So, I got an IUD. When I mention this, the first thing I am asked is: "Are you going to write about this?" I was even asked this very question as the procedure was taking place. Sure, why not?
First, this won't be a play by play of a medical procedure. I won't explain how it happens or what exactly to expect should you decide to pursue a similar method. I believe this is the job of a medical professional and I am not here to pretend that my experience is everyone else's experience. I especially want to reiterate this since my pain tolerance is so comically low that I am confident just about anyone is bound to have a smoother ride and exhibit a more dignified display than I did. I am almost convinced a biological male could have this thing put in with more grace than I did.
So what to talk about then? I share my thoughts only because I believe some of them are not unique to this specific procedure but rather, to the entire process of being a grown ass woman and how we approach these oh-so-fun situations.
OMG please don't consider message boards a reliable or healthy way to seek out knowledge. While online reviews might give you an idea of what to expect of a coat you've been eyeing or karaoke bar you've been meaning to check out, they add far less value when it comes to the medical field. I'm not saying to fly blindly but maybe next time, I would avoid subscribing entirely to what I read as absolute truth. I felt like reading these sort of posts could help me anticipate what to expect during and afterwords. Upon arrival to my appointment, I expressed my unease surrounding the perceived pain that I would experience considering "GraceyPants39" called this procedure, "The greatest physical pain known to humankind." When in the midst of procedure, the medical goddess of a Nurse Practitioner gently reminded me, "some of the anxiety and discomfort you are responding to is in your head." And she was absolutely right. GraceyPants39 had essentially set me up to think that any amount of pressure WAS certain to be the start of the worlds worst pain actualized in my body. This isn't to minimize what she experienced, and it isn't to say I didn't experience my own significant level of discomfort (I did) but so much of my own headspace was filled with what I read that I wasn't even able to process what was happening in the moment. It's like trying to ride a roller coaster when you've already read the technical reports of all it's past malfunctions.
If you're like me, don't be afraid to face the realities of the patient that you are. As I mentioned, I am pathetically bad at managing pain. I know I am and I have come to terms with it. Any other day, I consider my physical and emotional sensitivity to be my greatest strength. I communicate that early and try very hard to be as receptive to their direction as I can be. (My experience would have you think it's a medical community mantra to chant "scoot further down on the table, please") I also try to describe pain and discomfort in a more practical and clear way. Communicating clear messages about your personal experience (and not that of ol' Gracey) can help you and your doctor work together to have a more effective and positive interaction. This can also help to alleviate internalized anxieties which can help to mentally process pain more effectively and communicate it more clearly.
And finally, a note on self care. This is a term I love to discuss and hope to expand its importance through Unbound. I think the effort and commitment we dedicate to self care is the ultimate determinant of quality of life. It's something that I'm not sure many women properly allow for themselves, myself included. Whether it's tracking inconsistencies, allowing your body to recover from any taxing event or finally: speaking to trusted health professionals. The last one can be a true challenge considering our own financial and scheduling limitations. But it's a worthy one and one I am working on. Be informed, know your options and always be considering the decisions you are making and accessing if they still work for you as you go.
(And stay off those dang message boards. Your body is no karaoke joint.)