Immediately after our second was born, my husband and I knew our family was complete. We were blessed with two healthy children and we’re perfectly content. So to ensure our family-of-four stayed a family-of-four we had decisions to make. I immediately suggested my husband get himself lined up for the next available “snip” appointment. That suggestion, however, didn’t go over too well. Unfortunately he did some research – and while the entire procedure is simple and safe (and highly reliable) – something about cauterizing smoke rising up between his thighs didn’t sit too well with him. I haven’t given up on that suggestion, but for the time being I opted for the Mirena IUD, which lasts for five years.
I know choosing birth control is a very personal choice. For me, I wanted something that did not require a lot of work on my part. I can barely remember to take my daily vitamin, so birth control pills would not be a smart choice. After having two C-sections (and my own experiences with cauterizing smoke!), I also wanted something that did not require me going under “the knife” again. And I wanted an option that could be reversed in case my husband and I changed our minds.
After chatting with my doctor, I decided Mirena IUD would be the best choice (even my doctor uses it!). It just required an appointment for my doctor to insert this tiny device into my uterus. I wouldn’t call it painful, but I will admit it was not a comfortable procedure – and there was slight cramping for me a few days afterward. But now it’s in and it stays in for five years. (Or if we’re counting: one and a half more years for me, actually).
And then what? Take it out and get my husband snipped, right? Well, I’m not sure anymore. That was my plan originally but I have become quite accustomed to my little IUD.
For starters, I have not had a period in THREE AND A HALF YEARS! Ladies, I can’t tell you how liberating that is (although that does freak me out a little). At any given moment I have no idea where I am in my cycle. Another pro is being cramp-free. I used to get horrible cramps once a month and that’s now just a fleeting memory. Every once in a while I feel a little bloated or really tired (two on-going symptoms with my former cycles) but those symptoms pass in less than a day. Same with headaches and irritability. Used to affect me, but not anymore (at least not from menstrual cycles anyway).
Naturally there are cons, just as there are with any form of birth control. I’ve heard stories of girls gaining weight while on Mirena, but I honestly don’t think that’s happened to me. (Can’t say I haven’t gained any pounds in three and half years – but I’m pretty sure it’s due to reasons other than Mirena). I’ve also heard that once you go off Mirena, any cramping or bloating you had prior to using this IUD, doubles in intensity. Not sure how much of that is medically proven, but it did happen to my doctor. She was on the same five-year plan as me, and quickly decided to get another Mirena inserted. Needless to say, if you are considering Mirena as an option, be sure to check up on all the possible side-effects and safety precautions, and consult your doctor.
Right now the pro’s are outweighing the con’s for me. Will I stick to my original five-year plan, or will I renew my Mirena for another five? That’s still to be determined. I will say not having any visits from Aunt Flo in nearly four years does seem a little unsettling, but I’m not missing her! And I’m not looking forward to the procedure of taking it out or swapping it for a new one (yikes – it may be tiny but just look at that thing!). However, after two births I’m thinking I can handle it – whichever I decide.
How about you? Are you using Mirena? What has been your experience? In not Mirena, what other forms of birth control do you recommend?