I hold the test shakily in my hand and see the two faint pink lines that change every woman’s life. Except, I was hardly a woman or at least I didn’t really feel like one. I was just a 17 year old taking a pregnancy test in the musty employee bathroom of the Albertson’s closest to my high school.
Before you get to pointing fingers and nagging on “safe sex,” let’s take a look at all the preventative measures I ended up taking after my pregnancy at 17 years old and how even those “safe” measures failed to protect me, and many other women in similar situations.
After the birth of my daughter, I was pressured by my doctor to make a decision on birth control options. “Come on now, you don’t want to have two kids at the age of 18!,” she said with a reprimanding look that only a “holier than though” person can give.
She suggested an option that would allow me to stop taking pills while still providing protection. The Implanon implant was the size of a matchstick and could provide up to 3 years of protection against pregnancy when inserted into the arm.
The thought of not having to worry about protection for 3 years was everything I needed with my hectic life as an undergrad student, wife, and mother. The LAST thing I needed was another unexpected pregnancy. But while the Implanon didn’t lead to another pregnancy, it DID lead to three long years filled with many doctor visits.
Extreme weight gain, severe acne, and heavy periods were just a few of the gifts it brought. I had been made aware of these side effects, but not of the worst ones: breast fibroids and ovarian cysts. I would spend the next three years being checked and rechecked for potentially cancerous lumps and eventually needing surgical removal of them.
The ultimate cherry on top was during the removal of the Implanon. After several minutes of tugging and pulling, my doctor looked at me and said “Well it broke and I can’t find some of it. It’s embedded in scar tissue.” A second visit would be needed to remove the remaining pieces.
After Implanon, I swore I would resort to low hormone dosage pills. But at the age of 22, I began looking into a permanent solution as my husband and I had agreed we were done having children.
He decided it was his turn and booked a doctor visit for a vasectomy consultation. His doctor looked ME right in the eyes and said, “He’s too young for a permanent solution, why don’t you consider getting your tubes tied instead?” My husband at 24 was too young for a vasectomy according to his masochist doctor, but I at 22 was definitely, totally and completely okay to have my tubes tied. Thanks doc.
So I went back to my doctor and we discussed Essure. She sent me home with the information pamphlet and told me to give it a lot of thought. This would be a safe, permanent solution that could be done right in her office.
My hesitancy and fear of constant doctor visits led me to go back to the pill. And THANK GOODNESS for that, because Essure turned out to be a nightmare for so many women. (So much for a safe permanent solution).
I truly believed the Paragard IUD would be my saving grace. It was touted as a pain free, “set it and forget it” birth control solution. I was so desperate for an “easy” option, that I asked my doctor for this one. A quick conversation with a close friend revealed some dark secrets. Turns out this was the IUD that caused numerous issues, and she ended up removing it within 6 months. She was one of the “luckier” ones as it would soon come to light that the Paragard IUD could lead to even worse complications such as hysterectomy and infertility.
Turns out I wouldn’t need a different birth control option as I would soon find myself pregnant with my son. This is when my husband saw the writing on the wall and decided to switch healthcare providers to a doctor who wouldn’t question his decision for a vasectomy.
Are Women Even Given Safe Options? Has birth control gotten safer?
It’s been TEN YEARS since I began my quest for a safe birth control option. Time and time again I found myself needing a different dosage or a new device because there was no true “safe” product. There still really isn’t.
It seems the FDA isn’t really interested in making drugs/devices safe for women. They are more interested in the bottom line, and women aren’t really part of that. Don’t believe me? Just take a look into their process for device “approval”.
It’s time we take back our power from the hands of those who truly don’t have our safety in mind. And the best way to do so? Hit them where it hurts, their bottom line. They don’t want to take the time to test products before touting them as safe? They’re going to hear from us.
Keren – A Case For Women
Were you hurt by the Paragard IUD? A Case For Women wants to help! We believe in the power of women’s stories, their voices and their families. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from the Paragard IUD device, please contact us today. Lawsuits can create powerful change and have life-changing financial compensation.