More Children? No Thanks, but…

by Kristi on February 13, 2009 · 32 comments

I wrote a few weeks ago about being done with having children even though several friends are currently on #3 right now. I’m watching them with horror and slight amusement wondering how the HECK are they going to survive? Well, I’m sure they will all do fantastic but that doesn’t mean its for me.

So why am I hedging on getting permanent birth control?

Freaky, right? I’m sure most woman here might agree with me that taking away your choice to have another child is just frightening.  Besides the fact that I am extremely lucky to be able to HAVE children, currently three people that are close to me are in the middle of IVF/IUI procedures and two or three more have done that in the past or planning on it in the future. I am lucky, yes.  But while I am blessed to be able to have children without any problems at all, I am done.  And while I may not want another child the classic ‘What If…’ thought pops in my mind.  What if hubby dies and I remarry and want another child? (Hubby didn’t like me pointing that out…) What if, god forbid, there is a tragic accident with our children and we want to have more? No really, it happened to Lori Coble in Ladera Ranch.  A tragic, tragic accident.  They went and reversed the vasectomy that the husband had completed and now are the proud parents to beautiful triplets.

If my hubby wanted to do it himself, then yes please! Get it done!  (This blog is about me, and not about him – sadly, otherwise I would be bitching more about this particular scenario…) But since, apparently it is up to me (see, I can’t resist bitching slightly…) , I don’t want to get it done.

And believe me, we talked about all the possibilities at our doctor appointment yesterday.

Essure – Permanent birth control for woman.  Yes, by inserting COILS in your tubes and making scar tissue form to render you sterile.  It may be a simple office visit procedure but there are too many frightening aspects for me.  Coils. In my body. With the potential to perforate my tubes and float around in my body and attach themselves to various body parts.  Scar tissue? Is that really a good idea to force that?  Oh, and this has only been available less than five years, so really, how much do we know about this?

IUD – Two different versions of them that both sound a little… ugh.

Mirena – Which has very slight hormones that are released to your uterus.  I really hate hormones. I’m convinced they completely screwed with my body a few years ago because when I went off of them, I was much better.  Apparently it is just a tiny bit of hormones though and not enough to get into your blood stream to affect you as much as regular birth control. It is making your lining thin so no egg wants to implant.  Mirena has only been around for a little over 7 years.  Since it lasts five years, there is more documentation as people have already had them taken out (and reinserted again). Good news is that it makes your period almost non-existent (due to the little hormones) which is always a plus.

What about people who have said Mirena makes them gain weight from the hormones? My nurse said she thinks that is an excuse as the amount of hormones is so small. I really need to go compare the amount to know more.

ParaGuard – Has been around for over 20 years.  Is copper which, if you have a nickle allergy, pretty much sucks to be you.  It’s creating a hostile environment for your uterus, so that normal 6-7 day period you used to have… Yea, that will probably be making it a 9-10 day period and much, much heavier.  Fabulous.  In some cases it gets better after a few months but there is no guarantee.

By the way, has anyone ever told you how those nice, safe IUDs are inserted?  Well, you should be on your period because your cervix has to be a little dilated.  Oh, your cervix is to small? Well, don’t worry, we will just dilate that FOR you! For me, since I haven’t had a period for almost 20 months now, that scares me a little.

How bad does it hurt? Well.. you can definitely handle it.  Apparently. My nurse said when she was putting one in a friend of hers, her friend said it felt like she was pulling out her belly button from the inside.  It doesn’t last long… I mean, all we are doing is opening you up with a speculum (normal pap smear stuff…) but then we have to go in there and measure your cervix (how are you doing that?? Are you shoving a flashlight in there??), open it up a bit, and then fit the IUD in there for you.

Um, yea. I’m a baby with pain.

They have to measure your cervix because a nice little line hangs down (think: fishing line) because you should REALLY check to be sure everything is where it should be about once a month. Oh, don’t worry, just sit on the toilet and fish up in there with your fingers to make sure the line is still there!

Because if it isn’t, well, hopefully that IUD didn’t go up somewhere and perforate your uterus… or get lost… or something.  Your husband shouldn’t be able to feel it, either.  If he does, just come on into the office and we can keep cutting it to make it shorter!

While it is safer than regular birth control because it takes out possible human error mistakes, my unofficial poll on my baby boards show three people getting preggo while on it. Out of ten.  Nice.

Ok, fine. So asking again about birth control gets me a nice show-and-tell about the NuvaRing.  Tari, my nurse, just happened to have one hanging off her belt.  A ring would be much easier to deal with instead of taking pills every day.  Except for the fact that *I* would have to put it up me…. I would also have to take it out after three weeks.  Ok, now WHAT? I’m not a prude (I don’t think…) but sticking a ring up in me for a few weeks?? Supposedly it’s ‘only’ an inch and a half up my cervix but if I am able to reach up there and take it out, what is going on during sex? Is he bumping into it? Ugh? (I didn’t ask that question, btw.  I just know there is no way I’m going to push something up in me and go fishing for it again in three weeks. No thanks.)

The Depo-Provera shot is available but unlike the Mirena, the shot is actually proven to make you gain about 8 pounds a year.  Who likes that?

Going back to permanent birth control, I did find out that my doctor still does the regular tubal.  Going under anesthesia sounds fantastic to me. I love being put under. I’ve only done it one time before but hey, it was awesome. Count backwards from ten, three counts later I’m gone, and I wake up to yummy fizzy seven-up a few seconds later.

Just the thought of doing that makes my stomach twist up though. I feel sick and panicky. Maybe in a few years I’ll feel ready for that but I am not ready now. I feel the same sort of anxious feeling when thinking about getting the IUD in me as well.  Is it fear of pain? Possibly.

I went with the no-pain version for now. I got birth control pills, even though I am a little bit worried about synthetic hormones and all the studies continually being done about them and how they affected me a few years ago.  It will make me get my period if I want to, although I plan to take them continuously to not get a period. Maybe in a few months I will feel ready to get an IUD. In a few years, maybe I will be ready to do something more permanent.

Anyone else in this boat? What did you decide to do?

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffani February 14, 2009 at 8:41 am

ha ha ha! Dan and I have had this conversation so many times. Even before we got pregnant this time. I say if he is done he needs to go get fixed. lol. He just said he cant do it. He is to chicken and he just can’t do it unless they toatlly out him out. He thinks I should do it. Even though getting my tubes tied is MAJOR SURGERY! lol. I dont think so. :o)

After Nolan I had the Mirena put in. It did not hurt (me) at all. But I was totally grossed out about having to be on my period. yuck!! Then when we decided to have another baby (3 years later) I went and had it removed. They have to do an ultrasound when they remove it. And the Ultrasound showed that the IUD was growing into the lining of my uterus. And had I not decided to have it removed when I did, we might have ended up pregnant anyways and i could have ended up with a hole right through my uterus. The doctor told me that my old OBGYN should have been checking the placement with an ultrasound once a year. But she wasn’t.

However, given all my choices I have, I am still going to go with the Mirena again after this baby. I liked not having ot worry if i took a pill today or not. I did not gain any extra weight on it. And I actually loved not having a peroid for 3 years. And this time I have a better OBGYN that knows to check better for the placement.

Plus, I like that if we ever win the lotto and never have to worry about money again (lol) we can have it taken out adn have more kids!! :o)

Tiffani’s last blog post..Centers

2 kim/hormone-colored days February 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm

This is a great post.

A friend of mine uses Essure and is pretty happy with it. I’m a big fan of vasectomy. If your husband has an issue, remind him about the scars on your ladyparts left over from childbirth. I’m working on this VasectoSpa recuperation spot, but don’t have the funding to proceed just yet.

kim/hormone-colored days’s last blog post..Friday Fun = Fridge Fun

3 Kristina February 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm

This is a great post. I am going thru the same stuff. I’m done with having more kids. I was going to get an IUD but then everyone I know says it’s painful. I’m done with pain. I don’t want hormones or anything that can possibly make me gain weight. I want my hubby to get snipped. But he’s a big baby and keeps putting it off. This summer he says ….

4 Tori February 16, 2009 at 7:19 am

I found your post from Babycenter. I share your same dislike of all of the birth control options. But I just wanted to say that I tried NuvaRing and it was the best birth control of the three hormonal ones that I tried. However, I’ve since read about people who had awful side effects with it, and the consensus seems to be that if you’re already on birth control, switching over is easy. But if you’re not, then the influx of hormones creates horrible side effects. Because of that, I’m super hesitant to go back on it, even though I loved the convenience of only thinking about it a couple of times a month. Oh, and my husband said he could not feel it. :] The only possible side effect from it was that when I went off of it to get pregnant, I gained some weight, and I still don’t know if it was the birth control or just laziness and poor eating habits.

Oh, and this may be TMI, but I often had my husband “fish” for it instead of me. :]

Tori’s last blog post..Plogs plogs plogs

5 Carrie February 16, 2009 at 10:15 am

I went all the way and got my tubes tied a year ago at the ripe age of 28. My doctor advised me not to have any more babies for health reasons (I have 2 kids) so a permanant fix was the obvious option. My husband hemmed and hawed about a vasectomy, and I didn’t really care, so I won and had the surgery. Really, it was no big deal. There was some pain around the microscopic incision for about 3 days, but the pleasant percocet took care of that. I got a nice mommy break and took to my bed with Felicity DVD’s handy. Fun stuff. And you can bet that my husband treated me like a queen afterward. I have had no mood shifts or anything since and the scars are tiny tiny. So, do not fear the surgery. If you can handle going under (this is probably the hardest part, medically, but hey, you seemed to like it) then it’s fine.

As far as tragic accidents, that’s just part of life. It’s awful to think about, but it’s hard to base your decisions on what if’s that really have a small percentage of happening. Do what you feel comfortable with. Good luck.

6 Sarah Flynn February 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

I went through the Essure procedure and it rocks. Was up in 45 minutes, went to coffee with friends and picked the kids up from school. The coils don’t bother me…with a tubal, by the way, they often leave in clips to hold the tubes closed. And I think it has been around for way more than 4 years – like more like 7. Anyhow, my vote is for no more hormones. I would rather have something that my body learns to love, than putting hormones in my body.

7 Sabrina February 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I was on depo-provera for two years, I gained 20 lbs despite serious dieting and swimming 5+ miles a day.. plus, they had to stop after two years, because it is shown to make you loose bone mass after that period of time. No thanks on the osteoporosis! As well, depo messes with your fertility. It took an entire year for me to start having periods again, and for some women, they are basically infertile after it is over.

The pill.. I could never remember to take at the same time, every single day.

I ended up with Mirena. It hurt for about 5 seconds, and I had some killer cramps afterwards for a few hours, but seriously, the positives outweigh a little pain. My periods went away, I didn’t feel affected by the hormones at all (unlike depo.. the first month and the month after were awful!), and it dosen’t mess with your fertility whatsoever. I had it taken out when I wanted to get pregnant, and within 2 months, I succeeded! It didn’t hurt at all to be removed, even though it had worked its way into my skin a little bit, oh, and my dr. cut the cords so short that I could never feel them, and he told me not to worry about it. I do a pelvic exam/pap every single year (at least) anyway, it dosen’t take much for them to check and make sure its alright up there. I can’t say enough good things about Mirena. I am definitely doing it again after I am done being pregnant.

8 Kristi February 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Well, I had an allergic reaction to my birth control pills – Small red itchy bumps on my chest and upper body and slowly spread around. Isn’t that funny?? 🙂 So I had to stop them. Which just makes this all even more perfect. Still wondering what I should dooooo!

Tiffani – That is scary! Glad you were getting it taken out. It makes me wonder now how the ‘small amount’ of hormones would affect me.

Kim – Yes, it seems to work pretty well… I am a big fan of the big V too. The hubby is not though!

Kristina – Hopefully he will do it!

Tori – Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comments! Your last comment about sending your hubby fishing cracked me up! haha!

Carrie – So true about the ‘what ifs’. My selfish irritating brain won’t let go of them though. It may be time to get past that! The other thing is that I’m still nursing… so I wouldn’t be able to nurse for 24 hours after anesthesia and that would suck.

Sarah Flynn – Thank you!! So true about the tubal. It’s just that big ball of anxiousness when I think of doing something permanent.

Sabrina – Wow! Thanks for the deets on the Depo! Ick!

9 San Diego Momma February 16, 2009 at 8:48 pm

I totally remember those heartbreaking deaths of the Coble children.
I was happy to hear about the triplets.

Anyway. I convinced my husband to have the vasectomy. I told him that I’d taken care of birth control for enough years, plus I bore the children, and underwent all the hormonal crap that goes along with both…so now it was HIS turn to pony up.

And guess what? It worked!

10 Grace February 17, 2009 at 1:11 am

About Mirena-
When I first saw adds for Mirena I thought it was great. Then I read the fine print. All the risks are not worth it. One of them is that you will get pregnant and have to have an abortion because it will be tubal and possibly screw stuff up in there. No thanks! Also, “complications may occur from placement,” I don’t think it has been around long enough for gyno’s to be that well trained. I don’t know if I trust anyone that much.

What were you relying on up until now? Breastfeeding? You said you had not had a period in almost twenty months. Have you been using any barrier methods or have you just trusted the breastfeeding infertility thing?

11 Diana February 17, 2009 at 7:24 am

I wish I had looked into everything as you have! I just settled on a tubal ligation once my 5 child (2nd) daughter was born, of course when she passed away, I was horrified with my decision, I have since had a tubal reversal and just waiting on nature to take its course. If it happens great! If not, well there is still some time left on my biological clock!! I had serious problems with my TL, heavy, heavy menses, big clots, it lasting 7 days, they are now lighter and last only about 3 days.. Good luck to you! I rather would have been on the pill myself!!

12 Michele February 17, 2009 at 7:59 am

I had my tubes tied during the c-section birth of my youngest son now 9 years old. I regreated it, I no longer had my nice 3 to 4 days of light bleeding, I now had gut wrenching cramps days before aunt flow arrived and when she came it was AWFUL! super plus playtex was rendered useless in no less than a half and hour this would last 3 days and then normal flow to follow the next couple days then spotting until she finally left the building. The dynamics of my family have not changed still married to the same wonderful man but decided I wasn’t really done having kids, I thought I was when I was 8 months pregnant with my son all swollen and bitchy! I had my TL reversed in January 08 and am now currently expecting out third child. My TL a nightmare, my TR, best thing that ever happened to me.

13 Emily February 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

I’ve been grateful to spend the last four years of my life either pregnant or in lactational amenorrhea. I’ve had five periods since August of 2004…. nice. We made the decision that I am not going on any type of hormonal birth control again. Permanent birth control is also not an option for us, as we generally don’t believe removing normal parts of our anatomy for convenience sake is in the best interest of our long term health.

As a married couple we know that the sex, while we enjoy the pleasurable aspect, is biologically designed for the creation of life and we have a deep respect for that process. We have chosen to to learn our fertility signs and use appropriate caution (barrier methods or abstinence) when conception could be possible. We both understand that pregnancy is still possible this way and hey, let’s all face it, if we are having sex even with “birth control” there is ALWAYS that chance. We are okay with that. It has brought us much closer as a couple to look at our intimacy this way. We communicate more, we listen better, we both see it as our equal responsibility to avoid pregnancy. I think our culture is so obsessed with control that we have lost the wonder and normality of fertility and intimacy. Well that is my two cents anyway.

14 Kristi February 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

SDM – Nice one 🙂 Glad he went with your logic!

Grace – Yes, those risks are pretty freaky.

Diana – I’m kind of compulsive about research 🙂 I am SO sorry to hear about your daughter. Wow on the reversal. Good luck to you and much baby dust!

Michele – Congrats! Thanks for letting me know your experience!

Emily – Great to hear from you! Good points. Hubby isn’t so convinced of those methods although I really believe in charting your fertility and watching the signs of your body.

15 Heather February 17, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I got my first IUD, Mirena, the day you posted this message. I actually asked about it year ago at my annual appointment and then went through this long process of “am I really done?” and even thought I wanted #3 for a while. Once I made the decision and appointment, I was fine. I did have to go during my period but it’s really not gross as you can use a tampon going in, the doctor cleans you with an iodine solution and I actually stopped my period that day! I will be honest and say the pain took my breath away (I felt I knew every square inch of my utuerus immediately) and I grabbed my abdomen but I was able to sit up right away and leave (a friend told me she had to stay on the table for half an hour!) I had cramping the rest of the day and a few spots of really bad pain but that was it. I am great now and although it’s too soon to see long term results, I can’t beleive I stopped spotting already.

Just my experience to consider. I don’t want to do anything permanent either.

16 Kristy February 17, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Hi, this caught my eye on BabyCenter because my name is Kristy and I call my little guy Bug! Whilst reading all of the comments I remember all of the research and reading I did 4 years ago, as I was told by many friends and family that our doctor wouldn’t consider a permamanent solution for us.
I think that you know that you are done when you and your husband are sitting down in the doctor’s office asking “which is easier for you, if the he goes and gets snipped or if you put me under for a tubal”.
The reason we didn’t think the Dr. would give us the go ahead was because I was a 22 year old mother of a 5 month old, and my husband was only 27 and our child was also his only. It was a bit of a rough pregnancy, but no major health issues, a straight forward drug free vaginal birth, no financial issues….But, I just held my little boy and knew he was perfect and our family felt complete. My husband felt the exact same way, we can’t explain it, but after a few months of bad reactions to the hormones in the pill, I had to talk to my doctor. We went through the “what ifs” and for us they were non issues. He said that usually couples go for counselling before any decisions are made, but he had followed us all pregnancy and all follow up visits and could see that we “just knew”.
But I know not everyone feels the same as us. I got lucky, hehe, and the Dr. said it was easier for my husband to get a vasectomy, but for some guys the “chickening out” is their way of saying they are not ready for a permananent solution. That doesn’t always mean they want more kids, but it is a very “final” decision. For some people the slight chance of the “what ifs” is reason enough to never do anything permanant until nature takes its course.
I am now 26, and my boy is in school and all my friends are starting to have babies. The perfect scenario for many to want more kids. But, I have to say I love being a Mom of 1, we borrow kids for the day, and we take our Little Man on adventures….all in all we have no regrets about our decision. Its not that I am anti-kids, in no way at all, I just knew what was right for us.
I hope my point of view helps in some way, whilst it worked out great for us, I think my point is that if you are saying “but” you should probably not do anything drastic. Many people go the permanant route for many different reasons, but as someone with no regrets about it, it does make me sad to read the comments about people who regret it for any reason.
I hope you find a good solution that suits you and your family 🙂

17 Jessica February 18, 2009 at 5:20 am

Thanks for commenting Kristy. We are in a similar situation. I actually developed seizures, and my migraines got 100 times worse since having the copper iud inserted after the birth of my son. The copper was depleting the oxygen levels in my body that I needed to stay healthy. I was continually dehydrated and always tired no matter how much sleep I got each night. Our doctor told us the same thing we are too young for permanent birth control. We are now 27 and 28 and our son is about to be 3. We always only wanted one child and wanted a boy. However, things have changed a little as my twin sister is very ill with endometriosis and she may not be able to have any children. It’s just the two of us and she asked me a long time ago if I would consider being a surrogate. I’m still very unsure about this decision, but loved being pregnant and would do anything for my sister, so I’m glad I kept my options open. I also don’t know how I feel knowing my son might be the only child for an entire generation in my family, if my sister decided to no have kids which she may very well do. I hate the birth control options out there. I just had the Mirena put in, and hope that I don’t gain weight or have any other major health issues. I had the Mirena in college and did not gain any weight, but because I had not had a child yet, I had a lot of cramping that was still uncomfortable enough to have it taken out after 6 months. I have to admit that I have a huge tolerance for pain, so when they say its no big deal to have it inserted, let me tell you they are wrong. But in my experience the Mirena is a better option than the others. I had hoped to have no hormones at all, hence my choice to have the copper iud. It just did not work for my body. I’m so sorry that I suffered with it in for 3 years before I finally gave up and said something isn’t right, maybe it’s the iud. I suffered and so did my family and was so sick I lost important time with my son that I cannot ever get back. I say this to all of you because as women we knew our bodies, and we often ignore what they are telling us because society has taught us to move on and be strong. Listen to you bodies and teach your children to listen to theirs.

18 Jessica February 18, 2009 at 6:03 am

I posted my whole story on Kristina’s blog, but wanted to say a few more things about Mirena. I’ve had 2, one good and one bad. The first, I had put in when my oldest son was 9 months old and I hadn’t gotten my period again yet. But they had no problems putting it in. It wasn’t comfortable, not not really more than the reg pap they did at the same time. I did get really light headed and nauseous afterward and ended up having someone pick me up because I didn’t want to drive. But after a nap and some food, I was fine. Taking it out was fine, I barely felt it. I never had an ultrasound, or anything while it was in (3 yrs) and it did what it was supposed to. As for checking the strings, I had no problems with that. But if it weirds you out, just have your husband do it. And while he’s there anyway…

The second one was put in several years later. I think they numbed my cervix first that time, kuz I felt more like needle pricks and then nothing. I didn’t think to ask. But it was definitely better than the first time. But then it did get expelled, which was no fun. (Full story on Kristina’s blog) Overall though, I would still recommend it. Oh and btw, my DR told me that as long as it is still in your body, it will protect again pregnancy because of the hormones. (Mine was way off in my abdomen). And the most common was to expel is through your cervix, which you absolutely couldn’t miss.

19 Candace February 18, 2009 at 11:17 am

I was in a similar situation. I have 2 kids close together and feel like I’m done, but I’m 25 and doctors don’t typically do tubal ligations when you’re that young. Also there’s a chance (however slim it may be) that we might have a third. I really didn’t want anything put in my uterus. I figured of something was going to go wrong better my arm than my uterus, so I went with Implanon. Its a tiny rod they put just under the skin of your arm and it provides birth control for 3 years. I love it! The procedure was simple, very little discomfort and I don’t get a period. Also I can’t see that the hormones are affecting me at all and I was able to breastfeed without any problems. The pill used to really mess me up hormone wise. One of the reasons we decided to have kids when we did was because the pill was making me feel like crap and i wanted to go off of it. Implanon is a great option, I totally recommend it!

20 Jenni February 19, 2009 at 11:13 am

How come there is no mention of FAM? (Fertility Awareness Method) It’s just as effective, if not more, than other birth control, it’s hormone and side-effect free, very inexpensive, simple, and accurrate. I wish more women were aware of how easy it is to know their own bodies and either prevent pregnancy or become pregnant in a safe effective way. Taking Charge of Your Firtility is a great book and an excellent place to start! Best of luck to you!

Jenni’s last blog post..Is it Safer or is it Normal?

21 Angie February 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I loved this post! I am a mom of 3 kids (4, almost 2, and 6 months). We got pregnant with our beautiful baby #3 while on birth control pills(and using an alternate ‘method’) when our second was 7 months. I often get the ‘Are you crazy?’ comments, etc. I agree that even after 3 kids, I was just not willing to give up the chance to someday have another (no time soon) for the exact reasons you mentioned. My husband is not willing to help the situation so I got the Mirena IUD. Putting in….not so bad. Afterall, I had just given birth. But man have I suffered since! And I am far from being a wuss. The low back pain and cramping is horrible at ‘that time of month.’ I NEVER had cramps before having the IUD in. They do say it gets better and it slowly is. I think I am on month 6 of it. I am at the point now where I might as well just keep toughing it out.

22 Amanda February 22, 2009 at 7:32 am

Well, I probably am not your target audience, but I will share what we did. After baby #3, my dh did not want anymore, and wanted me to get my tubes tied. I would not go that route. BC pills make me freaky, so we used the calendar method. That worked well for about six months until I was stressed and busy and messed. I turned up pregnant with #4. Two months after he was born, dh got the “V.” LOL

Amanda’s last blog post..Birthday Bash at Custom Blog Designs

23 Sarah V. March 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Hi! I found this post from your link on Julia’s blog.

I also don’t want more children, but I do want to leave that option open just in case… well, I can’t actually imagine a feasible just-in-case scenario, but, I don’t know, maybe we win the lottery and then get broody as our two kids get older. So I don’t want to have my tubes or my husband’s tied.

I adored the Pill while I was on it (pre-kids, and then for a short while between weaning No. 1 and trying to conceive No. 2) – I loved being able to skip periods most months and schedule the ones I did have. But life with kids is a lot more disorganised and, realistically, I know I can’t now count on being the reliable Pill-taker I once was. So I wanted something long-acting. Not Depo because I don’t like the idea of being unable to stop it easily if I don’t get on with it, so the choices were either variety of IUD or another option we have in the UK, called Implanon, which is a plastic rod that gets fitted under the skin of the upper arm and releases hormones.

I had a coil (the traditional non-hormonal one) while I was nursing baby 1, so I felt like I was on known territory there, and they last longer than Implanon, and I felt a little nervous about the prospect of someone spotting the Implanon under my arm (it isn’t visible in the normal run of things, but can show up under fluorescent light – also, you need to have a bandage on your arm for a week after the insertion). So I just felt a bit more comfortable with the thought of a coil than with the thought of the Implanon. I went with the Mirena because I liked the thought of the light periods. It isn’t true that you have to have it inserted during your period, by the way – doctors prefer that because it’s a reasonable assurance that you’re not pregnant, but as long as you can be reasonably sure you’re not pregnant they should put it in at any time. I had mine put in at seven weeks postpartum and certainly wasn’t having my period then.

I found the insertion to be very uncomfortable, but, from what I can gather, I was on the higher end of the scale as far as discomfort was concerned. Whatever – for me, it was well worth it. Ten minutes of nasty cramps for five years of hassle-free contraception? I was happy with that trade-off.

I had light spotting for about three months after it was put in, which is pretty much par for the course. At first I needed a mini-pad and later it got so light I didn’t even need that. After that I didn’t have my period until my daughter was around a year (I was nursing her). When it restarted, it was lighter than before, though not as light as I’d hoped from the stories I’d heard. Up until three days ago I’d have told you that I didn’t have any other side-effects, and that may well still be true, but… for the past three days I’ve been having queasy feelings that are so similar to the way I felt when I was pregnant that I did a test (scary moment, I can tell you, but fortunately was negative), and this is so unusual for me that I am wondering whether it could be a late side-effect of the Mirena. I do know one woman on-line who had that side-effect, so, although it’s rare, it’s not completely impossible. I do hope that’s not the cause, because I really don’t want the hassle of trying to find a different contraceptive that suits me.

One final issue: Having had both a traditional coil and a Mirena, I can tell you that the threads on the Mirena are… I don’t know the word… bristlier, for want of a better word, than the ones on the coil I had before. They’re not as soft and have more tendency to stick into things. Which has been a bit of a problem for my husband. Trimming them helped, but didn’t remove the problem. I’ve never seen this disadvantage mentioned anywhere, but we’ve certainly found it to be the case.

Hope that helped. Good luck choosing!

Sarah V.’s last blog post..The MMR Decision And Death Rays From Mars

24 Heather March 12, 2009 at 3:38 am

I wanted to update my previous post. I got the Mirena a month ago now and it’s been great. I seem to be a lucky one and have barely had any spotting, from the day of insertion on. I think I am having a “period” now b/c I am having very light spotting (and since it’s been a month that’s my guess). I did have an issue with my husband feeling the strings but my doctor said the strings would soften over time and they already have. No one else has mentioned the cost here. Since I never go to the doctor and have no medical issues, I had not paid anything toward my insurance deductible and as a result I am paying the entire $500 myself. That was a bit of a shocker, it’s twice the cost of pills for 5 years! But I am trying to tell myself it’s “ony” $100 a year and no periods…..

25 Dustmite September 25, 2009 at 10:02 pm

We have used the pill, condoms, IUD and NFP. My wife was on the pill for the first few years of our marriage but hated the way they made her feel. After much reading over the past few years I too think chemical BC is not good for the body.

We both hated the condoms although I almost think she did more than me so even when using them was an option, we would usually go without sex versus wearing a condom.

We used the IUD for a while and the only issue was that I “did” get poked from time to time. Not anything major, but I could tell it was there. But in the end knowing how the IUD as well as pretty much all other chemical forms of BC work, we just did not feel it fit with our view of conception or health.

So for us this has lead to NFP. Although a bit scary if you can’t keep your hands off your spouse or start thinking of the “what if’s” or counting your wifes fertile years …lol, it can be very effective. For us we only had one surprise. That surprise was really our fault, although my wife’s cycles were pretty much like clockwork, she was under a ton of stress and we took some short cuts. Sadly we lost that PG at 3 months. But we continued to use NFP without any unexpected results and it worked just fine until we decided to have another baby which led to having one more (my wife has this thing with even numbers). For us this is the only BC we are comfortable with and if I can keep my wife from dreaming of cute little pink bundles we might be ok.

26 Dean December 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Is there a religious component to your decision about permanent birth control? My wife and I struggled with this because once it’s done it’s done. I had a visectomy, and once that decision was made, there’s no un-doing it. Take your time to make sure you ARE done having children before making a permanent decision.
.-= Dean Orange Life Insurance´s last blog ..Should Keep or Look into term Life Insurance Quotes? =-.

27 Alex January 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I recently had a baby about 1 year ago. I use the natural method ( pull out ) which had been working for a year now. I did alot of research and you cannot get pregnant from pre-cum, scientists have proven it.. The only way that can happen is if theres any left over semen when the man ejaculates. TMI sorry.

But i have considered birth control, im very afraid of the side affects and I am extremely sensitive to use condoms so I know having something inserted would mess with intimacy. I considered the pill but i would never remember to do that every single day..

Im not recommending that would be the best metod to avoid getting pregnant, but its been working for me, and i just want to tell you that is does work successfully if you and your mate know what your doing..

Thanks girls! Alex.

28 Dr Sarah January 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm

According to what I’ve read, studies show that pulling out (otherwise known as the withdrawal method) has a failure rate of something like 17%. Probably that’s going to include a lot of excited teenagers with poor timing who are leaving it too late, so the rate would likely be a lot lower for a mature careful man who’s had some practice, but I think it does highlight that this isn’t the best method to use unless you’re pretty relaxed about the possibility of ending up pregnant.
.-= Dr Sarah´s last blog ..Adventitious =-.

29 Morgan February 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

Ok so I am also debating permanent bc. I don’t want more kids but still get the what ifs. The pill makes me a bitch. The shot makes me fat and I can’t even think of sex it’s so bad. The Mirena was awful, when they put it in I thought I was going to faint it hurt like hell. Then afterward, I had terrible abdominal pain and my body was trying to get rid of it and boy I could tell. It made my milk dry up because I really wanted to breastfeed my daughter but I only did for 4 months which sucked. SO then I went to my dr. to get it removed and she barely tugged it and it came out and man I immediately felt better. SO then I had no choice but to go back on the pill which I am taking now but absolutely hate it (except for the three day periods are awesome). So I could have taken a low hormone period to begin with and I could still be breastfeeding my baby, but that didn’t happen. So when it comes to permantnet bc I think I am ready except for the small bit of doubt. I have a teenage son a step son and step daughter and one year old daughter, which I think is enough children for us. BUT am I really ready to do something permanent I am not too sure. I am sure I don’t want more kids because damn I can hardly handle the ones I have I mean 3 teens and a baby (I really have my work cut out for me). I go in for my consult on the 24th so we will see if I chiken out.

30 Diana February 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm

you know those 3 day af’s you like so much? i used to like them to, then when i got my tl they went from 3 days to 7 days, with heavy bleeding and clots. i have sinc had my Tubal reversal and it had finally gottn abck to how it USED to be. just think on it carefully.. I never would have done it, and would have rather stayed on the pill or used a diaphragm, the hassle is a lot less to deal with t han the permanent damage and lessened blood flow to your ovaries..

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