Well, I think it’s officially decided — we’re a one and done family. DadJovi came to this decision a lot sooner than I did. Although he didn’t always feel that way. As they were handing E. to me in the delivery room, the very first words out of his mouth were, “Let’s have another one!” It’s easy to be euphoric about the miracle of birth when you’re not the one who just endured nearly 17 hours of labor and C-section.
But I should have struck while the iron was hot.
For about three years, I couldn’t even think about having another one. The combination of some baby blues, job uncertainly for both of us and just the huge task of figuring out how to be a mom left me with little time to consider adding to our family.
Then baby fever started setting in hardcore. For about 18 months, all I wanted was a baby. I tried reasoning with DadJovi. I tried cajoling him. I tried pulling at his emotional heartstrings. But he wasn’t budging. He adores E. and is so wonderful with children. When we go to our friends’ houses, he’s usually the dad leading all the games.
But he’s also perfectly content with our family being a family of three.
Besides, he’s entirely too logical about things like money — he wants us to not have to always struggle so much. By stopping at one, E. will have many of the opportunities we never had as kids — ballet lessons, piano lessons, trips, and eventually attending the college of her choosing (if the two of us can ever pay off our student loans, that is). The hard thing is that I AGREE with all of his reasons. I do. I just can’t convince my heart of it sometimes.
However, over the past few months or so, I’ve started noticing an easing up in my own baby fever. It could be that I’m just charmed by the age of 4. Sure, she has her moments, but for the most part, E. has been an absolute joy lately. 4 really might be the perfect age. When I visited my friend Missy in Massachusetts this summer and got to spend some time with her ADORABLE 9-week-old baby, I had two thoughts: 1) God, this baby is gorgeous and I could hold her forever 2) I’m so glad her mom is here for me to hand her off to once she starts crying.
It reminded me just how dang hard it is to survive the newborn days. Of course I know I COULD do it, but do I WANT to do it?
I know better than to never say never. Who knows? Perhaps when we send E. off to kindergarten next year, we’ll reconsider. Or perhaps not. I do know that I’m not ready for either of us to take any permanent fertility measures, so I decided to do the next best thing — get an IUD.
I’ve been wanting one for years but they’ve never been covered by our insurance. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act that went into effect on August 1, what would have once cost me $500-$600 upfront now cost me the price of my copay — $35. Thank you President Obama for helping my family with our CHOICE.
I opted to choose the Paragard, which is good for 10 years and is hormone free. I’ve been on the pill so long that I really think it’s time to give my body a break from the hormones. Besides, I’m horrible at remembering to take the pill. And given my apparent propensity for getting pregnant (with E., I got pregnant within two months of going off the pill), going contraception-free is just not an option.
And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’ll also be saving nearly $2000 over the next 10 years! So to recap: no daily pill to remember, no more hormones and huge savings to my family. That’s just a win-win-win. And if I were to have another baby, chances are I’d need another C-section. You’d think my insurance company would want to avoid that nearly $40,000 price tag a second time around. I can’t believe it took them this long to cover contraception devices like this.
Once my midwife’s office confirmed the insurance details for the IUD, we scheduled our appointment. She recommended I pick a day where I could relax for the rest of the day. Did she forget that I have a 4-year-old?
I chose Friday because it was the end of our vacation and it headed into a long weekend. Thankfully, one of our neighbors was able to watch E. while I headed to the appointment.
The excitement was palatable. My tweeps sent me their support and assured me it wasn’t going to be that bad.
@momjoviblog mine didn’t hurt any worse than a normal exam and mild cramping after. I’ve heard I’m in the minority though??
— Holli (@TheGreatAskini) August 31, 2012
OK, that doesn’t sound so bad. I can handle a normal exam and mild cramping. Besides, I’d already had a kid, and that should help right? Again, enter Twitter.
— Holli (@TheGreatAskini) August 31, 2012
My midwife did warn me that since E. was nearly 5 that my cervix might be tight and the process could be uncomfortable.
I also forgot one of her key pre-appointment instructions — I didn’t take the ibuprofen an hour before the appointment. I actually thought about it and considered it. But a) I was running around like crazy trying to get E. up, fed, dressed and out the door by 8:45. and b) I thought, ‘Well, if I don’t take ibuprofen, maybe they’ll give me something a little bit stronger when I get there.’ Stupid Jackie.
I knew things weren’t going to be good when my midwife asked if I’d taken the ibuprofen and I said no. Her face was the look of horror. She said, ‘Well, we’ll just try to get through this then. But I really wish you’d taken it. I know it sounds like it won’t make a difference but trust me, it would have helped a lot.”
I got up onto the table and she started walking me through the procedure. I’d done a fair amount of pre-appointment research (well, except for that whole ibuprofen blunder) so I had a rough idea of what to expect.
I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details and enter right at the fun part — the dilating of the cervix. HOLY SHIT. There’s really no other way around it. Holy shit that hurt like a mofo. It took some manipulating since my uterus tilts toward the back (something I learned the hard way through hours and hours of back labor) but eventually, she got me to 7 cm. It’s a little ironic that that’s where she stopped — that’s as far as I got during labor. On the day I had E., I arrived at the hospital dilated 4 cm and my water had broke. 12 hours later, I had only made to 7 cm and my labor had stalled.
The fact that she dilated me to 7 cm in a matter of minutes felt a little bit like a slap in the ladyparts. Although I guess I would have been more pissed if she’d gone beyond that point.
I remember thinking in the days and weeks after labor that I was never, ever going to forget how badly it hurt. While that’s true in theory, the brain does you a solid and helps you forget specifically what that pain felt like.
Feeling nostalgic? Get an IUD. Out of nowhere, I felt like I was in labor again and it hurt. Bad. I was doing my best to quickly remember my yoga breathing techniques. Obviously I wasn’t doing a good job, because my midwife kept saying, “I need you to relax. Untense your butt muscles and relax onto the table. It will make this so much better.” She lied. It didn’t. But eventually I found a focal point and breathed my body to relaxation.
And just like that, my baby fever was cured.
As soon as the IUD was inserted, she told me to sit up and the cramping would almost immediately ease up. She was right. The cramping was starting (it felt like severe labor cramps) but the sudden take-your-breath-away laborlike pains had vanished. I sat there for a moment and was starting to feel better. She and I were talking when suddenly I started having tunnel-vision and I about fainted. I promise you people, I am not a fainter. In fact, I’d like to think I have a somewhat high tolerance for pain.
She quickly had me lay back down and the nurses brought me in some water and a piece of chocolate.
Finally, I was able to stand up and get dressed. And that’s when the severe cramps set in. Again, they just felt like really bad period cramps and nothing like the hell I’d experienced on the table during the insertion.
I drove myself home, picked up E from our friends’ house and came home and took 800 mg of ibuprofen. My midwife told me to start with that and continue to take 600 mg every 4-6 hours.
Even though my body started feeling better almost immediately, my ego was definitely bruised. How could so many women have told me that it was “no big deal?” I know it’s like labor and every woman’s experience is different, but I was really feeling like a wimp. But then, just like they always do, my tweeps started coming through for me.
@momjoviblog WORD. I had 3 vag births and my ob made it seem like “no big deal.” I was sweating like Nixon. It took a loooong time.
— Elizabeth Thorp (@poshbrood) August 31, 2012
I love that last tweet. I heard from many other women throughout the day, and they all assured me that I’d survived the worst part and not one person had any complaints about their IUDs post-insertion.
But I couldn’t help but feeling I’d been a little blindsided by how much it really hurt. Well, there had been one voice of warning.
@momjoviblog I’m not going to tell you I told you so.
— Michelle (@crzyrunninglegs) August 31, 2012
Yeah, I deserved that “I told you so.” Well played, Crazy Running Kegs.
I will say that once the ibuprofen kicked in, I felt MUCH, MUCH better. I stayed on top of taking the pills all day and aside from severe cramping from time to time, I was fine. I was even able to take E. to her first ballet practice at a new ballet school and I spent the evening finishing up our #CFLBlogCon presentation with Michelle and Christine.
But I really did appreciate hearing from others about their experiences.
If you’re curious about the insertion process, this is a great explainer and closely matched my experience. I really did feel relieved to know that I’m not just some big baby (well, maybe a little bit of one but certainly others have had worse experiences).
Bottom line, though? I’m THRILLED that I got it. The temporary pain and discomfort are well worth it. And if we change our minds about adding another little Jovi, I also heard from women on Twitter who got pregnant shortly after having theirs removed.
But if we don’t change our minds, that means it’s going to stay snugly in there until I’m 45. That’s a trippy thought. Maybe by then we’ll be ready for one more.
What was your IUD experience like? Or, have you ever experienced a medical procedure that others assured you would be “no big deal” and turned out to be a very big deal?