The Truth About the IUD

My story is a personal one that began back in August of 2005. I had just given birth to my sixth child in the last seven years. Needless to say, my body was in bad need of a rest. My husband and I had tried other forms of birth control, to no avail. Because of my extreme fertility, we faced a choice of having a permanent procedure done, which we were not quite ready for, or using an Intra Uterine Device, in order to prevent another immediate pregnancy.

My doctor highly suggested putting in an IUD, because it was highly effective (99.9% success rate), and was not permanent. We chose to have the IUD inserted into my uterus. Unfortunately, because I was still nursing, the IUD ended up perforating my uterine wall, unbeknownst to me. I had severe pain and bleeding, but the doctor told me it was normal, and to call back, only if it continued past two days. It subsided after a day, so I forgot about it.

I ended up getting pregnant with my seventh child, completely unaware of the IUD that was still inside my body. The doctor assumed that it had fallen out, after an ultrasound came back with inconclusive results (meaning they could not see the IUD in my abdomen or reproductive areas.) He told me that it probably had dislodged itself while I was nursing and come out when I used the restroom. I knew that most pregnancies occurring as a result of perforation were ultimately spontaneously aborted, but I had no idea that the IUD was still somewhere in my body. I did not worry about losing the baby because I was made to believe that the IUD was in a sewer somewhere.

The pregnancy progressed normally until December 23rd, 2005, when I started having cramping and bleeding. I immediately called the doctor, because I had no history of gestational complications. He told me that it was normal, not to be alarmed and to call him back if it didn't subside within the next day or so. It did, in fact, stop on Christmas Eve day, so I didn't need to call him back. Things went relatively smooth after that, until April of 2006. I was experiencing severe aching in my back, and rectal area. I couldn't sit or stand for very long. I had never felt anything like it in all of my years of previous pregnancies.

My husband out of town and my daughter, thankfully a responsible girl, helped to take care of the five other kids while I lay on the couch, in agony. I finally called the doctor to complain. He made me feel very foolish for calling, claiming that it was normal for women who had had so many pregnancies to have some discomfort. I was instructed to take a laxative to help me relieve my severe constipation, and some Extra Strength Tylenol. The laxative did not work, and finally, I was able to sit and have a bowel movement after a week or so. The discomfort in my rear end and legs got worse as the pregnancy progressed, but the doctor always had the same numerous pregnancies were the cause. So I finally stopped complaining because I felt so foolish.

On the very early morning of July 7th, 2006, my water broke 2 weeks early. I was not having any contractions, but we went to the hospital anyway. Even at the hospital, my labor would not progress as it usually did. Walking only stopped the contractions. The Pitocin that they administered was not doing much to dilate me or bring on regular contractions. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that things were not going well. Then, I felt a huge pop in my uterus, and blood gushed out like a fountain. My placenta had ripped away from my uterus, causing me to bleed out. They tried to help my labor along faster, but the blood loss was causing too high of a risk for the baby and I. We were rushed in to have an emergency C-section.

The baby was born, healthy and handsome, my seventh child, born on 07/07/06. The delivering doctor was also the seventh of seven children. It is quite evident that God had His hand in the whole thing, despite my suffering. I was allowed to deliver a living child and survive a very difficult pregnancy. My recovery was a long and rough one due to the huge amount of blood loss during labor and delivery. But I eventually felt good again. Months later, in January of 2007, I started to get very ill. I was nauseated all day long.

I couldn't hold any food down. I was losing a lot of weight and looking pale. I was always dizzy and almost unable to function as a mother to my children. The primary care physician told me that it was a virus and that it would go away. Blood tests came back normal. I would just have to hope that it would go away on its own. A month later, I was even worse. I had taken several pregnancy tests, and could not figure out what was going on with me. Life had become a nightmare plagued by constant nausea and dizziness.

One morning, as I was showering, I felt something very odd. Two plastic strings were poking out of my rectum. I knew instantly what it was, having seen the IUD at the OB's office. I completely freaked out. I went immediately to my OB's office to show them. They were obviously nervous about the whole ordeal, but assured me that it was normal for this type of thing to happen. Ironically that is the very opposite of what they had told me before the insertion. I was told that it was very rare for any problems to occur, even with breastfeeding. Even the manufacturer's insert did not say anything about an increase of problems due to lactation or nursing, not until they caught wind of my story. The nurse wanted to remove the IUD right there, but I was afraid of it being attached to something in my body, being that it had been in my rectal cavity for well over a year.

My newly discovered knowledge that the IUD had been inside my body since August of 2005, helped to explain a lot of things that had taken place during the past 18 months. But the doctors would certainly not admit that it was the cause of any of my suffering or labor/ delivery complications. I know that they knew that they had screwed up. They were bending over backwards to appease me in any way that they could. I am not a person who believes in getting rich off of lawsuits, and destroying people's careers, so that was not my goal anyway. But I felt as if they had downplayed my concerns during pregnancy, and were now trying to avoid being in trouble. They never admitted to any negligence on their part, and I understand why. They scheduled an immediate procedure in the hospital, with an attending surgeon, to remove the IUD. It was successfully removed with no complications. The whole thing was over as quick as that. But the fear that my horrible experience could easily happen to other women, has haunted me ever since. I wanted the world to know that it IUD's are far more dangerous than they lead us to believe. I wanted the doctor to admit that he neglected to do a better job of trying to find the IUD, and taking my complaints seriously. I was just another uterus to them, despite being a loyal patient of eight years. I felt like they had betrayed me, when they got scared of being sued. They did not represent my best interest, as their patient, violating their Hippocratic Oath. They did what served them best, in order to keep from looking bad. I truly loved the doctors and nurse at my OB/GYN office. They had always treated me with respect. But my last two years as their patient, proved to me that I am no more than a small fraction of their paycheck.

I am also livid that the manufacturers of the Paragard IUD did not properly inform me of the increased risk of IUD usage, while nursing. They only added the info on added risks while nursing, after my incident was reported by my doctor. It also failed to state that the IUD could perforate any other area aside from the uterus and abdomen, causing side effects like illness, and the need for surgical removal. If you read the package insert now, you will find that they have made some alterations as of this year, to the warning section. But it was too late for me. However, it is not too late to inform others. Thank God that my baby survived and is now a beautiful one year old, and that I am well again.

So that's the whole dangerous truth. I'll leave the conclusion drawing to you. Is the IUD really worth the possible side effects and dangers?
By Kadi Prescott
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