Another Pregnancy?

Month 43: August 2016 (3 years, 7 months with Mirena)

For the past year and a half, my ‘periods’ have consisted of literally a few hours of light spotting for a day and that’s it! They’re not regular and I’ve had months with no spotting at all. My “periods” of light spotting last 3 days at most. The last time I had a 7-day long period was in October 2014.

I had one day of light spotting in May, then went 78 days with absolutely nothing (I did a pregnancy test and it was negative). I had another day of very light spotting on 20 July and then ovulated 11 days later. I could tell that I was ovulation from the change in mucus … there was lots of it and it had the consistency of egg-white; wet, stringy and flexible.

ovulation3 days post ovulation (day 14 of my cycle) I began to feel funny. My breasts were sore, swollen and tender and I knew it was two weeks too early for it to be PMS. I was headachy, had lower back pain for a few days and on 5 August, I had severe cramps and nausea. It didn’t feel like a tummy bug, as the cramps were really low down. I immediately thought back to my last suspected chemical pregnancy but this one felt so different. Different symptoms, different time frame.

Four days later, on 9 August (day 21 of my cycle), I got a very early period that started with heavy spotting and then continued on and off for three days before having a full day of light bleeding on 12 Aug. The spotting and light bleeding continued on and off for a few more days and was accompanied by cramps, headaches, nausea and back pain in my lower back and hips. On my second day of light bleeding (14 August) there was this odd looking, stringy clot that looked suspiciously like a tiny, thin, twisted umbilical cord attached to a little lumpy clot. I’m sure this was an early miscarriage after seeing at that!

The spotting, light bleeding, cramps, headaches and back pain lasted for a total of 10 days and I can only guess that this was the termination of another Chemical Pregnancy, as a home pregnancy test showed up negative, but I’m not surprised, as I hadn’t even had time to “miss” a period yet, so I didn’t really expect a HPT to pick up anything.

It’s just scary, as I didn’t think ‘falling pregnant’ with the Mirena was this easy or this common!  The only advice I can give is get to know your body.  If you think you’re ovulating, rather be on the safe side and use extra protection (condoms) during your fertile period to prevent this from happening, if you can.  I know it’s sometimes difficult, as this one snuck up on me, as I ovulated earlier than usual and had been intimate with my hubby the day before I knew I was ovulating early!

* Chemical Pregnancy: A chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage which takes place before anything can be seen on an ultrasound scan, usually around the fifth week that you are pregnant. It means that a sperm has fertilised your egg, but later on, the egg fails to survive. Even this early on in pregnancy there is a change in hormone levels which allows the pregnancy test to turn positive. The hormone that your test measures is known as hCG, or human chorionic gonadotrophin. In a chemical pregnancy (or very early miscarriage) the test is initially positive but then your period may start, or a further pregnancy test may be negative. The reason it is termed a chemical pregnancy is that it is only the missed period and positive pregnancy test that show that you are pregnant. It would be too early to see anything on an ultrasound scan.

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Mirena and insomnia

NumbersMonth 32 (September 2015):  It’s been two years and eight months since I had my Mirena inserted.  My last blog post was in January and since then, nothing has changed.  I still have roughly a 28-day cycle each month, with a day or two of light spotting and only need to use a thin panty liner.

I did have an odd cycle in June / July, where I had two periods really close together.  I wasn’t sure if this had been due to us flying long distance (I’d flown halfway across the world for a family wedding) and my period was due around the time we flew back home and I always seem to battle with long-haul flights (15 hours or more).  I had my usual two days of spotting a few days after we landed back home and then 17 days later, I spotted again.  Thankfully, I then went on to have my longest cycle so far … a huge break of 55 days between periods and my next one was still only one day of light spotting!   I now seem to be back to the 28-day cycle again.

A few things I have noticed since having the Mirena (and going off the Pill) is that I have gotten to know my own body much better.  After doing a little internet research and reading up on mucus changes during the menstrual cycle (see interesting links tab), I’m now able to tell when I’m ovulating or when I’m due to get my “period”.  I also have slightly different PMS symptoms compared to when I was on the Pill.  PMS used to consist of a week of bloating, cramping, migraines, swollen and tender breasts along with mood swings and food cravings. These days I still retain water (or bloat) and still get sore breasts, but not every month and the mood swings aren’t nearly as severe (this could be because I take 30 Plus NuWoman supplement), but something that I have noticed over the last 4 months is insomnia for a few nights before my period is due.

Apparently, insomnia is a common PMS symptom in women who aren’t on the Pill.  It’s caused by a change in hormones before you start your period.  The Pill prevents this huge shift in hormones and stops the insomnia from happening.  Still, I’d rather be almost period-free and battle with a few sleepless nights every month, instead of having all the side effects from being on the Pill, having a seven day period and having to remember to take the Pill every day! (I find taking my daily allergy medication before bed, instead of in the morning, helps me sleep better on those nights).

Two Years with Mirena

Two years – January 2015.

I finally reached the two year mark and for the last 3 months, I haven’t had a period!  No, I’m not pregnant (yes, I did a pregnancy test 8 weeks after my first missed period), my flow is now so light that it can’t really be classed as a period.

I have one day per cycle (still roughly 28 days) where I spot for about half an hour.  I tend to get a little bit of mild cramping before this begins, so I know when to use a panty liner (sometimes I need to use a liner for two or three days around the time my period would be due, just in case there’s no warning signals) as it’s moderate spotting and I definitely need to use a panty liner but it’s like a once-off little “gush” that happens (like when you’d initially get your period each month) and then it’s all over.  Nothing more than a little inconvenient pinkish-red coloured mucus and it’s done for the month.

Yay, what a relief it’s been!  This has definitely made the initial hassle, prolonged bleeding and inconsistency in the first year and a half worth it and I still have three years to go before it needs to be replaced.

At the moment, I love my Mirena!

Mirena, Ovulation & PMS

If you are wondering, yes, you do still ovulate if you have the Mirena.

Being on the Mirena definitely allows you to be more in tune with your body’s natural processes and you get to see, feel and experience all the natural effects that these hormonal fluctuations have on your body.

I was on the Pill for just shy of 14 years and had forgotten how strong these hormonal fluctuations could be!  I did get PMS every month, but it wasn’t too bad and I hadn’t ovulated in years and then I went off the Pill (doctor’s orders) and got the Mirena … and that all changed.

I now ovulate monthly; some months I feel it, some months I don’t.  Generally, if I’m ovulating on the left side, I’ll suffer with mittelschmerz (or ovulation pain), but the months that I ovulate from my right ovary, I feel nothing!  With the Mirena, I am able to see and feel the changes my body undergoes each month, just by observing the natural, normal monthly changes in discharge.   I can now tell when I’m about to ovulate and this allows us to be a little more careful while I’m most fertile.  Yes, we do choose to use extra protection around these few days (a condom), even though it’s probably not necessary any more now that my periods are so much lighter, but we’d rather be safe than sorry.  We definitely don’t want any unplanned surprises!

If you’re interested in learning more on how to predict when you’re ovulating, head over to my “Interesting Links” page and you’ll see a link called ‘How to tell when you’re ovulating’.

My PMS symptoms have also skyrocketed to extreme proportions!  Last month I retained almost 5 kilograms in water for the duration of the week before my period began.  I seem to store most of this excess water in my breasts and stomach.  I become bloated and my breasts are so swollen and heavy that I actually go up almost two cup sizes and have to sleep with a sports bra on at night, just to help ease the discomfort and pain!  I suffer from PMS worse than I ever did on the Pill, but it only lasts a week and I find that if I reduce my salt intake, the symptoms are less severe.

Update:  I’ve recently begun taking a supplement called “30 Plus NuWoman”, which is supposed to help with bad hormone fluctuations and PMS.  I’ve only been on it a few weeks, but it seems to be helping a lot!  Another supplement that really helps for PMS is “Primeve”.  I was on that for a few years, but can’t get it anymore.

Mirena Month 20

Month 20 (September 2014) – My periods have definitely begun to get lighter and shorter during the last three months.  I’m still on roughly a 28-day cycle, but my period length has dropped down to between 3 & 5 days and is really light; I can get away with using panty liners only (even at night).

Last month I had a 5 day period that consisted of two days of very light bleeding (or heavy spotting), followed by a few days of light spotting.  This month was only 3 days!  The first day was a light bleed; nothing that a panty liner couldn’t handle.  Followed by two days of light spotting and that was it.  Done!

After having had such heavy periods for so many years (pre-Mirena), it felt really weird to have such a light period and I even did a home pregnancy test, just to be sure.  Call me paranoid, but after what I went through in November last year, I wanted to be sure that this was just a light period and that nothing strange was going on.

I can handle having a very light period each month, but this may also be the start of the “period-free” years so often spoken about by other Mirena users.  It’s taken long enough for me to reach this stage with my Mirena and getting this far hasn’t always been easy.  There have been many times where I have thought about having it removed, as I didn’t feel that the Mirena was living up to its promises and all the hassle hasn’t felt worthwhile, but its months like these when it all feels worth it.

Mirena Month 16

Month 16: (May 2014)  Well, these last 4 months have been pretty much the same … I still have roughly a 28-day cycle, with my period lasting between 8 and 12 days, this still seems to fluctuate slightly from month to month.

One good thing that did happen this month is that the motion sickness has suddenly eased off.  I used to feel horribly car sick every time we went anywhere, even if it was just a short ride around town.  It was so bad that even traffic circles were enough to set it off!  It happened practically overnight, the same way that it started; one day I felt fine and the next I was battling with motion sickness.  Now, after months of motion sickness, I woke up one day and felt absolutely fine again.

It’s really odd, but I can only hope that my body is now beginning to settle down and ‘accept’ the Mirena and that maybe the effects of having been on the Pill for so many years (14 years) are also starting to wear off and that my body’s own hormone levels are now beginning to stabilize.

With luck, hopefully things will continue to improve.

One year with Mirena

1 year

It’s hard to believe that I’ve finally reached my one year anniversary with my Mirena.  To be honest, it really hasn’t been an easy year, especially with the pregnancy scare I had a few months back.

I really do think that what I experienced were pregnancy symptoms and that my body either absorbed it (if it was ectopic) or else I just had a very early miscarriage (classed as a chemical pregnancy), due to my uterus now being a ‘hostile’ environment and there being not enough lining for the fertilised egg to implant in.   Either way, it’s good to know that the Mirena does work!

I seem to be back to the old pattern of “two weeks on, two weeks off” and can’t wait until the gaps between periods begin to get longer and longer.  The duration of my period is now down to 12 days (it was roughly 16 days and then reduced to 14 days after the 6 month mark) and will hopefully continue to get shorter as the months go by.

I went for my first cervical smear or PAP smear yesterday, since having my Mirena inserted (don’t we all hate those things!) and the nurse happily announced that she could see both strings.  What a relief!  I was worried that one of the strings had retracted as I could only feel one of them whenever I did the monthly check after my period.

Checking the strings every month is very important, but is often something that you’re not told to do!  Not only will it give you peace-of-mind that your Mirena is still where it should be, it will also alert you early enough if things do start to go wrong.  If you can’t feel the strings at the entrance to your cervix, this could mean that the Mirena has moved and is no longer in the correct position and can lead to the perforation of your uterus or implantation into the uterine wall, or the Mirena has fallen out.  Either way, no strings mean that you need to go and have it checked out!