Monday 31 March 2014

Mirena: The Cadillac of IUDs (Because It Costs Almost As Much As a Cadillac)

I think my favourite part about my husband's new job is their amazing drug and dental plan.  It covers just about anything, which is great because it's looking like Frick is going to need braces.

With his last job we had to be more careful about our drug and dental spending because we could only spend X amount of dollars each year.  Also they made you pay upfront and would reimburse you after they got the prescription receipt.  Which means that the last time I was in the market for birth control I had to pick something that wouldn't break the bank.  I really wanted the Mirena IUD, which is a wonderful, magical IUD that gives you little or no period and makes your uterus smell like a spring meadow (not really).  But the Mirena costs something like $800.  

On the other hand there was the Nova-T, which is not magical, makes your period last longer (mine was 8 days long.  8 DAYS!!!), makes you bleed more heavily and makes your cramps worse. The Nova-T is a lot more like the one your mother probably used before people found out they were dangerous and gave IUDs a bad rep for a couple of decades.  But they're better designed now, they WILL prevent pregnancy and back then they only cost about $80.

And hey, I don't want to knock the Nova-T too much.  Because according to my Nurse Practitioner I should have got mine replaced about two years ago (oops!) and yet I'm still baby free.  So that's something.

When I went to go pick up my fancy new Mirena, they gave it to me like this:

They had to double bag it!

I laughed and told the pharmacist, "That's not going to fit!"

She said, "Oh, we just wrap it up like that to keep it discreet."

Discreet?  Then why is it packaged in such a huge motherfucking box?

Seriously.  Here's a picture for scale.

They crayon is for scale.  The lego is to cover my name.  The upside down is just because.

As you can see the actual IUD is smaller than the crayon.

I remember when I picked up my Nova-T that it came in a little plastic Ziploc bag.  That was plenty discreet.  When I told my husband that he laughed and called it "ghetto".  I guess this giant box is what you get when you are paying $800 for birth control.  Deluxe packaging.  I wondered what else might be inside this enormous box.  Reams of complicated instructions?  Some weird kind of applicator?  A swag bag?  I couldn't wait to find out!

Finally the day of my appointment arrived.  It had been five years since I had to worry about getting pregnant and I did not like having to worry about it again between IUDs.  Also I was looking forward to the possibility that I might be amongst the 33% of women who stop getting periods with this thing.  (Fingers crossed!)  So I wrestled my enormous Mirena box into my purse and headed to my doctor's office.

As usual the nurse handed me a giant paper towel, told me to strip from the waist down and then made me wait, half naked, for waaaaaay to long.  I started playing one of my waiting games.  I have many.  If I'm waiting for the bus I play "Hipster or Homeless?" because sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.  When I'm on the bus I play "Who's Holding the Weed?" because the buses in Anytown smell like a Cypress Hill concert and because it's always fun to pretend it's the elderly lady wearing a sock monkey hat or something.

And in waiting rooms/doctor's offices I play "See If You Can Find Dust."  Spoiler alert:  you can't.  But it's super impressive once you start really looking for it.  In this particular office there were these hanging butterflies made out of coloured nylon stretched over wire wings.  They had little fluffy pom-pom antennae.  These things should be impossible to keep perfectly dust-free....and yet they were perfectly dust-free.  Amazing!

Right when I was starting to wish she would hurry up already because it's chilly in here, dammit!  I heard the radio start playing Rick James' "Superfreak" and then all I could do was pray that she would at least not come back until the song was over because I couldn't guarantee that I would be able to refrain from laughing my ass off.  This is a delicate procedure requiring steady hands and a patient without the maturity of a 12 year old.  Since she wasn't going to get the latter I could at least try to help with the former.

My prayers were answered and just as the song was ending the nurse knocked on the door and asked to come in.  Once she got to work it turned out that my fears about the music distracting me were baseless since she kept up a steady stream of small talk, which I'm not entirely sure was better.  I hate small talk in general.  I am terrible at it.  It just provides me with an opportunity to say stupid things to a complete stranger.  It's even worse if I feel awkward or nervous as one is likely to feel when one's feet are in the stirrups.

We talked about mundane stuff like shoes and kids and then she told me to cough because I would "feel a pinch" which turned out to be a total lie because I didn't cough so much as have the wind forced out of me involuntarily.


"Are you okay?"

"That was slightly more than a pinch!"

"Was it?  I'm sorry.  Well, I guess we're not friends anymore."

When she was finished she went to great lengths to reassure me that everything went well.

"That went in sooooo easy!  Just right in there with no problems at all.  The opening was nice and wide."

Um....thank you?  It's nice to know I have such a huge cervical opening?

Aw, who am I kidding?  I bet she says that to all the girls.

As for the contents of the giant box?  Nothing but a small consumer information pamphlet.  Not even a lousy coupon book.  What a let down.


  1. Yay for the Mirena! I got one after my firstborn. The first month I found out I was one of the lucky girls who didn't get their period with it in place. It didn't come the second month either, but I found out that was because I was one of those REALLY lucky girls who got knocked up with it in place. Not to scare you with your brand new IUD, it's great, it really is. Everyone else I've known has had no issues. Considering the fact that my firstborn was actually conceived while on the Depo shot, I think it's safe to say it's just me.

    1. Holy shit, that's crazy! I was worried that might happen to me since I had baby #1 using condoms and baby # 2 using the pill. But yeah, the nurse mentioned that could happen. I'm thinking I might just stock a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet just in case I need to ease my mind on that score.


  2. Congrats on your awesome Mirena! I've had mine for just under four year (mine's good for five) and I call it super duper birth control and know it will take a medical intervention to get knocked up a third time (time number two it only took an adorable hubby and a cheap bottle of vodka to convince me to stop taking my birth month later I was pregnant...damn it!) Mirena ROCKS!