Friday, 5 October 2007

Contraception Choices

So, the Contraception Poll came in at:


Pill 9

Sterilisation 11

Condom 2

Decisions had to be made and mainly they were based on speed and convenience.

The doctor suggested that sterilisation at my age, with my available fertile time being only 5-6 more years, would be akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. There are also issues with regard to its effectiveness as my previous two caesareans will have left me with a certain amount of scar tissue which could make the keyhole procedure more difficult and so less likely to have the optimum outcome. Apparently there is still a 1 in 200 chance of getting pregnant even if you have had your tubes tied. As a result, she felt it better for me to consider non-surgical options such as an IUD, where the failure rate is about 2 in 100.

Both options have the increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy so if there is a missed period I have to do a test straightaway. No waiting because it might just be my age.

I was concerned because I had read that IUDs could mean heavier, more painful periods but I definitely didn't want to have the Mirena type of IUD which has hormones in it to counteract that. This woman isn't having anything extracted from horse wee pumping around in her body - that is where synthesised progesterone comes from. And if I wanted to do the hormone route, I might as well use the Pill.

So, we were left with the Nova T - a copper based device that could be inserted at the surgery as soon as my next period starts. If this proves not to be comfortable for me, she can remove it the same day in the surgery (which is just up the road) in which case we can then go down the route to sterilisation which will take about three months to organise on the NHS.

So I've had my swabs done to check for any infection and chlamydia. This is particularly important in my case because of having the termination recently. They need to check to make sure that everything in my vagina is healthy as pushing the device through my cervix will take anything untoward into my uterus with it and could cause problems in the future. The results came back normal today so I just have to wait for my body to decide to have a period.

On the first day, I can call the surgery to make an appointment outside normal surgery hours for the 5th-7th day of my period when the cervix will still be open and have the device inserted. I have to take Nurofen an hour or so beforehand to help with the pain/discomfort as they do not use anaesthetic because you need to be able to feel if it has been comfortably positioned. There are some strings that hang outside the cervix which are cut to size. These are to aid future removal and also to alert you that the IUD is still in situ and you have to check that you can feel the strings every month. The IUD will be checked after a couple of months and then annually for the five or six years that my fertility is still viable. You are officially deemed no longer fertile when you haven't had a period for two years if you are under 50 and for one year if you are older.

I do still have some questions because of my very active lifestyle - I get punched and kicked in the belly on a regular basis and obviously I am a little concerned. Some of the more experienced sex bloggers who already have IUDs fitted have been kind enough to reassure me that my rather errr... vigorous sexual practices shouldn't cause any problems so I can't see that punching and kicking is going to be that much different.

Unless anyone else has anything they would like to share... either by commenting or by email.

Nearly five weeks on, my body is still getting back to normal from the termination in the same way that a woman's body normally recovers from a successful pregnancy by shedding the lining of the uterus. This sort of faint bleeding, especially after any exertion, can go on for as long as six weeks. But I'm very irritable and emotional today, which would suggest that my hormone levels could be getting ready for my first period.

It would be nice to have something in place for next weekend... and also rather scary. Again, if anyone has anything they want to share about their first time with an IUD, I would be most grateful.

Following the comment by Lady in Red about safe sex, I just wanted to stress the following:

Condoms are the only way to stop the passage of sexually transmitted diseases, especially the HIV virus. The only reason I am not looking to use these is that I am in a committed monogamous relationship with a man who waited three months (it takes this long for the antibodies to appear in your blood) after his last sexual encounter and had all the tests to prove to me that he was clean before we ever slept together nearly two years ago.


JsTzznU said...

Being male, my only comment is when the "X" had one many, many years ago any time she had any type of problem the Dr. blamed the IUD etc.. a real pain in the ass.. She had it for 4 years. When she had it removed she got pregnant within 3 weeks! (planned). Oh.. once and awhile I could feel the string on the tip of eeerrr me if you get my drift =)

RAFFI said...

exactly!! i had an ex with an IUD and i could feel its strings and base in the cervix. sorta nasty (and i'm the type of guy that doesn't care about trivial stuff). today, i just use a jimmy.

Wild Cat said...

I have the Mirena IUD - which suits me because it stops the forming of any lining too, so no 'physical' periods for me. Other than an initial weeks 'period' boobs I have had no side effects what so ever.

My gynae cut the strings short enough so that my 'partner' can't feel them with his penis, only with his fingers if he really searches (to check it's still there etc.)

It was the best thing I've ever done, concraception wise.

You know I have been where you are, in all aspects, I am thinking of you x x

Casdok said...

Ive been done, so i cant help you out. Sorry, all sounds a bit of a mine field.
Good luck!!

Casdok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcelle Manhattan said...

Wish i had something to offer, but I've never used an IUD, only the pill and a diaphragm. All I can say is what I've said before: as an epileptic, birth control is a real bitch. So I understand that aspect of what you're going through, where nothing seems quite right. However, in reading your blog, you seem to consistently be making the right decisions, even though they are tough ones. So I think you will be feeling more comfortable before you know it. Hopefully very soon!

Gledwood said...

Did you hear about this thing they apparently have managed to fit doggies with?
It is an internal vasectomy switch.
In other words if the man wants to be infertile he switches it to off (or will do, when it finally comes out). Then if they WANT a baby they just turn the switch on again. It's going to be the "next big thing" aparently...

ps - wow! you're a brit ;->...

RONJAZZ said...

Am I the only one out here who's had a vasectomy? It's not just HER problem, guys. It was practically painless for me. I had it nearly 11 years ago -- smartest thing I ever did for myself. The only difficulties were the ride home (stitches) and the damned waiting period (4-6 weeks). Once the first day was done, I felt no major pain whatever. I've been clean...I've been tested half a dozen times. And the women in my life are very grateful, because of a man who took responsibility. I am proud of that and recommend it to ALL men who may be done with children. I even wrote a very funny post about it in the last couple of months.

Gypsy said...

First up, kudos to all you guys who are weighing in on the discussion.

I will be no help whatsoever because I am very squeamish about having artificial devices sitting permanently in my body. I voted for sterilisation but if that's not going to be a viable option then personally I would go for the pill or that injection you can get that gives you 12 months contraception. I haven't had to worry about this for years as hubby had the snip but I wish you luck.

George said...

I think it's a simple solution ... you do not want any more children. Ruf does not want any with you because you don't want any.

Vasectomy ... 20 or so minutes in the doctor's office and you will never have to worry again.

They are supposed to be permanent but they can be reversed, even 10 or more years later. The operation is called a vasovasectomy and it is a much bigger operation than the vasectomy. They open up your scrotum with a slice down the middle and cut off the ends of the tube they had previously to ensure that everything is noce and neat then they simply suture them back together again. It's done under general anesthetic and takes quite a while but they are usually successful.

Just so you know

DJ Kirkby said...

Errrr...WHY do you get kicked and punched in the belly on a regular basis? From who?

bittersweet me said...

useful stuff here for me. thanks. I shall have to start thinking about it seriously, although i am still just dealing with the messy stuff. I wish it were all over. Hope you don't feel too grotty x

having my cake said...

Thanks to everyone who has been brave enough to post publicly about such a personal issue.

jstzznu/raffi - What Wild Cat said re the strings.

Wild Cat - Thanks for all your posts. It has been so helpful getting your view of things.

Casdok/Marcelle - It is a minefield but there dont seem to be that many options.

Gledwood - I know I said I love to do it doggy but... LMAO

Ron/George - I dont want Ruf to have the snip. It would not be fair. Suppose something happened to me the day after he had it done? He would want to find a new partner and she might want to have kids. It would be incredibly selfish of me to ask him to do it, especially with the invasiveness of the reversal procedure.

Gypsy - Well, if I dont get on with this device - and it does fill me with dread - I may yet go down the sterilisation route.

DJK - My friends... :) I do martial arts.

Me - Im feeling a lot better most of the time now altho I do get some very hormonal days when I have to try not to think about what happened or I just cry. It's so strange but, as you know only too well, you instinctively become attached to what's been growing inside you. I guess it's to do with being a mother already. Wishing you well also x

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I'm glad you've found a solution, hope the coil works well for you.
I think I'm about to have to get into all this again properly so your posts have helped me out, but even so I'm still doubtful there is an option currently available to me other than avanti's, bleurgh :(
Marcelle you have my sympathies, I have to take an anti seizure medication for pain control so have similar issues to you and it's a nightmare! Bendy Girl

Lady in red said...

I never tried anything but the pill until after I had #3son then I used the injections for a year or so. Can't remember details now but the practice nurse or maybe the midwife came to my home every 12 weeks to administer the injection and that was it for 12 weeks. I think I only stopped because I gained some weight but there are any number of reasons for that.
when I had #4son I was sterilised whilst giving birth so it has not been a problem for me since but I still like my men to wear condoms, not because of the risk of pregnancy and I certainly don't like the things but pregnancy is not the only reason we should be careful.
It is not only the youngsters who should be responsible and use a condom.

having my cake said...

BG - They tell me that the IUD is better in terms of insertion if you have had a child already because the cervix is slightly more dilated than in a woman who has not given birth. Even someone like me who had two caesareans, I did manage to get to 7cms before the first emergency so this will help in its insertion.

LiR - They said that it would have been better to have been sterilised when they had me open for my second child... Well I didn't know then, did I!
Being anorexic, anything that has the side effect of making me put on weight is not really an option to be considered.

I can only echo your comment regarding barrier method protection and thank you for reminding us of this very important message.

I just want to stress the following:

Condoms are the only way to stop the passage of sexually transmitted diseases, especially the HIV virus.
The only reason I am not looking to use these is that I am in a committed monogamous relationship with a man who waited three months (it takes this long for the antibodies to appear in your blood)after his last sexual encounter and had all the tests to prove to me that he was clean before we ever slept together.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

My advice with the IUD, something my doctor didn't tell me, is you need to wait 7 days once it's fitted to have unprotected sex. If he had told me that,I wouldn't have fallen pregnant.

ronjazz said... the end, the decision to get the vasectomy is his. It is NOT the kind of selfish that you picture it to be. As far as children are concerned, well, there are plenty out there to go around. There are sperm banks. There is adaption. There innumerable number of options. I stand by it, honey. It is admirable for you to take a generous stand on it, but again, in the end, it is and should be his decision.

Redhead Editor said...

Birth control is a bitch. You have done your homework and made a smart decision. I have had 3 IUDs and recall mild discomfort in the insertion for a moment but nothing that is intolerable for a few minutes. And the ex could feel the strings from time to time. But what did he care? He was gettin' some! (Well, at least briefly.)