My Implanon experience

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that over the last year I’ve had a bit of a struggle with birth control.  I came off the pill after more than ten years in an attempt to ease my chronic migraines.  I tried a Mirena IUD, which initially was great.  But my body expelled the IUD so I was back to square one. After a lot of research and debate, I decided to give the Implanon implant a try.

What is implanon?

Implanon is a long-term contraceptive option.  It’s a flexible plastic rod that’s about the same size as a matchstick. The rod is inserted below the skin on the upper arm.  Once inserted, the rod gradually releases hormones to suppress ovulation.  Implanon lasts three years.

I chose the Implanon for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, even though it’s a hormonal birth control method, it’s a  steady dose of hormones.  I already knew that my migraines were aggravated by the varying dose of hormones in the pill, and that they settled down when I was using the IUD.  So I felt confident that the Implanon wouldn’t trigger my migraines.

I was also keen to try the implant because it is extremely effective.  Implanon is more than 99.9% effective, making it the most effective birth control method on the market. I also liked that it was a “set and forget” method that didn’t require remembering to take a pill or get a shot regularly.  Implanon is also fairly cheap.  I paid $35 for the implant itself and then $70 for the doctor’s appointment to have it inserted.  So all up it was around $100 for three years of contraceptive protection.

Initial difficulties

I had a fair amount of difficulty getting the implant inserted.  I made an initial appointment with my doctor, who answered all my questions and gave me a prescription for the implant.  She explained that she isn’t trained to insert the device herself, but there are five other doctors at my practice who are.  For best results, it’s recommended that the Implanon is inserted on the second or third day of your period, because this reduces the likelihood of side effects.  My doctor instructed me to wait until I had my period and then call the surgery to make an appointment for the insertion.

 

Now, I live in a small country town, and it is very difficult to get a doctors appointment.  I usually wait up to three weeks for a doctors appointment. So I tried to plan ahead.  I got out my calendar and made an educated guess at when I expected my period to arrive, and then made an appointment three weeks in advance.  However I miscalculated and when that day rolled around my period hadn’t started yet.  I went to the appointment anyway but the doctor told me he couldn’t do the procedure until my period began.  He assured me that if I rang on the day my period arrived and explained the situation, I’d be able to get an appointment on the right day.

 

So three days later I got my period.  I immediately rang the clinic to book my appointment, and was told that there were no available appointments.  I explained to the receptionist that my doctor had told me I needed an appointment on this specific day, and that I’d been waiting weeks without contraception.  I asked if she had any emergency appointments set aside.  She said she did, but this isn’t an emergency so I couldn’t have one.  By this point I was fed up.  I was frustrated from the trial and error with birth control, sick of doctors appointments, tired of being anxious about accidentally becoming pregnant (despite being exceptionally careful) while I waited for long term birth control and angry that I wasn’t able to get an appointment on the day I badly needed one.  I burst into tears on the phone.  I think the receptionist was shocked and offered me an appointment the following day.  I tearfully accepted it.

 

Insertion

The day I had the Implanon inserted I was very nervous.  I was mostly anxious that the doctor would refuse to do the procedure again, and that I’d be left without contraception for another month.  But luckily for me, he was happy to put the implant in once I’d confirmed that my period had arrived.

 

The insertion process was very quick and almost completely painless.  The doctor had me lie down and remove my shirt so that my arm was exposed.  He then cleaned the inside of my upper arm and marked the spot where the implant would be inserted.  He gave me an injection of some numbing solution which stung the tiniest bit, and was the most painful part of the whole process.  After that he quickly inserted the implant using  the applicator it comes in. The applicator looks scary, like a plastic gun with a giant hollow needle poking out of it, but it really wasn’t anything to be frightened of.  Basically the needle went right into my arm, under the skin, he slid a lever across which pushed the implant out of the needle and into my arm and then carefully removed the applicator.  He then gently pressed on my arm to make sure that the implant was in there and in the right spot and let me feel it for myself.  Then I got a bandaid and a bandage on my arm and I was allowed to leave.

The results

After the numbing wore off my arm was a little bit tender.  I had some light bruising and I had to leave the dressing on for a few days.  My arm was a little stiff for about three days after the procedure, but not really sore.  I had a little puncture mark where the needle had gone in and I now have a tiny diamond-shaped scar.

 

I love the fact that I can feel the rod under the skin of my arm.  It feels very reassuring to know that it’s right there, doing it’s job.  And it’s a cool party trick to be able to show it off to my friends.

 

I haven’t had any side effects at all since I had the rod inserted.  Some women report itching at the insertion site, headaches, nausea and irregular bleeding.  I have had none of that.  The only thing that’s happened is that my periods have stopped, which is very common with the Implanon.

 

After all the drama I went through to actually have the Implanon put in, I’m so relieved to have found a contraceptive that is working for me without triggering my migraines.  I feel confident that I’m protected from unwanted pregnancy for the next three years, and I don’t even have to think about it.  I’d definitely recommend considering the Implanon if you’re looking for a set-and-forget birth control method that’s fairly inexpensive and very effective.

 

Have you tried Implanon?  Did you like it?  Do you have any questions for me about mine?

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My IUD is gone

You might remember that a few months ago I wrote about my experience having my IUD inserted.  Well, I now have another chapter to add to that story, to close the book on my experience with the Mirena IUD.

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I had the Mirena inserted in September, 2017.  I had very few side effects and was extremely pleased with it.  I felt very safe in the knowledge that it was in my uterus, just hanging out and zapping any sperm that swam into the vicinity.  Well OK, the IUD doesn’t literally “zap” sperm.  It just disorients them and thins the uterine lining so that if one of those little buggers does manage to fertilize my egg, the egg can’t implant into the uterine wall and turn into a baby.  At any rate, things were going well and I felt very confident that the IUD was working as it should be.

 

Then in January this year I saw my doctor because I was having some abdominal pains.  My doctor sent me for a bunch of tests, which included an ultrasound and a pregnancy test.  The pregnancy test came back negative, which was a massive relief.  Even when I know that I’ve been practising safer sex, there is still a feeling of monumental reassurance when I see that single blue line show up on a pregnancy test.  My ultrasound was a little bit more alarming.

 

As the technician was preparing me for my pelvic ultrasound, she asked me a bunch of questions about my sexual history and what contraceptives I was using.  I told her that I had the Mirena IUD and that I was having regular sex with a monogamous partner.  She then did two ultrasounds- one externally over my abdomen and back (to check my kidneys) and another trans-vaginal ultrasound which is internal.  After she was finished, the technician instructed me to clean off the ultrasound goo, get dressed and then wait for her to return so she could talk to me.  I was a bit nervous because I’ve never been asked to stay behind after an ultrasound and I was worried that some very bad news was in the offing.

 

The technician was quick to tell me that she hadn’t seen anything abnormal, and although my doctor would give me my full results, she hadn’t seen anything to indicate that there was anything wrong.  Everything was where it should be….except one thing.  “I can’t locate your IUD anywhere on the scans” the tech told me.  I was taken aback and asked her if she was sure.  She replied that she’d done a really extensive scan of my entire pelvis, and that the IUD was nowhere to be seen.  So it was likely that the IUD had been expelled from my body.  She warned me that I needed to use barrier contraceptives until I’d sorted out other birth control and then showed me to the door.

 

I spent the entire walk home feeling disoriented and puzzled.  How could the IUD be gone? I knew that there was a possibility that IUDs could be expelled but this didn’t make sense to me.  It took so long and hurt a lot to get it in my uterus in the first place, how could it possibly have dropped out of there without me knowing? Surely, expelling an IUD would hurt, at least a little, right?  And even if it didn’t hurt, if it did come out of my body, surely it would have turned up in my underwear or something.   I was completely baffled.

 

After denial over losing the IUD came anger.  I was furious.  I’d spent a fair chunk of money on doctors appointments and the unit itself, I’d gone through the pain of having it inserted and the stupid thing hadn’t even had the decency to stick around and do it’s job?  I was mad at the doctor who had put the IUD in, worried that maybe she didn’t do it properly, and frustrated with my own body for rejecting it.

 

And then an icy wall of realisation slapped me across the face.  If I didn’t know when the IUD was expelled….it might have been missing for months.  Which means that I’d been having unprotected sex for months.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant because I’d just taken a pregnancy test, but holy crap, I’d been playing Russian Roulette with my uterus.  That thought was the thing that frightened me most of all.  I don’t want kids.  Ever.  And the idea that I was unknowingly at risk of becoming pregnant was enough to nearly make me lose my lunch.  I felt like I’d dodged a bullet, because it really was only by sheer dumb luck that I hadn’t fallen pregnant.

 

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor to discuss the results of the ultrasound. She confirmed that there was no trace of the Mirena anywhere in my body.  It’s gone.  She believes that the abdominal pain I experienced was related to my uterus expelling the IUD.  As to where the actual unit has gone, it’s possible that it was flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain in the shower without me knowing.  Either way, it’s not in my body anymore.

 

It turns out that expulsion is actually not that uncommon with IUD’s.  Around 5% of people who have a Mirena implanted will expel the device.  Expulsion usually happens in the first three months of having an IUD, but it can happen later on.  Expulsion can be painless, and it’s possible for it to happen without you knowing.  And that’s pretty scary, because it means that you might think you’re protected from unwanted pregnancy, when actually you’re still fertile.

 

I’m not telling you this to frighten you, or to put you off getting an IUD.  IUDs are a very effective form of birth control and work for lots of people.  But they do come with risks and they can fail.  That’s why it’s incredibly important to consider all the different contraceptive options available and also to listen to the messages your body is sending you.  If I hadn’t had that abdominal pain, I might not have had the ultrasound and wouldn’t have known that my IUD wasn’t in position.  I am glad that I listened to my body telling me that something wasn’t right, and got it checked out.

 

So this has been a very frightening and confusing experience.  I’m still feeling upset but relieved that things weren’t as bad as they could be.  I’m back to square one with contraception, and I’ll be getting an Implanon rod inserted soon.  If you’re interested, I’ll chronicle my experience with the Implanon, and also answer any questions you might have about it and the Mirena IUD.  Fingers crossed I have more success this time.

New Years Resolutions 2018

The start of a new year always feels like a blank sheet of paper to me.  It’s clean and fresh, ready to be written upon.  Although I set goals and challenges throughout the year, new years resolutions always feel more charged and purposeful to me.  Today I wanted to take some time to review my 2017 goals as well as setting some new goals for the year ahead.

 

2017 goals in review

  1. Journal once per week

There was only one week this year that I missed journalling, and it was because I was ill with the flu and couldn’t even hold my head up.  I did a mixture of traditional day-to-day records, stream of consciousness work and journal prompts.  I really enjoyed taking that time for myself to put my thoughts down on paper.

 

2. Read all the books in my to-read pile

I didn’t even come close to achieving this goal.  Although I read a lot this year, I also got two bookstore giftcards, which inevitably led to the addition of about ten new books to the pile.  If I’m going to have any chance of working through my to-read pile, I need to concentrate on not acquiring new books just as much as reading the ones on the shelf.

Rocking my me-made cardigan to work. #outfit #workwear #cardigan #knits

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3. Knit a whole garment

I knitted not one, but three jumpers for myself this year (and made good progress on a fourth).

First time wearing my me-made jumper. #crafts #knits #TARDIS #blue #outfit

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4. Continue transitioning to a vegan-ish diet

I rocked this one and went full vegan this year.  I cooked loads of new recipes, tried foods I never expected to like and ate out at some fantastic vegan restaurants.

 

5. Declutter my flat

I got rid of approximately one quarter of all my possessions this year.  I was extremely ruthless and cleaned out every cupboard and drawer.  I was very honest about things that I was hanging onto out of guilt, or because it represented the kind of person I wished I were, rather than the person I am.  It was incredibly freeing.

 

6. Buy fewer things

I drastically reduced the number of “just because” purchases I made this year.  Although I did a fair amount of shopping still, I tried hard to be mindful of what I was spending money on and only bought things that were necessary or which brought me joy (and I went a bit nuts at Kinkfest and Sexpo….my bad!)

 

7. Write more sex positive posts

I’m really proud of the number of sex positive posts I published in 2017.  I completed my series on the ABC’s of BDsM, wrote about sex on Game of Thrones, reviewed some awesome toys including my glass tentacle wand, the Tantus Destiny and the Bootie plug and considered the performance of pleasure. I got a lot more comfortable writing about sex and talking about difficult topics.  I also attended Sexpo and Oz Kinkfest and met loads of incredible people at both events.

 

8. Build an aftercare kit

I had long wanted to build an aftercare kit for my BDsM needs.  I put together an awesome little bag filled with all the essentials I need to take care of myself after a scene.  It’s been super useful and it was truly therapeutic to consider closely the type of aftercare I need after a scene.

 

2018 resolutions

  • Close the gap on my long distance relationship

I’ve been dating my partner for almost two years now and we live three hours away from each other.  Long distance relationships are rewarding, but difficult.  By this time next year, I’d really like for my love and I to be living closer to one another.

 

  • Be able to do a forward split

My yoga practice has stalled a little this year, and I’ve noticed that my hips and hamstrings are especially tight.  I have still been practising but I’ve slacked off a bit.  So in 2018 I want to put more effort into regular yoga workouts and incorporating loads of flexibility training to allow myself to achieve a King Monkey Pose (or forward split) by the end of the year.

  • Learn colourwork knitting

It’s my dream to eventually learn how to make my own ugly Christmas sweaters.  But before I can do that, I need to learn how to do colourwork properly.  2018 will be the year of colourwork knitting for me.

  • 100 days of no spending

I’m trying hard to cut down my spending this year.  There are a lot of days when I will pop into the shops aimlessly during my lunch break or call into the supermarket on my way home without a clear idea of what I’m going to buy.  So this year I want to rack up 100 days where I don’t spend any money.  I think this goal will help me to cut down on those little “just because” purchases.

  • Publish one toy review per month

I have a stack of toys that are waiting to be reviewed.  I’d really like to get the ball rolling on more reviews and post one per month.

 

  • Catch up with one friend per month

I haven’t been terribly social this past year.  I realised towards Christmas that there are some people I adore that I didn’t see at all in 2017.  This year I want to make a huge effort to catch up with my friends more often, and arranging at least one friend-date per month will help with that.

 

So that’s my goals for 2018.  Cross your fingers and lend me your support as I work towards them.  And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss any of my adventures and reviews.

 

What are your resolutions for 2018?

Wall to Wall Festival 2017

Art and culture aren’t things that one typically associates with country towns.  But that couldn’t be further from reality when one considers my hometown of Benalla, Victoria.  Benalla not only has an awesome art gallery and a stellar performing arts centre, but it is the home to the annual Wall to Wall street art festival.

 

Now in it’s third year, Wall to Wall is responsible for some incredible pieces of artwork that are dotted around the town.  Last week, artists began staking out their spots and sketching.  On Saturday I took my camera for a walk to take a look at the works in progress.

 

This year’s offerings are varied and colourful, with a number of amazing 3D pieces included in the mix.  If you have the means to travel to Benalla one weekend, I suggest you do so and take a long walk and gaze upon the amazing works of art that are dotted around the walls and pavements of this town.

 

As part of the festival, The Wall to Wall committee organized a giant community paint-by-numbers.  Everyone was invited to come along and join in to create an amazing painting.  Sadly, I’d forgotten that this was taking place and I was a tad too dressed up to muck in with the painters.  I wish that I’d worn jeans instead so that I could have joined in the fun.

 

 

Do you have a favourite piece?

 

 

 

Going braless

The end of each work day always looked pretty much the same.  I’d come home, feed the kitties, then race to my room to kick of my shoes and peel off my bra.  Removing my bra was the most relief-infused moment of my day.  It occurred to me that every day I put on an item that causes me so much discomfort that I can’t wait to tear it off the moment I walk through the door.  And I wondered, is it possible for me to forgo that feeling of discomfort by not wearing a bra at all?

 

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My relationship with bras is kind of complicated. I have small boobs, and I always have.  I started wearing training bras when I was eleven, not because I actually needed one, but because I thought wearing a bra was “grown up”.  When I was fourteen I purchased my first padded bra and it was a revelation for me.  I’ve felt self conscious of their small size since I started puberty, and padded bras were a way for me to enhance the size and shape of my breasts.

 

It was this relationship with bras and boobs that really gave me the push to try going braless.  When I started to consider the idea of ditching my bra, there were a number of worries that surfaced.  But the vast majority of them had to do with me feeling concerned about how my breasts would look without a bra.  In the past few years I have started feeling more confident about my boobs, but I’ve come to see that what I’m comfortable with is the way my boobs look in a bra.  A padded bra, with a tonne of underwire to push them up and make them look impossibly round and perky.  I wanted to give myself a chance to get used to my boobs without  a mound of padding on them, and get comfortable seeing them as they are.

 

So I went cold turkey, ditching my bra at lunchtime on a work day.  I went back to work sweating with anxiety, positive that everyone would be able to tell that I wasn’t wearing a bra, worried that I’d be called into my boss’s office for a dressing down about my decision to dress down.  And y’know what, I survived.

 

The first thing I noticed is that my boobs don’t behave very differently when they aren’t harnessed in a bra.  As I mentioned earlier, I have tiny tits.  Also, I’m fairly fit with strong pectoral muscles.  My boobs don’t really bounce even when they aren’t restrained, so their movement alone isn’t enough to give away the fact that I’m free-boobing.

 

One thing that did act as a bit of a red flag were my nipples.  I have very reactive nipples that go hard as marbles the second there is a cool breeze.  Add to this my cold-blooded body temperature and you’ve got a recipe for some stares and self consciousness.  I tried a variety of methods to combat my blueberry-smuggling boobs.  I bought a set of those silicone nipple covers, thinking that they would be great for wearing under white tops.  But unfortunately, they are light in colour but still not as light as my skin.  So somehow, they make my nipples look huge and more noticeable.  I bought a few bralettes which were a godsend under tops where I needed a little coverage.  Camisoles and singlet tops were another valuable go-to for my nip slips.

 

A month has passed since that first day of going braless, and I have only worn a bra once in that time. I have no intention of going back to bras in the foreseeable future.  Not only is it a million times cooler and more comfortable without one, but I’m starting to appreciate my breasts as they are.  I’ve noticed that bras make all boobs look the same.  But when breasts get to go au naturel, they have so much more personality.  My little boobs are cute and perky and I’m learning to love them.

 

Do you wear a bra?  Would you consider going braless?  Do you have any questions about ditching the bra you’d like me to answer?

Oz Kink Fest haul

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Oz Kink Fest Expo at the Fitzroy town hall.  It was like a cornucopia of amazing sex toys, bondage gear, lingerie and sex positivity.  Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and bought a stack of new goodies.  I thought I would make a video to share my sexy treasure trove with you.

 

 

As I mention at the close of the video, I was completely blown away by how inclusive and open the expo was.  There were people in various states of dress, some in full fetish gear and some in street clothes.  There were a myriad of gender expressions, body shapes, relationship types and kinks represented and I didn’t hear a single nasty or creepy remark.  Every person I spoke to was incredibly open and respectful and it was truly fantastic.  I felt so proud and happy to be in such a sex positive space.

 

I bought a lot of toys at the expo.  Online shopping good and all, but there’s nothing like shopping in person for sex toys.  It’s wonderful to be able to touch the toys. to decide if you like the feel and weight of them.  You’re able to press buttons and you’ll know right away if a toy is horribly buzzy or emits a noise that sets your teeth on edge. Best of all, you can talk to people who know exactly what they’re talking about and get lots of great advice when choosing your toys.  The prices at OzKink Fest were insane, and I got a lot of things super cheap.  There were toys in my haul that have been on my wish list for years, but this weekend I saw prices that I just couldn’t pass up.  I’m very pleased with everything I got and I can’t wait to review them for you.

 

I hope you enjoy checking out what I bought.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave it in the comments or shoot me an email.

 

Celebrating my 30th birthday.

This year, one of my resolutions was to celebrate my 30th birthday in style, and I feel as though I can tick that off my list.  I had agonized for ages over how to ring in the beginning of my 30th year, and in the end I decided that the best way would be with some awesome food, my favourite people and plenty of down time.

 

I ended up taking the week of my birthday off work.  I wanted to have a chance to relax and recharge as well as loads of time to plan fun celebrations with my family and friends.  Having a whole week where I didn’t have to get up and go to the office has been amazing.

 

My 30th birthday fell on the 9th of June, 2016.  I started the day by cuddling in bed with the cats before getting up and slipping into a vintage Pendleton wool skirt and this adorable cat jumper that I bought from Nerd Burger’s  closet clear-out sale.  I accessorised with my favourite black cat earrings, my grandmother’s eternity ring and this rad Deadpool necklace that my boyfriend David gave me.

 

My parents had very kindly purchased tickets for the three of us to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibit at Bendigo Art Gallery.  So we all traveled to Bendigo by car to check it out.

 

I’ve admired Marilyn Monroe for as long as I can remember.  My first memory of her is a black-and-white portrait that hung in our local pizza cafe.  The portrait is the ever-famous shot of Marilyn standing over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch, with her skirts billowing in the updraft.  So it seemed fitting that we were greeted by this seven-metre sculpture of that exact moment as we pulled into the Bendigo CBD.

 

The exhibit itself was incredible.  It featured a wealth of personal items of Marilyn’s, including the beauty products from her dresser, her personal camera, her collection of gossip magazines and some jewellery.  There was also a huge collection of costumes and items from her personal wardrobe.  For me, these items were the highlight of the exhibit.  I am so inspired by Marilyn’s personal style, and to see her clothing in person was just amazing.  I was quite shocked by how small her clothes were.  She always appears so voluptuous, and yet some of these items were absolutely teensy.  The beading and detail on the costume pieces was breathtaking.  I was also struck by how ordinary many of her day-to-day outfits were.  Although there were many furs and gowns, the display cases featured twice as many plain day dresses, knit sweaters and simple shirts.  It really brought home the fact that although she is known as one of the most glamorous women in the world, Marilyn was also just a woman, who wore regular clothes in her downtime.  I spent a great deal of time looking at those simple day-to-day items, trying to imagine how she might have worn them.

 

I was utterly spoiled with presents.  I got a stack of new books, including a colouring-in storybook version of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve gotten really into colouring lately and I’m so enjoying working my way through this book.


My parents also got me a gorgeous set of Derwent pencils, something that I’ve wanted since I was a child.  These are just wonderful for colouring, and I expect I’ll get a lot of use out of them

 

My brother showered me with awesome gifts, but my favourite was this tee shirt, which I expect I will wear often.

The day after my birthday I travelled down to Melbourne to catch up with my friends.  I had booked myself a room at The Hotel Windsor as a very special treat.  This was my first time staying in a five-star hotel, and it was an incredible experience.  Upon arrival, my bags were whisked away and taken to my room.  The room itself was utterly luxurious, with a king-sized bed, a stunning bathroom and a kitchenette.

 

I was also delighted to discover that the staff had placed a birthday cake in my room as a special surprise.

 

I had organized a dinner at one of my favourite Japanese restaurants.  It was a great night, eating delicious food with my friends and my brother. By the time David and I got back to the hotel, I was ready for a bath and bed.

I think I definitely celebrated in style, and I’m extremely excited to see what my 30’s will bring.  My 20’s was a massive decade, and I know that I’m much happier with myself and my life than I was on my 20th birthday.  Fingers crossed that my 30’s will be filled with awesome opportunities and fantastic adventures.