Birth control

I may be the only woman in the city of Charleston using a diaphragm for contraception. My nurse practitioner has only had one other woman express an interest in one. I have a colleague who got fitted for one, but she couldn't figure out how to get her prescription filled, so she's using another means of birth control.

I decided to try a diaphragm due to a lack of other, better options. I was on the pill for a decade back years ago, and I just decided I'd had enough of being pumped full of hormones. Then Biffle and I did the fertility awareness method for a number of years, a method that works really well if you aren't as fertile or as risky as Biffle and I are (Maybelle was conceived on the fertility awareness method--we had decided we wanted a baby but hadn't actually started trying yet). Now that I'm lactating, I have nothing like a regular cycle, so FAM would be pretty tricky anyway. We wanted something different, something that wasn't hormonal and that was pretty reliable. That left us with:

  1. Condoms
  2. Diaphragm
  3. Sterilization
Yup, three options. #3 is no good since we might want Maybelle to have a sibling one day, and #1 sucks when you're in a long-term monogamous partnership.

This is the moment in the post when I have to point out how pitiful it is that we have 50 different kinds of toothpaste on the market but fewer than five good non-hormonal kinds of contraception. And how many kinds of contraception that work on the man's body? Two: condoms and vasectomy. That is pathetic. We have got to be able to do better than this, people! I know that I am not the only reproductive-aged woman in a heterosexual relationship who is sick of hormones. So why is the capitalist marketplace letting us down?

Speaking of the capitalist marketplace, I had a challenging time trying to procure my diaphragm. Rite Aid doesn't carry them, so they recommended Herbert's Mobility. They don't carry them, and recommended a little family-owned pharmacy that actually mixes all their own drugs. They don't carry them either and pointed me to Drugstore.com which, thank goodness, does carry them and sent me one after my nurse practitioner faxed in my prescription.

So now we're using a diaphragm. It has all the drawbacks that you might have read about in Our Bodies, Ourselves, but it seems alright. And I hope that my purchase will help assure Ortho that there are people who are interested in non-hormonal contraceptives so that they don't just take the diaphragm off the market.


Re\ said...

You raise a really interesting issue. I never even considered the diaphragm b/c truthfully, it looks too complicated to get in place. I've been off the pill for over a year and we're not quite ready for a baby so that leaves condoms - which are a drag and definitely hinder "the moment."

Anonymous said...

The IUC, Mirena, is also a great option, but I think is only suitable if you've already had a baby (b/c the cervix is already slightly open). It's good for 5 years and, I'm told, is not hormone-based, and can be removed earlier. It does not interfere with nursing or excrete any hormones into breastmilk.

The major drawback is that many insurances don't cover it and it's expensive (about $800, not including the gyn's fee). My insurance did not cover it initially, but after reviewing my request further--after my 4th or 5th call complaining about coverage--and, I believe, after realizing that I got pregnant on the mini-pill 3 months after my first baby and cost the company a hell of a lot of money b/c of my difficult pregnancy), they informed me they'd foot the bill. The pharmaceutical rep for the company that produces Mirena advised me to call my insurance repeatedly and demand coverage. Barring that, they offered some help in covering the cost. Still for those who aren't covered, after a 2 year period it pays for itself (comparing with the cost of a typical Pill).

All said, still, it's about time that birth control options include men in the picture.

Conseula said...

Hey, I got my diaphragm finally, but it took a while. I got it at CVS. We are the only two women in Charleston using them apparently.

Anonymous said...

I think the IUD the previous person was thinking of was Paragard. It's a copper, non-hormonal IUD. It's a good option if you meet the criteria to use it. There's also combination of FAM and barrier methods like cervical caps, diaphragms, etc. I wish there were more non-hormonal options too. The Mirena has low dose hormones.

Anonymous said...

Just be thankful you don't have PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrom). You don't have a regular cycle. On the plus side, you don't have to worry about birth controlvlbrcause you are your own. The down side it takes a whole lot more than just sex to get pregnant. trust me fertility drugs are NOT fun