Offspring are great, right? Yes, I do love children, though if you ask me on any day that ends in Y, I will probably pretend otherwise. I don’t have a good reason for it, that’s just how I roll.
The truth is that I probably do want children, but not until after I’m 30. Yep, it’s another arbitrary policy of mine. I want to get to live my own life before I start trying to teach someone else how life is done.
It’s strange, though, because in the same breath people have a tendency to tell me I look 16 and then ask me when I’m going to have kids. Whoa there turbo! Shouldn’t I at least look like an adult first? That’s going to take a few years.
In the meantime this whole “let’s not get knocked up” thing just became a real issue for me. My means of birth control is no longer abstinence.
Sure, condoms have a high success rate but, frankly, I’d like to be in control of my empty womb and not leave it up to the guy to provide protection…. especially when that means him having to run to the store in the middle of the night because he was not prepared. Not that this has happened… last weekend. (Really dude? Keep one or five in your wallet!)
Also, the success rate isn’t quite as high as I thought. Apparently 15-25 per 100 women still get pregnant using just condoms. Not so good, mommy.
I’ve been researching various methods of birth control and I have to admit that the laundry list of possible side effects scare the shit out of me. Of course, the idea of a human parasite, that I will someday call squishy, growing inside me scares me more. So, research continues.
As it turns out, there are a lot of alternatives to traditional birth control pills out there. That’s a damn good thing for me, too, because I can’t even remember to take iron and vitamin D on a daily basis.
(Hold that thought… I have to take those now)
There, now my doctor will be happy with me today.
The two methods that are currently of interest to me, partially because of their success rate of less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women each year, and partially because they seem pretty idiot (me) proof, are the IUD and the Implant.
My doctor recommended the implant Implanon, which is a small single rod that they inject into your arm and it lasts for up to three years. The insertion is almost painless and once it’s in, there’s no maintenance or anything. Seems like a good option, eh? Maybe not. There are some scary warnings and side effects.
Their website cautions against using Implanon if you are overweight (I am), have a history of depression or anxiety (I do), have high cholesterol or triglycerides (I did and still might), have a history of headaches (check), and a small list of other things that aren’t relevant to me. These include a history of diabetes, seizures or epilepsy, gallbladder or kidney disease, and allergic reaction to anesthetics or antiseptics.
They also have a note saying that Implanon can increase insulin resistance. That feels like it’s just asking for trouble. It also notes that Implanon might not be as effective in very overweight women because studies did not include many overweight women. Way to be thorough guys.
It also seems to cause erratic and heavy periods. Not so much fun. One of the most frequently cited reasons for removal was the heavy and unpredictable bleeding accompanied by heavy cramps.
So, the other method of interest is the IUD. This is what I wanted in the first place and what I’m pretty much convinced that I want now.
While the insertion is highly painful (via Rachel and Libby), it doesn’t come with the same laundry list of warnings, side effects, and risks. There are two varieties of the IUD. First is the copper IUD that is hormone free, called Paragard. The other is Progestin only, called Mirena.
Both of these have “we will fuck with your period and give you cramps for a few months” side effects but with Mirena, your period will lessen or go away completely after about six months. The major plus that I see with Paragard is that it is hormone free. On the other hand, less cramps and periods with Mirena. Paragard can last up to ten years, while Mirena only lasts five.
The major downside to an IUD in general is that if you contract an STD it will go up the little strings and spread the infection faster and fiercer. It also puts you at risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease for the same reason. If you have one and are not in a relationship you ought to still protect yourself with condoms.
I still have studying to do and decisions to make about which will be best for me but as to the pain, bring it bitch, I’ve been run over by a car. I think I can handle it… or I’ll be eating my words, crying like a little girl, and apologizing here in a few weeks. We’ll see.
Do you have an implant or an IUD? What’s your BC method of choice and how do you like it?
*Note: This post is not meant to give complete imformation about any of these methods. I am simply sharing what I have learned over the last few weeks and what’s gone into my decision making process as promised a few weeks ago. I have linked to the websites and to others who have discussed their IUD experience because they are far better sources than me. Also talk yo your doctor!
Great post, Kendra!
I was on the pill for a couple of years when I started being sexually active, but my doctor recommended a progesterone based alternative because I have a very strong line of cancer in my family. Extra estrogen = bad news.
So, I got the Mirena IUD. The implantation wasn't fun, but it's wasn't horrible. I took some over-the-counter pain meds and I think that helped quite a bit.
I loved it. It was brainless (never had to worry about missing a pill) and my period went away after 6 months. I had no cramps whatsoever.
Bad news: My period went away because I got PREGNANT. <– yes, true story. This isn't really the IUD backfiring, but more that it wasn't placed correctly and I was taking other medications that altered it's effectiveness (hormone based) After having my daughter, i had another IUD put in since it's the best option for me still at this point. So far, so good.
In short, make sure you really REALLY understand how to check that it is in place. Especially if the man is, *cough* longer *cough* it can get knocked out of place if it wasn't secure enough to begin with.