Yesterday I went to Planned Parenthood to get my Mirena IUD, and I have a feeling I won’t be going anywhere else for my lady parts healthcare! The staff is incredible. The nurse, nurse practitioner, and observing med student were fantastic. I was really anxious, because I’d read stories about horribly painful IUD insertions, so I asked if someone could hold my hand. The nurse that did my vitals came in and held my hand and talked to me about my day. There were uncomfortable parts to it but she just kept letting me squeeze my hand and reminded me to breathe. And in 5 minutes it was over. And now I have worry free birth control for 5 years. Holla! 

I’ve always been impressed with P.P. the 3 times I’ve been. They were there when I initially wanted birth control at 17, again when I went in for my IUD consult, and they were there when I was getting my IUD. I have not actually gotten to sit down with an GYN for more than 10 minutes to discuss my contraceptive options, but I got to spend almost 45 minutes with an NP during my consult. 

Love that place! 

My IUD and Me: A Love Story

image

I recently got the ParaGard IUD and IT’S THE BEST. Why? Because it’s a “set it and forget it” birth control method — no remembering to take a pill or change a patch, no room for error. And those little T-shaped miracle workers can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.  (Of course, you can have it taken out whenever if you decide it’s go-time for a family or want to switch to a different method.)

Here’s how my IUD and me came to be:

1. I made an appointment with my gyno to talk about whether ParaGard was right for me. While I was there, my doc did a vaginal swab to test me for gonorrhea and chlamydia. 

2. When I decided 100% that I wanted that little copper sperm blocker, I called my insurance company to see what was covered and how much I would have to pay out of pocket (spoiler alert: $0 — thanks Obamacare!).

3. When I got my period, I called my gyno and scheduled my appointment for the next day. (Some docs want you to have your period when they put it in because the cervix is dilated more when you’re menstruating).

4. The night before my procedure, I vaginally inserted a prescription cervix-dilating pill before hitting the hay.

5. When I arrived at my gyno’s office, I took a quick pregnancy test. It was negative, so operation IUD was officially on. 

6. Time to get down to business: First, my doctor measured my uterus. Anytime anything goes past your cervix, you’re going to feel a cramp. Not gonna lie, it was intense. But I breathed through it, preoccupied by the knowledge that my uterus is 7 inches long (fun fact).

7. My doctor inserted the ParaGard, cut the strings, and BAM. My uterus is a no-fly zone.  The whole insertion took less than five minutes. I did have some cramping throughout the rest of the day, but I was good to go the next morning.

Since getting the ParaGard, I’ve noticed that my periods are heavier with more cramping than I’m used to. My periods also last maybe a day or two longer, but this is totally normal. My doc said that after about three months, my period should return to normal. And let’s be real — a few crampy periods are a great trade off for 12 years of worry-free living. My uterus couldn’t be happier with this brand spanking new toy.

In a few weeks I’ll go back in for a follow up appointment to make sure the ParaGard is still there and in the right place. After that, they’ll check it at my yearly gyno exam.

If you want to get an IUD and you’re worried about cost, fear not! Obamacare means you get free preventive care that includes birth control through your insurance. My $950 IUD+my $40 copay = totally free.

Word of advice? Don’t forget the condoms! Yeah IUDs are 99% effective against pregnancy, but they’re 0% effective at preventing STDs.  So condoms + my IUD = healthy me.

Want to get your own IUD? Get more info here, and then contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to set up an appointment. 

—Chelsea at Planned Parenthood

anonymous said:

I really hate getting my period. Everything about it. I heard that many birth control options make periods light--some even making periods disappear completely. My question is, is it safe to completely stop having your period? I know it's a natural bodily function, but I don't plan on having kids now or in the future so I'm not really worried about it affecting my fertility.

Yes!  It’s perfectly healthy.

Let me explain:  During your normal menstrual cycle, you have estrogen telling your uterine lining to build up, up, up.  Then, you have progesterone telling your uterine lining to shed.  Some people have PCOS or other hormonal dysfunctions where the estrogen tells the uterine lining to build up but there’s no progesterone to tell it to shed.  In that situation the uterine lining will keep building up with nothing keeping it fresh or keeping it from accidentally becoming cancerous.  That’s what we’re worried about in this situation - the un-moderated uterine lining becoming a space where cancer cells can proliferate uncontrollably.

However, birth control uses those hormones to trick the body into doing certain things.  For example, a consistant low dose of progesterone stops you from building up a uterine lining in the first place.  That means that when you’re using the mini-pill, Nexplanon, Depo shot, Mirena, or Skyla IUD, you’re not even building up a uterine lining at all, making it so that there’s nothing to shed during your period, so no period bleeding.  Yay!

You don’t have to worry about cancer with those birth control options, because there’s no unmediated proliferating happening to begin with.

And the beautiful thing?  None of them affect your fertility at all.

So how to you stop getting a period?

  • Take your birth control pills continuously - that means skip the placebo or “sugar” pill.  Take only the pills with hormones
  • Use your nuvaring for 4 weeks straight and then switch to another without a “period” week
  • Get a Mirena or Skyla IUD
  • Cross your fingers and get a Nexplanon or use Depo
Me, myself, and IUD

Hey, it’s me — Chelsea — from your friendly, neighborhood PPFA Tumblr team! I just got a ParaGard IUD inserted and I’m the happiest person in the world right now. A $950 IUD + my usual $40 co-pay for the gyno was 100% free thanks to Obamacare. I walked out of my doctor’s office paying 0 dollars. Kind of amazing, right?! You can benefit, too, if you already have health insurance or if you sign up for health insurance under Obamacare. Sign up before December 23rd and kickoff 2014 right, with some good ol’ free birth control :)

image

post-IUD insertion excited uterus selfie

image

-Chelsea at Planned Parenthood

Stop Suggesting Paraguard as an Acceptable Alternative

Ever since the news came out that Plan B doesn’t work for people over a specific weight* people keep popping up to mention Paraguard the copper IUD is still a good option for people regardless of body size. Yes, this is an option that is still available for someone who needs emergency contraception but it isn’t an acceptable alternative.

IUD insertions require a medical procedure. They cost anywhere from $500 - $1,000 when you can get Plan B for around $45 from Plan Parenthood. Getting an IUD can be PAINFUL. Though pain really does depend on the person but I would never want someone to have to “choose” that option only because there isn’t another option available to them. Plan B can be painful with the cramping it causes but the cost and set up required is drastically different.

So stop acting like getting an IUD is an acceptable alternative. It not only ignores the drastic difference between implementing the two products but it also completely ignores that this isn’t just about what options are available. This is about how fat people are ignored when products are created and tested to check to make sure they are effective for everyone.

Ella is an alternative. via Planned Parenthood told me on twitter that this pill doesn’t have a weight limit and is shown to be more effective than Plan B in clinical testing. ** Edit to add, Ella does have a limit and is shown to be most effective for people with a BMI of 35 or lower.

Paraguard is something that you can look into if you want a long term option. Personally, I got Mirina, which has hormones, since I have irregular periods but there are side effects. If you are low income and don’t have insurance check with Planned Parenthood I was able to have my IUD inserted for free since Michigan has a program called Plan First! that not only covers yearly check ups, one round of std testing / treatment but also a years worth of contraception (it included an IUD).

Most Planned Parenthoods have information about getting their services for free through your state or on a sliding scale.

*As a side note the announcement said fat people over a specific weight and was specifically about the amount of adipose tissue a person has. Added this because I know SOMEONE is going to leave this as a comment if I don’t.

When I went looking for other women’s stories, they were all about the aftermath. What about the week before?

"Several of the people I’ve told have made this one obvious observation over and over: I took strict precautions not to get pregnant. They’ve reminded me that I did what I could by getting an IUD — did more than many women do. But, by some strange fate or rearrangement of the universe, doing what I could wasn’t enough. So, of course I’ve decided to have an abortion — duh! What’s more, it’s okay that I’m having an abortion, since I made clear long ago that I don’t want to have children anytime soon. I’ve already tried to prevent that from happening, so an abortion is just one more step in that prevention process — one I’m more entitled to take because it’s a process I’ve already begun.

Wrong. Having an IUD that failed without my knowledge does not make me any more entitled than any other woman to terminate a pregnancy I don’t want. When I hear people raise the point that I did what I could, it sounds to me like a justification, but it’s not one you’ll ever hear me offer. I’m more than willing to explain why I’ve decided to have an abortion, because my reasons are justified on their own. Nonetheless, an abortion isn’t something that needs to be justified. Women are entitled to the procedure if they decide that having one is right for them — all women, not just the ones with ParaGard, Mirena or Implanon, NuvaRing, birth control pills or the Depo-Provera shot.

I am no better or worse than, say, a woman who gets pregnant when she wasn’t on the pill, had sex without a condom and, for any number of reasons — lack of information, lack of transportation, lack of funds or just plain old stigma — didn’t take Plan B. She is just as entitled as I am to make my same decision or a different one, and she deserves the same access to a safe abortion that I do if she chooses one, free of judgment — because this is not a question of who is better or worse. It’s a question of who should get to exercise their rights, and the answer is every single woman.”

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video