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Question # 5: Birth Control Perspectives

Nothing like asking a doula and all-around birth junkie to delve into the wonderful realm of reproduction! This question was a response to my Question Meme posed a few weeks ago. This question came before I got the Dark Brown Plague and got so behind in my posting and commenting. I wanted to wait until I was healthy and capable of a ha ha, yeah right coherent response.

So the meme is still open. Especially to all my new friends - if you have one burning question to ask me, click on the link above to leave your (screened) question and I promise I'll answer. Here is question #5:

I would like to know what you think of the IUD and any other birth control methods you want to comment on. I'm going to be using the fertility awareness method along with barrier methods for now. :)

The short version: Huzzah for IUDs!

The long, birth junkie version (you asked...):

First, I suppose I should lay out my disclaimer: I have personal experience with Abstinence (by far my least favorite *snorfle*), Male Condoms, a few different Contraceptive Pills including the Mini-Pill (Alesse, Ortho Micronor, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Ortho-Novum), Norplant (and I guess that would mean Depo by proxy - I think, but I'm not sure, that they carry the same hormones), the copper IUD, and the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (breastfeeding - *note* Once your baby starts eating solids, the breastfeeding exclusively method IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED EFFECTIVE - although I found my periods didn't actually begin until I weaned entirely. It's different for every woman.).

I'll admit to having no real knowledge of the Fertility Awareness Method, beyond what I've heard from friends who use it. For me, I needed something I don't have to think about. I mean, one of my biggest peeves with the pill is that you have to remember to take it at the same time every day. So I'm just too lazy about FAM to be able to give any good feedback on that. And while I've used barrier methods when necessary, I'm not a fan.

There are several reasons why I believe the IUD is fantastic. There are two types, the hormonal IUD and the copper IUD. The hormonal can be used for up to five years, and the copper up to ten (although I have read some information saying as much as 12 years).

Since I'm breastfeeding, I have a copper IUD instead of a hormonal. It's a bonus to me that it lasts so long. It's said that the copper can occassionally make your menses heavier, or at least at first. Since I'm breastfeeding, I don't have a period, so it didn't happen to me. I did experience some slight spotting for about two days, but that was all. It was actually about 2 weeks after I got my IUD, so I initially thought my period was just returning earlier than it had with Eden. But I've had no further problems and am still period-free. The hormonal IUD is supposed to do the opposite, and is sometimes used to help regulate heavy or irregular menses.

I love the fact that once the IUD is in place, I'm good to go for ten years. I did enjoy Norplant when I had it, but the hormones really caused a weight-struggle. I had some depression issues at this time, too, and it just became a bit much to handle and I had it removed. I like the fact that the copper IUD doesn't have any hormones my body needs to adjust to. I struggle with weight as it is, and I don't need my birth control making the problem worse - especially now as I'm trying to shed two kids' worth of baby weight.

Another major plus is that sex can become much more spontaneous. Hard to imagine with kids, but it actually works out that way. All we need are thosed cherished moments when we can get both kids either asleep or engrossed in a movie together. No condoms to pay for or prescriptions for pills that need to be filled...

...Which was another major plus for me. I'm on medicaid, which creates a whole list of blah that some of you may be familiar with. When I'm not seeing my midwives, I have to go to the local health department for care. In the past, I've gotten 3 months worth of pills, but every time I need more I must come in for another physical. There are three major problems with this method, other than the fact that I ended up unhappy with the pill anyway:

1. I have to keep making appointments. Now that I have kids, this is no longer convenient. Also, being the Health Department, I end up seeing a different doctor every time. That in itself is something that displeases me greatly, but what's more...

2. I may get different pills. If I get an appointment before the date the prescription actually runs out, I can just get a refill. If I can't get in until after the date the prescription runs out, then the doctor-of-whim just prescribes his/her (*suck squared, because I also prefer lady lady-doctors) pill of choice, which accounts for why I have been on so many different pills in the past.

3. It's a drain on the system. Medicaid is a great service and I'm glad our taxes support it. It's been necessary for us and I have said many a prayer-of-gratitude over it. So a major bonus was with the IUD, I needed one appointment for insertion, one appointment to check it two weeks later, plus the cost of the IUD. We don't plan on any more children for a while, so this route is cheaper, more expedient, and more effective in the long run.

Huzzah for IUDs!

My only personal problem with this method is that I have a tilted cervix, so try as I might, I cannot do the required checks to feel the strings. Even my midwives search with some difficulty. This, combined with breastfeeding (and like that method alone), causes just the slightest uncomfortable iffy feeling, since I'm not having periods to assure me that I'm not actually pregnant.

(Click here for my view on condoms:)

(And on the pill:)


(Deleted comment)
May. 14th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
I discussed the patch with my midwife. It's still something I would need to keep up with fairly often compared to the IUD, and apparently there's been some questions about the possible increase in heart trouble with the patch. I have a murmur, so she recommended the IUD instead. But I hope you're happy with yours! I have been curious about those.