So, back to the story of my IUD.
Middy alert!!! Talk of gynaecological matters, menstruation and other women’s stuff…
Two days after the trials of the initial insertion due to the tightness of my cervix and pelvic muscles, I woke up feeling very uncomfortable down there. I kept getting this pain that seemed to run up my back passage. When I sat down, it was as if someone was shoving a knitting needle up there. It became so bad that my vision went patchy and I was on the verge of blacking out. In terms of tolerance, I ask you to bear in mind that I had a termination without an anaesthetic and I didn’t faint from that. I had to lie curled up in the foetal position for 15 minutes before the pain seemed to pass.
I have had something similar before at around the time of my period and always put it down to wind. This time, of course, I had the worry at the back of my mind about the possibility of a perforated bowel because of the recent introduction of my IUD.
I telephoned the FPS and the doctor there told me to come straight down. It transpired that the clinic didn’t actually open until 11 that day but she let me in early because she was very concerned, given my history.
On examination, everything seemed to be where it should be and she explained that because it was new, it was ‘settling’ and could be pressing on the nerve leading to my bowel causing the pain so I went away reassured.
A few weeks later, Ruf and I managed to have sex – as instructed, with a condom, which was vile but it was a necessary evil. I passed the six week check with flying colours which meant that we could now rely on the device to do its job.
After the Flexi-T went in, I just kept bleeding and I was getting really fed up but I finally had a proper period – about 3 weeks after the 3.5 week-long one ended. The good news was that it was not as heavy as the ones I was used to having, so I had my fingers crossed that the advantages may include one that I hadn’t taken into consideration, especially as the Gynae man kept saying that the copper coil would make everything worse.
The next period just over four weeks later and just before Xmas was also very manageable. Then nothing. When it failed to materialise for five weeks, I did a pregnancy test. I wasn’t going to get caught like that again and, with the IUD, I needed to be careful of the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. The test was negative. When it still hadn’t appeared for 10 weeks, I did another test, just to be on the safe side as we had had two rampant weekends since the last. Again, negative. I started to wonder if this meant that I had had the easiest menopause in history and had just been incredibly unlucky to get pregnant from one of the very last eggs in the basket.
Unfortunately, my period finally decided to make a reappearance after four months. Since then, it has taken to turning up when it feels like it at about 5-8 week intervals but always with some spotting to give the warning that it is on its way and I will have a day of relatively heavy flow before it peters out again. This is a great improvement on how things were this time last year before The P Word reared its ugly head.
After eight months with the Flexi-T in situ, I was starting to get comfortable with the whole idea of this type of family planning. It was safe and easy. I decided I liked my intra-uterine device. I got used to enjoying lots and lots of great penetrative, semen-filling sex with no fear of unwanted repercussions.**
Which, of course, is when disaster struck.
After a particularly rampant and boisterous long weekend, I came back with mild cystitis. Nothing abnormal about that. My poor body had been battered and my bladder was probably bruised. I gave it the normal treatment of lots of bicarbonate of soda in a water solution drinks with neat water chasers. Pints of the stuff. Vile but it works much better than the over-the-counter flavoured products and you can use it more frequently.
And, naturally, I continued with my normal training and exercise regimen, which had been putting a lot of focus on working my pelvic floor muscles, as well as the transverse abdominal and the muscle that you use when you pee (for which I have no name).
After a week, I realised that, although the symptoms weren’t getting worse, they also weren’t improving. I didn’t have that horrible urge to wee all the time that is the major sign of cystitis but when I did go, there was definitely a lot of irritation towards the end of the flow and I was starting to get back pain and a feeling of abdominal ‘discomfort’ – both of which could be explained away by the exercises I was doing or the imminence of my delayed period – but which are major factors to suggest that the infection was working its way towards my kidneys.
I hate going to the doctors so it took me two days to get around to making the call. I took the emergency appointment as, by this time, I had realised that I needed to get myself checked out… but I still felt like I was wasting her time.
The urine test confirmed that there was a definite bladder infection so she prescribed antibiotics and I got up on the table so she could check that the device was still where it should be. First, she noted a minor thrush infection, took a swab and wrote another scrip for that before moving her attentions upwards.
‘Well, it’s still there because I can see the strings quite clearly and…. Oh!’
Now, that really isn’t what you want to be hearing when you’re trying to relax with a speculum and somebody’s finger up your jacksie.
‘It’s not really surprising you’ve been having these problems. I’m afraid I can see a lot more of your coil than I should be able to. It’s half hanging out of your cervix and I shall have to remove it.’
And, with that, she pulled and the tiny little pink plastic – and rather crumpled – Flexi-T appeared painlessly in her hand, hanging by its blue strings.
At this point, I suddenly had the most hideous flashback to last year and what the consequences of failed contraception could be. The tears started bubbling up but there was nothing for it. I had to go to the chemist for my prescriptions and two pregnancy tests.
The first one has come back negative and I have to do another on Monday – two weeks after I last had sex – prior to my appointment with the Gynae to see what he has to say about my future method of preventing an unplanned pregnancy.
I keep thinking that it could just have been dislodged by the pounding of the rough sex that weekend, but I have a horrible suspicion that the new exercises are the culprit and the addition of some weights has meant that I have actually physically expelled it with the strength of the abdominal and pelvic muscle contractions involved in the repetitions.
I have opined at length about the superior tightness of that part of my anatomy and always viewed it as a good thing. But now it seems that very advantage has come back to bite me on the bum.
I’m not sure if I should even be surprised by the extent of their power when, in normal circumstances, they are put into play in conjunction with those of the uterus itself to evict a being that can weigh as much as 10% of it’s host mother’s bodyweight.
I have always had great difficulty when it came to being pulled apart for internal examinations and smears but, as I continued to religiously perform my Kegels, I definitely under-rated just how much of a drawback such power could actually become.
The question is, I guess, since the IUD has come out after only nine months, is it really safe to rely on another one even if I revert to some less effective lower abdominal and pelvic floor training?
**Safe Sex at all times. Please remember that Ruf and I are involved in a committed, long-term, monogamous relationship which commenced after clean bills of health had been obtained. If in doubt, always use a condom.