Thursday, February 28, 2008

Truth or Something like it: #3

Contraception is a necessary evil - emphasis on the EVIL

Raise your hand if you've ever had a problem with contraception. If you're having momentary amnesia, let me remind you: for the unfortunate majority of us, the pill makes you so crazy that you husband/boyfriend/partner/roommate/cat are scared to come within 6 feet of you the week before your "period." Then, there are the lucky ladies who develop what I like to call the "hormone mustache." This is the very chic, very obvious skin discoloration caused by the synthetic hormones in your body. Conveniently, its usually located on your FACE. Oh, and let's not forget that they don't tell you the efficacy of the pill decreases SIGNIFICANTLY if you don't take the damn things at the same time everyday. I mean, come on, it's hard enough not to end up taking it with wine at 9pm because you almost totally forgot...again.

Condoms. Let's have a moment of silence for the invention of the condom. Amen. However, they're annoying...I mean, you actually have to have them one hand when you want to "do the dirty."

I know a lot of people are scared of IUDs, or have no idea what they are. I honestly thought they were going to be my salvation (and there were a lot of reasons to think this), but apparently I'm not a good candidate for either type of IUD. I can't get the one with hormones because I don't "tolerate" hormones well, and my period is already heavy enough to inspire ark building, so the non-hormonal IUD isn't "recommended" either. I would feel like a contraception reject, except that I have so many friends who have battled with contraception for so long that abstinence and a long life in a small apartment with lots of cats, suddenly doesn't seem quite so bad.

After going through most of the above in my search for one contraception that might actually allow me to have sex without ending up in the delivery room nine months later, I had the following experience:

I was pretty pumped when I read about the Today Sponge. You can put it in hours before sex, so you don't have to run off to the bathroom in the middle of getting it on. Plus, you can leave it in for hours afterward, so I thought I'd just remove it in the mornings. Sounds genius.

As a responsible and educated consumer, I read the instructions about seven times before inserting the Today Sponge. I got the sponge wet, massaged it to activate the spermicide, and inserted it exactly according to the instructions. Everything seemed fine...minus the more than slightly embarrassing phenomenon of spermicide leakage (lucky for you, I'm not in the mood to elaborate). Everything went according to plan until I tried to remove it the next morning. You were supposed to be able to reach up, put your finger through the elastic band on the backside of the sponge, and gently pull it out. Well, I couldn't find the elastic band for the life of me. I was literally grabbing around inside of myself, searching for the darn thing. Hours, a mirror, a flashlight, six phone calls to my best friend and many tears later, I realized I was going to have to get it removed professionally.

The next problem was that I had a very important meeting the next morning - a meeting I could NOT miss - which meant that I was going to have to wait until afterward to go to the doctor. You aren't supposed to leave the sponge in for more than 24 hours, but from the time I inserted it, almost 48 hours had passed. Fuuuuuuuck. I told my MALE doctor what had happened, and he informed me that they see a lot of "stuck sponges (I'll have to remember to check with the local urgent care the next time I decide to have a contraceptive adventure). He told me that the sponge had maneuvered its way up to a point where it would have physically been impossible for me to remove it myself. In addition, because it had been in for so long, it had started to dissolve, so he had to remove the pieces (quite painfully) one-by-one. Once the horror of removal was over, the doctor told me that because it had been in for so long, the spermicide had infected the area...especially since I had scratched myself raw trying to remove the *&%^$#& thing. So, $300, 48 hours and some serious emotional trauma later, my Today Sponge saga was over.

I had high hopes for the Today Sponge, but I definitely would not recommend it to any woman. Ever. The moral of my story is that I LOVE contraception, I am a HUGE fan of not having babies when you don't want them. However, the abstinence band wagon is lookin' pretty comfy...and, since men don't have to deal with periods, cramps, bloating, birth or skinny jeans (well, most men), I think they should have to endure the next contraceptive contraption or potion "they" dream up. Just a thought...

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