Thanks again for being such a supportive community. So, I finally took the plunge and went up to the Willow Women's Clinic in Vancouver to get the Gynefix. I had made an appointment in the fall after my Paragard partially expelled, but then I chickened out because the pain of paragard was still fresh in my mind. This one's kind of a rambler!
The History (skip below for insertion story): I had paragard, my first iud, for five months. Insertion was the single most painful thing I have ever experienced, like a 10 on the pain scale, and I could barely move for a week without triggering unbelievable cramps. Things eased up a little, and I was hopeful, even though my pain remained at a steady three. Whenever I did anything, it hurt. Exercise, picking something up off the ground, etc. I chalked all of the pain up to adjustment time and hoped that all of the pain would magically dissipate around the six month mark. Around October I was tired of not exercising and decided to suck it up and go to an exercise class. Immediately after I was in so much pain I was crying and curled up. I knew something was very wrong. Planned parenthood didn't have any openings, so I went to the university clinic. The head doctor said she removes iuds constantly because of pain. I told her that I was sounded as a six, and she said that I was probably too small for paragard and that it might be sitting in my cervix. The relief was unbelievable after removal. After doing extensive research on the internet, I stumbled upon some studies that discussed how standard copper iuds do not always match the particular 'shape' of a uterus, and can cause painful, constant distention. This made a lot of sense to me since the pain I experienced seemed constant and not linked to my cycle (although the shape of your uterus changes during your cycle, too). I also wondered if maybe the insertion at planned parenthood went wrong and the iud had been sitting too low in my cervix the whole time. Anyone out there who is experiencing debilitating iud related pain on a daily basis: it isn't worth it, and it probably is an indicator that something is wrong.
I discovered gynefix on this community, and it sounded perfect for me, since most of my pain was movement related and the gynefix was advertised to move in harmony with the body. I live in the US but not far from the Canadian border, and it seemed like a lucky break that the only place that offers it was so close. However, I was skeptical because it is a less common iud, so I did a ton of research, and even read translated experiences on European forums. I emailed Dr. Wildesmeerch and told him about my prior experience, and he seemed confident that gynefix would be right for me (I know there's tremendous bias there, but he also introduced some concepts about uterine compatibility to me). Despite the reassurance I ended up giving my uterus a five month break during which I used condoms and FAM. I never got pregnant, but the paranoia came around every month before my period. I considered going on the pill, even though I am so against hormones (I am very careful about what I eat). I finally decided that no matter what, I would always wonder if the gynefix could have been the right form of bc for me. All of my roommates are happy iud users, and it seemed unfair that my small, finicky uterus would deny me the convenience and reliability of an iud.
The Insertion: I went up to the clinic with my partner, and I was shaking in my boots. I ate a meal and took 800 mg of Ibuprofen. I kept thinking about how painful the last insertion was and thinking that I was going to relive all of that. I was sweating bullets as I did the pregnancy test and waited for my doctor (not Dr. Wiebe, but another doctor). I was supposed to be on my period, but it hadn't come yet, and I was afraid that this would make it even more painful. I tried to remember all of the questions I had wanted to ask the doctor, but I was so nervous most of them flew out of my head. I told her about my paragard experience and asked her if she had done a lot of Gynefix insertions because I know that proper placement of the Gynefix is one of the number one factors in perforations and expelling. The Women's Willow Clinic is doing an official study on the Gynefix, so I had to sign some release forms (I had already read all of the info online). I was getting the standard Gynefix, because I don't think they offer the mini one there yet, which is supposed to be better for nulliparous women. There was a rumor here a while ago that maybe U.S citizens couldn't get the Gynefix, but that doesn't appear to be the case. She told me I should send all of my US friends up. She was very friendly and reassuring.
I laid on the table and tried to take deep breaths. I asked her to not hold back on the local anesthetic because of the last insertions pains I had experienced. The fact that they even offered it was a big step up from my last insertion. First she did the ultrasound, and told me my uterus was tilted and off to the left. Then the tenaculum went in and she applied the anesthetic, which hurt a little and I think I shouted in surprise. She asked how I was doing and warned me that she was about to do the sounding. I braced myself, and then I felt another small cramp. I saw her move back and then she started giving me another ultrasound. I was thinking that it was weird that she hadn't inserted the Gynefix after the sounding. She started talking about the shape of my uterus some more, when I interrupted, asking if she was going to do the insertion after the second ultrasound. She laughed and said that she had already inserted it, and should have told me. I couldn't believe it, and all of the tension drained out of me. On the pain scale, it was like a four or a five. She showed me where the gynefix was on the ultrasound, and then made me lie down for a while because I was experiencing some light headedness. After I left the room I laid down in an area with some cots and heating pads, and nurses and the doctor came by to check up on me periodically. I still couldn't believe how much better I felt compared to the wreck I was after my Paragard insertion.
I laid down when I got home and took more ibuprofen. I felt very tender and thought I could feel a tiny pinch where the gynefix was inserted into the wall of my uterus, but it still seemed like no thing compared to my last insertion. I took it easy, but by the next day I was able to do some laundry and do things around the house a little. Then my period came. I couldn't use any internal menstrual products, so I had to stick with pads. It was very heavy and I felt like I was twelve again, constantly changing my pads. I became crampy so I took more ibuprofen and had some raspberry leaf tea with cramp bark. Every day the discomfort became less acute, and now I can barely feel it. I switched to taking alieve (naproxen) because it is longer lasting, and I think that it is keeping any lingering inflammation down. Right now I am very happy with my choice and I am keeping my fingers crossed that complications don't arise, because I desperately would like to keep this for five years. I am going back to the WW clinic in five weeks for a check up because I don't have insurance and it would cost a fortune at any US clinic (its included in the study). Feel free to ask me any questions!