Last Friday, I spent a couple of hours stripped half-naked, bleeding all over a puppy pad, and waiting on a baby to be born. Why, you ask? Easy. Trump.
Let me explain. The day I found out Trump had been elected president, I started to worry. I worried about his hateful rhetoric toward minorities. I worried about his wants to remove health care for the poor. I worried about his idiot ideas involving the environment. I worried about his blatant ignorance of politics, world news, and diplomacy. And I worried about his bragging about grabbing women by the pussy.
See, I was sexually molested for two years as a child, and I was sexually assaulted in my early twenties. I carry mace on my key chain and a Taser in my car. I hesitate to be around unknown men, even in groups. And I am very aware that women are seen as bodies, treated as objects meant to sell products and satisfy male needs. I know just how prevalent rape culture is in our society. In fact, more of my friends have been sexually assaulted in some way than those who have not. And now, we have a man acting as president who calls his own daughter a “piece of ass” and brags about assaulting women and getting away with it. His hateful rhetoric has opened the door for a lot of hateful actions to follow suit, against women and others.
My fears of being victimized once more have increased since Trump’s election, and whereas before, I felt secure in knowing that there were options for women who were assaulted, either Plan-B or abortion, now, I don’t. The current administration is removing the healthcare laws that require insurance to pay for birth control and trying to defund Planned Parenthood. Moreover, some of them have also expressed a wish to overturn Roe v. Wade — states have already started submitting bills to limit or end women’s access to safe abortion (Notice I said “safe.” They will happen, legal or not, but not having safe measures will just endanger lives), and the gag order has been reinstated.
Over the next four years, my ability to access or pay for birth control, should I be involved in consensual sexual activities, may end. What’s more is that if I am not on or cannot access birth control and am raped, there is no guarantee that I would be able to do anything to prevent getting pregnant, via Plan-B or the like, or to end a pregnancy that I didn’t willing enter into. My rights to my body and my ability to make decisions about when and if to have children may be stripped. I am not okay with that, and this pussy is grabbing back. I automatically set up an appointment with my gynecologist to discuss long-term birth control options.
I was overdue for a pap smear, so that was the first step to getting any birth control. While there, my doctor and I looked at the different options. For long-term birth control, you need an implant, either in the arm, like Nexplannon, or inserted into the uterus, like Mirena. I have a mood disorder, so I have to be careful about what sorts of medications enter my body that can affect my moods more, and I wanted something that could outlast Trump. Mirena has a low dose of hormones, few negative reactions, and lasts five years, so that was my choice.
Doctors like to insert Mirena during a woman’s menstrual cycle, since the cervix is open at that time, making the process easier. They normally have you call when you start your next period and schedule then. However, since I knew when my period would arrive thanks to a period tracker and I only have one weekday free from work, I was allowed to schedule ahead of time.
The day of the insertion, I was required to pee in a cup for testing before going back to the exam room, which I think is one of every woman’s least favorite parts of feminine health and something that tends to need preparation. Chugging bottles of water in a doctor’s waiting room only to have to pee every ten minutes for the next ten hours is no one’s idea of fun. Once back, a nurse discussed the implant with me to make sure I fully understood what would happen during the procedure and why. After that, I was asked to strip from the waist down and sit on the exam table, which was protected by what looked suspiciously like a puppy pad since you cannot have any feminine items inside you during the insertion, and must cover up with a sheet. Unfortunately for me, a few minutes later, she came back to inform me that my doctor had just been called away to deliver a baby, resulting in me playing on my phone until he was able to return. When he returned, he also went over the procedure and made sure I knew that if I felt too much discomfort during the insertion and needed to stop or pause that I could let him know.
Exam time. First, the doctor used a speculum to expose the cervix, a fairly standard feeling for anyone who’s experienced pap smears. Then, the doctor had to clean off the cervix, due to the discharge from your cycle, which you feel but doesn’t hurt. After that, the doctor used what seemed like a small pair of forceps to pinch the cervix and hold it. That causes you to cramp; only it’s not a rolling cramp, one that ebbs and flows. Instead, it’s like one fairly intense, continuous cramp, but you adjust to the feeling after a few minutes. The hardest part of the insertion, for me, was next. Usually, doctors prefer women who have had children to receive Mirena, as the cervix has spread before. I have never had children, so my cervix was not open enough. The doctor had to dilate my cervix using a curved metal tool, which took two tries. That part hurt, bad enough to make me gasp and jerk back, but it was over quickly, so the pain eased quickly. After that, the plastic insert is put in, the forceps are removed, and the doctor checked to make sure there were no issues from the insertion. For me, I bled a little from the forceps, so he used long Q-tips to dab on iodine. However, I felt nothing from the issue with the forceps or dabbing on of iodine.
After that, I was told I would need to return in a month for a follow-up to ensure the implant stayed where it was place. A few of them will either come out or pierce the uterus, but it is a very small number. The follow-up is to make sure if you are one of those few, that it is caught and remedied quickly. For that first month, you are warned to use a second form of contraceptive and to avoid using tampons or diva cups in case they might jar the insert.
For the next few days, I had waves of pretty severe cramps. They weren’t constant, though, and ibuprofen fixed them. I also continued to spot long after my period would normally end, which was unpleasant since I have to wear pads and don’t want to destroy all my good panties. However, I’ve had no issues outside of that. My bleeding wasn’t worse than normal, the cramps eased after a few days, and I had no problems with excess mood swings.
More than that, though, I’m calmer. I know I haven’t lowered my chances of being raped, but I am now protected if I am. Even if Trump’s administration causes my health insurance to refuse to cover birth control, I am still covered. Even if his administration removes my ability to receive Plan-B or a safe abortion, my chances of getting pregnant either through rape or through consensual intercourse is extremely low, lower than with any other type of birth control.
Unless I decide to remove my implant, I am protected from unplanned pregnancies until 2022. While the pain that goes along with this type of implant will deter many women, the length of time it lasts is what really pushed me to go forward with receiving it. No matter what, if you’re worried about Trump and what his laws and/or rhetoric might cause over the next four years, seek medical guidance. I was open about my worries with my doctor, and received nothing but understanding and honest advice on what I could do to protect myself and lower my stress level. Even if I had decided not to receive an implant or to go in a different direction, knowing that I’d discussed my options would have still helped me feel better and more in control of a situation where my right to control my body is being discussed by a Congress full of elderly, conservative white men.