|This wasn’t a great start for my post, since I really really couldn’t think of an appropriate image….I didn’t think a picture of my arm was suitable!|
Today I am going to share with you my experience with the contraceptive implant. I have been seriously umming and ahhing about whether or not I should upload this post, and whether it is appropriate for the content of my blog. (if you are reading… sorry dad!) But in reality, talking about contraception can only be a good thing, in fact a very safe thing indeed! Plus after speaking to a few girls, they thought that it would not only be an interesting read, but potentially very helpful for those trying to make a decision on a contraception choice! So here we are!
Just as a little side note, I am no means a professional in this field, I am merely talking about the experiences I have had with the Nexplanon Implant myself over the past year, as well as a little bit of knowledge I have. However, you always have to speak to a healthcare practitioner anyway before having the implant fitted, in case for any reason you are not suitable for it.
A Little Bit Of Technical Information
So, for those that may not know, the implant is a little 40mm flexible tube that basically stops egg production. It is inserted under the skin of your (usually) non writing arm and lasts for three years. To me, this is the best feature about the implant, once it is in your arm, it is there for three years, and you pretty much don’t have to do ANYTHING. (Except keeping an eye to ensure you aren’t taking medication that may impact on it’s effectiveness, there are a few!)
One or two things I would like to make very clear:
1 – The implant doesn’t protect you from STI’s – so still keep that in mind.
2 – “If implanted correctly, it’s more than 99% effective. Fewer than one woman in 1,000 who use the implant as contraception will get pregnant in one year.” (NHS Website)
I find these two facts are extremely important and something to consider that is still the SMALL chance you could get pregnant, but it really is very slim. Luckily in the UK, it can be obtained free on the NHS. You can find more professional advice HERE on the NHS website
A Little Bit Of Context
I thought I would share with you the background behind why I even considered getting the implant in the first place. Also to kind of demonstrate that I think getting an implant is something that should really be thought about a lot, and definitely not a spontaneous decision – let me remind you, you are getting something physically put into your arm!
So basically, like a lot of girls my age. (I imagine) I have quite a large phobia of becoming pregnant. The entire thing terrifies me. I worry about it a lot more than I should, and a lot than anyone I really know – I only really noticed this in 2013 during my first year of University. After going to the doctors they decided it was best that I go on the pill, which at first was absolutely great! But then after a few months or so… I don’t really know what happened, potentially to do with the hormones, or something but the thoughts that were going through my head just were not right. I had even started to convince myself that I could get pregnant in so many situations, usually without any sexual contact at all. This obviously is completely irrational and SCIENTIFICALLY impossible, but it still wouldn’t leave my mind. Not exactly the best way to begin a relationship!
I started to panic about taking my pill. If I didn’t take it at 7.45am on the dot I would freak and shake and just be terrified. Then the fear of ever ‘forgetting’ to take one took over my life. All I can say was my pill free week was always the best week of my life back then, even whilst being on my period. The days I had 9am lectures – I would usually be fine, but the days I had to set my alarm specifically to take my pill became a living nightmare. I downloaded an app, which was truly incredible actually, where you could tick that you had taken your pill and it would also have a time stamp for when you took it. This helped out A LOT but then even this started to not be enough. I began to take a screenshot of the time on my phone, take a picture of the pill packet before and then a picture after to show it had been taken, and then also a screenshot after of the time. It was totally exhausting. (I also started to get really defensive with my phone, for the fear that people would see these photos and be like what Kayleigh?) You would think that would SURELY be enough? But no, there was that little voice in my head mocking and laughing at me telling me I was pregnant.
Because of my relationship with the pill obviously not being amazing, the anxiety I suffered when taking it was horrendous which made swallowing it extremely difficult even though it is TINY. It turns out I am definitely a “what if kinda girl” and there were LOTS of what ifs swirling around my mind. The one that occurred the most was the fear of it not being swallowed or potentially falling out of my mouth… apparently very common thoughts. On the days that I questioned if I had taken it, I would start to take extra pills to be sure, sometimes three a day. This is NOT healthy and I strongly recommend you don’t do this.
|FABULOUS idea by Lou of making little quotes like a magazine to break up the MASSIVES of text <3|
I would constantly have ‘the symptoms’ of a pregnant woman. I always felt bloated, constantly needed a wee, all sorts. Plus, never ever ever ever, google anything to do with symptoms, or anything actually to do with healthcare, go to the doctors! Google diagnosing honestly ruins happiness. The minute I read that having a period doesn’t necessarily indicate that you aren’t pregnant really destroyed me. I cannot explain the amount of pregnancy tests I went through… my poor pennies!
The number of doctors visits I had for reassurance that I was not going to be pregnant was RIDICULOUS. It would be rare for me to go over a week without going. They pretty strongly, advised I get the implant fitted, but I was completely utterly terrified of the idea, however I told them I would look into it.
After LOTS of scouring of the internet, and freaking out at SO many negative horror stories (please try to ignore them) about the implant I looked into other contraceptive methods such as the patch, and the injection. All three of the contraceptions have their positives and their negatives, and I think that is where it came down to my own personal decision really. So I booked my appointment! But it is up entirely up to your preference. I COMPLETELY understand why you wouldn’t want an implant.
So there we have it, I felt it was good to explain why I initially chose to get an implant, and as you can probably see, I very much needed it….
I get asked about this A LOT. I feel this is an important part of this blog post, because knowing this, could potentially really really help make a decision on whether you want to brave the procedure. (I WISH I could have had this blog post to read….) I find I have a fairly high pain threshold, but honestly this didn’t hurt at all when they fitted it. In fact, the injection was the most uncomfortable part of the entire thing. I even asked if she could warn me when she was about to put it in, and she was like oh I have already done it! It was quite surreal really! They then bandage you up and you have to keep it on for a few days, and yes this was quite a pain. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt after the injection wears off, and you do get quite a lot of bruising, but it soon wears off! They gave me a few things to read over. I believe I had to still finish off my current pill packet, I am not sure what happens if you aren’t on the pill – but do ask at the doctors!
I am going to do my best to not throw in TMI here. At first you can REALLY feel it, and it is kind of gross, every movement you have, it is there and it really creeped me out when I lifted things, but you begin to not notice it AT ALL, promise. 🙂 And one other thing, people WILL ask if they can touch it…
So, you may or may not know some of the side effects that the implant typically has. Mostly from my friends I have heard that your periods can completely stop – and to a lot of people I know, this is something that is often quite desirable! I didn’t actually want to lose my period, but it was a risk I was willing to take to get out of the pill nightmare. The other thing that may happen is completely the opposite and your periods can become extremely irregular.
I kind of get the ‘beautiful’ experience of both, which means I genuinely have no idea when I am going to come on my period. (Something I REALLY miss about the pill is knowing my period pattern.)
I can go without a period for about 3 months which is fine, but then the minute I do get a period, BOOM, I know I am going to have it for a while, often for about a month or so, which definitely isn’t ideal! No girl likes being on her period. Saying that.. they are far FAR lighter… (sorry) BUT, every girl is unique, and the implant reacts to everyones bodies differently, you can kind of think of it like pot luck, luck of the draw. But I guess it is up to you and your priorities. It is definitely an extremely convenient effective contraception, which is exactly what I was after – but I understand this risk isn’t for everyone. (You can take a pill to balance out these periods back into a regular pattern, which to some people may seem pointless, but this would help out the worriers like myself, and also the forgetfuls because if you forget to take one you would just get a period but still be protected from pregnancy!)
I have had mine fitted for just over a year now and I do still have my occasional pregnancy thoughts, but NOWHERE near as strong as whilst I was on the pill. I used to envisage it snapping, but that has passed, I have learnt that I just need to trust it is doing it’s job. There is no point in worrying because I don’t have to do anything, it is just there in my arm, doing it’s own thing, and I am living my life happily.
Thank You SO MUCH if you have read through this monster of a blog post, but if you have, I like to think you found the content interesting! I really do hope this will help on deciding whether or not the implant is for you. If you have an implant do share your experiences below or if you have any questions and you would like to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be more than happy to assist, especially if you have had any similar nasty thoughts. – I do honestly think it is an amazing contraception, it has truly changed my life.
However, after saying all this, I would absolutely love to have a child one day, just not for quite a few few years yet!