I’ve had the implant firmly embedded into my left arm for just under three years now, and it’s time for it to come out. In fact, I really need to book that appointment for when I’m back in Durham for Ollie’s graduation at the end of June.
So, as everything seems to be coming to and end at the moment (cry), I thought I’d share a little review of the last three years of putting my reproductive life in the hands of a little white stick.
WHAT IS THE CONTRACEPTIVE IMPLANT?
I’m not going to go into details about what it is as I’m neither a qualified health professional, nor pharmacist. What I will say is that it’s basically a little flexible tube, inserted under the skin, that alters the dose of hormones in your body and lasts three years. Don’t take my word for it, here’s what the glorious NHS have to say. They have knowledge and I am nought but a Theology student. I’m not down for pretending I know everything about important things.
I’m also not going to too deep into the whole ‘how it’s fitted’ and that kinda stuff. A nurse does it and it’s really quick and maybe look away if you don’t like needles. Always make sure that you know where to find it in your arm once it’s fitted. If someone says they’ve put something in your body you really should check it out. Anyway…
It does not protect against any infections or diseases that are transmitted through sexual contact so watch out for them. ‘Don’t be silly…’ (you know the rest).
THE FIRST YEAR
I’ll be honest, the first year was pretty hit and miss. While I didn’t get pregnant (not that I did in the other two years, either), I did suffer from all sorts of side effects.
For the first month I did not get a period at all. This kinda freaked me out because I’d only just had it fitted and was a bit ‘oh my god how do I know if this is it working or not working?’ I then had a month long period. It was the worst. It was irregular and light and heavy and everything all at once. It was quite literally the worst.
I went back to the nurse and was put, along side the implant, on the pill.
This was also not ideal. I mean, I’d had the implant put in purely to stop needing to take a pill every day. But, it did regulate my periods. I had to stay on the pill for six months to regulate myself fully. I stuck it out and eventually all the pills ran out and I was pretty content.
THE SECOND & THIRD YEARS
For the last two years I have been a big fan of my implant.
Sure, I get two periods a month (a super light, short one, a few days off, and then a ‘normal for me’ one) but I have never once been worried about any scares or whatever. Everything has been fab.
Shout out to my pharmacist mother at this point who, one car journey, turned to me and said, ‘maybe if you’re having issues with it affecting you, it means it might not be working properly?’ Thanks, mum. I didn’t want to sleep that night, anyway.
Other than my period issue, I have had no other side effects. No hormonal issues, acne, headaches, mood swings or anything like that. Just a few extra periods, and hey, I can cope. Living alone for most of the last year has meant it couldn’t have been less of an issue, to be honest.
So, as I’ve said, I will have to have the little white guy out pretty damn soon. Fingers crossed it’ll be in the last few days of June. But what next?
Having said I could cope with the extra periods, thinking about a life without them makes me feel so happy.
But I don’t want to take the pill, I don’t want the injections, I’m undecided on any IUD style thing (I have naturally heavy periods and would not be able to deal if they got heavier). I really don’t want to only use condoms. So what do I do?
Contraception is such an important part of life, and getting it wrong for you can be a nightmare.
I love my implant. I love that it has left me ‘the fear’ free for three years. I love that it’s easy and the side effects are manageable. I love that if I’ve had a bit to drink I can make people touch it. I’m a demon.
But do I love it enough to have it replaced with a brand new shiny one? I don’t know.
This is where I’d like your help…
What’s your current favourite method of contraception?
Can you recommend anything to me?