So it’s fair to say that I’ve been feeling like a complete and utter teabag since yesterday. I’m sick, I’m weak, I’m tired and I’m bleeding from having my womb forced open and a rather insensitive metal hook inserted somewhere nearby my ribcage and lungs via my lady tunnel. The things us women go through!
I had the copper coil fitted yesterday after weighing up my decisions of long-term contraception because it’s something us ladies have to think about, as let’s face it, men cower away at the though of being sterilised and sacrificing their manhood for the greater good. I chose the copper coil because all else has and will most likely fail short of relocating my womb into my ear. I have a hormone imbalance, which unfortunately interferes with most forms of contraception resulting in my two babies, and one miscarriage that I know of whilst being on the pill. The injection is apparently off limits to vegan/vegetarians due to my low bone density from disliking dairy from a young age, and the implant is similar to the pill in the way that it gives out a small and steady dose of hormones, which my body loves to throw off for the hell of it.
I’d had the Marina coil fitted about four and a half years ago now and I’ve never had such discomfort and pain like it, I bled constantly for a year, had severe stomach cramps and generally felt unwell the entire time that it was in. It was supposed to have lasted up to five years but because of how I reacted it was taken out after thirteen months and it put me off anything invasive ever since. That is until now.
After visiting my local family planning clinic yesterday I was reassured that the copper coil doesn’t contain nor give off any hormones that can throw off your body’s balance, therefore there shouldn’t really be any reaction to having it in, other that the initial discomfort of it settling. The coil is a ‘T’ shaped device about as long as a matchbox which is wrapped in metal strands a bit like fuse wire in a lightbulb, and is inserted through your lady zone, up through your cervix and into the neck of the womb. Being a mother of two I’m a bit of a dab hand at having my womb opened now, but I have to admit it sent me white and had my heart beating in my throat to have it put in and I’d already taken some painkillers before my appointment to help so don’t attempt it without. You’re held open with a speculum and a rod about the length of your forearm is inserted into your womb with a kind of claw on the end that is holding the coil, it goes in like a folded umbrella, a string is pulled and the coil pops into a ‘T’ shape in your womb and then the rod is removed. The sensation is a hard dull aching deep inside your stomach near the tender triangle at the bottom of your ribs where they meet in the middle. It’s like being winded from a punch with internal tugging as it’s put in place and the strings pulled, adjusted and then trimmed to the right length. It only took about five to ten minutes so it’s a pain that you can manage for a short time that dies down as soon as it’s over and becomes an ache for the rest of the day.
Now I’m not an expert on contraception but from what the nurse told me before the procedure the copper coil works as a kind of ‘pest control’ for want of a better word, by disarming the sperm that try to get to the egg. I’m not completely sure how it happens, but it means that it can never become fertilised therefore you can never suffer a miscarriage or create a baby in the first place, you’re simply taking away the little swimmers ammo and it’s over 99% effective which is pretty much the best you’ll get without a condom.
It’s been just over 24hrs since I’ve had the coil in and I was half way through my monthly cycle when it was done, since then I’ve had a sore stomach that I can only explain as feeling like I’ve been kicked by a horse. I’ve had bloody discharge and the need to go the the toilet more often but it’s gradually subsided as the hours have gone on, and this evening I went to the gym to do an hour of cardio as usual and all has been fine.
The ‘T’ shape coil takes a few days to bed-in to the lining of the womb and anchor itself at the entrance so they advise you don’t jump around or do any exercise above normal until it settles. Also they leave two copper wires at about 3cm long hanging down into your cervix so that you can feel inside to make sure it hasn’t moved – if you want to! To start with the wires are stiff and straight, but after a few days they’re supposed to soften and curl around your insides so that they’re out of the way but still reachable if needs be; so you’re not advised to use tampons until the strings are settled or you risk getting them caught and pulling the coil out! Eek!
I’ve been told that it is possible for the coil to move and to try and travel down the cervix and out into the world but it’s very rare. Apparently it’s supposed to feel like a tight scratching sensation which I would imagine being the arms digging into the inside of your escape tunnel. And the nurse advised any pain or discomfort and I should go straight back.
But so far, touch wood, aside from the cramps and bleeding initially I think everything is fine and I can forget about having any contraception issues or unexpected pregnancies for the next five years, and there is also a ten year coil available of the same kind. As the copper coil doesn’t contain any hormones, your fertility is not affected, so if we did want to have another baby in the future I just have to pop back to the family planning clinic or GP and have it removed and I could fall pregnant again the same day! But I’m not in any hurry to do that!
And to top it all off, we met Father Christmas yesterday for our annual family photograph and I can’t help but laugh as we waited all year to get the four of us in the same photo for on the french-dresser and I had my eyes closed, Luca was looking elsewhere and the children didn’t stop smiling. Priceless! Ah, well, better luck next year. 🙂