Getting an IUD: What to Expect so You’re Not Expecting

Doctor’s Visit 1

My gynecologist and I are tight — how else would you describe someone who examines your vagina once a year? When I learned I couldn’t take the Pill anymore due to its estrogen content, I ran to Danielle. She handed me a small, flexible model IUD that was smaller than a pair of iPhone headphones. That particular IUD, Kyleena, contains only progesterone and can remain inserted for up to 5 years. 

“Call me the next time you get your period, and we will be able to place the IUD. When you have your period your cervix will be more open, making the process easier and less painful.”

Danielle handed me two prescriptions for Xanax and Vicodin so my mind and my uterus would be relaxed on the day of my IUD placement.  


Doctor’s Visit 2

After I signed the consent forms and learned enough about some magazine’s “Top Sex Positions to Get You in the Mood for Fall,” the nurse called me back to get my blood pressure.

“Did you take the medicines Danielle gave you?”

I nodded. Like the good patient I am, I popped those babies exactly thirty minutes prior to my appointment time. 

We walked into Exam Room 2 and I covered myself with that awful paper towel sheet that we all know and hate. Soon, Danielle came in started the process. My feet were spread on the pink sock-covered stirrups, and Danielle pointed a light between my legs — great view. 

After a while of prodding, and only slight discomfort, I heard Danielle let out a disgruntled groan. She had been trying to open my cervix to measure my uterus, but I could tell it wasn’t going to happen. Danielle wrote me a prescription for a medication that would open my cervix. I had to take one pill before bed, and the second the morning of my appointment.

“There will be some cramping, but it will be a lot better than if I tried to get in there now.”

Additionally, I couldn’t use tampons and needed to “vaginally rest” for 5-7 days. I made my next appointment for two weeks away, and persuaded my mom to buy me three dozen apple cider donuts — at this point the Xanax was making me feel mighty fine

 Doctor’s Visit 3

I was ready. I took my medications, I still had my period (apparently, my cycle did not appreciate my stopping the Pill), and I was willing my cervix to open. The pre-insertion process was the same as my appointment two weeks previous, except the socks on the stirrups were Halloween themed — spooky!

Danielle seemed optimistic and my medications had officially kicked in. She tried to open my cervix with a soft instrument, but apparently my body is stubborn. There was mild cramping and sharp pains from her prodding, but nothing too bad. Danielle was then handed a different instrument. 

“If this doesn't work, you will have to get an ultrasound to see what is up with your uterus.”

At that moment, Danielle began prodding again. The pain was only a little worse than the previous prodding attempt, but I still let out an unintended, “FUCK!” 

After those no more than five seconds of prodding, Danielle was able to insert the IUD into my uterus through a tube applicator. I squeezed my eyes shut in preparation for the impending pain.

“Alright, we’re in!”

I felt nothing. Maybe a tiny cramp, but nothing unlike a day-one-period cramp. Danielle gave me an instruction sheet: no tampons for five days, no sex for five days, sex with a condom for at least a month, and a follow-up appointment in three weeks. 

That afternoon, I had slight cramps for no more than a half an hour after my appointment, and napped for a good four hours — successful day, I’d say. 

If you are interested in a form of birth control that does not need a daily reminder, can be estrogen or all hormone free, and is extremely reliable, an IUD may be for you! One’s preferred method of birth control varies per individual, but if you think an IUD would work for you, contact your favorite gynecologist.