IUD Storytime: My Experience with Paragard

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So now for something a bit different on this blog!  I’ve seen so many mixed reviews of IUDs and the copper Paragard in particular and wanted to share my own, awesome experiences.

If you didn’t know, the IUD, or intra-uterine device, is a T-shaped birth control plastic stick with two strings attached that gets inserted via the cervix into the uterus and can last up to  years if it’s the hormonal Mirena and 10 years if it’s the copper Paragard IUD.  How cool!

As someone with bad reactions to hormonal methods, I had used barrier methods, specifically condoms with spermicide, but was getting sick of condoms occasionally failing and the hassle of having to stop mid-makeout to apply spermicide.  Condoms are wonderful inventions, but can decrease spontaneity.  Definitely use them if you’re with a new partner and don’t know their STD status, but condoms are not needed with IUDs if you have both been tested and the test comes back negative!

I like the feel of sex without a condom better and the power of taking my reproductive health into my own hands by having 99% effective birth control.  An IUD is more effective than female sterilization!  As a biologist, I find how Paragard works so cool: it makes your cervical mucus inhospitable to sperm and literally cuts off their tails, plus prevents the implantation of the egg.  The only possible side effects are expulsion, which is less than 3-8% in the first few months and most likely to happen in the first six weeks, then they tend to last the full ten years, perforation of the uterus, which is less than 1%, and a heavier period, but that is only in 33% of patients and clears out after the first three months on average, but can take up to six months.

So how was insertion?  Totally easy!  To prepare, I went in for a consult with my nurse practitioner who took me through birth control options, tested my blood (came back with high white blood cell count because I had just gotten tattooes!), and tested for STDs, which luckily I have never had.  Then insurance cleared the Paragard order and it was ready to go by my next period.

What to expect: I had expert placement, even though I have a tilted uterus, and my doctor was amazing.  I don’t mind speculums but they put one in and apply antiseptic to prevent infection, which is very rare and can be noticed by smelly, colored discharge, which is a sign you should get it taken out.  Your cervix is open during your period so they insert a little rod to measure the depth, then insert a tube with a spring and the IUD inside to place it.  The whole process took a minute, and while it felt weird to feel my cervix the insertion just felt like a big cramp.  Then they trim the strings and you are babyproofed!

After Insertion: I cramped for a day and that was it.  You can spot up to three months intermittently but I never did.  After that it was amazing!

My First Paragard Period: Paragard actually LIGHTENED my period when I initially inserted it – I usually have a clockwork six day period, but instead it just made me spot after I got it and stopped the blood flow.  Exactly a month went by and I started spotting a bit the day my period was supposed to arrive with light cramps.  The spotting went away until four days later, my actual period began.  The first day was moderate flow, the second was heavy, and now I’m on my third day with barely any flow and not even using tampons, just pads.  The cramps were pretty bad the night I got my period, but nothing I’m not used to, and it seemed to speed up my period, with the majority of the bleeding happening the first two days and then barely any bleeding the third!

So what did Paragard do?  Give me birth control that is the most effective on the market, on par with sterilization and COMPLETELY reversible – you take it out and can get pregnant that day.  It has immensely lightened my period and sped things up – I spot a bit beforehand and cramp a wee bit, bleed moderately to heavily for two calendar days, then taper off drastically.  The strings soften and curl up around the cervix after a few weeks so your partner can’t feel them and you really have to go looking for them to find them.  It’s important during the first few months, especially the first six weeks, to make sure you don’t feel any displacement, but the chances of that are very low.  Other than that, have amazing sex and know you won’t be having a child any time soon!

What kind of birth control do you use?  Tell me in the comments down below!

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When Loki Found Sigyn

I sing of he who is always a guest, never truly welcome,
wanderer from the Iron Woods and Odin’s blood brother,
son of Laufey Leafy-Isle and Farbauti Lightning-Strike,
mother of Sleipnir, father of Death, Serpent, and Wolf,
consort of the ruddy-haired Angrboda, and scar-lipped,
sly tongued liar, though he is cursed to tell the truth.

I sing of Sigyn Fetter-Breaker, Victory Woman, Mother
to Narvi and Vali, Child Bride, Keeper of the Bowl
that suspends poison from touching her dear husband,
the only one that could drink down fire and quench
the burning loneliness of Loki, steadfast wife of
the hearth and wildfire, blue flower of the sea.

Loki had flown in Freyja’s falcon cloak far and wide.
No woman pleased him, not Sif’s ample hips or Freyja’s
wily ways, Odin’s mead was bitter, his longing for
someone who did not smile then turn away whenever
he entered the room – be our fool, Loki, be our
friend, then we will spit your name like a curse.

Who in the Nine Kingdoms did not despise him when
his trickery caught the best of him? He laughed
through the pain of sewn lips and flytings, even
Odin could not ken the depths of his madness, it
ate away at Loki like acid that would someday drip
from Skadi’s snakes, but that was centuries away.

Loki was still young, still a wanderer, Angrboda
was fierce, yes, and he was proud of Hela, Fenrir,
and Jormungandr, but to have an etin-bride far
away in Jotunheim left his Asgardian bed cold
when rain pelted like hail and the girls and
boys had tired of his amusements, they said he
slept with anything that could move, horse or
hag, but truly, Loki did not want to be alone
when the darkness came, and silence reigned.

Fire fears the dark, and Loki wanted kindling.

And then past the edge of the Worlds, at Urda’s
Well, Loki saw a young woman picking cornflowers.
She had hair like wood, a body like a beautiful
supple violin, and her smile lit up the mountains.

Was she As or Van? Jotun or Alf? Human, maybe?
It is lost to time. But she sang, and she would
offer the flowers to the well, they are her magic,
you see – they broke Loki’s chains in the end, for
Sigyn is the Fetter Breaker, and do you really think
anyone else in Asgard but she who held the bowl
could set Loki free from his torments?

Where do you think she poured the leftover venom but
onto Loki’s chains, rusting them century by century
until her now broken husband was free, she stayed
sane for him, for their dead children, for All.

But that was a far away wyrd, and Loki wooed her
with the simple promise: I will make you my bride.
I will love you as the wildfire loves the forest.
I will devour all your fears and fructify soil, I
will give you my tongue, for I have no sword, and
please, oh please Sigyn, let me but hold you, for
I am so lonely amongst friends, so tearful behind
my smile, and your kindness is something that will
save me in the depths of my insanity, you will be
my answer to all the cruelties of a hard life, in
the end, I will have done it all for you, my wife.

And Sigyn held him, and comforted him, and she said
I will love you and bake you sweet bread, I will bear
you sweet boys that will never reach adulthood, but
we will love them nonetheless, in your kitchen I will
sing, I will hang the ceiling with flax and flowers,
I will spin and sew you clothes and secrets, I will
be your bride, sweet Loki, for I see past your silver
tongue a man whose heart is broken, and it will take
an eternity to mend, but I am water, I fit into your
cracks, I will whet your fire and ground you, husband.

And their love was the strongest of Asgard, and their
trials were the cruelest of all invention, but still
they love, and still Loki protects his humans with
utter warmth, wit, and humor, and still Sigyn lets
no hungry mortals come to her table, still she tends
wounds you didn’t even know existed, and they welcome
the outcasts, the mad, the wild who do not belong,
for in the hall of the Madman and the Fetter Breaker,
no one cries for long, and happiness plays like songs.

Sif

A snowy corset of lace and winter
bedecked in rainbow Bifrost jewels
waist so slender and starry tender
a neck like a swan, face like a doe,
gentle curves make Thor’s wife sweet,
but she is a warrior, she is wheat,
she wields gold-proud hair aflame,
and walks the aurora bridge, noble
and electric, the harvest’s dame,
lady of summer secrets, autumn mist
rises from bare milky toes, her eyes
are wild with the seasons, Sif is
unfettered ripe fields, earthen
mother of Ullr, Lady of Bilskirnir,
Hail to the hallowed Woman of Fall!

Tear Out Stars, Make Diamond Teeth

There’s a galaxy on your tongue, love, it slips
out like when Vishnu was Krishna, cosmic child
and my Creator, I dance on your palm like Shakti,
to be the blue god’s shepherdess lover and kiss
the radiant cosmos like Radha, to frolic in fields
of dandelion puffs and sassafrass sweet, crushed
stars are your teeth, diamond and pearly smile,
lips like a thunder-strike, shudder in your grasp,
unmake me, love, then shape me out of moon clay,
I am always falling apart in your arms, for to
lock mouths and inhale the divine spark of you
is swallowing Creation’s flames, Paradise meets
at the juncture of necks, and I am entranced by
your golden temple, a palace unto its universe,
how did the gods make such perfection, holy as
when Shiva dances in the karmic cycle, crushing
ignorance and aflame with the Ganges, I swim in
fiery waters in your embrace, cool yet burning
and nothing can satiate me but the eternal you.

Desde Nihon

My younger brother Will is back on his adventures, this time in Japan on the JET Program where he is teaching English and eating too many soba noodles!

Sueños de Viajes

Konnichiwa! As I write this, it’s early afternoon in Japan. It’s been forever since I’ve updated this blog, but I’m going to make an effort to do so regularly, if only to do something productive during my free periods at work.

To break it down, I stopped posting in this blog after I came back from study abroad in Spain and interning Azerbaijan. I was really busy senior year with figuring out what to do after graduation- I knew I wanted to go somewhere abroad, but I wasn’t sure where.

I’d always had a passing interest in South Asia, so I decided to take some classes my last semester on South Asian politics and history. Taking these classes made me realize what I have been interested in all along: the connections between things. One of the things I’ve always struggled with in international relations is the pressure to specialize…

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Hymn for Freyja

Freyja blooms with the wildflowers, green and rose
golden light crowns the Vanadis’ flaxen head, radiant
as dawn as her toes shine with the light of Vanaheim,
amber Brisingamen at her milk and cream breast sparkles
she is the sow, the dun cow full of butter, mead, barley,
fruitful in this vision of wandering Mardoll, Syr is sweet
as honeysuckle breeze, wheat bends and bows to its Queen,
oh Lady of Folkvangr, hail your blessed dead and riders
that circle the Wild Hunt sky, your tears shed brassy
brilliance and blossom into lovers tussling in the hay.

Hail Freyja! Hail Ingvi’s Bride-Twin! Hail the Wife of Odr!
Hail Mother of the Girl Treasures, Gersemni and dear Hnossa!
Hail wandering sea-born Mardoll! Hail Rider of the Hunt!
Hail Queen of the Valkyries! Hail the Lady of Vanaheim!

My heart is in your bountiful hands, my mistress, sweet
as your smile, and I am singing your name like a kitten.

Be gentle on this precious love, and guide me to radiance.