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When my friends and coworkers ooh and ahh over baby pictures and stories, I’ve always cringed or been the awkward person who refuses to handle the tiny, squishy human.
Even when I was a kid, I knew I did not want to have children of my own. I’ve had a few serious relationships over the years, and am lucky enough to have a fiancé who supports me in this decision.
After two years of dating, we went to my gynecologist to discuss options for sterilization. I have been on hormonal birth control off and on for half of my life, and have found it caused panic attacks, mood swings, and depression, so I was ready for something more permanent.
I wanted to have my tubes tied, but my gynecologist strongly recommended the Essure procedure. She said it was a non-surgical, less invasive procedure which most people recovered from in a day or week. They basically put tiny springs in your fallopian tubes and your body grows around them, closing off your tubes in six months. She sent me home with a few pamphlets.
My fiancé and I went home and discussed it, and then I called my insurance company to make sure it was completely covered. Being a paranoid person, I called a second time to double-check. I think the customer service person thought I was insane, but hey, it never hurts to double check when it comes to medical coverage.
I scheduled my appointment and picked up my painkiller prescription. I took it when I got to the office, and waited a short while in a dressing gown. The nurse gave me a shot in my butt, and let me wait for another short time for this to kick in. Once that shot took effect, they dilated my cervix and gave me several shots internally as well. Luckily the painkillers were working, and I did not feel more than a pinch from each. Or if I did feel it, I didn’t care.
When they inserted each of the coils, I felt pressure and heard running water. I was worried that it was blood gushing, but was too stoned to voice my concerns.
I went home and slept most of the day. I only woke up to throw up. Apparently the pain medication did not agree with me. My fiancé looked after me as well as he could, but realized there was not much he could do for me.
We used our usual birth control methods (condoms, hormonal birth control) for the next six months while waiting for the follow up HSG test to make sure the fallopian tubes had closed off. I took the day off from work and went to the surgery center. They made sure I was comfortable and warm while I waited in the dressing gown and socks. Eventually they had me go to a room where they injected my uterus with a dye. It was a very intense pressure and I struggled with it, telling myself it would only be a short time and totally worth it. No more condoms, no more panic attacks.
Unfortunately they saw dye floating into my right ovary in the x-rays. I was very upset, but the nurses consoled me saying it would definitely close off within the next six months. I would be protected.
I went back six months later and the pain was even worse. The nurses held my hand and tried to get me to breathe. In the end, the Essure was a failure. I could not stop crying, and they tried to console me, saying I could come back at a year and have it checked. I told them it WAS my year check-up. They were dumbfounded, and said the coils were in place, it should have worked. I was a freak of nature.
Then I found out that the Essure implant was covered by my insurance, but the required follow up HSG tests were not. I paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for a failed procedure that left me with stabbing pain in my right ovary, and a dull ache in my back. When I mention this to my gynecologist, her suggestion is to have them surgically remove the coils, and tie my tubes while they are at it. Lovely, that’s all I wanted to begin with.
I spent some time crying about it, and complaining to my friends and family about it. Two of my good friends have had the procedure done, and it worked very well for them. I can’t help but be a little bit jealous, but have tried to move on.
I have found a hormonal birth control pill that doesn’t affect me as much as some others, and have found a combination of anti-anxiety and antidepressants to combat the effects. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than bringing an unwanted child into the world.
One afternoon I went to the bathroom, and noticed I was having a bit of a problem with discharge. Odd, but different parts of my cycle bring different things. I went to clean up and thought I found a giant gray worm. I could not breathe, and could not make myself look. (I have nightmares about that sort of thing.)
I made myself calm down and look at what it was rather than flushing it. If it was a worm, I clearly needed to seek medical attention immediately. I took a deep breath and looked out of the corner of one eye, then stared at it trying to make sense of it. It was one of the Essure coils.
I called my gynecologist and she was less than sympathetic. She said we both knew one of the coils did not take, so it was not a big surprise. I asked why now after two years? She said it had probably been stuck in my uterus until now. I was sorry I asked. That made me feel even worse.
After all this? I don’t know. I’d suggest anyone who is considering their options to really weigh them. I also learned to make sure everything is covered by my insurance. And I also learned that I have an incredibly awesome fiancé who will be there for me while I puke from painkillers, cry hysterically over a failed medical procedure, and have panic attacks from birth control. That’s worth something, right?