The Dreaded IUD Removal & Why It Involves Coughing

"Okay, take a deep breath and then I want you to do a big cough for me," said the woman stationed between my legs. I was spread out on a crinkly paper-covered table, my toes curling nervously over the top of the stirrup footrests. My insides were cranked wide open with what felt like a wildly uncomfortable medieval torture device. A sort of flexible flashlight was aimed up my crotch. I was 99 percent certain I'd put the supplied robe on backwards -- I'd thought it was supposed to open in the front like a kimono, but now I was thinking the opening was meant to be on my back? Well, whatever, the robe was of far less importance than what was about to happen to my poor terrified vagina.

Not for the first time, I marveled at how far we've come in terms of medicine and technology ... and yet my state-of-the-art birth control involved having a piece of hardware forcibly jammed into my nether regions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of my personal birth control, which is the hormonal IUD (Mirena). Ever since it was factory-installed after my second son was born, I've been mostly blissfully unaware of its presence, and I love the fact that I have almost no periods whatsoever. I haven't had to buy tampons since 2008, can I get a hallelujah?

The only downside is that my IUD's five-year expiration date flew by before I realized it, so it was time to get a new one. Which meant the old one had to come out, and unfortunately no one's invented a Star Trek transporter for getting things into and out of women's uteruses. (Million-dollar idea, by the way.)

I know this makes me sound like the biggest pussy wimp in the world, but I was SO nervous about how painful it was going to be. My original IUD was inserted right after my C-section, when I was numbed and hugely distracted by the tiny human that had been pried from my body. You probably could have stuffed a toilet brush and 12 cantaloupes in there and I wouldn't have known about it, not that those particular objects would have been medically recommended. My point is, I had no idea what it felt like the first time, and everything I'd read online basically boiled down to, "It's not that bad ... it's not that great, though."

As it turns out, that's pretty much exactly how I would describe it. When I dutifully coughed on command, my doctor just sort of yanked it out in one smooth motion. Honestly, the worst part was beforehand when she'd been determining the shape and position of my uterus via a manual internal method I can only describe as "robust." Plus, there was the mental discomfort of being all spread apart with a speculum and worrying about my robe and all.

The insertion was a little more painful, in that there were a couple ouch-y crampy moments where I briefly wondered if maybe she was cranking open a beach umbrella in there or something. But the whole thing from start to finish was very fast, and soon enough I was dressed and on my way back to my everyday life, where hopefully I won't have to think about birth control at all until 2018.

Every now and then my husband and I talk about the possibility of him getting a vasectomy. He's squeamish about it, and while on the one hand I give him shit because come on dude, do you have any IDEA how many indignities my body has endured in the name of family planning (sub-category: creation/prevention), on the other hand I get it, because until a couple weeks ago I was terrified of a two-inch piece of plastic.

Honestly, of the currently available methods of keeping pregnancy at bay with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole, none of them are completely ideal. What I'd really like is a switch that I can just flip to ALL DONE WITH BABIES, THANKS. But in the meantime, I'm glad for the IUD ... even if it involves an intensely awkward experience every five years.

What kind of birth control do you use? Do you wish there was something easier/cheaper/less intrusive?

Image via ThinkTeen.Org

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nonmember avatar manda

I used the pill for a while, but am terrible at remembering it. So then I used depo for five years. After this last baby, my husband got a vasectomy. Now I am back on depo for ovarian cysts. Thinking about nexplanon at the end of this month.

Justine Weir DeMoske

I was terrified about having my IUD removed.. I also had Mirena.. I assumed it was going to be worse coming out than going in. I was pleasantly suprised when it was only slightly uncomfortable and not painful in the least. However, I was never asked to cough?

SaphireH SaphireH

I am 26 and have been through 5 types of birth control over 10 yrs with 3 kids in the mix. ive been through the patch which was a pain due to having a bad reaction to the adhesive of it, 2 types of the pill which was a pain to remember, did the iud and got to be a part of the lucky 1% to get the pelvic inflammatory stuff and now after 3 kids i can happily say ive been fixed for over a year with the essure procedure and i am loving it.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

I use the pill. I like it just fine, but it's annoying to have to remember to take it at the same exact time every night.

Skijo... SkijorMama

Honestly, I wasn't worried at all about the removal (I had Paragard) and I only felt a small pinch. Now, getting the darn thing in was painful as all get out! I'm thinking of having it reinserted, but I'm such a big baby about it that we've been sticking to condoms!

priso... prisonblues

I had implanon, and was scared to death to get it taken out, but in the end it didn't really hurt but it was pretty

Bloody and gross. Now after baby three is born in August I too will be getting my tubes tied.

Andrea Byrd Plate

I've always used the pill, but since this baby is going to be a planned C-section I'm going to have my tubes tied while they're in there-my hubby and I decided we were two and done.  He's getting a vasectomy as well-we're taking no chances, since we personally know a couple where the wife got pregnant even with her tubes tied.

nonmember avatar Rach

I don't wish there was something less invasive or easier, I wish there was something that came without the risk of tearing through my insides or giving me blood clots. I don't see the point in birth control when the risks are considered.

mini031 mini031

I have been dreading the removal of my IUD also, i know it was pretty painful cramp wise when i got it put it and on the ride home i thought, damn this is gonna hurt when it comes out! So happy to read it really doesnt and it is worse getting it put in that getting it taken out

nonmember avatar myopinion10

I have never had a problem taking the pill.I don't take it at the exact same time like people think you have too. I just take it before I go to bed whether its 7:30 or midnight. I've been on the pill for 7yrs (15-22) and never gotten pregnant.

I'm surprised by commenter "rach" implying that birth control is not worth the risks. Yes there are risks but they can be minimized by maintanining a healthy weight and diet. I would rather be on birth control than end up with 10 kids. Seems like a no brainer to me.

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