Hi everyone, and welcome back! Again, if you are a guy and you don’t want to read about shenanigans concerning my uterus, you may want to head off of here for this post. Try back later – I’ve got some upcoming posts about “keeping keto @ Burger King” and “dessert quesadillas” and “my awesome new bike” that may be more to your fancy. But ladies, if you’re curious about how Skyla is working out for me, here’s a three-month update, as promised!
One Month Checkup
If you remember, I had Skyla inserted during my period. We scheduled a followup appointment a month later, directly after my next period. When women expel their IUDs, they are most likely to do so within the first few months, during their periods. So it was important to check right away to make sure it was still in place. I tried several times off-and-on to feel for my strings, but was never able to feel them myself. I didn’t know if that was because it wasn’t in the right place, or just because I didn’t know what I was feeling for. My cervix is also kind of high up, and I have short fingers, so there’s that.
During my appointment, my doctor could not find the strings for my IUD. She explained to me that often times the IUD will shift upwards a little and the strings will retract where she can’t see them or feel them. She assured me that it was (probably) not violently ripping its way out of my body (or I’d be in excruciating pain) and it was (probably) still in place. She told me she was going to order an ultrasound to make sure it was still where it was supposed to be. I left somewhat reassured but still very nervous. I had paid this much freaking money for the damn thing to maybe be gone?! What if I’d expelled it during my period and just not noticed?! What if it were working its way out of my body? Too many what ifs, people!
So I did what any reasonable woman in my circumstance would do. I went home and contacted one of my college friends on Facebook. Shoutout to Michelle, who’s now an ultrasound tech! I knew that she did some obgyn stuff, although it wasn’t her favorite, and she was able to quickly reassure me that the IUD was most likely still in place. Apparently this happens ALL THE TIME. Doctors often just can’t see the strings, so as a safety precaution they order ultrasounds to cover their own asses. And then Michelle nonchalantly mentioned something about the ultrasound being transvaginal — what?? My doctor TOTALLY did not say that. In fact, the information I got when it was scheduled told me to drink a ton of water to make sure my bladder was full so it’d be easier to see as an abdominal scan or something. Huh?! Fun.
Oh, and also I need to point out that all of this happened right before my husband and I were leaving on our annual trip to Canada. They wanted me to come in and have this ultrasound during the middle of our vacation week. Nope. I had to schedule for a week later. And then when we got home, the day before the ultrasound, my doctor’s office actually called ME to reschedule – their tech was out sick, or something, so they couldn’t get me in until the following week. Doing the math in my head, I gave them the warning that I’d be on my period that week in case the ultrasound were transvaginal. The office scheduler assured me it wasn’t and that was fine. Okay then.
So anyway, when I finally got to the office like two weeks later for my ultrasound, imagine my surprise when I was immediately instructed to strip below the waist. Yup!!! I was TOTALLY getting a wand shoved up in there! At least Michelle had prepared me for that. I would have been really shocked and unhappy if I’d shown up for an abdominal ultrasound with no inkling that I would probably be in for a transvaginal. The tech was very nice and I asked her if she could tell me the results or if I’d have to wait for my followup with the doc a week later. She assured me she’d let me know what she saw.
Almost immediately, she said, she could see the IUD. She turned the screen to show me and sure enough, it was lit up in blazing white, firmly in place. I think the strings have curled around my cervix or something. No big deal, except now I’ll probably have to have an actual obgyn remove it, instead of my regular doctor. I have three years to worry about that.
I never really tracked my periods before, because they were like clockwork on pill packs – I’d get them the week of the inactive pills, every time. But I decided to track on Skyla, and I’m glad I have. It was just the other day that I was actually flipping back through my planner, looking at my cycles, when I realized that they’ve been really, really short. Actually, here’s a summation of my data:
June 19: Skyla placed
19 day cycle
17 day cycle
21 day cycle
19 day cycle
I have now just passed the 90 day mark. Apparently 30% of women see an increase in their cycles during the first 90 days, then that drops drastically. I will continue charting from here on out, and hope to see a decrease by 180 days. I have actually noticed that I have felt a lot more tired lately than usual, and I am wondering if maybe I am dipping into anemia. I had been blaming it on more vigorous activity levels (constantly bike riding, though I get enough calories and sleep to recuperate). Since I just realized I was bleeding more frequently, I will bring this up with my doctor during my next checkup this month. I wouldn’t be surprised if she orders blood work.
My periods themselves have been slightly heavier than when on the pill, but not as heavy as when I’m completely unmedicated. On the pill, I’d bleed very lightly for 3 days, and would often not even need to use anything because just wiping when I went to the bathroom would be enough to keep my underwear clean. With Skyla, I’m bleeding pretty regularly for 5 days. It’s not a heavy flow, but it’s not light, either. I’m using regular pads and tampons. When I don’t have any sort of hormonal birth control, I bleed very heavily for around 5 days. It’s like a murder scene in my underwear – tampons don’t do anything, I wreck thick pads within hours, and I sometimes have to sleep on a towel at night.
I am still hopeful that my periods will eventually go away, but I won’t be devastated if they don’t disappear. I know Skyla has a lower chance of that happening than Mirena. I do, however, want to get back to something approximating a 28-day cycle.
Cramping & Other Side Effects
I can definitely tell Skyla is in there. A few days before my period, I get some gnarly cramps. They come out of nowhere and sometimes they can be enough to make me catch my breath and want to double over. They’re very brief and passing, but they do happen. I don’t consider them to be “that bad” because before I was ever on birth control, I had horrendous cramps before/during my period that would make me want to just lie around with a hot water bottle and do nothing while popping Midol like candy and gorging on chocolate. These I can breathe through and continue on my day. They are fleeting.
It’s worth noting that I did not ever have cramps like this on the pill, though. It almost feels as if it’s my uterus cramping around the IUD, going “WTF ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU HERE?!” It’s a very specific type of cramp in a very specific location – more of a stabbing pain than a general nauseating, life-wrecking ache. Like I said, they are random and fleeting but they have been happening like clockwork since the first month after insertion. When I get them, I know my period will follow in a few days.
I have not noticed any difference in mood swings or cravings, which is excellent. When I had that really horrible reaction to Ortho-Cyclen, that’s where it hit me. I haven’t been pounding back the fried chicken and the chocolate chip cookies, nor have I wanted to kill everyone (just my grandmother). So that’s good.
10/10 Would Do Again
I am really happy with my decision to get a Skyla IUD thus far. It’s nice to not have to remember to take a pill every night. I never had a problem with that, and when I was weighing the pros/cons of getting Skyla, that was one that I considered – why fix what ain’t broken? But it is very, very nice to just forget about my form of contraception. I don’t have to get a refill at the pharmacy every month. And when I get sick and go on antibiotics (I’ve had two raging ear infections since insertion), I don’t have to worry about using a backup method of contraception. That is one I definitely used to stress about – each time I had a prescription filled, I’d have to ask the pharmacist if it could interact with the pill, and it almost always did. My cramping and side effects have not been very bad, and if these extra periods go away (as they most likely will), then I’ll be golden. It’s wonderful to know that I’m completely covered for three years and I don’t have to do a damned thing.
I will plan on updating again if anything drastic happens (like if I expel it). If nothing drastic happens, I’ll probably give a brief update at the one-year mark just to track how my hormones have leveled out and everything. If you are considering getting a Skyla IUD and you have any questions, feel free to ask away here in the comments or use one of the many methods I have available to contact me.
But yeah, just to reiterate – 10/10, would do again – if you’re on the fence, go for it! I’m happy I have :)
(As a disclaimer, the products are linked to my Amazon Affiliate account. I’ve never used this before but I’m going to give it a shot and see how well it works. In theory, I should get a small kickback if you purchase the product through that link. Product costs are not increased for you, just Amazon gives me a tiny percent of the profit for sending you their way. Maybe I’ll get rich and can retire from this life of crime.)