I’ve had my coil removed.

Don’t panic, I’m not trying to conceive. Actually, it’s more like the opposite: I’ve had my coil removed so that I can spend more time delaying pregnancy.

This labyrinthine bit of logic comes courtesy of the Bridge Clinic’s Freeze and Share programme. It lets me freeze a clutch of my eggs for free (the process would normally cost around £5k), provided I donate some to women enrolled on their IVF programme.

I’m 34 this year, and still deeply undecided about having children. My view literally changes from one day to the next, but nothing in me says ‘Now’. Maybe it never will – after all, I’m fond of joking that I’m waiting until I can afford a squadron of nannies. And yet I know that the quality of my eggs are declining already, and this will drop even more rapidly after 35.

At the same time, my doctor has told me that I could never conceive without medical support (if you’re thinking of adding a comment to this post saying, ‘You never know, miracles happen’: Don’t. The world isn’t quite the same as Take A Break would have us believe). If it wasn’t for this, I’m not sure I’d be pursuing the Freeze & Share, but it seems like I’d have to undergo this step sooner or later. And the idea of donation is hugely comforting to me – if I’m too flaky to reproduce, then at least I’m helping someone who’s surer than I am. It assuages some of the guilt, somehow.

I confess that I was absolutely dreading the effects of the coil removal, but nothing catastrophic has happened so far. I’m perhaps a little bit hormonal, a little bit grumpy and tight-throated. I just have to wait for my period to arrive now –  if indeed it arrives at all, I’m not very good at such things – so that I can undergo a list of tests to see if I’ve got what it takes.

I secretly suspect that I haven’t, that it can’t be that simple. Not that I think the physical process of egg-harvesting is easy; from watching friends, I know it isn’t. It’s just that I can’t believe that science has provided me with this miraculous little get-out clause, the ability to delay parenthood until I’m settled, certain, content, if that time ever comes.

In the meantime, we’re trying to use condoms, which seems like a bizarre new imposition on our lives. I’m utterly incompetent with the damned things, and have a terrible habit of saying, ‘Oh it’s okay, I’m functionally infertile. Let’s not bother.’ I must get out of that mindset.

But this led to a fascinating discovery on my part. Last week, condom-free, Herbert said, ‘Mmm, it’s so nice without the strings.’

‘What,’ I said, ‘you could feel them?’ The coil leaves two wiry strings wrapped around your cervix, which are supposed to be undetectable during sex. Clearly not. I had no idea he was politely refraining from mentioning them.

This reminded me that it took six months for him to work out what they actually were. When they came up in conversation one day, he said, ‘OH! That makes sense now. I thought you’d grown hairs.’

I suppose I should be grateful that my husband thinks I have a hairy cervix, and yet still finds me attractive.

, , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to Uncoiling

  1. Mags 09/05/2011 at 15:42 #

    Christ, I obsess enough about my hairy chin, do you reckon one really could have a hairy cervix!!? I wouldn’t like to try plucking there ;)

  2. Betty Herbert 09/05/2011 at 18:18 #

    I know! That could be a whole new thing to obsess over!

  3. AP 01/06/2011 at 10:44 #

    This is so interesting – I had thought I’d gone mad a few years ago when I had the coil put in (the pill makes me crazy and condoms (as per your most recent article) just are nowhere near as fun), and my partner inexplicably got a tiny weeny little cut on the tip of his penis. I think that it was as a result of the little wires…I got quite paranoid that I could feel the coil as well…so it’s interesting to hear the boy’s perspective from H.

    Ultimately, I had a bit of a disaster with the coil – non-stop bleeding as it dislodged – I was in Belize travelling, and had to have it taken out in hospital. It was horrible. But back in a loving relationship again, I’ve got bored of condoms and, having had a little ‘condom accident’ recently* and being reminded what REAL sex without feels like without them (cue visit to the pharmacist for the MA pill, and a disapproving look that made me feel like a naughty teenager), I’ve been toying with the coil again to rediscover the joys of sex without.

    After this article I’m in a complete pickle, and I just don’t know what to do!

    *Am I the only person in the world who appears to practically SUCK condoms up inside her with particularly big orgasms? They have disappeared right up inside me 4 times now, it is completely freaky, and results in MA pill nightmares every time!

    • Betty Herbert 01/06/2011 at 10:58 #

      Contraception is just a complete bitch, isn’t it? It’s impossible to ‘win’.

      I completely feel your pain with the coil thing – the first time I tried one, my GP cut the strings too short. It sounds like the same happened to you – it leaves prickly ends that are very uncomfortable for any passing penis, and it also means they dislodge easily and pass up into the uterus. Mine was only found after 2 ultrasounds, a miscarriage and a colposcopy. This more recent one was installed properly, though – longer strings that sort of wrap around your cervix, so you can feel them but they’re not sharp. I was really quite happy with it, to be honest (but my GP says it can make acne worse). I was also quite fond of my implant too.

      Re: the condom thing – them’s some good orgasms, lady! But, yes, the damned things are not so firmly attached as they claim to be.

  4. AP 08/06/2011 at 21:39 #

    All of the above useful advice, thank you – thinking maybe I should try the coil again. Although ‘the insertion’ (I shudder just thinking about it again) was a teensy bit traumatic and involved a dramatic amount of fainting.

    You’re right – contraception – there’s nothing fun about it. I’ve always thought it could be amusing if they invented a spray-on condom….

    And the irony hasn’t escaped me that we spend years and years trying NOT to get pregnant and then all of a sudden do an abrupt about turn to TRY! Our poor modern bodies must be in a state of total confusion…

Leave a Reply