctor used a speculum to open my cervix. Even writing that makes my uterus twinge a little. This was only mildly uncomfortable as all you ladies know.

Once the speculum was in place, my doctor somehow checked (pulled a lever maybe) if she would be able to insert the Mirena without having to use “the torture device,” as she so fittingly named it. She apologized as she would need to use it and in a moment, I experienced otherworldly pain. I don’t say this to scare you, rather to prepare you.

With gritted teeth and clenched fists, I made it through what my doctor later told me was a contraction. I was expecting some cramping but this was quite a different experience. The pain somehow hit me in the pit of my stomach and nearly took my breath away. I’ve always had respect for mothers but having this tiny experience with labor pains has made me even more in awe. I will say it further strengthened my resolve to not have children though. I was so thankful that as soon as the IUD was in place, the pain subsided.

I was able to sit up immediately after the doctor removed all of the metal devices holding my lady bits open and, other than being a little shaky, I felt fine. I put on my sweatpants and walked to the front desk to make my appointment to return in 4-6 weeks. This appointment is also referred to as a string check. Intrauterine devices have two thin strings attached to them that essentially act as a fail-safe. If the strings cannot be felt when checked or if they have shifted, it is a sign that the IUD is no longer in the correct position.

I drove myself home feeling relieved that it was over and also strangely proud of myself for getting it done. Yay me!

After the Procedure

I rested for the majority of the day on the couch with my favorite heating pad. I also rewarded myself with an entire pint of gelato. I still feel that was well deserved.

Although I can’t know for sure, I do believe the ibuprofen definitely helped with cramps. I had some light spotting in the hours after the procedure but didn’t experience cramps until late that night. Even then, they were tolerable. I did feel some pressure along my left side and got the heebie-jeebies every time I thought about a foreign object being suspended in my uterus. It is kind of creepy after all, isn’t it?

I returned to work the next day and continued to have some mild to moderate cramping and light spotting. This happened intermittently for two weeks but both the cramping and the bleeding subsided more and more each day. For some unexplained reason, I would only have cramps midday. I’m not sure if there is any correlation but I do tend be less active in the early afternoon.

Now that nearly eight months have passed, I’m ecstatic to say I am among the 20% of women whose periods subsided completely within one year of using Mirena. I never feel the IUD’s presence and most days forget I even have one.

One minute of pain is well worth five years of birth control, in my opinion. Living without heavy bleeding and menstrual cramps for five years are also wonderful perks. I have already decided to have this IUD replaced when the time comes.

Do you think I described this procedure accurately? Let me know your IUD stories below.

This article was mentioned on Married Without Children. Click here to listen.

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Comments

    • Chrissy
    • March 27, 2017
    Reply

    I had researched Mirena for about 5 years. I’ve been on a combo pill for over 20 years. I’m 44 and last year and this year I had an episode each year of heavy bleeding(soaking a pad every hour)So I was given extra birth control pills to stop the bleeding. When it stopped I went in to get a biopsy of the uturus and had Mirena put in(same tool for the biopsy is used to measure for strings so why not!)It was either this or partial hysterectomy.I figured the crazy bleeding was from non stop no break bc pills(okd by doctor all this time)and or Premenopause. I didn’t take any Ibuprofin(I didn’t want to start bleeding again maybe from it) so even with the biopsy then the insertion of Mirena it only cramped for about 5 minutes. I’ve had very small spotting since I got it 4 days ago. I feel once and a while small period type cramping,but so far so good!

    1. Chrissy,

      Welcome to the IUD secret society 🙂 I’m still loving my Mirena. If I’m remembering correctly, I’ve had it for ten months or so now. I’m also still period-free! I used to get horrible cramps so it’s a big relief not to have to worry about that anymore. I hope you have a great experience, especially after having such a rough go there for a while!

  1. Pingback: Choosing the Childfree Life After Infertility | Emily's Story

    • Tiffany David
    • October 7, 2017
    Reply

    I recently received my Mirena and can relate to your story. As your laying there with your kitty opened up he says he has to measure your uterus and you feel like he just stabbed you in the soft spot of your bellybutton, you feel like you instantly have to poop. Then he says he’s inserting the Mirena and your going to feel a pinch, which turns out to be a stab that I felt in my right side, that brought on instant cramps, cramps that were so severe I felt nauseous. I could just lay there with my eyes closed and breath slowly, until he was done so I could regain some type of control of my legs and find a way to alleviate the pain. I had already taken an 800 mg of ibuprofen but that didn’t do didly squat. As I left the office the cramps got worse I couldn’t walk properly. I took a 600 mg of ibuprofen every 2 hours as I felt the intense pain coming back, and I layed with a heating pad, took two shots of tequila and went to bed. The next day the pain was about 30% less but any pressure on my stomach like blankets, a full bladder, or having to do number 2, I had to get rid of as it would increase my pain tremendously. Looking forward to having no pain and not having to worry about little burdens. 😉

    1. Hey Tiffany! And ooooh my goodness, “you feel like he just stabbed you in the soft spot of your bellybutton” — that may be the most accurate description of having an IUD inserted! That part was not fun at all. I can’t say I’m necessarily looking forward to when my five years are up with this IUD but life without periods and no fear of pregnancy is totally worth it, in my opinion. Thanks for your comment!

    • Ana
    • October 23, 2017
    Reply

    Hello. I am so glad I found this blog. I have my mirena done on Friday. Oh yess. Tiffany stabing in my belly bottom and feeling you have to do number 2. Is so real. I was feeling fine on Saturday but today Monday oh God i am seating here with my heating pad and the pain is bad. I took ibuprofen 800mg and nothing. I can’t wait until this pain goes away

    1. Ana, thank you! I hope you’re feeling better. Despite the pain, I still feel it’s worth it!

    • Marcie
    • November 14, 2017
    Reply

    Greetings! I am, like so many before have said, so glad I found your blog!! I am on my second Mirena for the past 2 years. The first one I had was very similar to your experience except the doctor was not as smooth and he had to cause numerous contractions/dilation before getting it in. Unfortunately, I was not as diligent about the ibuprofen before the appointment. The second go around I did take some ibuprofen. However, I had a new OBGYN and the whole thing went SO much better. He pulled out the old one and inserted the new one, no dilating, no contractions! I am also one of the lucky 20% and have not had a period in 7 years now. I have never regretted getting Mirena and honestly cannot speak highly enough of it. In fact, I will probably keep one in through old age since insurance pays for it and it’s less invasive then a tubal ligation.

    1. Hi Marcie! I’m glad you found my blog too 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you still love the Mirena after some years. I plan to have mine replaced when the time comes. I am a little nervous for the second Mirena because now I know what to expect, eek! You’re right, it is definetely less invasive and often less expensive than a tubal ligation. Also, with a TL, it’s my understanding that your periods will continue — boo! I’m loving the menstrual-free childfree life 🙂 Thanks again for commenting.

    • Emily
    • December 7, 2017
    Reply

    Hello,

    Happy I stumbled across your blog. I’m set to get a Mirena IUD this month. I’ve been on combined hormonal birth control pills for 20 years (I have PCOS, and very heavy periods). But at 35, with some issues (migraines/ hypertension) that no longer make the BC Pill safe, it was suggested I get the Mirena. Did you have any issues with hair loss or acne? I’m looking forward to the possibility of light bleeding, and even no periods, but slightly worried about other side effects.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily! I’m happy you stumbled across my blog as well 🙂 From what I understand, the Mirena can be excellent for women with PCOS. I had very similar issues with migraines and hypertension on oral birth control so, per doctor recommendation, went off the pill. In a way, I’m kind of happy I was taken off the pill because otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have tried the Mirena and it is honestly so much better. I haven’t experienced any hair loss. Regarding acne— I have adult onset cystic acne which would get really bad around my period and got much worse after going off the pill. I’m on medication now that controls it but the Mirena also helps because I no longer get periods that would trigger the breakouts. So for me, it’s actually helped my skin. I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please feel free to reply 🙂

      • Marcie
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Emily,

      Like Brittany I am also on medication (Spironolactone 50mg) to control acne but I didn’t start it until a year after my first Mirena. I had no problems with acne on the pill but did start once I was on Mirena. I’ve been on the Spironolactone for seven years now (I believe) and it works great. I still have migraines but they are few and far between. Hope another person’s experience helps! Best of luck!!

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