My Birth Control Sent Me to the ER

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I never thought that 16-year-old me would be influenced to start birth control by my mom. I had horrible, and I mean bad, periods and cramps to the point where super plus products and extreme strength Tylenol weren’t helping in the slightest. I was sick of being constantly down for the count for an entire week every single month. Little did I know that my body or myself, in general, would have complications with a variety of birth control methods.

(Gif courtesy of Giphy.com)

 

Most girls start off with the pill and I was no different. I was given the pill solely for the reason that I was having incredibly intense cramps to the point where I couldn’t move, constantly felt like I was going to pass out, and the thought of food made me sick to my stomach. I started taking the pill and it made me break out the worst I ever have in my whole life. Luckily, it was summertime so I didn’t have to face anyone with my bad breakouts. I must say that the worst part about the pill, isn’t actually taking the pill every day; it’s the fact that you have to take it at the same time each day. I was on the pill for about two and a half years and by this point, I was in a serious relationship. I was in my freshman year of college and my boyfriend lived near my hometown nearly three hours away. I knew that I had to be on some form of birth control or else my battle with horrific periods would come back. Trying to adjust to a brand new college schedule made me realize that taking time out my day to constantly remind myself, or forget, about the pill was annoying and ultimately not worth it.

(Gif courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com)

I talked to my mom about other options and did some researching of my own. Of course with each Google search, I was greeted with great experiences and total horror stories of each birth control on the market. I knew that I wanted something that would be more infrequent and definitely not an everyday task like the pill. I researched and binge-watched videos on the shot, the arm implant, the IUDs, and the ring. I was instantly drawn to the Intrauterine Device (IUD) because they had different kinds that protected you from up to 3-5 years with the hormonal ones or 12 years with the copper version. I heard that the insertion of the IUD through your cervix is a really, really, really bad pain. I was lucky enough to be prescribed pills that softened your cervix so the procedure would be more bearable. Wrong. Your OBGYN will tell you that you’ll feel a quick pinch and in that moment you realize where your cervix actually is in your body. The pain was nearly unbearable. I cried, I passed out, and I almost threw up. The nurse gave me water and waited with me until I was able to drive home. I thought it couldn’t get any worse than that, but I had no idea how bad it would actually get for me.

(Photo courtesy of PlannedParenthood.org)

Important: I decided to get the Skyla IUD implant and if it seems right for you or works for you, that’s all that matters. This is my personal opinion and experience.

 

I was nauseous and slept for the entire day when I got my IUD put in. I felt disgusting and awkward because a foreign object had been placed in my body. Not even a week had gone by and I was having really uncomfortable pains in my lower abdomen and my sides. I couldn’t eat, sleep or focus on my studies. I woke up one morning with intense pain and was almost brought to tears if I tried to move. It was 8 o’clock in the morning on a Monday morning last spring semester. Class wasn’t an option and I drove myself to the emergency room at O’Bleness Hospital near campus. After explaining what my pain was and explaining that I had just recently had a new form of birth control, I was put into a room and a series of tests began. They instantly started me on an IV and told me I needed to change into the ever so revealing hospital paper gown. I had a handful of doctors and nurses coming in and out and they took my urine, blood, and tested for pregnancy and more things that have no become a blur. I was alone in this room, I was cold and most importantly - I was scared. I called my mom in tears but she was only able to do so much being three hours away. My boyfriend was away at basic training so the two people I needed most in my time of need were unavailable. Long story short, the tests showed nothing and after an ultrasound, they didn’t have an explanation as to what was happening to me. After the last resort ultrasound, I was released when nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I went back to my dorm, took some of my prescribed Ibuprofen and went about my week.

 

Three days later, I woke up in the middle of the night to excruciating pain that I cannot begin to describe. This time around if I tried to move, I would burst into tears. I remember calling my dad at work and he told me to go back to the ER but I decided to just wait it out until the morning despite my pain level being a ten. I was having a hard time breathing and went to bed praying that the pain would stop. I woke up for class and called my mom right away because the pain hadn’t gone down. Instead of going to my classes that day, I packed up and drove 3.5 hours home by myself in tears. Once I got home, the pain wasn’t anywhere as intense as it has previously been so we decided to seek medical help the next day.

 

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When we arrived at urgent care and the array of tests began again. Once again, nothing was detected, but we were directed by the doctor to go the emergency room as soon as possible. My mom works at the hospital we ended up going to so yes, it was definitely awkward trying to explain that I felt like my insides were trying to kill me to people that knew who I was. Third time's a charm and the tests started back up. An immediate ultrasound was suggested and off I went to have warm, gooey gel spread across my entire left side. The pain was occurring from my upper thigh all the way up to right under my breast. They checked my gallbladder, kidney, liver, ribs, etc. Still nothing. I was so frustrated at this point because it was clear that I was in terrible pain but nobody was able to find what the cause was. I was ordered to go in for a CAT scan and this began the poking. I hate needles and had to have another IV put in in order to do the scan. However, my veins were not having it and it took four different nurses to attempt to get the needle in. I was poked in both wrists, the back of both hands, each inner elbow (three times each) until one lady finally succeeded in the inside of my right bicep. Talk about a traumatic experience.

After the CAT scan, all I could do was wait. I was lucky this time around because both of my parents were by my side and I had gotten to talk to my boyfriend while he was on pass in the Army for an hour. Eight hours later, we got the news of what was wrong. It was obvious that my body was rejecting the IUD and a noted side effect is the possibility of an ovarian cyst. With my luck, I had an ovarian cyst form and rupture on my left ovary within the course of the three days from my previous ER visit. Doctors try to remove cysts by surgery before they rupture so that they don’t rupture. What had happened to me was when my cyst ruptured on my left ovary (most likely when I woke up in the middle the night from the pain) it had caused basically everything on the right side of my body to become inflamed. I was not about to risk having this pain ever again so I decided to get it out. Ladies, let me tell you it hurts just as bad getting it out as it was getting it inserted. Never again.

 

I was now 0-2 with birth control. I knew I needed it because my hormones were already used to something being in my body so my next plan was the patch. The birth control patch requires a new patch every week for 3 weeks then one week with it off. I didn’t mind it at first because it’s just a little square that looks like a Band-Aid. I wore mine on my hip and this method lasted for about 3 months until I gained 13 pounds from it. Lol NEXT. I am now on the shot and love it. A common side effect is weight gain but I have not encountered that problem. If you can handle one shot in your arm every three months, then this method is perfect for you! Whatever works for you and your body may not work for others and that is important to remember. But we can all agree that periods leave us feeling like Jess from New Girl.

(Gif courtesy of Gurl.com)

 

About The Author

Slightly poetic and most likely taller than you.