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Why I Will Tell Every Woman I Know to NOT get an IUD

It was May of 2013 and I had given birth to my second daughter a few weeks before.  I honestly wasn’t even starting to think let alone ask about birth control when my midwife handed my two pamphlets on IUDs.  She has since I was nursing and I had previously gotten pregnant on the pill that an IUD was the best and safest birth control option for me. In retrospect I should have shut her down completely right there and put off the discussion and the decision.  What I did do was took the pamphlets home and discuss with my spouse.  We decided on the Mirena IUD because at the time the other women I knew that used it had absolutely no complaints.

Before I had the Mirena placed I wasn’t given any direction or expectation for what having it placed was like.  After my midwife placed it (which was definitely something I would classify as unpleasant/ borderline painful) when she saw me wince she asked if I had taken ibuprofen before which I had not.  She told me that I was suppose to have and that’s why it was so uncomfortable.

Again, in retrospect I should have just asked her to take it back out then and there but I was assured by her and the two other doctors I since saw that that was completely normal.  My periods lightened and seemed to have much larger gaps between them which was expected. I did feel pelvic discomfort often when I moved, discomfort I often described as knowing I could always feel the Mirena and occasional pain when I did a sudden movement or if I laughed too hard. I did my due diligence.  I had my annual exams and always asked to have it removed but after I was assured that it was properly in place the doctor always encouraged me to leave it in place.  I always checked the strings and when I no longer could feel them scheduled an appointment to have the placement checked/ the device removed.  I was assured at least five times throughout having it that it was properly in place and everything I was experiencing was completely normal and that I should not be worried or have it removed.

That is until November of last year when I got what I assumed was another period. This period was the third heavier that normal period I had in a row so  I called the doctor and said I wanted my IUD removed immediately.

When I went in for my appointment a few things happened. First the doctor tried to persuade me to leave the IUD in. Second the doctor assumed I had a pelvic infection and prescribed me antibiotics. Third I was asked to take a pregnancy test (and I’d like to add that the doctor said there was no way that was what was going on). As I was getting in my car with the written prescription in hand the nurse came running out frantically waving at me to wait.  As it turns out the pregnancy test was positive and I was given a lab sheet for a blood pregnancy test. The blood pregnancy test was also positive so later that day the doctor called me and said since I was pregnant that now my IUD needed to be removed and I was scheduled to come back in two days to have it removed and get an additional blood pregnancy test.

This is where it gets really interesting.  The second blood pregnancy test had lower hCG levels so the assumption was that I had already miscarried or that I was about to miscarry. That being found out that doctor said that even though my IUD failed I should leave it. At this point I insisted that it had to be removed.  He attempted about 3 times during this appointment to remove it unsuccessfully and very painfully for me.

Now since he could not remove it he said I needed a hysteroscopy to remove it.  He assured me that it would be easy and painless and I was scheduled for that a few days later. For those that don’t know a hysteroscopy is a procedure where your cervix is dilated, your uterus is filled with fluid and a device with a camera on the end is inserted into your uterus and in my case a local anesthetic is injected into the uterus to prevent pain and decrease blood flow.  That local anesthetic is largely epinephrine so that initial reaction is a feeling that your heart is literally going to explode out of your chest followed by uncontrollable chills and shaking. Despite the local anesthetic every tug on the IUD strings very much felt like he was trying to flip my uterus inside out and so after several attempts he ended the procedure and told me that he could not remove it and referred me to a surgeon.

I met with the surgeon about a week later.  He did an ultrasound and speculated that the IUD was embedded in the back of my cervix and my uterine muscle.  He told me that his plan was to dilate me, shave the muscle at the back of my cervix and then rip and tear the muscle until he got it out.  I was scheduled for surgery on February 16. I was told there is a risk of bleeding out and an emergency hysterectomy may be required during surgery but that I should have no pain following surgery and my long term issue would be a risk for preterm labor in subsequent pregnancies.

While I am pleased to say that my surgery was successful in removing my Mirena and I did not end up having a hysterectomy it has been nearly two weeks since my surgery and I am still dealing with pain and I my road to recovery from the injuries I’ve sustained from having a IUD are far from over yet.

My experience with having an IUD has been physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming. I am disappointed in Bayer for the way in which they failed my doctors and failed me with this product.

Please, if you are a woman never get or consider the Mirena IUD. The physical (my cervix and uterus have been damaged), emotional (miscarriage) and financial (I have to pay the entire amount of my hospital surgery because removal of an IUD that requires a special procedure is not required to be covered by insurance) risks are very real and very heavy and absolutely not worth it.

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