At 38 years old, with two kids, I wasn't 100 percent sure we were "done." So instead of my husband getting snipped, I decided to get a Mirena IUD. My insertion could be summed up as 10 full seconds of not-quite-as-excruciating-as-labour-but-pretty-damn-painful cramps. Aside from some pain and spotting the rest of the day, it wasn't as big a deal as I was expecting (thankfully).
I loved my Mirena for the over two years I had it. My cycle stayed regular, I still felt when I was ovulating, and my periods were short and barely there. Once I hit 41 years old, and my youngest was 5 and a half and that baby bug had completely flown away, I knew it was time to get the IUD out and have my husband take on the responsibility of birth control.
Another big reason I decided to have my Mirena removed was that I've been experiencing annoying night sweats about 10 to 15 days out of the month, before and during my period. I wake up completely drenched and have to change my PJs once or twice during the night, which not only makes for a lot of laundry but also really disrupts my sleep. I've had tons of tests to check for thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders, or bacterial infections, but since they're caused by hormonal changes that happen due to my cycle, my doctor says it's not anything to worry about. Since the Mirena has a tiny dose of hormones, we thought we'd try going hormone-free to see if that helps.
What Does IUD Removal Feel Like?
I was happy to hear that the IUD removal isn't as painful as IUD insertion. My appointment was first thing in the morning, so I ate a banana and took a couple ibuprofen in anticipation that there might be discomfort or cramping afterward. When I got into the room, I took off my stretchy yoga pants and undies and just sat on the table with the paper sheet over my lap, feeling awkward as hell. I glanced over at the counter and saw these ginormous metal scissor things and started to get really nervous.
When the doc came in the room, I immediately felt my shoulders relax a little when she said, "This will all be over in five minutes, and since you gave birth twice, this will feel like nothing compared to that!" I put my feet in the soft, fleece-covered stirrups, sat back, and shifted my hips way more forward than I wanted to. The doctor was sweet and sensitive, speaking calmly and explaining everything before she did it. She first inserted the metal speculum, then she said I was going to feel a little pinch and that's it.
She counted down backward from three, I took a deep breath in and exhaled on "one," and it was over before I knew it. I definitely felt that little pinch, which was actually worse than I thought it would be, but not bad at all. My crotch felt a little weird, but I was so excited it was done. I went to sit up, and she said, "Wait! I need to remove the speculum!" (No wonder my crotch didn't feel right!)
The joy I felt was so unexpected, it made me tear up a little. I not only felt the relief of not having to worry about how it was going to feel to have the Mirena removed, but I also felt this sense of clarity, of purity, like I was getting back to my body, just as it is. No more hormones, no weird plastic things inside me, nothing. I texted my husband, "Your turn," and left the office.
How Did I Feel After?
The doctor handed me a panty liner and said I could expect to have some spotting for a day or two. I experienced a little cramping that day but felt no other pain afterward. I did actually bleed longer than I thought I should, for six days. It wasn't a little spotting; it was more like the amount of blood I'd have during a normal period. I was a little worried when I found a few blueberry-size blood clots, but since the bleeding lessened with every day, and I didn't have any pain or other symptoms, I didn't call my doctor.
Fourteen days after the first day of bleeding, I had ovulation symptoms (tiny pinching pain in my ovary and egg white cervical fluid), and a month after removal, I got my period, so I guess the IUD removal triggered my period? I'm also happy to say that I've only had night sweats once so far since having it removed almost a month ago, so maybe this will help! I figure my cycle may be a little wonky in the next few months, but I'm thankful my entire IUD experience was a positive one, and I'm excited for this new, birth-control-free chapter in my life.