My uterus needs more options. In 2013, a gynecologist told me that it was too short to fit any FDA-approved IUD. So I traipsed from Colorado to Canada to get a smaller IUD called the GyneFix. This IUD isn’t shaped like a “T”—as all American IUDs are—but, rather, a rod.
Three years later, my now-ex-gynecologist saw the copper rod in an ultrasound. He assumed that, because he couldn’t see them, the IUD’s T-shaped arms must be embedded in the walls of my uterus. We decided on surgery to remove it. Somehow I’d forgotten that this particular IUD didn’t have arms.
The surgery took two hours. He inserted a light and camera through my belly button, like that robotic worm in the Matrix. Then he made a hole near my left hip to find these phantom IUD arms with a tweezer-scissor tool called graspers.
“I couldn’t find the arms,” he told me, puzzled, when I woke up from anesthesia. It must have been frustrating to hunt for something for so long that didn’t exist. After he left, I looked under the hospital blanket at his two neat incisions. Underneath, my flesh tried to pull itself together.
Since my gyno later insisted that the GyneFix had still been embedded, even once he admitted it didn’t have arms, I decided the pill was my next best option. Within a year I realized it was making my hair fall out, a rare side effect, and stopped taking it. Because all hormonal birth controls use the same hormones, I couldn’t use any if I wanted to keep my hair. My choices dwindled to barrier methods like condoms, which work just 77 percent of the time.