Is It Time To Finally Get An IUD?

Sep 25, 2018

About a year ago, I was freaking out at my husband. I was calling my mom in tears. I was panicking. I was pregnant again, I was sure of it. Never in my life had I been this late (two weeks). And being that late, I concocted all of these phantom symptoms in my head.

Maybe I wasn’t fully committed to not getting pregnant. If I wasn’t being so careful, maybe an oopsie wouldn’t have been the worst thing?

Many women would do almost anything to be late. And I know how lucky I am to have had zero fertility problems. But my husband and I have a full house of three boys. And I was not ready for a second biological child — a fourth kid in our home. I had just started to feel truly like myself again after having Indy. And at age one, he still wasn’t sleeping through the night. But I was finally working again, and very happy about it.

I didn't want another baby. Not yet. But I wasn’t ready for my husband to get a vasectomy. One day, a house with four boys might be wonderful. (Or maybe that elusive girl — all of the kids’ Edmonton cousins are boys, too.)

When I finally discovered that I was getting my period — and that my two weeks of symptoms was just really long, intense PMS — I cried happy tears.

Sure, I was late. But the main reason I had caused myself so much stress, is that even after taking it for 17 years, I’m really bad at taking my pill. Although it’s never let me down (knock on wood), I don’t think I’ve ever gone a month without forgetting at least one. I was so worried about getting pregnant before my wedding that my husband and I both had alarms on our phones reminding me to crack that pill pack.

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When I stopped breastfeeding, my ob-gyn warned me that I should get serious about my birth control. But even in those early months, I was still forgetting the odd pill, or forgetting my pack at home when I went on vacation.

It’s obvious what the solution was: I needed to get an IUD. I wouldn’t have to remember anything — it would just do its magic.

An IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control (over 99 per cent effective). And by most accounts, once it’s inserted you can forget about it for several years, or take it out any time that you want and get pregnant.

I didn't want another baby. Not yet. But I wasn’t ready for my husband to get a vasectomy.

The problem was that I was terrified, and still am. The last time something passed through my cervix was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, and I’m in no rush to endure that cramping agony again.

IUDs are tiny, plastic T-shaped devices that are inserted into your uterus. Hormonal IUDs release levonorgestrel, a form of progestin. Copper IUDs are wrapped in — yep, you got it — copper. Both types prevent sperm from getting to the egg (at least in the vast majority of cases, anyway).

The cost of insertion is high (prices vary, but a hormonal IUD can run you about $300 to $400, which is another thing, admittedly, that’s had me dragging my feet). But over time — less than a year, probably — I’d be saving money (my birth control pill costs me $34 a month).  

Still, both times I went to the trouble of seeing the doctor to get a prescription for an IUD, I didn’t actually visit the pharmacist to get it filled. I had heard that cramping could last two weeks. I did not want that. 

Maybe I wasn’t fully committed to not getting pregnant. If I wasn’t being so careful, maybe an oopsie wouldn’t have been the worst thing?

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But this past weekend, I found myself packing up and sorting Indy’s clothes. We’re moving on October 1 to a three-bedroom plus den, three-story townhouse even closer to downtown Edmonton. It wasn’t until weeks after we signed the lease that it dawned on me.

It’s obvious what the solution was: I needed to get an IUD. I wouldn’t have to remember anything — it would just do its magic.

In moving, and in identifying our sleeker, newer but smaller “dream house,” my husband and I had subconsciously decided what we had been increasingly leaning toward. We’re probably not going to have any more kids.

That meant that the clothes I was hanging onto — just in case — were better going to another home. And that meant that this time, I really did need to get serious about birth control.

I love our lives. I love our boys. I love our townhouse. And I don’t want a bigger family.

So the third time will be the charm. I’ll take a day off work, and my husband will come with me to the appointment and I'll ask him to hold my hand. And I’m going to do it. It’s going to hurt. I might have terrible cramping, but like the overwhelming majority of cases, I’m going to eventually feel nothing and it will be fine.

I won’t have the panicky few days every month where I irrationally fret about my life going on a roller coaster. And we can move forward — for now — content with our family of five. The IUD is the right move for us. Because no, townhouse and all, I’m still not ready for my husband to get that vasectomy. Not quite yet.

Article Author Julia Lipscombe
Julia Lipscombe

Read more from Julia here.

Julia Lipscombe is an Edmonton-based freelance journalist and former staffer at FLARE magazine, NOW magazine and the Edmonton Journal. Julia is an arts and lifestyle specialist, and these days mostly writes about parenting, music and weddings. Alongside her husband, Jesse Lipscombe, she co-founded and runs the anti-discrimination campaign, #MakeItAwkward, which encourages people to speak up and speak out against racism, homophobia and hate of all kinds. Julia and Jesse are parents to three beautiful boys: Chile, Tripp and Indiana. In her ever-diminishing spare time, Julia likes to swim, bike, run, drink wine, and listen to lots of albums as a member of the Polaris Music Prize jury. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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