On Life and Love

The journey to becoming a cyborg

Warning: this post involves my vagina and uterus and a bit of blood. If vaginas squick you, or uteri make you blush, go away.

Go now.

It began with a bad case of hives and a crying jag back a couple of years ago when I was on Ortho tri-cyclen lo. …And then again on Yasmin.

Screw combo hormonal methods.

Unfortunately, that didn’t leave me with a lot of options. With me moving back in with Greg in about a month, I wanted something a little more hassle-free than condoms. Research suggested that IUDs weren’t killing people quite as often as they did back in the 70s, so I got myself referred to a OB/GYN to talk about them.

…Odd fellow, my gyn. Still not sure what to make of him.

He tells me, “Hey, sunshine. You babyless kiddos often ain’t got big enough uteri. We gotta ultrasound.”

No, he didn’t actually say “uteri”.

Greg was all like, “Big chunky girl like you? Your uterus has to be big enough!”

I hit him.

So I went in last week for my ultrasound. I was ready for unbuttoning my pants and cold gel on my tummy.

…Drop my drawers?

…Why are you holding something phallic?

…Oh, an internal ultrasound. Right.

That over, I found out a few cool things. One, I have a fibroid! Supposedly harmless. Two, my uterus flops backward. Also supposedly harmless. I’m told that if I should choose to camp the spawn spawn a new life, that it would tilt forward to hold the imp, then flop back down when it’s done.

I’ve always wanted a floppy part! Now I have one. I’m crunk.

Invasive (mildy, in retrospect) ultrasound done, turns out my uterus is a whopping 6.1 cm, which is bigger than the 3 cm it needed to be to fit the Mirena IUD.

I ate crow that night, served by Greg.

IUDs are best placed when on your period (handily-provided cervix dilation!), so I scheduled my appointment for today.

I found out in the intervening week that my insurance doesn’t really cover IUDs, but that they are kind enough to let the cost count towards my deductible. …Which is high enough that I’m essentially paying for the entire thing.

Becoming a cyborg put a crimp in my lifestyle already.

So I went in this afternoon (with Greg in tow, just in case) after reading a metric shit-ton of horrific, bloody accounts of the insertion process. Of course, I know intellectually that people with bad experiences are more likely to report them, so I took that into account… intellectually.

After a final pregnancy test, I found myself sitting awkwardly at the edge of a table, waiting for the doc to come in, staring the big iodined swabs, wondering if they minded me bleeding on their table.

I almost started to cry then, but I held back. I’m not a wimp. This isn’t something really painful, like having an abortion, or a baby. Or pretty much anything else my uterus could be doing other than normal occasional cramps.

Nonetheless, I was a wreck.

The doc came in, scooted me down, put my feet in the stirrups, and said, “Alright, sweet thang. I’m just gonna start with a little examination to see how far back your uterus is tilted.”

Before I could breathe to ask, “Then what the fuck was the invasive ultrasound for?!” he was in and poking around.

Then came the speculum. At this point, my hands were over my face and I was breathing deeply. In the doc’s favor, it was one of the nice, cool (temperature-wise) metal ones, not the clacky plastic ones.

Shortly after cranking me open, he said, “Now, babydoll, you’re gonna feel a pinch… Right about… now!”

Yeah, that’s when things went from uncomfortable to bewildering. I don’t remember much else other than two things you never want to hear your gyn say when it’s you on the table:



“Hell, her cervix isn’t cooperating.”

After a bit of silence and work, he said, “Okay, we’re good. Now we can put the IUD in.”

Now?! What had we been doing?

I cried. Not so much from any pain, but from the shock and the invasion. I’m still tearing up, just to think of it.

The insertion involved immediate cramps, as if my uterus was going, “Um. You’re not gonna leave that shit in here, are you? Don’t be leavin’ trash in my house! This is all the space I got, and you know — because I’m floppy in the wrong way — that I’m not much for housekeeping.”

And it was done. He had all of his tools out very quickly, and I was left lying there, a nurse taking my blood pressure and pulse to make sure I was okay.

There was none of the pain in the aftermath that I was afraid of — I was worried about sharp/pokey sensations, and there’s none of that. Just cramps. And 4 hours later, those have already mostly subsided.

I am, however, wrung out. Every five years (which is how long the Mirena is good for) is about how often I want to do that. Well, I could probably stand to do it every year, if it were timed with my paps, but it certainly wouldn’t be cost-effective to do that.

And so here I am, significantly more cyborg today than I was yesterday.


  • Michael

    thanks for the detailed acct. I’m sure it will be useful. Glad you’re alright, i read that many peoples’ periods kinda come close to stopping, so that’ll be cool!

  • Lissa

    Yeah, I couldn’t find many accounts of the process, rather than complaints/comments on the aftermath. Not understanding the ultrasound was vaginal, etc. are surprises I didn’t really want to have. I forgot to mention in the post that some of the shenanigans was due to the doc pulling on my cervix to temporarily straighten up my uterus a bit. That might have been the initial pinch. Also something I found out last week after the ultrasound, and was a surprise.

    But I wouldn’t mind if it reduced or nixed my period, though I’m not generally a fan of things fucking overly with my cycles. Our culture needs a bit more acceptance of cyclical behaviors, and I’m happy to help in that. 😛

  • Dre

    So was it the hormones that make you sick from other forms of birth control? If so, wouldn’t the hormones in Mirena have the same affect? I ask because my sister did the same thing but opted for the non hormonal type. Paraguard I think it’s called.

    And I was told when I was pregnant that vaginal ultrasounds give better pictures (especially of an empty uterus) than external. *shrug*

    Oh and I wish I could just have mine all taken out. No more babies. No more periods. Sounds like heaven to me.

  • Lissa


    No, the side effects I had are associated with the estrogen in the combo hormonal methods. The Mirena’s just progesterone, which tends to have fewer side effects, and the fact that it’s directly applied to uterus reduces the effects further.

    If I hadn’t gone for the IUD, I would’ve tried the Ring, which is a combo method, but again, is less systemic because it’s right up near the cervix.

    The Paraguard (which is a copper IUD, for anyone else reading) has the pretty common side effect of increased menstrual flow and cramping. I already struggle with anemia and don’t care to add monthly bouts of severe blood loss to that. 😛

    The problem with just having the whole system removed is the hormonal wonkiness. Mustaches and stuff. Not hating on mustached women or anything, but I’ll wait until menopause to deal with that.