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The adventure began my freshman year of high school. It was second semester, and I had been charmed by a particular boy in the grade above me. He was cute, played baseball, and captured my attention. He was everything my younger self had wished for, a perfect and popular boyfriend. He was the kind of guy I had wished for ever since middle school when I dreamed of one day becoming a “popular girl” with the hot sporty boyfriend at my side.
My fifteen-year-old self had decided that he was the one I would lose my virginity to. He was the perfect candidate. Besides, he said he loved me, and why would my naïve self doubt that he found me to be special? Of course, he played on my emotions to get into my pants, but that is a different story.
So, I ended up losing my v-card one beautiful April day. It didn’t hurt at all, and it was rather boring in hindsight. But it was a fun experience. After the deed was done, we decided to go downtown for some food. In my town, there is this one woman who wanders around the streets with her pet cat in a stroller, and the locals know she’s not quite the definition of normal, per se. While my boyfriend and I waited outside the restaurant, the woman with the cat passed by us and said, “You guys make a cute couple. I can see your firstborn child now.”
I’ve never been one to believe in omens, but my boyfriend freaked out, somehow thinking he had gotten me pregnant. It seemed quite absurd to me because we had used a condom. But he was so freaked out he convinced me to tell my parents and make sure I was not pregnant.
As a teenager, the LAST THING you would want to tell your parents is that you have had sex. I dreaded telling them. The next day, I found enough courage to tell them what happened and awaited their “wrath,” or whatever punishment I thought they were going to inflict. They were disappointed, but they did not punish me at all. I got a very strong lecture from my father about responsibility, and he agreed to make me an appointment with a gynecologist.
My gyno was a very calm man, and he told me I probably had nothing to worry about considering I used a condom, and I took a pregnancy test and a chlamydia and gonorrhea test, both of which came back negative, which was a relief. My doctor also recommended some form of hormonal birth control.
And so the search for birth control began! And, surprisingly, my father helped me on my search for the right birth control. He thought I should get the hormonal IUD. I had researched all the types of birth control myself, and the IUD seemed like the right one for me. In the meantime, my boyfriend had broken up with me, and I was upset for a while, and my search for birth control came to a halt.
Finally, in December, an appointment was made for my IUD insertion. I was terrified. I had read countless articles on the internet about how bad the pain from the insertion was. So I sat with my legs in the stirrups, shaking, as my gyno started the procedure. “You’re not on your period, so I might not be able to insert the IUD today if your cervix is not open,” he told me. “I’m not going to put you through any unnecessary pain if the cervix isn’t open, so you’ll just have to come back and see me when you’re on your period.” I tried to calm myself down as he applied the clamps, which hurt a lot. My gyno then told me he was going to use the measuring tool to see if my cervix was open. “It’s closed. You’re just going to have to come back when you’re menstruating,” he told me, taking out the clamps. I was horrified. The pain of the setup had been terrible, and I knew the actual insertion was going to be a lot worse.
January came, and two days after my 16th birthday, I got my period. My parents rushed me into the gyno, and I went through the setup again. I was crying and shaking, staring at the ceiling above me. When the doctor used the measuring tool again, it went through my cervix and into my uterus. “Yep! It's open! I’m going to put in the IUD now, and you’re going to feel a cramp. Would you like to see it before I put it in?” I shook my head no, crying hard, just wanting the pain to be over with. I felt the cramp of the IUD being put into place. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. I heard my doctor faintly congratulating me as he was removing the clamps. “You know, I’ve had women over 30 make me stop the procedure because they couldn’t handle it. You did a great job.”
The nurse who oversaw the procedure handed my mom two Advils and a cup of water to give to me. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t move. I vaguely remember taking the medicine and drinking the water in a haze, and finally being able to stand up and get dressed. My mother helped me walk out to the car, and I was still crying and in a moderate amount of pain. But the procedure was done. For the next couple of months, I would get spotting and then cramping every other day. My mood was all over the place too, according to my friends. Another boyfriend came and went within those few beginning months. The worst side effect of all was the cystic acne, which was severe. However, a trip to the dermatologist and a prescription for doxycycline would clear my skin, but it didn’t solve everything. It has almost been a year since the IUD has been in place, and a wonderful year at that. My periods have lightened up significantly, and I don’t get terrible cramps anymore.
Birth control really is a blessing, and I’m so lucky to have one of the best forms of birth control on the market. The insertion process may have been painful, but I’m so happy that I got through it.