Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One for the Girls...

This post is dedicated to Jake... enjoy! ;)
Part of preparing for 3 months away from home together, was preparing birth control. I knew that with no real routine I would never remember a pill. The Depo Provera injection wouldn't last the whole time we were away, and my doctor discouraged the idea of an IUD because of the risks of scarring. 

And so it was that I found myself getting a Jadelle implant. Jadelle is two matchstick sized rods containing similar ingredients to Depo Provera. It is inserted into your upper arm through a 2cm incision and can last for 5 years, or be taken out earlier. I had to go to Family Planning for the procedure as my Doctor didn't have the training to perform it, and the Doctor I went to asked a lot of questions about my existing patterns and contraception before permitting the procedure to go ahead.

I was terrified of getting it inserted. I'm not scared of the dentist, or A&E trips or anything similar, but I am definitely squeemish and I hated the idea of the incision and the instrument the doctor used to create a tunnel under my skin for the rod to go into - twice. The Doctor used local anaesthetic to numb the underside of my arm, but I didn't trust it until she actually made the incision and I didn't feel it. She used something (I didn't look!) to make a tunnel under my skin and then put the first rod into the tunnel. She repeated the steps for the second rod, which was at such an angle as to make a V-shape with the first. Five tiny strips were used to close the incision, followed by a waterproof covering and then way more bandaging than seemed necessary. 

I survived the procedure and enjoyed a week of semi-pampering from Courts. With very limited use of my arm for the first few days he had to take care of a lot of the chores and he did so with not so much as a complaint. Movement was alright, although I couldn't lift my arm particularly high. Use of my arm was another story, as any attempt to use the muscle was very uncomfortable. It was easy to see why when the bandage came off and the amount of bruising was unveiled - three weeks later it was just clearing up. 

3 weeks later - the tiny scar and the last of the bruising
The pain factor didn't last nearly as long as the bruising - I had pretty-much full use of my arm after a week, although three weeks later it was still tender if I knocked it. Some people report horrible side effects of the implant such as constant bleeding, migraines and scarring. So far, I'm stoked with Jadelle. The day after the procedure I had a few hours where I wanted to cry for no reason as the new hormones settled into my body. Boys, if you've made it this far, don't try and understand it. Girls, I know you already do! 

I was told that 20% of women have no period at all when using Jadelle, 20% have normal monthly periods, 20% have bi-monthly periods, and 40% have completely irregular bleeding. A friend of my sister has had a near-constant period for the year she has had the implant. For me, the first week was on and off, but nothing since then. Boys, I warned you. I wanted to put this information out there as I couldn't find a lot and opinions seemed to be really mixed, which contributed to my fear.

Girls, from my singular experience, its not that bad. Don't expect to be typing with both hands for a week, and make sure you have someone to help out for a good few days. It will be sore, and your body will have to get used to the hormones, but it only took a couple of weeks for me. The Doctor advised me to take the stitch-strips off after 1 week, but I wish I had left them longer. It was starting to heal, but I do have a 1cm scar that is quite visible and I don't think it would have been as bad if I left it protected a bit longer. At least its very small! You can feel it under the skin, and you can even see it, but only if you're looking for it, it doesn't stand out. 

I'll keep you updated, but for now I'm happy with it... and glad it will be awhile before they have to take it out!


Linaire said...

Phew! I'm too young to be a grandma just yet :) I think it's the perfect answer for when you are away, especially as I know you would've researched it well. I'm glad the bruising is finally starting to clear.
And I hope all the boys read this and realised how easy they have it! Really interesting reading x

Courtney said...

This is very cute. I don't get my period because I am a boy, but I do go to the toilet, and I can sympathise with you, as it is the same type of thing :)

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