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Want to know the most effective form of birth control?  This guy:

photo

Juuuust kidding.  Kind of.

 

So – let’s return to one of my most popular blog series, The Big Birth Control Question.  This is a topic that I’ve been discussing and debating since early 2010. The gist of the post series goes a bit like this: 

 

  • Part I (February 2010) – I began to have concerns that I’ve been on the Pill for “too long” and feared I won’t get my period if I go off of it after hearing horror stories from my girlfriends and other bloggers.
  • Part II (July 2010) – I begin to educate myself about the Fertility Awareness Method and went off the Pill.
  • Part III (September 2010) – I begin to use the FAM method.
  • Part IV (December 2010) – We decide FAM isn’t going to work for us and I go back on the Pill.
  • September 2011 (<— still my favorite post ever) – I get pregnant (purposefully) and publicly announce the news in November, sharing all the baby details here.  I used an online ovulation calculator to get pregnant as quickly as possible once we decided to try (kind of proving that the flip side of FAM works).

 

When I was pregnant, I addressed post-baby birth control by stating that my plans were to initially use LAM (the Lactational Amenorrhea Method).

 

Basically, LAM takes advantage of ‘lactational infertility’ that occurs while you are breastfeeding.  According to Planned Parenthood, it can be just as effective as the Pill.  The La Leche League claims that some clinical trials show it has a 99% effectiveness.  Basically, if you are a new mother who fits the following three criteria, you can use the LAM method:  Your baby is less than 6 months old, you are amenorrheic (your period hasn’t returned), and you are breastfeeding day and night regularly (every four hours during the day and every six at night).  ‘More intensive’ periods of breastfeeding extend your infertility further.  Feeding formula, pumping instead of nursing, and introducing solids have been proven to reduce the effectiveness of LAM.

 

After a few months, I planned to get an IUD put in: 

 

An IUD is a U- or T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus; copper IUDs are non-hormonal and work by making the lining of the uterus inhospitable to sperm and any fertilized embryos.  The IUD has to be inserted and removed by a doctor and lasts up to ten years.  So there’s a huge bonus – insert it and be done thinking about birth control – yay!  Plus, since the copper IUD ParaGard doesn’t contain hormones, your period comes as it naturally would.  And it’s 99% effective.

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(Source)

 

So – how did that all work out?  Well, I ended up getting the IUD put in much, much faster than I originally thought I would (the fastest my doctor would allow – 8 weeks post-partum to the day). 

 

One of the things that I didn’t account for was post-pregnancy bleeding, which lasts a relatively long time (for me, it was three weeks – pretty short compared to the average).  Once it stopped, however, it didn’t really ever stop-stop for two months.  I had occasionally spotting, and I was never sure if it was post-baby bleeding or the return of my period. Of course, your period returning ruins the effectiveness of LAM, so I totally freaked out every time I spotted.  Another factor is that because I started to pump instead of actually breastfeeding, I occasionally went longer than the recommended time limit. I became very, very nervous that LAM wouldn’t work, and that I would get immediately pregnant.  And – I mean this in the nicest way possible – getting pregnant again right now would be really upsetting.

 

I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment to get the ParaGard put in.  Since I had met my insurance deductible thanks to labor and delivery, the entire thing was free (otherwise, my early price-checking clocked it in at $800 – not sure how much it would be under the new ObamaCare, however). However, considering the device lasts 10 years, that’s not so bad in the long run.  I’ve heard that getting the IUD put in isn’t as painful if you’ve had a baby, but I have to say that the pain level was akin to a drug-free birth contraction… AKA really, really painful.  Thankfully, it only lasted for a few minutes.  But it was much more painful than I thought it would be, and I took a cervical dilator beforehand.

 

There are many risks associated with an IUD, as there are with many forms of birth control.  Risks include the introduction of bacteria during insertion, the risk of inflammation or scarring, a reaction to the copper/nickel, and heavier and more uncomfortable periods.  That being said, now that I have the IUD put in, the benefits are AMAZING.  I never have to think about birth control (huge bonus at this point in my life… I can barely remember to brush my teeth) and the IUD is now pain-free.  I love that it’s hormone-free, as that was my major issue with birth control pills in the first place.

 

This all being said, I know the next question is, ‘But seriously, as a new mom, how much sex are you having anyway?’ HAH!  Well, I’m not going to get into specifics, but let’s just say that things feel – ah – different post-baby, especially considering that I had a third-degree tear associated with an episiotomy.  It took about 10 weeks to feel close to normal for bedroom activities, and I know I’m still healing.  (Riddle me this: I could easily run completely pain-free after 4 weeks.)

 

So – that’s my journey to date.  I really think it’s so important as women to discuss birth control options and experiences, which is why I refuse to shy away from the topic. I’d love you to share about your journey, too, especially as it relates to post-baby birth control and your experiences with the horizontal polka after baby (if you’re brave and willing!).

{ 119 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Jayce October 9, 2012, 9:58 am

    We are using the LAM method only because I am ebf, but would actually be thrilled to conceive at any time as it was so difficult the first time! That said, it is extra unlikely since we’ve had sex three times in the last 16 weeks…

    Reply
  • colleen October 9, 2012, 10:02 am

    If I remember correctly we only used condoms occasionally after our first and second son – generally around the time I knew I was ovulating. However, since we have three children, that birth control method didn’t work the best! Luckily, there is 2 years between my oldest and second and three years between my second and third. Since number three was a shock, the husband wasted no time in scheduling a vasectomy (something he prolonged due to fears since our second son).

    As for the horizontal polka, it was painful the first couple of times fter each baby. Each baby also brought the need for more kegels – something I still need to work on. Things are definitely looser.

    Reply
  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance October 9, 2012, 10:03 am

    Okay–that has to be one of the cutest pictures of Henry you’ve ever posted. SO CUTE!

    Reply
  • Lindsay October 9, 2012, 10:07 am

    I am in the same exact boat. It took 3 weeks or so for my bleeding to stop and even then I still had occasional bleeding. I expressed my concerns with my midwife and she took a pregnancy test at my 6 week to see if I still had any of the hormone left but I didn’t so she wasn’t concerned and said continued spotting/light bleeding can happen to breastfeeding moms.

    As for birth control my husband and I had discussed him getting the snip but in the end decided to go with the Paraguard IUD because it is hormone free and i dont have to even think about it

    Reply
  • Bobbie October 9, 2012, 10:09 am

    I wanted to do the para gard after my 3rd because I too have issues with the hormones in birth control. Any time I’ve ever taken birth control I start to get terrible migraines once a month. That may not sound so bad, once a month, but when you have little ones to take care of and work to do it’s debilitating. Anyway, my dr. thought that the IUD was not a good choice for me b/c I had 3 c-sections. He may have explained why this was an issue but I don’t remember. I really should research why. We’ve since decided we are completely done having little ones so the husband is going to have “the big V,” so at this point it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, just thought I’d share.
    P.S. Henry is adorable and he is getting so big. I love seeing regular pics of him. Keep it up! :)

    Reply
  • Allie October 9, 2012, 10:09 am

    I’m not a mom (yet!) but I stopped hormonal BC about 6 months ago because I was having all sorts of crazy side effects. Really looking forward to reading everyone else’s comments and experiences on this, as it’s something I’ll need to think about in the next couple of years. Thanks for keeping it real, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Nikki October 9, 2012, 10:10 am

    I had the Paragard and I also thought it was the best thing ever–no hormones, nothing to remember! But then I got pregnant. Since then I’ve heard so many women tell me that they also got pregnant with an IUD. (My IUD was still perfectly in place when I got pregnant–it hadn’t dislodged or anything.)
    I’ve since asked my OB/GYN why it seems like so many women get pregnant with a functioning IUD, and she says that the new thinking is that the IUD effectiveness was originally tested on older women, most of whom had at least one or more kids. Now, however, the IUD is being used by women who are much younger–and, significantly–more sexually active than women who are married with kids, which is perhaps the reason why more women are getting pregnant with an IUD. Based on this I’m curious to see what studies ten years from now say about the effectiveness of IUD, i.e. if new studies including younger women will show a decrease in the IUDs effectiveness.

    Reply
    • lynne @ lgsmash October 9, 2012, 11:45 am

      yikes! thanks for sharing re: pregnancy.

      Reply
      • Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) October 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

        I’ve heard of women getting pregnant many times, too, which is one reason I don’t think I’ll get an IUD . But unfortunately there are no perfect options for birth control, which is why I love hearing how each woman decides what is best for her. It’s a questions I struggle with constantly, since we are wanting to wait a little bit before getting pregnant again.

        Reply
        • LMN October 9, 2012, 2:24 pm

          I had a mirena inserted a month ago. Eeeeek-good to know about pregnancy…I thought it was dangerous to be pregnant with an IUD (for both mom and baby). Looks like I will buy stock in pregnancy tests, as periods can stop with Mirena.

          Reply
          • Brittany (healthy slice of life) October 9, 2012, 2:40 pm

            I’ve herd mirena has less chance of pregnancy since it combos with hormones! So hopefully no surprise babies in your future :)

          • Kate October 9, 2012, 7:35 pm

            LMN – Mirena is more effective than the normal IUD because it has hormones in it as well. Doctors say the mirena is just as effective as a vasectomy.

          • Kath October 10, 2012, 2:35 am

            I had Mirena for 3 years and loved it. No periods! And agreed – the extra protection of the TINY dose if hormones makes it the most effective out there

    • Gia October 9, 2012, 3:34 pm

      Nikki -
      Had you been pregnant before having the IUD inserted? I’d always been told (and learned in sex ed class way back in High School) that IUDs were not effective unless you’d had a baby already. A friend recently told me that that’s not the case anymore…but maybe it still is! Just wanted to be 100% clear because I couldn’t totally tell from your post. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Nikki October 9, 2012, 3:52 pm

        I didn’t have any pregnancies or babies before the IUD, and now that you mention that I think I remember learning something similar…
        I agree with Brittany’s point about no perfect forms of birth control. In my case, I felt like the IUD was virtually 100% effective, and the shock of realizing that it wasn’t was pretty unpleasant.

        Reply
        • Jenny October 9, 2012, 5:24 pm

          I have mirena, too, and asked the doc about this. They said the older thinking that you should only have an IUD after having a baby was about fit, not effectiveness. Once you’ve had a baby your uterus is stretched, so you won’t feel the IUD moving around.

          Is it true that Iud placement feels around the same as a contraction? I could hardly feel mine going in, so that would be awesome!

          Reply
          • Kath October 10, 2012, 2:39 am

            Agreed – I had one pre-baby and the only drawback is that it supposedly hurts more at insertions. I’m getting another so I’ll have to share how it compares. It does feel likea a contraction, but only hurts for 10 seconds

    • Melissa October 9, 2012, 5:37 pm

      We have 10 month old twins who we tried for YEARS to have but when we finally got pregnant and had twins, birth control was needless to say a TOP priority for us as I didn’t want 3+ little ones under a year old! :) I had an appointment to get the IUD but also heard of a lot of people getting pregnant with an IUD so I opted for a Pill…… I also have PCOS and they actually recommend hormonal options for PCOS patients so oddly enough, b/c horomones are good in my case…

      Reply
    • victoria October 9, 2012, 8:13 pm

      well this is pretty scary since IUDs are currently being promoted for teen use quite heavily. Maybe not such a good idea! Lord knows if anyone is having tons of action it’s the teens! LOL

      Reply
    • Jessica October 9, 2012, 10:24 pm

      What?! I have never heard of this! What happens when you get pregnant with an IUD in? Can the IUD harm the pregnancy? Do you have to get the IUD taken out? Or would that be a huge risk to the baby? Scary!

      Reply
      • Gia October 12, 2012, 11:14 am

        I remember our sex ed teacher telling a story (probably not real) about a baby being born with the IUD on top of it’s head! Scary urban myth for teens?? I’m currently pregnant (36 weeks) and was planning to get a non-hormonal IUD after baby arrives. I’ve had a great pregnancy – and can’t wait to meet my baby girl – but we’re in no rush for baby #2! Thanks all for the info on your IUDs! This definitely gives me something to talk about with my doc as well…

        Reply
  • Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer October 9, 2012, 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I have been on an up and down journey regarding birth control. I feel like it made me batty for awhile. After 5 years on the pill I decided to go the IUD route- but I did mirena, which does use hormones. It was rather painful to put in – but I love not having to think about it now. Wish I would have known more about the hormone free option before I got this one in!

    Reply
  • Natalie @ Free Range Human October 9, 2012, 10:28 am

    Thanks so much for talking about this. I, too, have been really concerned about being on birth control for “too long.” My husband and I aren’t planning on having children so I’m not really sure what my options are. We’ve discussed him taking care of things, but we’re not willing to completely shut the door on a baby just yet.

    Reply
  • Kathleen Ojo @ Onward; Inward October 9, 2012, 10:36 am

    Very interesting! I’m 10 weeks pp and just met with my doc to discuss birth control on Friday. I’m breastfeeding, but my daughter already sleeps really long stretches at night – up to 8 hours sometimes – so I’m worried about using LAM. I wanted ParaGard, but my insurance doesn’t cover the device at all and they were telling me it would cost around $1200?!?! Sadly, with being off work right now and looming daycare costs, we just can’t afford that :-( I ended up on the mini-pill for now, but I’d really like to get off the hormones asap (and I’m just not interested in barrier methods).

    The nurse practitioner told me I should find a mail-order pharmacy in Canada to order the ParaGard – it goes for only $100-$200 there, allegedly, and my doc will insert it if I bring it in (insertion is covered by insurance, but the device is not). I just need to find a reputable pharmacy… it seems so shady to me, but what’s a girl to do?? I do NOT want another baby for a couple years at least.

    Reply
    • Rachel October 9, 2012, 12:04 pm

      I get meds from a mail-order pharmacy in Canada and it is legit. I’ve also had an IUD inserted in me within the last year so I can say it’s well worth it :)

      Reply
    • Dominique Bain October 9, 2012, 12:08 pm

      I also heard that you can order them from Canada and it’s a reliable way to get the paragard. But you should double check with your insurance, because the ParaGard should now be covered under “preventative care” and should be completely covered by your insurance. It was for me.

      Reply
      • Katherine October 9, 2012, 4:46 pm

        I got a Paragard from Planned Parenthood in CA, and it was free because of my income level! I’m sure it varies from state to state, but its worth calling and asking them what the cost would be. Even if your income is too high, the cost is certainly lower than what an OB/GYN would charge to provide and insert it (mine said $500+!)

        Reply
        • Kathleen Ojo @ Onward; Inward October 9, 2012, 9:45 pm

          My nurse practitioner also said to check with Planned Parenthood! I’m pretty sure my income would be too high to get it for free, but I can probably swing something in the $500 range.

          Reply
    • Jackie October 10, 2012, 11:36 pm

      I got a copper IUD inserted recently in Canada. The device is made by Bayer and was not the paragard. It cost 208 including taxes but it also lasts 5 years

      Reply
  • Debbie October 9, 2012, 10:44 am

    I’m beyond the age of having to worry about birth control…but I just wanted to say that you have the most beautiful child!

    Reply
  • Claire October 9, 2012, 10:49 am

    I’m so glad you’re addressing these issues! They are so important and are ignored all too often. I was on the pill for 15 years before I started trying to conceive, and I had no issues at all going off the pill and getting pregnant (we got pregnant our 3rd month trying).

    I got the same ParaGard put in at my 6 week appointment and, although it wasn’t painless per say, it was no where close to the pain of a contraction! More like period cramps, and I also had no residual pain after insertion. I had mine done at my 6 week postpartum appointment. It was FREE due to ObamaCare :) (otherwise it would have been $500 out of pocket). I love it, and I especially love that I never have a period with it in – so low maintenance!

    I’m sorry that your romantic life isn’t back to normal, it can take a while! Luckily for me, we started right back up ;) after my 6 week appointment and things are still great now at 10 months out. There is one, um, position that we avoid sometimes because I feel a little sore after a while, but otherwise things were great straight from the start. And having a baby was such a wonderful time for our relationship emotionally, it really felt like a second honeymoon. I never expected to be so amorous postpartum! I also had very bad 3rd degree tears (inside and out, in both directions) after my 60 hour natural childbirth, so I don’t know why my recovery was so easy. One thing was that I purposefully didn’t start any heavy exercise routine (no running, I only walked and did some very light weights) until well after my 6 week doctor’s appointment (I didn’t start running until closer to 10 weeks postpartum), so maybe running so early slowed down your recovery?

    Reply
    • victoria October 9, 2012, 8:22 pm

      I think you were just really really lucky! And maybe for whatever reason your body doesn’t produce much scar tissue – maybe like people who don’t get stretch marks either?

      But – I don’t think that running would have delayed any healing – especially since she started out slowly and gradually increased the length of time etc. Plus, running works the glutes and squats and glute work help to support the pelvic floor which in turn helps the entire nether regions as well as drawing blood flow to the area which also promotes healing etc etc. Sitting around and not being active would have likely delayed healing.

      Reply
      • Claire October 10, 2012, 9:13 pm

        Oh, I agree, exercise postpartum is essential! But one of the main reasons they don’t recommend any high impact exercise until 6 weeks postpartum is because of the risk of things like uterine prolapse (which I was really scared of, it’s why I stuck to low impact exercise for so long after delivering). That’s what made me think that running early may slow down recovery, since it can even result (in rare cases) in your uterus and bladder falling out!
        And that’s a good point about scar tissue (and since I did get about a million stretch marks, I guess I was lucky in one regard and unlucky in another, ha!).

        Reply
    • Caitlin October 9, 2012, 8:39 pm

      I guess I’ll never know! I hope not. I felt 100% and the doctor said go for it, so I think it certainly wasn’t the wrong decision.

      Reply
  • Annette@FitnessPerks October 9, 2012, 10:52 am

    I think it’s great that you share your journey! I’ve never had kids (yet), but I do have the PG, and I like it a lot!

    Reply
  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita October 9, 2012, 10:52 am

    My husband and I currently use FAM and it works well for us. I’ve strongly considered getting the copper IUD, but we are getting close to wanting to start our family and I don’t know if it would be worth the cost and pain at this point if I just went and took it out in a year, ya know?

    Reply
    • Lindsay October 9, 2012, 1:27 pm

      We did FAM for a few years and it worked really well but decided that it was much to difficult to try and do with a newborn so we went with the copper IUD

      Reply
  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life October 9, 2012, 10:54 am

    Great post! I was too scared to go back on birth control after my son was born because it took us so long to conceive with him. I knew I wanted a second child and didn’t want the birth control to interfere with that. My doc did recommend the IUD and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Fast forward to Baby #2 coming much earlier than we anticipated!!! With this pregnancy we practically just looked at each other and it happened for us!

    I wouldn’t change the timing for anything but we were a bit surprised and I will be seriously weighing my birth control options carefully this time around. The hormone-free aspect of the IUD is very appealing. Did your doctor share any negative factors of getting pregnant again after having an IUD? Baby #3 is a HUGE question mark for us and would definitely not happen as quickly as #2 did but I don’t want to hurt my chances.

    As for the horizontal polka… I didn’t have any tearing but I still took some time to feel relatively “normal” during the deed. It certainly has never been exactly the way it was before delivery but it is darn near close. It took much longer than I thought and there is still a bit of sensitivity at times. Overall it is business as usual… physically speaking. The mental aspects of being a new mom and knockin’ the boots can be tough sometimes. I have a hard time recalling the “sexy” pre-baby me. Now it’s even harder with a toddler and being 26 weeks pregnant. I’m exhausted, I have a million things running through my head at all times, my boobs are as big as volleyballs and when I take my bra off they drop down to my belly button!! Sexy, right? Now I’m going to add a newborn to the mix again! The great thing about my relationship is that we are very open and always communicate about EVERYTHING. I know we will get back where we once were. I just hope to get back to that “sexy” me. We miss her!

    Reply
  • Emily October 9, 2012, 10:55 am

    Caitlin,
    So glad that you are having a positive time with the Paragard! I got mine in June and I love it. I’m in Canada so the whole thing and insertion cost me about $30. I’ve never been pregnant, so I’m glad to hear that you thought the insertion felt like a drug-free contraction – it definitely hurt, but now I have a better idea of what labor might be like! Anyway, the Paragard is life-changing. Never have to think about birth control and it’s hormone-free. You’ll probably experience those heavier-than-normal periods, but they do get better after the first three months, in my experience. Thanks for spreading the word about this amazing form of birth control.

    Reply
  • Amanda K. October 9, 2012, 10:56 am

    at my 6-week check up my doctor asked what we were doing for birth control and i just started laughing. didn’t he know that i gave birth to 7lb 14oz birth control!??!?!

    thanks for sharing your experience. birth control is definitely different post-baby (esp. when you’re nursing!)

    Reply
  • Laura @ She Eats Well October 9, 2012, 10:56 am

    I worked in Reproductive Health for a while at UCSF a few years ago, with doctors performing research on all sorts of birth control. Curious as to if you’ve experienced any of the specific side effects to ParaGuard (headaches, heavy bleeding)?

    I think the IUD is an amazing birth control option since it has such a high efficacy rating! I tried to have the Mirena put in twice a few years back and my body physically rejected it, expelling it during the string check a month later and then, the second time it went in, I became an oil bomb (oily skin, hair, everything…)…I wanted it badly since it was such a convenient form of BC and efficacious, but eventually, I resorted back to the pill, which has always worked really well for me; I had just wanted the IUD for convenience, but the pill in the end really works for my body. It’s amazing what our bodies tell us!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 10, 2012, 4:48 pm

      Why did it cause an increase in your bodies production of oil??? How strange!

      Reply
      • Nicole October 10, 2012, 10:52 pm

        Something similar happened to me as well, regarding the oily skin. I developed major cystic acne on my face and scalp (weird, I know). I grew up with perfect skin so I had no idea what was going on and chalked it up to stress. After a couple more years and a new doc, he told me that my hormones were off balance. The Mirena’s hormone is progesterone and for some reason I had developed a progesterone dominance. He said it doesn’t happen to all women (we’re all different!). I had it taken out and it took my body a year to get back to “normal”.

        We a just have to figure out what’s right for us and our bodies. I love these discussions because it keeps women informed!

        Reply
  • amc2 October 9, 2012, 10:59 am

    Thanks for posting this. I am considering the nonhormonal IUD too.

    I have been reading your blog for about a year now and we have many similarities. We had the same due date, I wanted and had (yeah!) a natural childbirth, and my little guy arrived 6/9, so we have similar baby boys too. For those who are considering LAM, I recommend the book “Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing” by Sheila Kippley.

    Reply
  • Shannon October 9, 2012, 11:21 am

    Caitlin,

    Thanks for sharing your story and your research. I’m getting a hormonal IUD (Morena) inserted on Thursday. I do not have children, so I am a little worried about the pain of the insertion, but I’m super pumped for the birth control aspect!

    I’d be happy to do a blog post from the hormonal side if you’re looking for a guest:)

    Reply
    • LMN October 9, 2012, 2:28 pm

      I got mine a month ago. I also haven’t had a child. I took a cervical dilator, which caused slight cramping prior, but nothing worse than minor period cramps. The insertion doesn’t feel good, but it was only “bad” for about 30 seconds. Take lots of deep breaths! :-) In my opinion, it was worth it.

      Reply
  • Kortney October 9, 2012, 11:30 am

    Ugh. Post baby birth control has been a battle for me. I first was taking a pill that I had taken pre baby, but would forget. So then I started the nuvaring. Bad bad idea. It caused my blood pressure to sky rocket to crazy high levels. I had to go off of it and stay off any BC for a month to see if it would level my blood pressure back out.. It did. So the doctor told me that my only options were either an iud or the birth control you take while nursing. After consideration the mini pill just seemed like a huge risk since I’m not nursing and its not as effective. Looked into the iud… But I have not met my deductible so that was looking to be 900 and some odd dollars..which we don’t quite have.. I have been off BC for 3 months now. We are just using condoms (awful)… My husband works in the oil fields so he is gone 12 days home 3.5. Not much time time for the horizontal polka but we make it work;-) our baby is almost 11 months old so I am defiantly not looking into having another at this exact moment. Glad you found something that works for you! Hopefully I can soon!

    Reply
  • Samantha October 9, 2012, 11:33 am

    You said it was really painful when you got the IUD put in – how long did the pain last?? I’m considering getting one, as I have a blood disorder and CAN’T take anything hormonal.

    Reply
  • Jess October 9, 2012, 11:36 am

    I love that you openly talk about these important issues that we tend to be so weird about discussing! Honest personal stories make such a difference in decision making. You are a wonderful role model!

    I’ve never had children, but had the Mirena IUD inserted about the same time you got the Paragard. Word of advice to other women who have never given birth: ASK for cytotec! I had two failed insertions because of a cranky closed-up cervix, but I could not be happier with the decision now. The side effects from other HBC are completely gone and I feel like myself again!

    An interesting question: did you or anyone else who asked about the Paragard get steered toward the Mirena by your health professional? I went in leaning toward Mirena, but curious about Paragard, and my experience as well as that of several of my friends was that our doctors clearly preferred Mirena. Better marketing?

    Reply
    • Heidi October 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Mirena, from my perspective, is terrible. I had it for almost 4 years, and it almost ruined my life.
      -mood swings
      -no period for 4 years
      -no sex drive
      -hair loss
      -weight gain
      -no energy
      -ovarian cysts
      -memory loss

      If you are thinking about getting it, do some research. There are literally THOUSANDS of women out there who experienced the same things I did. Or worse. My Dr. wouldn’t remove it for me either. I had to go to planned parenthood to have it removed.

      The day I got it out, I felt like a new woman!! My period returned, I lost the 2o pounds I had gained in a few months, my mood improved, and I actually wanted my husband to touch me again!

      Reply
      • Kate October 9, 2012, 7:48 pm

        I have had the Mirena for over a year now with no problems what so ever. It is super smart to research before going ahead with it, but also keep in mind that people tend to post about negative experiences on internet review sites more often than they think to post positive experiences. So yes, there are many, many negative comments online about the Mirena, but I am sure many people who are super happy with it have not thought to share their postive experience on the internet. But of course it is not for everyone! Personally I am glad I didn’t let some of the reviews I read online stop me from getting one, because for me, it has been great! Less side effects than the pill in my case :)

        Reply
        • Kath October 10, 2012, 2:46 am

          What Kate said : )

          Reply
        • Jess October 10, 2012, 8:48 am

          Definitely what Kate said! A great, seemingly representative source of information for those thinking about any IUD in the US, Canada or Europe is http://iud-divas.livejournal.com.

          Reply
        • Kelly October 11, 2012, 2:39 pm

          Agreed, everyone is different. I got Mirena a year ago. I’d never had a child before and I found the insertion wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected (though I did have some cramping the following day). One year out I haven’t been experiencing any side effects and have found it to be a much more pleasant experience than oral birth control, which made my migraines flared up.

          I think with any sort of medical device or prescription it is unrealistic to think that no one will have a bad experience or side effects. But I do agree the online chatter can veer toward the negative and I always try to take everything I hear through the context of the stats on the drug.

          Reply
  • lynne @ lgsmash October 9, 2012, 11:41 am

    i just got the Mirena IUD put in a couple of weeks ago. i’ve never had a baby so the doctor gave me a prescription for Vicodin to take 1 hr before. obviously, i’m not sure what it would feel like without the meds, but it was still pretty painful to get the Mirena put it – but not so bad that i wouldn’t do it again.

    my husband and i want to wait 3ish yrs before we think about kids so the IUD is perfect for us – i am SO happy to not worry about a pill everyday and with Mirena, i’ll have little to no bleeding. now that i have it, i wonder why i didn’t do it sooner!

    and to your point about cost – women should definitely check with their insurance. i have blue cross and my plan covered the IUD 100%. i only paid my office visit co-pay ($50). so for me, the IUD pays for itself within 6 months. BALLER!

    Reply
  • Verna October 9, 2012, 11:44 am

    I used LAM after both kids. I had a bad tear after my son, was cleared at 4 weeks, I don’t think anything happened until closer to 6 weeks and quite honestly it took at least 6 months for things to feel “kind of” normal again. I don’t handle hormonal birth control very well and we weren’t too concerned with a surprise baby so we did the withdrawl method until we felt comfortable getting pregnant again and I got pregnant with my 2nd when my son was 1. I never had a period until my son was 8 months old. We are doing the same, birth control wise, after #2. Still no period until my daughter was 9 months. We’re actively trying now that my daughter will be 1 next week and haven’t had any luck yet. Not in a big hurry though. We’ll probably aim for 4 kids so I think we’re going to follow the same pattern until #4 arrives.

    Reply
    • Verna October 9, 2012, 11:46 am

      P.S. I had an IUD put in right before we got married and it was ROUGH!! I almost passed out from the pain, it was that bad. That was a large part of the reason I decided to go with and epidural for childbirth! After the initial trauma was over though, I really liked that method of birth control.

      Reply
  • Alicia October 9, 2012, 11:48 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I am now a little over 6 weeks pp and was just rereading your post about pp bc methods and the readers’ comments on the paragard. I still have a diaphragm and am not sure if I want to use it or get the paragard.

    You mentioned you were afraid you were getting your period before; now that more time has passed, have you clearly gotten it?

    By the way, I had a 2nd degree tear and agree that things are different. I even went back to the ob for an internal exam because I was afraid things were bad (they’re not) but while last week we tried and it was terrible, yesterday it was already much better.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth October 9, 2012, 11:48 am

    I have ParaGuard too and am loving it, except for the pain. I have never had a baby, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but holy cow, that was unpleasant. They even shot me up with lydicane. Although a friend of mine got hers at planned parenthood and they just put it in, nothing for the pain. I can’t imagine. For me I’ve experienced a little more cramping each month since I got the IUD, but it’s been worth it. I read that IUDs are the most popular meathod of birth control among women gynecologists, if anyone knows about BC, its them!

    Reply
  • Jenn October 9, 2012, 11:48 am

    I appreciate you posting this, too! I am 7 weeks out and am ebf. We have had sex a few times but it is *weird*. At this point, it feels more like I am “taking one for the team” than really enjoying it all too much yet because it just feels so odd. I had a natural delivery at a stand alone midwife and I am with you in that running feels more normal than sex.

    As for birth control, I think we are going to do the LAM/condoms but I appreciate your take on the IUD as I have considered that as well… we are a couple years out from trying for #2 (in my opinion) so an IUD might be a good option. While getting pregnant right now wouldn’t be the END of the world, I can’t say that I wouldn’t lock myself in a closet and cry for a bit if it happened…

    Reply
  • Dawn October 9, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Funny that you should post this today. I actually had a paraguard inserted yesterday – 3 months post delivery. We used condoms for the few weeks before that. I did not think the insertion hurt that much though, just some minor cramping.
    I made the decision because I knew we would not stick with condoms for very long, and I am one of those horror stories of what happens when a person stays on hormone birth control for a long time (14 years on BC, took 6 yr to conceive after).
    When I picked up the Paraguard I was actually surprised that my insurance covered it completely, so I asked the pharmacist. She said that Healthcare reform inspired many insurance carriers to cover contraception and birth control 100%

    Reply
  • Jackie @ MomJovi October 9, 2012, 12:25 pm

    It’s so funny that you posted this. I’ve been going through a lot of drama with my IUD. A lot. About a week-and-a-half ago, my IUD, which was also Paragard, had to come out, less than one month after it was inserted, because it failed to attach itself to my uterus. Basically, my uterus contracted for those four weeks (and I had a TON of bleeding), until it finally nearly expelled it. Good times. Here’s my post in case you or your readers are interested in my experience, which my commenters have told told me is rare (meaning I’m the freak that it didn’t work on!). http://momjovi.com/2012/10/so-about-that-iud/

    I’m currently scheduled to try again next Friday but my anxiety about it is starting to rise. Like yours, my insertion hurt so, so bad. This time, my midwife has prescribed a valium for me. I’m hoping that helps. I’m glad to hear your experience is going better and I’m really, really hoping the second time is the charm for me.

    And yes, under the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect on Aug. 1, the IUD should be covered for everyone now or after their next enrollment period begins (usually Jan. 1). Mine would have cost me $800 out of pocket pre-Aug. 1. I called the day after the law went into effect and found out it was FINALLY covered. Not to be a pessimist but if anyone is considering it, I’d get on it before the election (JUST IN CASE BUT HOPEFULLY NOT!) since Romney plans to dismantle Obamacare asap.

    Reply
  • Sara October 9, 2012, 12:27 pm

    I’m pregnant now (yay!) after being on the pill for 7-8 years. I am not sure what route I want to take post-baby. I def. don’t want baby two right away, so we’ll need something for sure.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 9, 2012, 12:32 pm

      Congratssss!

      Reply
  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut October 9, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I got a blood clot in my calf last summer and went off the pill immediately. The experience spooked me so much that I went BC-free for over a year. I just started taking a non-estrogen pill this week, so we’ll see how it goes. My doctor told me I might miss periods, which kind of freaks me out because that’s why I like taking BC—to give me peace of mind!

    Reply
  • Carolina John October 9, 2012, 12:44 pm

    The secretary at my accountant’s office has 4 kids, each born exactly 11 months apart because she continued to believe that she couldn’t get pregnant again while breastfeeding. She only knew she was pregnant because the milk dried up. she has problems.

    Kids are the best birth control out there. Mine are pretty fantastic but how people have multiple kids is beyond me. (well, i’ll share the story with you just not on a public comment). it’s insane.

    Reply
  • Coqui October 9, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Wow! way to throw in politics in the most bizarre way
    Oh, well…

    Reply
    • Lesley October 9, 2012, 2:40 pm

      Sorry, but I have to ask–where does this post “throw in politics in the most bizarre way”? All I see is one brief, commentary-free, and relevant mention of Obamacare!

      Reply
      • Caitlin October 9, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Agree?

        Reply
        • Kate October 9, 2012, 7:50 pm

          I think they are referring to Obamacare… But I don’t think it sounded political at all, was totally relevant to the topic.

          Reply
      • Jackie October 9, 2012, 6:56 pm

        Agree w/ Lesley

        Reply
        • Sarah October 9, 2012, 10:49 pm

          Not bizarre in the least, but totally relevant! I also live in Canada and couldn’t be happier that safe and effective birth control options are now more accessible to American women under the Affordable Care Act. I can book an appointment with a doctor this week and have an IUD inserted for $30, and as a University student, this is fortunately within my budget. Now if the Canadian government would expand our Registered Midwives the scope to prescribe birth control and insert IUDs I’d really be satisfied, but I’ve digressed from my original point that women’s reproductive rights, health and safety trump political lines.

          Reply
    • Karen October 10, 2012, 2:51 am

      Yeah, way to find the negative in everything.

      Reply
    • Jennie (in Wonderland) October 10, 2012, 7:00 pm

      Throwing “politics” into a discussion about birth control is completely relevant, especially since the USA is facing such a stark decision when it comes to women’s rights. As a Canadian, I’m surprised it’s such a close race — but anyway, that’s another story. As long as the government wants to (or seeks to) legislate reproductive health, politics is always relevant in a discussion about it.

      Reply
  • Angie October 9, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I was on birth control pills before trying to get pregnant the first time. In between #1 and #2 and #2 and #3, we used condoms (I tried the mini pill at one point but could not remember to take it at the exact same time every day). At my 6 week appointment after #3 I had the Mirena IUD inserted (it was a good time to get it done because it was easy to insert). This was 7 years ago, and at the time my doctor was not familiar with the Mirena. I did the research and knew that Paraguard would not be right for me because I have very heavy periods. I know that a side effect of the copper IUD is heavier periods and that women who normally have heavy periods sometimes have big problems (I know at least one woman who had to have Paraguard removed because she became anemic from the bleeding). So I got the Mirena, which was great for about 4 years until I started getting weird symptoms like lots of spotting and feeling like I was pregnant. My doctor insisted on removing it to see if the symptoms went away, which they did. Up until that point I had LOVED the Mirena – no worrying about BC and very light periods.

    Since the hubby and I were nearing 40 and sure that we were done having children, we used condoms for a period of time until he got it together to get snipped. Apparently, we were either not vigilant or I’m just really fertile because we found out about surprise #4 a couple of weeks after I turned 40. During my pregnancy, the hubby got snipped so there will be no surprise #5!!!

    Amazingly enough, we’ve gotten back in the saddle pretty quickly after each birth, even though my smallest baby was 8 lbs even and the biggest was 9 lb, 9 oz. But I can’t say the frequency is back to what it was now that we have 4 kids, including a 15 month old!

    Reply
  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy October 9, 2012, 1:08 pm

    I love that you’re so open about this :). I’m on the pill, and I really don’t like putting extra hormones into my body, but I have endometriosis and it’s the only thing that stops my pelvic pain. We use backup birth control too (condoms), because I’m super paranoid. Truthfully, though, neither of us like using the backup option. Maybe I should trust my BC and be less paranoid?

    Reply
    • Anne October 10, 2012, 7:18 pm

      We use the pill and withdrawal method cause I am super paranoid as well!

      Reply
  • Dori October 9, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I love hearing stories from other women who got ParaGard. I got mine back in April and that day was brutal. I was screaming in pain so badly that my fiance had to call my doctor and speak to her because I couldn’t even talk. I was very tempted to go to the ER and have it removed right then. But he spoke to my doctor twice and the third time she called I was able to talk to her thanks to her assistance in having him give me the right types of pain meds. But I can’t believe they let ANYONE walk out of there without something strong! I thought my insides were being torn apart, but luckily the pain subsided and now I am SO happy I have it. By far the greatest birth control method for me (although I wouldn’t go through that first day ever again – so glad I am good for years). I get some bad pains once a month a few days before my period reminiscent of that first day but it usually only lasts a few hours. My periods are very different but not bad at all. I hope yours continues to work out for you!

    Reply
  • Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets October 9, 2012, 1:48 pm

    I am not pregnant, and my husband and I do not want to have kids, so I keep thinking, do I have to be on birth control pills forever? I have considered the IUD but have heard such crazy stories (which might all be the exceptions) but have not bitten the bullet. The birth control pill for me currently is nice because it helps reduce cramps (I would get them so bad I would be out for the day) but it has completely ruined the sex drive. I have tried multiple kinds but no luck. Some make me crazy, other acne, some low sex drive. I prefer the low sex drive over those.

    Thanks for sharing your story and allowing others to comment about this. It is great research. I hope I figure it out sometime soon. Taking birth control pills until my 50s sounds ridiculous.

    Reply
    • Gretchen October 9, 2012, 10:21 pm

      Do you not think a vasectomy is an option? My fiancé and I don’t want to have kids (ever), and we’re just counting down the days until we can afford that & I can stop taking these crazy pills (I struggle with vaginismus, so an IUD really isn’t even an option for me).

      Reply
  • Molly October 9, 2012, 1:48 pm

    After many ill effects of hormone-based birth controls (pills, nuvaring, condoms) I finally went to Paragard & it has improved my life dramatically! No adverse effects from hormones and no impediments to intimacy! It has also made my menstrual cramps less severe – yay! Insertion was slightly painful but a few minutes of discomfort for months/years of hormone-free benefits was a fantastic trade off!

    Reply
  • Marie October 9, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I’ve been considering the IUD (ParaGard) as well. I’m now 10 months postpartum. However, I know of several people who have gotten pregnant WHILE using the IUD. Which scares the HELL out of me. How did you get your brain around that and relax and be confident the IUD is working? Thanks.

    Reply
  • Erika October 9, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I breastfed my son for 1 year and didn’t get my period the entire time. I got it about a month after I weaned him. I guess we didn’t really practice birth control while I was nursing – even though we knew getting pregnant could happen.

    I think I bled for a week or two. I don’t remember being that sore afterwards but I had a c-section so things didn’t really get stretched out down there.

    I thought about the IUD but since it lasts so long and we didn’t want to wait 10 years before having another child the cost didn’t make sense for us.

    Reply
  • Sally October 9, 2012, 2:08 pm

    He looks so much like you in that first picture! Adorable baby!

    Reply
  • Dominique Bain October 9, 2012, 2:13 pm

    I am now on my third IUD and although I ‘ve had some slight problems, I really think it is the best form of birth control for my husband and I. I got the first IUD in 2008, but expelled it after just a month. I really don’t think it was inserted corrected to begin with. I convinced Planned Parenthood to try it again, which they did and then I had the second IUD for three and a half years. I had to get it removed after a scooter accident in Taiwan where I landed on my left hip and had to have chiropractic care to even out my hips again. Somewhere between the accident and the chiropractor, the IUD got dislodged and embedded in my cervix. I didn’t get a new IUD at that point because I knew we were going to start trying to have a baby in the next six months, so I ended up taking the pill for three months, just to get to the point where my new insurance kicked in. I now have a three month old daughter and got a new IUD put in a month ago.

    As far as pain with the IUD goes, the insertions before I had a baby were much worse than the one after. But the pain was brief and the rewards were great. I, personally, had more painful removals of the IUD than insertions. The first one because it was partially expelled and the doctor didn’t tell me she was going to remove it, she just pulled so it was a shock. And the second one because it was partially imbedded in my cervix and it took them a long time to get it out. I’m not saying this to scare anyone. It is still well worth it in my opinion. I also had heavier and longer periods the entire time with the IUD.

    As far as sex after baby, we are three months out and still not “normal”. I am extra sensitive in some good and some not so good ways. I haven’t had time to devote to learning about how my body has changed and doing Kegels and all that good jazz. The other issue is definitely time. I’m a grad student and my husband is a teacher and wrestling coach, and between that and the baby, we hardly have time to talk to each other much less have sex.

    Reply
  • Lesley October 9, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I’ve never used hormonal BC or an IUD as I’ve always been worried about side effects and other potential issues (I’m lucky that condoms, spermicides, and charting have worked for me), but I like to read different women’s experiences with the Pill, IUDs, etc. just in case I need a change.

    Thanks for sharing your story about the IUD.

    And Henry, as always, is such a cutie!

    Reply
  • Ali October 9, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Sort of off topic, but it always amazes me (as a Canadian) to read about how expensive health care costs are in the US for women.

    And I didn’t notice any pain having sex after child birth many years ago (I had second degree tears) but my pelvic muscles are so weak!

    Reply
  • Morgan October 9, 2012, 2:54 pm

    I also got an IUD after my daughter was born and it was the worst pain of my life. I have a severely tilted uterus so it took a long time (15 minutes) to place with ultrasound guidance. It was worse than childbirth which I did did without medication. The good news is, I got mine out a few months ago and the removal was super easy, I didn’t even feel it:-)

    I will respond to your “horizontal polka” question. I also had a 3rd degree tear. I was back at spinning class and running by 4 weeks postpartum, ran a half marathon at 10 months postpartum. I did not feel 100% while having sex for 11 months. It took forever. I was also breastfeeding the whole time which may have contributed. It got better around 12 weeks but I was in at least a small amount of discomfort during the act for almost a year. The day it stopped hurting was like a miracle, I can actually remember it lol.

    Reply
  • Allison October 9, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Used FAM for 5 years before using it to get baby #1. After that went with LAM and back up diaphram for 6 mos. At 6 mos PP, got my period and used barrier methods until 9 mos PP when decided to just see what happened – which led to baby #2. 17 months apart, which has been great. About 3 mos PP with #2 Husband took care of things on his end, which is just about the best thing ever. I love not thinking about this issue anymore and we are completely happy with 2.

    Reply
  • katherine October 9, 2012, 4:31 pm

    Recently got Mirena and I have to say I love it. Personally, I do not care about having a monthly period which is why I choose Mirena. I actually haven’t had a period on the pill in over a year so Mirena was appealing because I would like to continue NOT having a period without having to spend $25 a month on birth control and having to take it daily. Hormonal birth control just works well for me (i.e.: I don’t cramp etc)

    Obviously the side effects vary from person to person but I haven’t had any weird side effects since the mild cramping I experienced after it was inserted. I haven’t had children and was warned about pain. To me it wasn’t painful, rather it was mild discomfort. Just like really bad cramps. My gyno always uses an ultrasound when inserting so it was super fast.

    For me, it has been great. I love not having to think about taking birth control daily. I feel like I’m in more control of my reproductive health if that makes any sense.

    And, Caitlin, under my health insurance my IUD was covered by obamacare.

    Reply
  • Jessica October 9, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Your baby boy is beyond beautiful!!!

    You had mentioned that you have tried ovulation calculator/calendar sites, which ones worked for you??

    Reply
  • Jenn October 9, 2012, 5:45 pm

    I currently have the Paraguard in as well. 2 years so far. I love it. I’ve had a problem with all the BC’s that I’ve taken that had hormones. My body reacted horribly and the NuvaRing made me have mood swings, gain weight and have CONSTANT headaches. The Paraguard turned out to be perfect for me.

    PS. I don’t know if it’s just me or if you’re down for it but I’ve discovered that the more sex you have while on your period & paraguard, the shorter your period lasts. TMI? lol

    Reply
  • Brit October 9, 2012, 5:57 pm

    I SO very much appreciate that you address this issue. I’m always curious about friends/family, but never want to ask unless the info is offered. I like to get different perspectives on how young women handle birth control. High five, lady!

    Reply
  • nicole October 9, 2012, 6:02 pm

    I am four months post partum, still not healed and wont be until I have surgery :( In my delivery (VBAC), my bladder and uterus both prolapsed. This has had a HUGE impact on my emotional and physical healing. We did not have sex for 3.5 months, and the first time post baby #2 was WAYYYY different than prebaby (forcep delivery=much looser lady parts). I have been going for physio, which had definately helped to tighten things, and I no longer feel a beach ball between my legs, but ultimately I will need a bladder repair and hysterectomy. As for emotional healing…I feel SOOOOO much better since starting physiotherapy and feeling improvement!! :)

    As for birth control….we are not using anything. Baby #3 is a maybe, and we are just going to let fate decide for us. We have only had sex twice, so our chances are not the greatest, plus I am exclusively breastfeeding…I refuse to go on any type of hormonal birth control…it made me a crazy lady!!!

    Henry is adorable!!!! Enjoy every second.

    Reply
  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset October 9, 2012, 6:13 pm

    I am not looking into baby making yet, but I stopped hormonal birth control 2 weeks ago! I feel like a BRAND NEW WOMEN!!! Seriously! And I didn’t even think that half of what I was feeling could be attributed to the pill!!! Now that I am off it? WOW. So dramatic. No more dizziness, dramatic (!!!) reduction in fatigue, no more feeling ‘weird’ all the time, no more 8am cortisol levels through the roof, more stamina, increased libido. It’s honestly insane. I would love Kristien to write a post on his take on hormonal birth control/other forms of birth control and the possible impacts these hormones can have on the neuroendocrine-immune system, especially from his alternative medical background :)

    Reply
  • victoria October 9, 2012, 8:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this post – I have thought about the IUD but don’t know much about it until now (at least a lot more perspective).

    As for PP activity….after my first I had I think it was a 2nd degree tear but in two directions, like a “Y” somewhat and I had really bad scar tissue that made anything pretty painful. The midwife suggested massaging the area to break up the scar tissue, but seriously? what new mom has time for that? We ended up using a numbing cream for the area for several months (beginning after about 5mos PP) just to be able to tolerate being “stretched”. It was not fun and not being able to feel much was a blessing in one way but seriously not super motivating for me in another sense. LOL! Alas baby #2 came along and somehow her birth and minor episiotomy with a different midwife cleaning up some of the scar tissue and I feel good as new. Thank goodness!! So post #2 and #3 things went much more smoothly and are dare I say even better now! Hang in there – I think most times it all works itself out in time.

    Reply
  • victoria October 9, 2012, 8:37 pm

    and how could I forget to mention how beautiful Henry is? Those eyes are just gorgeous!

    Reply
  • Lindsay October 9, 2012, 8:44 pm

    I got the ParaGard, too, a few months ago. I like it OK, but my period is a lot heavier and more painful now. I did want to mention that the pain lasted only 15 seconds at most for me, and I’ve never had children (and didn’t take any medication prior). I know everyone’s experience is different, so I didn’t want anyone to be scared off assuming they’d definitely be in for several minutes of pain. I was wondering if the pain was similar to any type of birth pains, so I was interested to hear your description.

    Reply
  • Irene October 9, 2012, 10:42 pm

    Hey!
    Just so you know, having an IUD is not a very good method of birth control. Because the sperm would still be able to fertilize the ovum, but the fertilized egg would not be able to implant in the uterus, this would cause an involuntary abortion.
    Have a great day!

    Reply
    • Emma October 16, 2012, 11:12 am

      That’s actually birth control.

      Reply
  • Kate October 10, 2012, 2:56 am

    I am 5 weeks pp and center can’t imagine having sex yet. Still bleeding (a just a killer little), still really sensitive where I tore and frankly there is no opportunity to have sex… Little one needs us all. The. Time!

    Reply
    • Kath October 11, 2012, 9:41 am

      Annnddddd so much for being anonymous about my vagina on the internet!! :mrgreen:

      Reply
      • A January 9, 2013, 6:05 pm

        Haha this cracked me up (in the nicest way possible)! So much for the pseudonym. It’s all good, it’s your body and health, no need to be ashamed ;)

        Reply
  • Rebecca October 10, 2012, 9:51 am

    This is another reason why I absolutely love your blog! My husband and I are trying for a baby and I feel like your blog is such a great resource for all of my questions – whether they pertain to running after having a baby, eating, getting a baby to sleep, or post baby birth control. Thanks for being so candid about everything and your willingness to share your experiences.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 10, 2012, 9:59 am

      thank you! :) good luck on the baby making!

      Reply
  • Rob Runs October 10, 2012, 10:33 am

    I love love my Paragard. I love that it lasts 10 years, I love that it’s hormone free, I even love that I have “normal” periods now even though they’re heavier and more painful than I’ve had in a decade. I think it’s a great choice! I didn’t find insertion painful (I’ve never had children), and my health insurance covered the whole thing – it cost me $40 for 10 years of piece-0f-mind. I was prepared to pay up to $1000 since that’s still a really good deal, but for $40 you can’t beat it!

    Reply
  • Sarah @ MarvelousDarling October 10, 2012, 2:09 pm

    Like many other posters, I’m really refreshed to hear (read? haha) you talk about these very real issues relating to pregnancy. I’ve never been pregnant, nor do I have any children, but reading about your journey is fascinating none the less!

    Have you considered trying ben-wa balls? Obviously, it’s important to ask your doctor, but I’m a big fan. The Lelo Luna Beads are my favorites, and while they’re pricey, they’re EFFECTIVE.

    I don’t have issues with tightness or muscular readiness, but because I take hormonal birth control, a daily antihistamine, and an SSRI, I don’t produce very much moisture. Using ben-wa balls helps my muscles get read and produce a little extra natural lubrication. For you, the benefits would be increased pelvic fitness. My favorite online retailer for things like this is definitely http://www.SheVibe.com – their prices are great and their shipping is very discreet!

    Reply
  • Caroline October 11, 2012, 11:15 am

    Ahha! I didn’t believe the nurse who helped when I got my IUD when she told me afterward that “Now you have a little taste of what labor feels like!” Hahaha, thanks for confirming. I had my Merina removed just over a year ago since any sort of hormonal birth control kills my sex drive, which I was tired of (and very relieved to find that it is the hormones and not just me). Now I’m debating getting the hormone free IUD, though the one episode of House about it has kind of scared me off. Completely unlikely, I know! But still.

    Reply
  • Laura October 11, 2012, 11:28 pm

    Will you continue to use a menstrual cup with your IUD? I have heard that there are some concerns about this, so I was wondering what your take on it is.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 12, 2012, 6:35 am

      I’m going to my doc today and will ask!

      Reply
  • Kate October 12, 2012, 4:14 am

    Thanks for this post. It’s definitely a topic I’ve researched…and researched…and researched! I ended up having a Mirena IUD inserted after baby #2, which was just taken out. I was somewhat satisfied with it, but wanted to get off the hormones after 5 years. Of course, I decided ultimately to go on a low dose hormone pill, so there you go. I was very curious about the ParaGuard, but didn’t end up going with that for various reasons.

    one of my biggest questions – how are your periods while on that? Obviously, it’s different for every woman. I had a total of 7 years in a row without a period, between babies and the Mirena. Having a more normal cycle was a bit overwhelming but ultimately a better solution for me.

    Thanks again for starting this discussion. it is so important!

    Reply
  • Mary October 12, 2012, 9:09 am

    My daughter is 14 months old, and I got the Mirena inserted a year ago this month. My husband and I didn’t want to chance anything, so we didn’t “do it” until after it was inserted. It still hurts worse than my first time every time…so not cool. I feel silly going to the doctor about it, but I know I need to do something. I’m always putting him off, and have to talk myself into having sex. That’s not good for anyone involved. I didn’t know if anyone else had problems like that.

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 12, 2012, 9:40 am

      Ugh I am do sorry. Do you think it’s related
      To dryness? Are you still bfing?

      Reply
      • Mary October 12, 2012, 5:33 pm

        I think that dryness is part of it. I wish I was still bfing…but that dried up in March (or probably earlier than that…March is when I accepted it was over).

        I know this is tmi for the internet, but sex was always somewhat painful for me, and I secretly hoped that having a baby would make it better. I have no clue how it could have gotten worse! I suppose I need to go to the dr for it. I just wish it wasn’t so darn expensive!!

        Reply
  • jenny October 12, 2012, 6:48 pm

    My husband and I had sex 5 days after my first (my bleeding had stopped already), but it was still tender down there and it felt so weird-my husband said it felt like having sex with a bowl of jello (tmi). By the next week things felt more like normal and by three weeks everything was good. With my second and third we didn’t have sex until 2-3 weeks pp and by then everything felt back to normal. My husband said other than that first time (at 5 days pp) he hasn’t noticed any change in the way I feel down there and really haven’t either which from these comments seem very abnormal especially so quickly after birth (maybe because I didn’t tear with my births, had short labors, and easy recoveries???).
    For birth control we used breast feeding and then natural family planning. B. F. was a very good form of birth control, but Family Planning not so much-which is why I’m currently pregnant!

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 12, 2012, 7:48 pm

      Hahah at jello.

      Reply
  • Emma October 16, 2012, 11:14 am

    Really interesting conversation here from women at so many different places in their lives. I’ve been on the pill for going on 25 years. Husband and I don’t want any children ever, and the pill has been the perfect choice for us.

    Reply
  • pam October 16, 2012, 4:49 pm

    It has been 24 years since I had my son..but the sex was horrible for 3 years..I hated that, cause I really like it..lol. I thought they were yeast infections, and it hurt every time that we had sex..after 3 years it was finally diagnosed as scar tissue build up from the episiotomy.. after they clipped it..what a difference…havent had a problem since. I was on the pill, then on depo(hated that one..gained alot of weight from it..) then the hus got the big V and now dont have to worry about it.

    Reply

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