Ingrid the IUD: Insertion Process

My Paragard IUD’s name is Ingrid.  She can be a huge bitch sometimes, but as long as she does her job, we’re going to continue to be the best of friends.  I’m going to tell you a bit about Ingrid – my IUD insertion story. This post is largely about my Paragard IUD (as opposed to Mirena or Skyla).  If you’re unsure if an IUD is right for you, check out this post on Bedsider.  If you’re unsure about which IUD is right for you, this post on Bedsider is a good start, too.

My Birth Control Journey
I started taking the pill when I was 20.  I wasn’t very good about being on the pill – taking a pill at the same time everyday was difficult for me.  After about two years, I opted for Nuva Ring, a flexible plastic ring that gets inserted into the vagina.  I liked this – I didn’t have to think about it everyday.  I thought about it twice a month instead.  Unfortunately, the Nuva Ring caused some serious side effects for me.  Instead of just being irritable and sad the week before my period like before, I was feeling irritable, sad, depressed, and hopeless all the time.  Granted, I was dealing with graduating college and trying to figure out my next step – but the additional hormones were not helping.  One day in October of 2013, I took action and took my Nuva Ring out.  I starting looking for non-hormonal options because with my active sex life and disinterest in bearing children, I NEEDED to be on birth control.

A friend told me about the Paragard IUD.

This photo is not mine – it is from the interwebs. Just a good visual of how big Miss Ingrid is.  

  • How Paragard Works: The Paragard IUD contains no hormones, but it does contain Copper (for those of you with metal allergies).  The Copper works by immobilizing sperm.  Those little guys just get stuck in their tracks when they encounter a uterus with a Copper ninja.  No happy-fun-time for them – the fun has already been had.  Copper friend to the rescue.
  • Paragard Possible Side Effects: heavier periods, longer periods, more painful periods
  • Paragard Benefits: no babies, no accidentally forgetting to take your birth control, lasts for up to 12 years, privacy of no one else knowing what birth control you use (unless you tell them), reversible if you decide you want to have babies, no hormones.
  • FREE PARAGARD:  I live in Wisconsin, USA.  I was able to get my IUD for free through Planned Parenthood because my income qualified me for such services.  See if the Planned Parenthood nearest you has a plan for people with lower incomes.
    • Take Ibuprofen an hour before.
    • I had my partner drive me to my appointment.  I was happy I made this decision afterwards.
  • Insertion Process:  My normal period is pretty heavy and the cramps are painful.  My OBGYN was nervous for me about getting the Paragard IUD due to the common side effects.  I was more nervous about the insertion process, which I heard from friends and online was pretty painful.  Here’s what happened:
    • Pregnancy Test and STI Test
    • Pelvic Exam: Feet up, let’s spread, it’s time to get down to business.  The OBGYN inserts a gloved finger into the vagina and uses other hand to press down on abdomen to feel for ovaries.  Just like every other annual check up.
    • Swabs Cervix with Antiseptic: This makes your cervix look purple instead of pink.  This will keep the germs out.
    • Speculum inserted:  This speculum (“Duck Lips”) is longer and bigger than the average annual exam speculum.  You’ll notice the size difference.  It doesn’t hurt – it’s just not comfortable.
    • Stabilize the Cervix: Your cervix is really good at doing her job.  She determines what comes out and what goes in.  In order to get your IUD in, a fancy tool called a tenaculum is used to basically clamp your cervix in one place.  (I always picture trying to get something in an unclamped cervix as something akin to a pink dancing donut.)  This doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t feel very comfortable.  It does feel like something has a solid grab on a part of you that you didn’t know had feeling.
    • Measure the Uterus: Next, the OBGYN will insert a uterine sound into your uterus to measure its size.  Some uteri are not large enough for IUDs.  A uterus must measure at least 6 cm to allow for an IUD.  This uterine sound looks super intimidating.  For this part, my cervix would NOT allow that sound inside.  Nope.  My OBGYN said, “Your cervix is just doing her job, but she’s making my job harder.”  It took about five minutes for me to relax enough so my cervix would let her stick the uterine sound in.  In my attempt to relax, I accidentally started hyperventilating, but really, this part is just mind over matter.
      • What this feels like: The sensation is odd.  I couldn’t actually feel the sound going in – I could only feel my cervix’s response to it.  Which was a huge fucking cramp.  This is the best way I can describe it.  Once your uterus is measured, the uterine sound comes out.
      • KATE TIP: RELAX.
    • IUD is inserted: The OBGYN is doing a lot more with different mechanisms to get the IUD in.  All I noticed were two things:
      • When she stuck something in my cervix again: It felt like the uterine sound did – like a huge fucking cramp.  Not great, but not so bad.
      • When she opened up the IUD arms: HOLY SHIT.  WOW.  I DIDN’T KNOW I HAD FEELING IN THERE.  I felt the IUD arms open up in a place in my body that hasn’t been touched before.  Guess what it felt like?  A HUGE FUCKING CRAMP.
    • Insertion Tube is pulled out: The tube gets pulled out.  You now have a T shaped friend in your uterus.
    • Strings are trimmed: The IUD has strings at the bottom of it.  These strings serve a  few purposes:
      • They assist in removal (done by a doctor when that time comes).
      • They help you know if your IUD is too low or high, based on length of strings.
    • Check your strings: It is recommended you feel for your strings so you know how long they should be.
    • I named my IUD “Ingrid.”
    • I sat in my passenger seat with my hands on my abdomen like I was now carrying something incredibly precious (BECAUSE I AM!).
    • I was convinced I could feel it in there.  (If I could then, I can’t now.)

Ingrid and I have been living (almost) happily ever after for 1 1/2 years now. (More on that in another post.)

Looking for more IUD info?  Check out my IUD community HERE.

‘Fitspiration’ Reality Check by Kate

We see a lot of our friends post pictures of themselves in workout clothes on Facebook and Instagram and what not, with ripped abs and skinny figures with some inspirational quote about how good God is or about how much they love kale or how nothing tastes as good as being in shape feels or about shaming you for sitting on your phone looking at fitspiration photos.  It doesn’t always feel great to see those posts when I’m sitting on my couch in a robe, stuffing an entire box of Oreo’s in my face, while on my seventh hour of binge watching Netflix.

Two things about this:

  1. Our friends should be able to post good things about themselves.  And we should be able to be genuinely happy for those friends.  We women tend to compare ourselves to other women, making us feel jealous towards them and poorly about ourselves.  This shouldn’t be the case.  We should be able to be supportive for our sisters and content with our current situations, too, even if they differ drastically.  For example – I’m taking a pole dancing class.  I’m on Level 4, but unlike many other women in the class, I have no history of ballet or gymnastics or flexibility. Period.  I can’t even touch my toes.  There are a lot of things we are taught in class that many women grasp right away, but it takes me weeks, if not MONTHS, to get there.  I have learned to be gentle and patient with myself, while being a cheerleader and supporter for the other women in my class.  It not only makes them feel good, but it makes me feel good.  What’s even better?  When I finally achieve goals that I’ve been working on, these women are my cheerleaders and support me back.  It’s all about the sisterhood.
  2. Comparing ourselves to others is really unhealthy.  If you’re looking to compare, compare yourself now to yourself in the past.  That’s what truly matters.  It’s way too easy to alter photos now with good angles, good lighting, filters, Photoshop, cropping, etc, etc, etc.  Why are we comparing our day-to-day selves with other people’s best photo that they took of themselves (a photo they realistically took like 20 times and finally got the shot they wanted)? That’s not fair to us at all.

I’ll use myself for an example.

I really like this picture of me.  I look fit and happy.  I also took this photo three times, the lighting is great because I’m right by a window and I stood in such a way that the line on my abs would show, I have my shorts pulled up over my poochie belly, it’s in a mirror – so technically all my features are flipped, I’m sucking-in a little and flexing my abs, and I have the camera at a higher angle so my extra chin skin can’t be seen.


But let’s be real – this is what I look like when I’m sitting down.  Now it could be said that I altered this one with lighting and angle and what not – but I only took this picture once, with my dominant hand, and I sat in a relaxed position.


My point?  It’s all about the angles, the lighting, and how one wears their clothing.  I try not to compare myself to others online – because no one posts an unflattering picture of themselves (unless they are trying to make a point).  Honestly, what helped me curb my comparing is by taking really flattering photos of myself.  Then, when I am looking at other people’s best photos of themselves, I think of my best photos of myself and think to myself, “I’m pretty damn sexy, self.”

And then I pat myself on the shoulder for being nice and patient with me. :)

(That was a lot of “self’s.”)

Birth Control 101

I have so many things I want to write about birth control.  I want to write about the fact that birth control isn’t talked about enough.  I want to write about the fact that too many people think birth control is only a political issue.  I want to write about how many women take birth control to make their periods easier to manage.  I want to write about how some women take birth control to make their periods lighter and less painful.  I want to write about how some women take birth control to have periods because they have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, a syndrome that causes women to stop having their periods. I want to write about how some people in our government want to control women’s access to birth control.  I want to write about the personal, societal, and factual implications of this.  I want to write about how certain women have better access to birth control based on their skin color, perceived ethnicity, geographical location, income, perceived gender, whether or not their are in an abusive relationship, and how all these aspects cross over and around and relate to one another.  I want to write about how fucked up it is that people think their personal relationship with their god should dictate other women’s personal relationships with their lady parts.  I want to write about how infuriated I am that the same people who don’t believe in birth control also don’t believe in abortions or helping single mothers take care of their children or access to public education for all children or sex education for teens or taxes for public resources that can help these families thrive or low income housing or ANYTHING that will help the mothers who are trying to take care of children that these people don’t think should be prevented in any way.  I want to write about how necessary birth control is to prevent abortions and struggling single mothers and teen pregnancies.

I could write a novel about all those things.  Maybe I will one day.  Today is not that day.  Today I am going to write about the big BC.  Loving yourself means taking control over your body, especially when some people are trying to take you over, whether it be physically, mentally, politically, and/or emotionally.  Coming to you daily from Madison, Wisconsin!  Fighting the good fight to keep women in the know about what’s to know about your reproductive options!

Enough with my rant.  If you’re into videos, here is a good introduction to birth control.

I found an amazing organization that is everything birth control.  Any question you could ever have about BC at the tip of your fingertips on their website.  Check out Bedsider to get an awesome, interactive view of what’s available.  You can even use filters to find out which will work best for you when.  IT’S TRULY AMAZING.


  1. Long Term Birth Control (a one time insertion/shot/implant that lasts for a longer period of time, removal by a doctor)
    1. IUD (intra-uterine device)
      1. Paragard (copper, non-hormonal, lasts up to 12 years)
      2. Mirena (localized hormones, lasts up to 5 years)
      3. Skyla (smaller, localized hormones, lasts up to 3 years)
    2. Implant
      1. Implanon
      2. Nexplanon
    3. The Shot
      1. Depo Vera
    4. Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) (for new mothers, a natural way to prevent pregnancy will regular breastfeeding, lasts up to six months or longer)
  2. Shorter Term Birth Control (something that is taken daily, weekly or monthly and can be removed by the woman, from longest lasting to shortest)
    1. The Ring (Nuva Ring – flexible ring containing hormones inserted digitally into vagina, removed every three weeks, one week off, new one inserted)
    2. The Patch (Ortho Evra – thin plastic patch put on skin, new patch each week)
    3. The Pill (taken daily for 24-26 days, many different brands, two different levels of hormones)
      1. Progestin-Only Pills
      2. Combination Estrogen-Progestin Pills
  3. Emergency Contraception (for situations when a birth control method failed or was not used, EC only prevents pregnancy – not STIs)
    1. Plan B (single dose pill that prevents release of egg and/or implantation into uterine wall, must be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse)
    2. Paragard IUD (prevents implantation into uterine wall, also a long term birth control option)
  4. Barrier Methods (per sexual act)
    1. Male Condom (most common, condom put on erect penis, also protects against STIs/STDs)
    2. Female Condom (inserted into vagina with flexible ring, can be inserted up to six hours before intercourse, protects against STIs)
    3. Diaphragm (a small cap that gets inserted into vagina, can be inserted hours before intercourse, DO NOT protect against STIs)
    4. Sponge (inserted into vagina, immobilizes sperm, DOES NOT protect against STIs)
    5. Spermicide (inserted deep into vagina shortly before intercourse, immobilizes sperm, DOES NOT protect against STIs)
    6. Dental Dams (a latex square used for cunnilingus to prevent STIs, does not prevent pregnancy)
  5. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (best when all combined, work best for people trying to get pregnant)
    1. Temperature Method (record temperature daily to determine ovulation)
    2. Cervical Mucus Method (record cervical mucus daily to determine ovulation)
    3. Calendar Method (keeping track of your periods on a calendar to determine ovulation)
    4. CycleBeads (keeping track of period with string of beads)
  6. Permanent Birth Control (requires surgery)
    1. Women – Tubal Sterilization
    2. Men – Vasectomy
  7. Abstinence (having no sex whatsoever, requires serious self control)

You do YOU!

Learning to Love Your Stretch Marks: LADY LINE LOVE

I just googled “stretch marks.”  This topic was the first thing to pop up:

Chrissy Teigen Embraces Her Stretch Marks to Prove She’s Awesome

(I didn’t know who this “Chrissy Teigen” was – she’s a Sports Illustrated model.  Got it – that’s why the media is freaking out.  But I’m glad this is the first thing to pop up.  Stretch mark love!)

Life&Style Mag titled their article Stretchies Say Hi”: Supermodel Chrissy Teigen Shows Off Her Stretch Marks, Proving She’s Just Like the Rest of Us!”

Of course she has stretch marks just like the rest of us!  The onset of puberty gives even the smallest looking people stretch marks.  Stretch marks do not demarcate “FAT.”  They demarcate GROWTH. (That being said, “Fat” does not mean “bad” or “less worthy.”)

Women and men alike have stretch marks for various reasons.

  • Possible Locations: belly, thighs, hips, breasts, upper arms, lower back, butt, calves, shoulders – basically, you name it.
  • Possible Reasons They’re There: pregnancy, extreme weight loss, extreme weight gain, puberty, quick muscle gain from working out, etc.

A lot of remedies exist to get rid of stretch marks.  Lotions, creams, and surgical methods are all ways to try to get stretch marks – but, personally, the best remedy is to change your mindset about your stretch marks.

Love Your Lines Campaign was “started by two women who want to celebrate real women, real bodies, and real self-love.”  
Here are some photos from their Tumblr.  The photos all have quotes from the women who shared their lines.  Check out the link to see more photos and their positive notes.

I’ve recently learned that my booty is much bigger than I realized.  Which I find AWESOME.  All this time, I thought underwear just didn’t fit me right (you know where the cloth liner on the inside it supposed to line up? It never did).  No, I just needed a bigger size.  I learned this when ordering period panties off-line ONE MONTH AGO and they said to order by hip-size.  I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!  Geez, all this time.  So I ordered an XL, which seemed crazy to me, but they fit great and are super comfy, so who cares about the size?

I went to Victoria’s Secret to get a free pair of undies yesterday (and didn’t get ANYTHING ELSE.  How’s that for self control?).  I used to always get mediums (that never lined up right with my cuntie poo), but yesterday I decided to get a large.  And THEY LINE UP WITH MY CUNTIE POO!   It find it incredibly hilarious that, at 24 years old, I just realized how I was subconsciously in denial about my great booty.  I decided to take a good look at my hips yesterday, too – HOLY SHIT – STRETCH MARKS!  AWESOME!  I never noticed THOSE before!  I just wonder when it happened!

I love the (new and late discovered) stretch marks on my thighs the way I love the stretch marks on my right breast.  When I noticed I had stretch marks on my bigger boob I WAS ECSTATIC!  That meant that that boob GOT BIGGER!  SWEET!  I have stretch marks on my hips – must mean those got bigger, too!  AWESOME!  I am not a girl, I AM A WOMAN. ROAR.


  1. Follow “Love Your Lines” on Instagram.  Seeing other women’s stretch marks in a positive light will help you see your stretch marks in a positive light – no matter how or why or when your stretch marks got where they are.
  2. Look at your stretch marks.  Give those lady lines a good look.  Think about the journey your body has taken to get those stretch marks.  Pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, puberty – these lines tell a story.
  3. Think about the story they tell.  What does that story mean to you?  If it’s something positive – like bringing a baby into the world or growing into a woman – accepting that story can be easier.  If it’s something negative for you, accepting this story about your body might be more difficult.  Perhaps you gained a lot of weight in response to dealing with trauma.  Be patient and kind to yourself.  This may be a good time to start getting to the root of the trauma you experienced, so you can heal your mind, spirit, and relationship to your lady lines and the rest of your body.
  4. Hell, name those lady lines if you want.  You could go with actual names like “Edna, Mary, and Louise.”  Or go with more of a group idea – “Gloria and the Gang,” or “Destiny’s Children.”  Or name them by body part – “Titty Tats.”  Or name them by their shape – “Zebra Print,” “Lightning Strikes,” “Tiger Stripes.”  Or name them something lovely – “My Lady Lines.”
  5. FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT!  Keep saying and thinking positive things about your lovely lady lines and eventually you will believe yourself.  Because you are a credible person to believe and you deserve to love every single part of you. :)

Remember that learning to love parts of yourself won’t happen overnight.  It all takes time.

Keep being patient and kind with yourself, ladies!

Learning to Love My Body Hair

My journey with body hair has been a rollercoaster.  This is still something that I am trying to work through.

I had this fascination with shaving from a young age. At age 10, I was so eager to start shaving my legs.  I asked my mom for permission all the time.  Some other girls in the fifth grade had started shaving and I wanted to as well.  At the time, I felt my legs were SO HAIRY.  Which they weren’t compared to now, but for a little girl, yes, they probably were – I have very dark hair.  In sixth grade, my mom let me shave my legs.  Hooray.

My eagerness to shave grew the second I had armpit hair.  I didn’t even ask my mother about that one.  I just started doing it before I even had to do it.  (Which I now think is really sad.)

It BLEW my mind when I learned people shave their pubes. I was about 16.  WHAT?!  I was all stoked when I could finally rock the full bush because it demarcated womanhood for me, only to learn years later that shaving it all off was “expected.”  I tried it.  If you’re going to do it, GO WITH THE GRAIN. FOR GOD’S SAKE.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  Twice.

Things changed though.  By Junior year of high school, I was known for not regularly shaving my legs.  My hairy legs were a comical topic for my lunch table, to which I gladly whipped my leg onto the table to show everyone how much I didn’t give a fuck.


Six week leg hair in 2013- the longest I’ve gone.  I’m damn proud of it, too.

At 24, my ambivalence towards my legs continues.  I shave about once a month.  I even question why I do that though.  I question why I shave my arm pits, too.  (I grew them out for six weeks once.  Shaved them when I returned to the Western world.)  I think a big reason is that I know my manfriend wouldn’t be too into it.  Which, from my feminist perspective, is really fucked up.  But when it’s all I’ve ever known too, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it for him.  As for my cuntie-poo, she rolls with the tides.  Whatever my current mood is.

Some may think of women’s body hair as only pits, pubes, and legs, but there’s SO MUCH MORE that we are self conscious about as women.  Ahem, a list:
– armpits
– nipple hairs
– legs
– arm hair
– pubes
– facial hair
– belly hair (“treasure trail”)
– mole hairs
– widow’s peaks
– toe hair
– finger hair
– butt crack hair
– bikini lines
– the fine thigh hair
– (Leave more examples in the comments!)

Life would be substantially easier if we could let go of most – if not ALL – of the things on this list.  Society may think that being feminine is being hairless, but as this guy put it:

“I noticed on these beautiful naked bodies how most women’s leg hairs begin to considerably thin on her thighs. What I saw was that the way a woman’s hair is on her body is distinctly feminine in arrangement and it is gorgeous, it really is.” – Damien Bohler

I honestly had never thought of it that way before.  Even if a woman were to go shave-free, she’d still look feminine in the way that her body hair is patterned on her.  We just don’t see that in the media or any women around us anymore. (In a future blog, I’m going to go into the origin of women’s shaving – spoiler: it’s not a very long history.)

Women’s Body Hair is Sexy is a great little article by a guy who changed his mindset about lady’s hairy everythings.  He went from not-so-interested to these-chicks-with-hairy-everythings-are-really-awesome-I’ll-get-over-it. (His quote is above.)

I found it inspiring.  It makes me consider taking my hairiness to the next level.  Perhaps I’ll give it shot and see if it makes me happy.  If it doesn’t make me happy, I’m not going to do it.  Or maybe I’ll continue the ways things are – once my body hair grows out, I cut it short.  Then I let it grow out again.  And then I cut it short.

It’s a journey.  It’s all about being patient with myself.  (Literally patient, because I have to wait for the hair to grow.)

This topic is to be continued … :D

VIDEO: Coping with Grief

By far one of the hardest things I have had to deal with so far in my adulthood is seeing my grandfather get sick and pass away.  He died on November 1, 2014 after two strokes, a month in the hospital, and seven weeks in hospice.  It’s still super fresh for me.  I still can’t wrap my mind around that fact that he’s gone – and he knows what happens once we die.  BLOWS MY MIND.

I was stressed out and sad and not realizing how much this was affecting me physically.  I did not realize how much I wasn’t eating.  I did not realize how much I was giving loved ones the cold shoulder.  I did not realize how much I was isolating myself.  Grief is hard.  Losing a loved one is hard.  Self care is extra important in these times.

Here are some resources if you are coping with grief, too.

Self Care While Grieving: Comfort Quickies – Some ideas if you’re looking for ways to comfort yourself.

Grief and Loss: Self Care – Some ways to keep in touch with caring for your body while you are grieving.

Healthy Grieving – This covers many topics – what is grief, what experiencing grief looks like, helping yourself through grief, recommended reading.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, taking care of you starts with you.

Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence: Resources for Getting Help

Sometimes starting the journey of learning to love yourself can be difficult – especially if you are in a situation with a partner who is putting you down, ridiculing you, calling you names, threatening you, physically abusing you, sexually abusing you, manipulating you, hiding your things, taking your things, telling you what you can and cannot do, and/or making you feel crazy.  All of these examples are examples abuse.  Abuse affects a person’s self-esteem, confidence level, level of self-worth, access to resources, and mental and physical health. (In this blog post, I use “survivor” to refer to people who have been and are victims of domestic violence.  I use “he” to refer to the abuser and “she” to refer to the survivor to reflect the majority of situations.  That being said, domestic violence is not only in heterosexual relationships and not only perpetrated by the man.  People in homosexual relationships or other LGBTQ relationships experience domestic violence, as well as men in heterosexual relationships.)

Whether you are in an abusive relationship, leaving an abusive relationship, out of an abusive relationship, or thinking you might be in an abusive relationship, the following resources may help you in some way.

Immediate Danger (US): Call 911
MidWest US: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) Help Line: 608-251-4445 or 800-747-4045
US: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.

Why Does He DO That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft  – This book is amazing. Some women I know call it their bible. Bancroft had been working with abusive men for over 15 years when he wrote this book.  He tells of their motives, patterns, mind-sets, and characteristics.  This book is useful for determining if you are in an abusive relationship and for trying to understand why your abuser does the things that he does.


Emotional Abuse:

Quizzes, Getting Help, Helping a Loved One, And Everything In Between-

For Teens –

These are not all the resources out there – obviously – but they are a good start to understanding your situation or the situations of a loved one.


  1. Emergency Shelter
  2. Someone to Listen/Talk to/Safety Planning (Help Lines)
  3. Meet with an Advocate in Person – Safety Planning
  4. Legal Advocacy – Help with understanding and navigating the Legal System
  5. Support Groups
  6. A Safe Place for Your Pets

Taking care of you starts with you.