Paragard IUD after C-sections: here’s an outline of my full experience.
Everything you need to know (and your doctor may not describe) about getting a Paragard IUD after C-sections.
After I had my second child in 2012 by C-section, my hands were full between work and two very young children, so I decided to go on the safe-for-breastfeeding pill. Everything was fine, until suddenly around 3 months postpartum my stomach stopped deflating. I was pregnant again, but had no idea how it could possibly be– I was on the pill AND breastfeeding exclusively. Apparently, there’s just a small portion of the population destined to overcome even the best-intentioned pill. By the end of 2013 I gave birth to my 3rd child, who I always wanted to have, but never expected to come so soon after number two (they’re just 1 year apart). He, too, was delivered by C-section.
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As my doctor was sewing me up in the operating room, I could hear her saying “we should talk about an IUD this time– it’s dangerous to have 3 pregnancies in under 5 years, especially with multiple cesareans.” She was right. The truth was, I’d likely have at least one more child at some point, but that point needed to be when my body was fully recovered from the traumas of pregnancy, surgery, and breastfeeding. So I heeded her advice, and almost as soon as the 3 month post-partum mark had passed I was back in her office waiting to be fitted for my fabulous new Paragard IUD after C-sections.
Now, I’ve never done well with hormones– not even my own– so I opted for the Paragard IUD instead of Mirena. Paragard is copper and causes inflammation to the uterus which stops pregnancies from materializing. Fine by me. Right? Well. Sort of. My doctor was honest, “you’ll get a heavier period for a while, but you shouldn’t feel any dramatic pain.” Since I hadn’t had a period in nearly two years, I hadn’t fully absorbed what she meant by a “heavier period.”
Here’s a chronicle of what’s ensued so far:
1. Insertion of Paragard. You’re in the stirrups chair as if you’re about to get a pap smear. Same speculum and all, except this time a t-shaped piece of metal is being shoved directly into your mostly-closed cervix. I don’t care what anyone tells you, this is not comfortable. If you’ve gone through labor this is nothing by comparison, but it’s definitely not casual fun. You cramp a ton for a few days after. Imagine the cramps you had when you were like 13 years old and trying to get out of gym class. Same ballpark.
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2. Spotting. The spotting was beyond pantyliners for me– it was flat out “light days” pads and tampons. The problem was that I never knew if the spotting was for a few hours, the whole day, or what. The spotting stage lasted 2-3 weeks, with cute matching cramps. You should definitely know this if you’re thinking about a Paragard IUD after c-sections.
3. Hooary, a period! Just kidding. This was the worst period of my life. It felt and looked like afterbirth. I seriously regretted not having stolen some of those atomic-level pads they give you in the hospital after giving birth. Also, my normal 5 day period lasted about 8 days. This felt nothing like Chanukkah, though.
4. Everything’s all good, fast forward to 2nd period post-Paragard insertion. More of the same, except this time I don’t soak through pads every single hour. I live a leisurely life of one pad for every 2 hours or so. Also, it only lasted 7 days. And just to clarify, when you’re bleeding like it’s going out of style, no tampon is heavy enough– pads become your obsession.
I’m waiting for round 3 now, and sincerely hoping I’ll continue inching my way back to normal periods (or lighter even). That stuff aside, I semi-like the Paragard. So far so good, and I’m not pregnant (although after a decent lunch I sort of look like I might be). Sex feels exactly the same as it did before the Paragard was inserted, but I will warn against any manual action. My husband swears he can’t feel anything different, and likes the added excitement of not worrying about extra college tuition after each romp.
Now, should any fingers find their way in the direction of cervical things, they will definitely encounter the feeling of 2 pieces of fishing wire. That’s what the strings of the IUD are made of (or something like it), and I’m pretty sure removing the IUD would be the easiest thing ever by myself if the angle wasn’t so strange (annnnnd it would make my marriage all sorts of weird to ask my husband, so, I’ll go back to the doctor when it’s time).
Anyone else have a similar experience? Share yours in the comments section below!
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