Why I Decided to Remove My Mirena IUD
After my daughter was born, we knew we were done havingkids. Physically, we were too exhausted from a lack of sleep and towing thekids around. Mentally, we just could not fathom how we could split ourattention more than we already were with two kids. Therefore, I did plenty ofresearch on birth control before going into my 6 weeks postpartum appointmentwith the mindset that we did not wantmore kids. Here are some reasons why I decided on the Mirena IUD:
- The mini pill needs to be taken at the SAME TIME every day. Hello? As a mom of a baby and an active toddler, there is no way I would be able to make this commitment. Some days I don’t even know what time it is until my stomach is begging me for food and I realize it’s past 10 PM and I haven’t eaten since lunch.
- Female sterilization is just too invasive. There is no time for me to recover with a toddler and an infant, forget what happens if there are any complications.
- Copper IUD was tempting, but the potential side effect of a heavier, more painful period just seemed like a horrible idea.
- Combination pills (estrogen + progesterone) and Depo Provera shots were out of the question because they may cause a decrease in breastmilk supply. Nope, can’t take that risk.
Hence, the Mirena IUD appeared to be the way to go. I talkedto some relatives and friends and they all seemed to have a great experiencewith the Mirena IUD. Therefore, I was excited to go with a birth control methodthat seems like you can basically get it inserted and forget about it for 5years (except the occasional checking to make sure the string is still there).
While waiting for the OBGYN to arrive, a nurse took myvitals and ask the routine questions. When she realized I was getting theMirena IUD put in, she warned me that the initial spotting may take awhile todisappear. Wait what? Initial spotting? ARGH fine I guess for 5 years oftrouble-free birth control, I will take a couple months of spotting. But wait …the nurse proceeded to tell me how she got her Mirena IUD a year ago and ittook her 6 MONTHS to stop spotting. Holy cow. That’s a very long time. But okmost women only experience spotting for 2-3 months so hopefully I am like mostwomen.
Then the OBGYN finally arrived and inserted the Mirena IUD.It was a pretty quick procedure, and luckily, I did not experience an excessiveamount of bleeding, dizziness, or pain during and after placement. I did feelsome cramping for a few days, but nothing even compared to a regular periodcramp. Ok done. Woohoo. That was easy … perhaps too easy? I should have known,I am not that lucky of a gal.
The following …bloody … 5 months.
Oh gosh. The nurse was not kidding about the spotting. Ispotted on and off for the next 5 months, which was super annoying because Ihad to basically wear pads all the time. Some days were heavier than others, tothe point where I got confused when I actually had my period. Do you know howirritating it is to change pads all the time when you are with a baby and atoddler who need to cramp into the bathroom with you whenever you go? But onething I knew … I wasn’t getting pregnant! I am going to argue that the MirenaIUD’s statistics are a bit skewed because it’s not like people are havingintercourse anyway during the initial bloody months. You go Mirena IUD, youhave achieved 100% effective rate for birth control.
The happy days.
For a few months, I thought my period had regulated and Iwas done with the spotting. My period was pretty normal, no heavier or lighterthan usual, and came every month in a timely manner. I thought I was in theclear and done thinking about birth control for the next 4.5 years.
The spotting resumed …and never stopped.
About 9 months after I got the Mirena IUD, I startedspotting again. At first it was very light, so I thought it would go awayquickly. However, as time passed, the spotting got heavier and heavier. Theremay have been a couple of days when the spotting stopped, giving me false hope,but then it came back again with a vengeance. I ruined so many underwearthinking that the spotting had stopped. I used up so many boxes of pantylinersand pads that I lost count. And the blood just kept coming….
The mood swings.
As much as the spotting bothered me, nothing could compareto the mood swings I experienced. Now, most people would describe me as a verycalm and patient person. Most of my friends couldn’t even picture me yelling atmy kids (oh believe me, as much as I don’t want to, I do). Before I gotpregnant, I always knew my period was coming because the day before I wouldhave a migraine and I would feel more short-tempered for that one day. Allthat’s to say, I am not a very hormonal or emotional person.
However, on the Mirena IUD, I felt like the Hulk. One momentI would be my normal self, and the next I felt like putting my fist through thewall. The only things I was missing were the bulging muscles and green skintone. In fact, one time, I was so frustrated that I pounded my hand really hardon the bathtub … and ended up not being able to use my ring and pinky fingerson that hand for a week without extreme pain. And I couldn’t even remember whatI was so mad about.
The biggest concern, of course, was my behavior in front ofthe kids. When my kids are not being the most obedient humans (and seriously,what kids are?), I struggled to hold back the anger that was waiting to burstout of every fiber of my body. I remember once, my son spilled some water onthe floor by accident, and I just snapped at him and lectured him forever. Andit was just a little bit of water. That night, after my hormones calmed down, Ifelt so guilty that I had trouble sleeping.
After realizing that my hormones were causing my emotions tobe unstable, I tried to run away as much as possible from my children when Iwas being irrationally infuriated. I would either run to an empty bedroom tocalm down before returning to the kids, or if my husband was available, throwthe kids at him and just go somewhere … anywhere … so that I didn’t show my ragein front of my children. The extreme mood swings, not the spotting, was whatled me to make an appointment with my OBGYN to check on the IUD.
The disappointing doctorappointment.
The biggest concern when my OBGYN heard about all mysymptoms was that the IUD had been displaced. However, after checking on thestring as well as conducting an ultrasound, the doctor confirmed that the IUDwas in the correct position. So the answer to all these side effects was … weDON’T KNOW. Therefore, I was sent home with the hope that my body was stilladjusting to the IUD and that I just need to wait it out.
The skin issues.
Remember how I was saying that my periods are prettypredictable because my hormones go out of whack the day before I startbleeding? Well, before the IUD, about once a month I got one or two pimplesaround the time I had my period. Other than that, my skin was usually zit-free.However, while on the IUD, I started getting these persistent cysts that wereextremely huge and painful. They were not the type of pimple you can pop (youare not supposed to but come on, they are hard to resist). Instead, these cystsform deep under the skin, and for me, they love to form around my jawline. WhenI got them, I felt like Jay Leno because my chin felt gigantic with thesecysts.
So with the anger management issues and the acne, I was likethe Hulk meets Jay Leno. Big, green, livid Jay Leno. Wait … am I describing Shrek before he fell in love and becamea nice guy?
At one point, I could have sworn that I was pregnant. I evenwent out to get pregnancy tests to make sure, though it would have been amiracle baby because there was definitely no action in the bedroom with all thespotting and mood swings going on. On random days, I would be nauseous andfeeling very lightheaded. Although I never got to the point of vomiting, I wasdry heaving and even ran to the toilet a few times as precaution. I was also soooooo tired, but it’s difficult totell what’s the normal level of fatigue for a mom with two toddlers. Some daysI felt like the Wile E. Coyote and had chased the Roadrunner for miles, just tohave a gigantic anvil on my head.
I was also experiencing physical symptoms. I LOOKEDpregnant. Sure, I was still working on losing the baby weight, but I shouldn’tbe looking like I was 5 months pregnant. I was so bloated and uncomfortable thewhole day. Therefore, with the way I felt plus the bloating, it was justgetting way too difficult to be a happy mom.
The ultimate decision.
After discussing with my husband, I realized … what’s thepoint of having the Mirena IUD? The whole purpose of it was birth control, andwith all the side effects it wasn’t like sex was an option. The way to preventhaving more children is interfering with me being a good parent to the childrenwe have, and that just didn’t make sense when there are other choices.Therefore, I made the appointment and removed the Mirena IUD. The OBGYNconcluded that my body and hormones were just not compatible with the MirenaIUD and there was nothing to do about it.
I have stopped birth control all together for a couplemonths, then tried the mini pill. Even though I achieved taking the mini pillat the same time everyday (eh … or close enough), about a few months later Istarted spotting again. My OBGYN said that the mini pill works similarly to theMirena IUD, so it’s not surprising that I was experiencing similar sideeffects. Great. Bye bye mini pills.
In the end, my husband and I decided to go the malesterilization route. Instead of messing with my hormones by trying differentbirth control methods, the physical route of blocking the sperm seems to bemuch simpler. We are in the process of setting up the appointments to get theprocedure done … wish us luck!!!
What are yourexperiences with the Mirena IUD?