• wallace-finch

    Thank you for posting this, NW. It was touching and informative and I felt your anguish.

    Darned good question about why such a simple procedure can’t just be done in your own doctor’s office.

  • amy-phillips-bursch

    Although I also have a ParaGard. *whimper*

    I’m glad you were able to receive the care you needed. I second the irritation that such a simple procedure can’t be done in a regular doctors’ office.

  • agenevitz

    I have to tell you that this was a  beautifully written and really accessible piece. I’m at a similar point in my life, and have recently gone through similar emotions for what was actually a pregnancy scare rather than the real thing. I think that pieces like this that take the real experience of abortion without politicization are so important and I applaud you for using such a personal account to hopefully help someone else in your situation. Thank you.

  • histoire

    Thank you for sharing this even though you’ve just scared the hell out of me! Perhaps I shouldn’t be relying solely on my IUD. I got mine after an abortion (which, for me, happened in my normal ObGyn’s office with their complete disregard for my state’s informed bullshit laws) and I haven’t even thought about the possibility of its failure.

  • thebrabblerabble

    I, too, thought that I was safe with Paragard, but after 5 years (it is supposed to last 10), I became pregnant with my third child. I was definitely not planning on having any more children, but we figured she was meant to be. It was scary getting the device removed, because we were warned that we could lose the baby. Thankfully, the pregnancy was uneventful and she was healthy.

    I got pregnant with my first kid while taking the Pill. My second was conceived while I was breastfeeding exclusively and had not yet started having a period after having my first. I thought the IUD would be the best bet for a fertile girl like me, but no.  I’m glad that I am in a stable, committed relationship! My sister also got pregnant with a different type of IUD, Mirena, but it was an ectopic pregnancy that could have been life-threatening and was not a viable pregnancy.

    My tubes are now “tied,” but the doctor has scared me by saying that even that is not 100%! Short of celibacy, what’s a girl to do? But five years after my third child, it seems we have finally found a lasting solution! But most women wouldn’t want to do that until they are older and sure about not having any more kids. I wish there were better, safer, and more effective options than abstinence and getting your tubes tied. 

  • tazzle

    I was only 23, but I had two kids already and my marriage was on the rocks. My OB thought I was too young for such a drastic reproductive choice and tried to talk me out of it. But, I persevered. Over a decade of being a single parent and struggling working minimum wage jobs would have made a pregnancy disastrous and I would have hated having to make a decision like yours. I admire you for your courage in weathering through such a difficult decision and hope that your future is bright and happy.

  • jean-smith

    Thank you for sharing your story.  This is exactly why abortion needs to be legal, safe, and affordable.  Best wishes for your future.

  • lindzanne

    Wow. Besides the IUD part, you so captured all the nuancies and complications I felt when choosing and experiencing an abortion.  This is so well written.  It made me especially grateful I was allowed to have my partner sit next to me and hold my hand during the procedure (although he wasn’t allowed back until that very moment).  Thank you for writing this.  

  • rjm

    Just FYI, y’all – IUDs are about as effective at tubals – they both have effectiveness of about 99%, meaning 1% of women with IUDs and 1% of women with their tubes done will still get pregnant. The Essure hysteroscopic tubal where you get a study done 3 months later to check that the tubes are blocked is the most effective, but it still isn’t a 0% failure rate. Nothing is perfect, but the statement above that IUDs fail “all the time” is not really accurate.  Still way better than typical use of the pill or any other method.   Sad but true, the only way to be 100% sure you never get pregnant is to never have sex with a man,  or to have a hysterectomy.  

  • deenice

    That really hit home with me.  It brought me right back to when I had an abortion 1.5 years ago.  You wrote beautifully and I wish more people could understand how hard it is to go through something like that.

    I have never wanted children and thankfully my boyfriend of 5 years doesn’t either (he’s 26, I’m 25), but when I got pregnant, I contemplated keeping it.  I think it was from the guilt I felt (I was careless with taking the pill).  When I tried to express this to my boyfriend, he kind of brushed it off because I’d been saying for years that I don’t like children and never want to have any.  I guess it’s just hard for people to know what it’s like.

    I don’t regret my decision at all, but I still feel sad when I think about it (just not guilty anymore).

    Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your experience, I’m glad you had such a supportive partner to go through that with!

  • deenice

    That really hit home with me.  It brought me right back to when I had an abortion 1.5 years ago.  You wrote beautifully and I wish more people could understand how hard it is to go through something like that.

    I have never wanted children and thankfully my boyfriend of 5 years doesn’t either (he’s 26, I’m 25), but when I got pregnant, I contemplated keeping it.  I think it was from the guilt I felt (I was careless with taking the pill).  When I tried to express this to my boyfriend, he kind of brushed it off because I’d been saying for years that I don’t like children and never want to have any.  I guess it’s just hard for people to know what it’s like.

    I don’t regret my decision at all, but I still feel sad when I think about it (just not guilty anymore).

    Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your experience, I’m glad you had such a supportive partner to go through that with!

  • aujusazu

    there is an option – vasectomy.  simple outpatient procedure.  also not 100% like tube tying, but definitely an option.

  • aujusazu

    a much needed perspective

  • laura-mcgrath

    While I appreciate your point about the IUD’s being very effective your interpretatio of 99 % effective is not quite right.  

     

    What birth control producers mean when they say 99 % effective is that if 100 women have sex  for 1 year using that particular form of BC, only 1 will get pregnant.  Therefore if you account for the fact that women don’t only have sex for one year, the risk is actually slightly higher than 1 % of women still getting pregnant. 

  • rjm

    Well, the 1% is a composite figure, taking into accout literature covering the dozens of IUDs that are on the market in different countries over the past 15-30 years.  Looking accross multiple studies you will find reported rates ranging from 0.2%-5%. The rates can also be affected by the users age as well.  Many recent studies generally show a rate UNDER 1%, for either the Paraguard or the Mirena if they take only the 1st year of use into account. For example, the CHOICE study in St Louis, lumping implants like implanon in with IUDs and following 7000 women for 2-3 years showed a failure rate of 0.27%.  

    It definitely happens, and I’m not trivializing. And if you are pregnant, you are 100% pregnant, so at that point, the probablity of it happening doesn’t really matter very much to you.  Heck, I did an abortion on someone with an IUD just 2 days ago. But too many people’s take home message from stories like this is “IUDs don’t work”.  They do work, they just aren’t perfect – just like every method of contraception. Way too many women decide to use no contraception because they hear about something “not working” and they think that means it is equivalent to using nothing at all which is far,  far from the truth.  So, when there are comments titled “IUDs fail all the time”, I just think a little perspective is important….

     

     

  • tishkit

    This happened to me about 40 years ago with the Dalkon Shield.  At the time, the Dalkon Shield was the only IUD prescribed for women who had never been pregnant.  I had it for about three months before I became pregnant, and had no hesitation about getting an abortion, even though, back then, I had to get letters from two mental health professionals stating that a pregnancy would be damaging to my mental health.  Much later, there was a class action lawsuit filed against the makers of the Dalkon Shield; I understand that people had worse experiences with it than I did–in my case, it just didn’t work.  I also heard that in some cases where women continued with a pregnancy, with the Dalkon Shield still in place, there were birth defects attributed to the IUD.

  • eli-spark

    I would just like other people to know that the statistical likelihood of an IUD failing is .05%. That’s 5/1000 people. Yes it does happen but it is incredibly rare. IUDs are still one of the most reliable forms of birth control possible. It’s about as effective as sterilization. Here is some information about a long term study comparing the two forms of birth control. http://tinyurl.com/ad9cbgm IUDs typically cost about $500 and tubal ligation (aka getting your tubes tied) cost about $1500 to $6000. I just want people to not be discouraged from getting an IUD because of one anecdote. Anecdote does not equal data.

  • threeofseven

    I got pregnant at 18 with a copper 7 IUD. After my abortion, my boyfriend and I decided to go with the IUD again, but with a backup plan — a diaphragm. The doctor at the clinic refused to fit me for a diaphragm after I told him I also had an IUD — even though I said I’d already been pregnant once with one. I went home, feeling defeated. Within 2 months I was pregnant again. At the clinic for my second abortion, I made sure they knew that I still had an IUD (I was concerned about a preforated uterus). Thus, I was shocked and surprised when, during the procedure, the doctor exclaimed “there’s an IUD in here!”

    When I was 36, I was injured by an uninsured driver and filed a lawsuit. The other side gained access to my medical records and cited my abortions as proof of my irresponsibility and poor character.

    I am still hurt by this and I am now 54. Thanks for listening.

  • barbara-e

    I got pregnant with a copper 7 IUD about 25 years ago.  I’d had it for two months, and had a six month old baby at the time.  I chose to get the IUD removed and continue the pregnancy.  Now, I have a wonderful daughter as a result, and her 14 months older brother passed away due to a drug overdose. 

    There is an alternative besides vasectomy for men.  The procedure called RISUGin India (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) takes about 15 minutes with a doctor, is effective after about three days, and lasts for 10 or more years.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where men had to make a conscious choice to become fathers, instead of all the burden being on women?

     

  • colleen

    Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world where men had to make a conscious choice to become fathers, instead of all the burden being on women?

    The ‘pro-life’ movement will never hold men accountable for anything including their own fertility. The movement is based on the notion that, post ejaculation,  the entire burden of human reproduction falls on women and that’s how God wants it.  If they held men accountable for the harm they cause or the children they father there would be no ‘pro-life’ movement. The purpose  of the ‘pro-life’ movement is control with a strong admixture of sadism thrown in for the entertainment value of some very sick people.

  • lotcha

    Thank you for sharing your story! Great point about not being able to have it done at the doctor’s office, I’d never even thought about that.  

    Women do get pregnant with an IUD sometimes, but I just wanted to give a counterbalance to all the (definitely worrying!) stories of IUD pregnancies here: I’m in my eleventh year of using a copper IUD, and on my third coil, and have never had a problem. I’ve been worried a couple of times that I might be pregnant, but all it ever was was a slightly late period or particularly bad PMS.

    Thankfully, for most women, it does work, and for me has the huge benefit of being both hassle- and hormone-free: on the pill I had constant yeast infections, and after I stopped taking it I realised it had been slightly suppressing my moods – the bad, but more importantly the good – all the time I took it. 

  • czlc89

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s scary that you can get pregnant while using the IUD, I’ve heard that this is much more likely to happen if it relocates and you aren’t able to see the strings anymore. I’m also surprised they didn’t mention the fact that when you do become pregnant while using an IUD, there is a higher chance of miscarriage because of the increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

    http://www.publichealthwatchdog.com/fda-receives-over-45000-adverse-event-reports-related-to-mirena-iud/

     

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