Like many of my friends and colleagues, I’ve been on birth control for about as long as I can remember. At 16, my OB/GYN recommended the patch because I had an irregular cycle, and my debilitating cramps were so bad that they’d even confined me to my bed. The patch was a miracle worker, and I could not be happier — my cycle was like clockwork, my cramps were cured, and my acne vanished.
When IUDs (intrauterine devices) became popular several years ago, my doctor suggested I give an IUD a try — but I balked at the idea.
You want to put what where?! No thank you, ma’am.
After taking a hard pass, I continued with the patch — but our love affair started to take a turn. About two years ago, I noticed my periods were super heavy, and my cramps came back with a vengeance.
My doctor mentioned IUDs again — and I did not heed her advice, opting instead for birth control pills. BIG mistake!
After nearly missing a coworker’s wedding reception and sending my husband to the drugstore for super plus tampons because I was…ahem…otherwise preoccupied, I decided it was time for a change.
I started investigating IUDs, asking my friends and coworkers who had them to learn about the pros and cons. But I was still a bit apprehensive about the procedure. I mean, I can barely handle Pap smears — and I’d heard my fair share of IUD horror stories.
But then one day, I accidentally forgot to take a pill.
I had TWO reminders set — and somehow I’d still forgotten! I immediately called my BFF (who just so happens to be a nurse) in a panic. I’m only 29, and I still have a lot I want to accomplish before adding “mom” to my list of titles. My friend, along with my OB/GYN, recommended that I take Plan B just to be safe. And it was then that I decided to schedule a consultation for an IUD (plus, it had the added bonus of eventually making my periods lighter. YASSS!).
Like most millennial women, I have a LOT going on between work and my side-hustle, networking events, and time with family and friends. If I forgot to take a pill once, it could definitely happen again. And that was not a risk I was willing to take. The ease of mind that would come from not having to worry about taking a daily pill was worth the few minutes of discomfort during the procedure.
I was all set to go with my IUD appointment — when the election happened. And, for lack of a better term, sh*t got real.
Among all of the issues that were discussed during the presidential debates, women’s reproductive rights were definitely high on my list of priorities. Immediately after learning the election results, many of my friends had the same questions: Would Trump actually repeal and replace Obamacare? Would I have to start paying for birth control again? What would happen to Planned Parenthood, which many of my friends relied on for reproductive health care services? (It’s not just about abortions, y’all).
Before the Affordable Care Act, I was paying $30 per month for the patch with insurance. That’s $360 a year times seven years (until the ACA was passed in 2010) for a grand total of $2,520. Get where I’m going with this?
When Obamacare passed and made birth control available at no cost to patients, I and millions of other women rejoiced. And now we were in danger of reverting that progress.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Planned Parenthood Illinois saw a significant increase in women making online appointments for IUDs after the election — a 460 percent increase compared to last November, to be exact. And I imagine the numbers are similar across the country.
Depending on the type of IUD you get, it can last anywhere from three to 12 years once inserted — aka long enough to get you through what’s sure to be a very interesting time in women’s healthcare, to put it mildly. To put it in perspective, IUDs are about $500 to $1,000 without insurance, so I highly recommend getting it while the getting is good and free.
After my IUD insertion, which only took a few minutes and was not as painful as everyone had said (thanks to some cervix dilation medication and a healthy dose of ibuprofen), I was preaching from the rooftops about the ease of the procedure.
So much so that two friends have now signed up to get IUDs as well.
The future is uncertain and we can only control our own destinies. I’ve had my IUD for almost a month now — and it’s safe to say that I’m a happy camper. My career is my baby right now, and I have no intention of having a human one for at least another few years.
The peace of mind that an IUD affords me is priceless, and my only regret is that I hadn’t listened to my doctor sooner (sorry, Dr. Zern). The time is now.