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Back from Vancouver with Gynefix

I am happy to say I have returned from Vancouver and my GYNEFIX MINI insertion went great!
I am 24, nulliparous, nulligravid and have been researching for about 7 months on IUD options. I had been on OCPs for years, and wanted to get off the hormones. I finally chose Gynefix, which is available in Vancouver at Willow Women's Clinic. I have been in email contact with them (they are very slow to respond, but were very helpful and informative) as well as Dr. Wildemeersch who invented Gynefix.
I traveled to Vancouver, arrived Saturday, had the procedure Monday afternoon, and flew back early Tuesday morning (+7000 frequent flier miles! :-) )

The procedure went great. My appointment was at 1:30. We arrived a little after 1 and they were closed for lunch. They opened the door shortly before 1:30. I filled out some paperwork, and the took me back pretty quickly. I gave a urine sample and payment. Total was $275 and currency exchange was dollar for dollar, so they took it in USD. I was brought back to a room, and after about 7 mins wait, Dr. Wiebe came in, dressed in regular clothes (a bit different from the US.) She was very personable and friendly, answered all my questions, and talked me through the procedure.
She had me sit on the exam table, pulled a curtain to separate us, and had me undress from the waist down. She stayed there, preparing everything she needed and talking to me while I got prapared as well.
I saw the insertion tool and asked if it was possible to see the IUD inside the end of it. She said no, but had a sample one she gave me to hold and look at. It was much smaller than I expected. The string was about 2" long and the four beads were each about 1/4" long, tubular, and maybe 1/8" wide at the most. The top and bottom beads were crimped to stay on.
The one thing I thought about later and didn't get a chance to ask, was what if the bottom bead comes uncrimped? Then three beads could possibly come off, but the string would still be in place, so I wouldn't know anything is wrong? I am a bit concerned about this, and I will probably email the inventor, Dr. Wildemeersch to ask if he has had any cases like that.
Anyway, then it was time for the actual procedure. I laid down with my feet in the stirrups, and she examined me. It was very much like a normal pap smear, only because I was on my period (as is recommended for all IUD placements) it was somewhat more comfortable because there was that extra lubrication of the menstrual fluid. I don't remember whether she deadened the cervix before the sounding, or just before the insertion, but at some point she said she was deadening it. I think it was a shot, although I couldn't really feel it. Measuring the uterus with the sound was also nearly painless, and when she finally inserted the gynefix, it was like a minor crap and a pinch. I have had cramps much worse, so it was only slightly uncomfortable. I kind of was a little anxious (not exactly nervous, but I was so excited it was finally time, and I really hoped it all would go well and everything) and by the time this was all over I wished I had worn a tshirt instead of a turtleneck sweater, because my nerves had me kind of warm and almost sweating.
The insertion was over before I knew it, and she clipped the string, and took what I believe was a vaginal ultrasound to verify the placement.
She stayed in the room, behind the curtain and talked to me while I dressed. She said some people feel dizzy or lightheaded afterwards, and I could tell I was almost at that point, but I think it was because I got so hot. I sat for a minute on the stool in the exam room, talking to her about women's health, US medicine, and stuff. She gave me the patient info that comes in the gynefix box, a card with my information, insertion and removal dates, and then she took me back to a recovery area. There were a few cots, but I was the only one in there, and I laid down. There was a heating pad, but I wasn't having any more cramps or anything. I asked her to check in with my niece in the waiting room to let her know everything went well, and she said she would just bring her back to sit with me.
We sat for about 30 minutes, the nurses or assistants brought me water a few times, and I decided I felt fine, so I walked up and asked if I could go.
And that was it! It's been one week, and everything feels normal. Yesterday I checked for the string, and I was excited to find that it was there! Dr. Wiebe said I didn't need any type of follow up, but I did decide to go in for a check with my own doctor. It's pretty cheap with my insurance, and that's their procedure for IUDs they insert, so I'll do it just to be sure. They basically check the string, look and feel for signs of infection, and in case of any question they verify placement with a vaginal ultrasound.

A couple more things: Dr. Wiebe told me I could continue using my DivaCup. I did order a Lady Cup (in pretty turquoise!) because it is supposed to be less suction due to being less stiff and having larder air holes than the Diva. I ordered a large, because it was similar in dimensions to the small Diva.
Dr also said that about 1 in 10 males will notice the string, and "only the really wimpy ones" will be bothered by it. She also said it was effective immediately, and that there wasn't any necessary waiting period for sex. But I chose to follow the protocol of my US gyno: no sex, tampons, or anything else inserted for 1 week prior and 1 week following insertion. My dr recommends this to reduce the chances of infection, because any tiny little bacteria in the vagina has a lot higher chance of getting into the uterus during IUD insertion, and causing problems.

So, I highly suggest Dr. Wiebe, the Willow Women's Clinic, and the Gynefix!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating! I never even thought of gynefix as an option for me in Oregon, but it sure sounds attainable.

Did you figure out what to do for the follow up?
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yep, I scheduled the appt before I left with my gynecologist. I feel like I'd rather be safe than sorry, and any extra reassurance is appreciated.
I go in Friday for that, I'll post a follow up with whatever they tell me.
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Re: follow-up
Friday's your follow-up? That seems so...soon! But hey, Vancouver's a great place, and a second visit doesn't sound like a hardship.

No, I don't knit bags for cups, and used the cloth bag that came with my DivaCup the whole time I used that. I felt more comfortable with cotton cloth than I did with potentially pilly yarns. Even cotton yarn didn't seem right. So sorry, I don't have any recs for you. If you're crafty yourself, it's easy to make up a small bag.
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: follow-up
Okay I might try it out. I did briefly start learning to crochet, so it might be within my realm of ability.

The follow up Friday is here in Kentucky, with the doctor I usually see for my pap smears and such...I might not have made that clear.

I definitely couldn't have afforded a second trip to Vancouver. But, the one thing that I will mention is that if you have an HSA or other medical spending account you may be able to pay a good portion of your expenses through that. I was able to pay for my airfare ($650) and $50 per night for accommodations from my HSA, as well as the $275 fee for the appointment.
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: follow-up
You could also just hand sew some fabric together, or modify a sock.

For some reason I thought you were in Los Angeles. (Then why'd you go to Vancouver instead of a city closer to you?) Huh. Anyway, the doc who does your paps feels comfortable with assessing the gynefix? Awesome.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 29th, 2011 07:12 am (UTC)
Re: follow-up
Wow, two Americans (posting about) traveling to BC for Gynefix in less than two weeks? No wonder I conflated the two.
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Re: follow-up
(Also apparently I skipped over that entire paragraph where you said you'd see your US doc. Reading comprehension fail.)
Mar. 28th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
You don't happen to be one of those crafty people who knit bags for menstrual cups do you?
I've been looking at them on etsy.
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
That's where I got my IUD! Dr. Wiebe is terrific, isn't she?! Definitely a wonderful clinic that I'd recommend to anyone. She was fabulous and the environment was exactly what I needed for my first experience like that.
Mar. 29th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
Yep, she was great! We talked at length about women's health, and why we have fewer options than womn in Europe, what drives costs up, and all kinds of stuff. Everyone there was super friendly and helpful.

The one thingthat I guess I should have been more aware of (for my niece's sake) was the popularity of that particular clinic for abortions. My niece, who accompanied me on the trip and to the appointment, is 15 weeks pregnant. I knew they performed abortions at Willow, but I didn't think about warning her of that. Apparently every person who came in after me, and every phone call the clerks took was for abortion and it really freaked her out. She is pro-choice, but I guess it was the first time she had been confronted with it in such a close manner.

Regardless, I absolutely agree. Dr. Wiebe made me feel so comfortable, and was so easy to talk to, and I think the Willow clinic does great things to stand up for women's rights to choices in health care and reproductive freedom.
Mar. 30th, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
Sounds like you had a really good experience. What I don't understand is that in Canada and other countries, they have about 10 different kinds of IUDs to choose from but here in the states, there are only two. I have a Paragard but if I could, I'd get a Gynefix because it's anchored in with less chance of heavy bleeding and expulsion. How long does a Gynefix last?
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
I've been trying to respond, but I guess my internet is acting up again...hopefully this doesn't ome up like 5 times.

Basically, in the US, IUDs (hormonal or not) are licensed as drugs, not as medical devices. The licensing process for drugs is more diffiult, takes longer, and costs about $1 million more than if it were licensed as a medical device. So for many manufacturers, it's not worth their time, money, or effort. They pretty much just consider it a losed market, and make their profit elsewhere.

The Gynefix is currently given a lifetime of 5 years. You, as a Paragard uer, may know that this can change even retroactively. Many Paragard users were told at insertion that they would last 10 years, and now they are approved for use up to 12 years, even for those inserted years ago.
There is research going on to see if the Gynefix is effective in the 7-10 year range, so hopefully that may get approved before 2016 :)
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
that should say "closed market" BTW
Feb. 11th, 2016 07:28 am (UTC)

Forgive me for the comment all these years later, but since it's now 2016 I thought you might have looked further into research. I found a review that indicated the regular Gynefix to be effectivr for 9 years but have you found any research that indicates what the newest effectiveness might be for the Mini?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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