Here’s Part 2 of my journey to Natural Family Planning (NFP). You can read Part 1 here.
The IUD seemed like the answer to all our prayers. I knew lots of people who had one, and a few friends who were either thinking about it like me, or who had just gotten one. I called my doctor and found out everything I needed to know to move forward – or so I thought. I found out when I could make the appointment, how it would be handled with our insurance, what I could expect, etc. They didn’t tell me anything negative, which I thought was odd, so I started my research.
What I found terrified me.
Of course, if you do a google search on anything, you’ll find horror stories. I read stories about the IUD getting stuck in the uterus. I heard stories about intense pain during the procedure to put it in, and some stories that talked about pain that never subsided. I read about infections due to the IUD. I read all the negative side effects of it (similar to pills). Then I read about the risk of pregnancy. Granted, it’s a very minimal risk, but like all birth control the IUD is not 100% effective. And if a pregnancy were to occur, chances are the IUD would make it impossible for the fetus to survive. I couldn’t live with that possibility.
After all my research (this was in November of 2011), I decided that the IUD was not for me. I’d be constantly worried that I would get pregnant and my baby would be killed. Maybe that’s an irrational fear, but it was enough to make my mind up. DH agreed with me. So, after more research, we decided to try the mini pill, since I was still breastfeeding.
C was not quite a year old when I started the mini pill. I hated it right away, but I know you should give a pill 3 months to let your body get used to it, so I stuck it out. I figured if it did decrease my supply, it wouldn’t be a big deal since C was eating solids a lot and was right a year, so I wouldn’t feel the need to supplement with formula. Fortunately, the pill had no effect on my milk, or none that we noticed. C did cut back on breast milk a lot in December 2011, but that was because she decided she only liked her milk straight from the source! She refused to drink expressed milk anymore, which was fine with me since it meant I could quit pumping. (Obviously, that was a fine idea since she’s now 26 months old and still nursing!)
Anyway, I noticed some side effects of the mini pill that I didn’t like, but it didn’t affect my milk and DH was happy that we didn’t have to be so careful all the time. But I was right back in the same boat I was in years ago – my cycles were crazy again. After 2 months of being on the mini pill, I had a 14 day period. That is not cool with me. Then another month, I thought for sure the pill had failed and I was pregnant, cause I didn’t have a period. Several pregnancy tests later, I finally realized that I was not pregnant, just irregular again. Great.
I was determined to stick it out, though, for the sake of my husband. And I really thought eventually my body would adjust and my cycles would be normal again. When I went for my yearly checkup last year, my doctor was happy that I had finally decided to get on the pill again, but he told me as soon as I quit breastfeeding to let him know, so I could get on a “real” birth control pill. That rubbed me the wrong way. Another comment he made basically told me that he thought since my child was over a year I should stop breastfeeding. Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely defensive about breastfeeding a toddler (I’ve had to deal with some very rude comments about it), so of course I didn’t like hearing that from a medical professional. I told him that I would be doing what was best for my baby, end of story.
Fast forward a few more months. I was still miserable on the mini pill. C didn’t seem like she was anywhere near weaning (which was fine with me), so it didn’t look like I’d be able to try another type any time soon. I wish I could remember how I stumbled across the next thing I learned, but for the life of me I can’t.
Part 3 coming soon…