Writing

I Bled for Three Months. An IUD Changed My Life.

I am sharing this because 1. It’s important for women to know that their bodies shouldn’t be a source of shame, and 2. To share my experiences with birth control.

I didn’t think anything of it at first.

My periods have always been very heavy and painful, so I thought this one was just a bit longer than normal.

One week turned into two, then three.

I took a pregnancy test at the beginning, to rule out the possibility. I knew that sometimes pregnancy caused implantation bleeding when the egg attached.

It was negative.

I was beginning to get nervous, but tried to not let it get to me.

I scheduled an appointment and went through the standard testing, ultrasounds, and various questions over the next two months. My doctor was kind, but my patience was wearing thin. The doctor’s office verified that there was no pregnancy, but did find an abnormal, thick amount of uterine tissue. To clean me out, my doctor scheduled a D & C.

The bleeding, meanwhile, was worse. I was passing giant clots. I became anemic and couldn’t go up the steps at work without feeling my heart slam against my ribs. My co-workers were scared for me; one look at my pale face was enough to know something was wrong. I was going to bed by 6:30 in the evening because I simply didn’t have the energy to stay awake. I went through a jumbo box of tampons a week. Sex was painful and I wouldn’t let my husband touch me. I was miserable, upset, and ready to be better.

The night I took my pre-surgery pill to dilate my cervix was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I sat—trembling, sweaty, and crying—on the couch, and tried to breathe through my mouth, while Mike rubbed my arms and back to comfort me. I finally passed out from exhaustion around two in the morning.

My surgery, at least, went off without a hitch. My doctor found, way at the top of my womb, a polyp, which was benign.

My doctor and I discussed birth control, which I had had negative experiences with in the past, and was very reluctant to try taking again. Still, I hadn’t had an IUD before, so perhaps it would be better than the pills.

I will forever be grateful that I listened to my doctor.

The IUD has been an adjustment. Now, instead of heavy, awful periods, I barely bleed at all. After the initial few weeks, I don’t have any mood swings, and my weight has stayed the same. Without birth control, the chances of my uterine tissue becoming abnormal again is high.

Best of all, I’m not in pain anymore. I know some view birth control as a sin, or that this is something that shouldn’t be talked about, but we need to. We need to teach our girls that their bodies are not shameful, that their health is paramount.

We all deserve the right to live a life without suffering.

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