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My Encounter With A Missing IUD

Birth control has always been a tricky thing for me to navigate. My cycles are atypical very abnormal to say the least so natural family planning never seemed in the cards for me. There was years I didn't have a period at all which made initially trying to get pregnant extremely challenging. We eventually succeeded getting pregnant with my first via IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) paired with clomid. After our first, we knew we wanted more children, but were unsure what the road to getting pregnant again would look like, so I opted to not go on any form of birth control after having our baby. My cycles never resumed, so I began seeing an infertility doctor again. To my surprise when our first was 13 months old I found out I was pregnant. We had succeeded naturally. I consider ourselves extremely blessed as I know there are so many couples out there who it is not easy for and my heart aches for anyone traveling the infertility road.

After having our second who came six weeks early, I knew I needed to do something proactive as we thought we might want one more baby but we weren't ready for a surprise pregnancy again. I talked to my Doctor and opted for an IUD which I had inserted when I was about seven months postpartum. The process was seamless and easy. Insertion was a breeze and I had no pain or symptoms. When we decided to try for a third, I had the IUD removed and we conceived about 7 months later just as I was about to see an infertility doctor again.

After our third, I didn't even consider any other forms of birth control. The IUD worked so well before, and I had no issues that I thought it would be the way to go again. I'm pretty sure we will not try from more kids as we are so blessed with our three beautiful children but I'm not ready to permanently close the door, so birth control is the current course. I went to have the IUD inserted at about 8 weeks postpartum. The nurse practitioner at my Doctor's office was going to do the insertion and prior to doing so she explained the risks associated with an IUD, the most severe being that it displaces and travels to another part of your body. I was horrified by this and asked, then what happens? She explained you would need surgery to remove it but the scenario only happens in about 1% of patients. 1%? My odds were good.

During the insertion she was a bit concerned that I looked "soft" and wasn't comfortable making the call to insert the device so called my OB in who said she thought it looked fine and completed the insertion without a problem. I had pretty severe and painful cramping for the first few days after insertion which is a side effect you are told about. This time around was painful and I felt uneasy about the whole thing given the question when they tried to put it in.

When you have an IUD, you go for a routine checkup about 4 weeks later to make sure the device is in the right location. At that checkup, the NP notified me she didn't see the strings which would tell her the IUD was in place. Not to worry, she assured me, she said we would have an ultrasound and that this happens sometimes but doesn't mean it isn't there. I tried to not panic, hoping for the best. Sure enough, during the ultrasound they located the IUD which was in fact, in my uterus, in the right place. They saw some air pockets on the ultrasound and wanted me to follow up six weeks later to make sure this had cleared up.

Fast forward six weeks and again I was in the ultrasound office. As I lay on the bed, the ultrasound tech confirmed why I was there and very casually said "Okay, so they removed your IUD right?" I paused, turned and looked at her and said "No, they sure didn't!" She then informed me the IUD was nowhere to be seen. Holy crap.

Being that it was a Friday when most important things tend to happen, right?! I waited until Monday when the Doctor called and asked me to go get an X-Ray to confirm whether the IUD had in fact ventured elsewhere or had just fallen out which has also been known to happen from time to time. I had the X-Ray and waited one more day for the results. The nurse called the following day to say "I'm so sorry, but your IUD is not where it is supposed to be so we need to schedule laparoscopic surgery to get it out." I had become the 1%.

So yesterday was my surgery - never in a million years would I have thought this is what would have resulted from an IUD. The surgery is a non-invasive one, they laparoscopically go through your belly button and remove the IUD which had escaped from my uterus and was sitting in my belly. Lovely, right? You do need to go under general anesthesia which inherently knocks you out for the remainder of the day.

I wanted to write all this down and share it with anyone who took the time to read it just to make other mamas aware that this is a very real possibility. The IUD was a wonderful birth control method for me the firs time around but this second time was nothing short of a disaster. It seemed to me such a huge and unnecessary surgery and ordeal to go through that could have been avoided had I chosen a different method. People endure far far worse and the problem was absolutely fixable and I'm thankful they can now perform procedures laparoscopically. I will say though, going forward, I'll chose another not so invasive form and put the rogue IUD fiasco behind me.

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