I have been on and off birth control pills since the sixth grade.
I will never forget sitting in the OB/GYN's office in Seattle Children's crying because my periods were so awful.
I was having 10-day-long periods.
Three days of cramping so bad I couldn't stand followed by seven days of menstruation. My cramps were so bad that I was missing too much school. The OB/GYN recommended starting on a low dose of birth control pills to try and reduce the pain and duration of my periods.
I took them consistently for almost three years.
In my eighth grade year, I ran into unrelated medical issues and stopped taking BC (birth control). My periods were no longer as bad as they once were.
Over the next six years, I took them intermittently. I would go a few months on them and then stop. I never liked the effects.
They made me feel less beautiful, less sexy and less like me.
Last fall, I came to the realization that I was officially quitting birth control pills. There's nothing I do in my life at the same time every single day. I'm potentially the least disciplined person alive.
I decided to get an IUD.
I thought that getting an IUD was the ideal choice for my sexual, physical and mental health. It's the good feminist thing to do and the people I know with them, love them. I talked to my sorority sisters and other great women about them. I did my research and talked to my primary care physician over Thanksgiving break.
And then, I put it off.
Your girl can be lazy AF when she wants to be. But — I was also scared. I read horror stories online and got busy with school.
In mid-February, I started up my IUD search again.
I talked with family and friends about where to get it done in my tiny college town. We have just enough options to make the decision difficult, but not enough to really have a choice.
I called the OB/GYN that I had seen in the past and made an appointment with her office. They only wanted to see me immediately following my period.
My appointment six weeks away.
As the people in my life can tell you, it was six weeks of worrying and thinking about it. I was so proud of myself for doing something good for me but also terrified of what could happen.
Three weeks before my appointment, I realized that I could not get an IUD in the morning before three classes followed by three hours of work because of the potential side effects. How had that not occurred to me?
I needed to move the appointment.
I called the OB/GYN's office and tried to move it. After many phone calls, conversations with nurses, and speaking to my mother, it was starting to look like I wouldn't be able to get one there. They would only see me during a three-day window and there simply weren't any appointments.
So I called WSU's on-campus health providers to make an appointment with them. Turns out, they needed two appointments.
Then, I decided to call Planned Parenthood just to see if I would get in sooner. I scheduled an appointment there too.
The next day, I called my OB/GYN one more time just to confirm that I couldn't get in.
I was in luck.
Finally, I was able to get an appointment to see my OB/GYN. Last Tuesday I went to see my doctor.
The appointment did not go as planned.
After nearly eight months of thinking about an IUD and two months of actively trying to get one, my doctor told me that I am not a good candidate. She recommended that I not get an IUD because I have had issues with ovarian cysts, which are a potential side effect of hormonal IUDs.
I started crying.
I felt so defeated. To me, an IUD represented protecting myself from an unwanted pregnancy, regulating my periods, and taking good care of myself.
My doctor and I discussed other options.
Next month, I'm going to try something new. Hopefully, something that finally works for my lifestyle and is as effective as an IUD.