I apologize for the quality of these photos. I took them without the intention of using them for an article. I hoped I would go for my Mirena insertion and not look back for the five years my OBGYN said I could expect to get out of the device. Unfortunately, the Mirena device did not go as I expected and I, left with no other options, ended up removing it myself at home. Here is my Mirena review and self-removal. Maybe someone else in the situation I was in will find this article and not feel as alone as I did taking this out at home.
The first time my OBGYN mentioned the Mirena to me was after the birth of my 4th son. She asked if I intended on getting pregnant again and suggested some form of birth control. I gently told her I didn’t need any, I didn’t tell her but I was in a bad marriage and sex really wasn’t on the table. So, I declined. However, several years down the road, divorced and living as a single/divorced woman, I found myself in what I thought was a healthy relationship and the possibility of becoming pregnant existed.
I had previously tried a version of the mini-pill, hoping it would reduce the heaviness of my period and also cycle length, from my primary care physician and woke up every night at 2:30 AM nauseated. I gave it a good two months before throwing in the towel. I had two friends who had good experiences with the Mirena and I thought I would give it a try.
At my annual appointment my trusted OBGYN, Dr. Therea Baseski, and I talked about the Mirena. I later spoke with her nurse on the phone who said I would have to jump through hoops to even get a Mirena and that the last patient they had with one took 4 months just to get it to the office. I spoke with my insurance, go a paper to fill out, faxed it to the pharmacy and my doctor’s office and it wasn’t long before I got the phone call that the Mirena was in and ready for insertion.
I called when my period started and set up an installation date, as I jokingly called it.
I was nervous. I sat in my doctor’s office and looked at the box on the counter. I even took a photo and texted my friends. I wore really long socks to keep my hairy-winter legs warm while I waited.
The nurse took my blood pressure and instructed me to undress from the waist down. I sat and waited for my OBGYN to arrive. She came into the room with a nurse and told me to scoot down and get ready.
The Mirena insertion took less time than I anticipated. I saw some tools go by. Gauze pads, saline, what looked like a giant pair of alligator scissors. I was asked several times if I “could” be pregnant. “I’m sticking something up into your uterus, you have to be sure.” She said in a stern tone.
I laid back and squeezed my hands together as I usually do in anticipation of my cervix being prodded during a pap smear.
To my surprise, the insertion was easier and less painful than I anticipated. Dr. Baseski said “cramp” to warn me a few times about some possible discomfort but overall, it was easier than I anticipated. I even stopped at the store briefly on the way home.
That evening was a different story. A few hours after having the Mirena inserted I started to feel a lot of cramping. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was in back labor. I took two ibuprofen and went to lay back down. I had read online that cramping was a possibility and thought it would subside in a few days.
I felt like I was in labor for over a week. I was having trouble sleeping, when I moved around it got worse. So, when I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor tearing in pain after trying to mop, I called my OBGYN’s office. I left a message and was told I would receive a callback.
I did not get a callback, tried reaching to see if I could get the strings myself and didn’t have luck, I could barely touch them. I called again the next day. The nurse got on the phone and, in the crabbiest tone of voice I’ve ever received from a nurse said, “It’s only been 10 days you should expect cramping.” I explained that it was beyond that and that I just needed the Mirena taken out. She transferred me back to the secretary who didn’t have an opening for days. I told her I couldn’t wait that long and was also placed on a cancellation list. I informed her that, at this point, I would take it out myself if I could reach it.
The secretary called me back and told me that Dr. Baseski said, “if the pain is that bad to go to urgent care.” I was ready to go. I called several urgent cares who told me that they “didn’t do that.” And recommended I call my OBGYN. I then called two local ERs and spoke with them. They said they didn’t do IUD removal, I explained that I was in a lot of pain, but they recommended that I call my OBGYN and said it was “their responsibility.”
I called planned parenthood, an appointment wasn’t available for two weeks.
So, I found myself on the internet reading about Mirena self-removal. If I could have phoned a friend…I would have! I read that just about anyone could remove it. That the arms fold up and you just have to gently pull down on the strings, which felt more like wires to me.
After several tries, I found myself squatting on the bathroom floor trying to push down like I do when my menstrual cup gets up too high and I finally was able to sweep the strings down to where I could pinch the bottom with my thumb and index finger. I started pulling and I cried when I got the damn thing out!!
I laid on my living room floor and cried for a bit. Upset with the care I received. Upset with how I felt. Relieved that I got the device out but concerned that something was wrong. I took a photo of it and sent it to my friend. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a large percentage of the labor- like pains I felt went away.
Finally, My visit with my OBGYN
I looked forward to my visit with my OBGYN. I wanted to talk to her about what happened. I wanted to tell her that the person I was in a relationship with was a pathological liar and was not only living with a woman, but also possibly got someone else pregnant. I wanted to ask for bloodwork and to generally talk about what happened.
However, I did not get the care I needed.
When I was called back by the nurse, weighted and sat down to get my blood pressure taken I pulled the Mirena device out of my purse in a baggie. I got it out! I told her happily. She looked angry.
She asked, “Then what are you doing here?”
I said, “I have an appointment.”
The nurse said, “But all we would do is remove the Mirena and you already did that, I don’t know why you’re here.”
I asked, “Do you want me to go?”
Yes, she said. So I got up and left.
I got home and told my Mom. Who was outraged. She was a nurse for 40+ years and couldn’t believe I was treated that way. On my way home I had called Dr. Baseski’s office and asked for a call back from the doctor. I never got it. My Mom called and spoke with the secretary, neither of us ever got a response from the office. I am searching for a new office for my care.
My Mom asked why I didn’t fight with the nurse and demand to be seen. After what I went through with the Mirena, finding out the person I loved was three-timing me at least and lied about everything I loved about him…I didn’t have it in me.
Am I okay? I hope so! I still have not been seen by anyone. My family doctor ordered me some bloodwork and STD testing and thankfully, it all came back okay.
I wanted to put this experience out there. Sometimes, we are not treated well. If this has happened to you, I am deeply sorry. You are not alone and I know I am not either.