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Adventures in Nexplanon (or, the Cost of Being a Woman)

According to the always-reliable Google, there are roughly 15 different types of birth control us women can ingest/insert in order to not have a baby-child. How lucky are we, to have so many options?

Because my memory is shit, and because life is unpredictable, my birth control of choice is Nexplanon, a handy little birth control bar-thing that my gynecologist inserted into my upper left arm. No pills. No remembering to take the pills. Nothing shoved very far up my vagina. Nexplanon lasts three years, so it was the ultimate anti-commitment. And with a 99% success rate, I felt confident that my sexual exploits would not result in the aforementioned unwanted baby-child.

I had the bar implanted roughly 18 months ago, and it. has. been. a. trip. The day after it was inserted (haha, sex joke!), I bled for three weeks straight. I was a monster. No amount of chocolate could quench my raging thirst. I vowed, two days before my period stopped, that I would take the bar out myself if the flow did not decrease. Having the bar removed may have been an easier decision had I not paid $1,800 to have it implanted, broken up into 6 easy payments because we can’t all be rich enough to not have babies.

Nexplanon comes with a handy list of all its potential side effects. Fun stuff like: infection, scarring, weight gain, abdominal pain or nausea, breast pain, back pain, headaches, acne, depression and other mood changes, vaginitis, dizziness, death death death.

After the initial three-week period, Aunt Flow didn’t visit for about six months. I was as dry as the great African Savanna, until the floodgates opened and God said, “Let there be menstruation!” It started around Christmas. It ended in March. How did I survive? Why didn’t I get it removed? Two reasons,: I despise doctor visits, and I’m stubborn as hell. No way was I letting my $1,800 go to waste.

Being a woman is expensive, and I’m not talking about voluntary costs like pedicures, cute underwear, and makeup. I’m talking about necessary costs, like birth control, Midol, tampons, and chocolate. If you’re one of those crazy back-woods nut jobs who doesn’t think birth control is necessary, I kindly request that you put a condom over your head and breathe very deeply, until you don't. If you don’t think chocolate is necessary whilst the lining of one’s uterus falls off, you may not have a uterus, and may therefore shut up.

According to a handy guide from the Huffington Post, a woman spends approximately $18,171 on periods over the course of her menstruating life. Based on an average period of three to seven days, from ages 13 to 51, the average woman endures about 456 periods over 38 years. That is 2,280 days, or 6.25 years of bleeding. The complete numerical breakdown is available HERE, but even if this number seems high or low, it’s a good ballpark figure to throw in your husband/fiancé/boyfriend’s face when he asks you why you’re broke again.

Does $18,171 seem like a big number? If it does, sit tight and swallow that birth control, because “financial experts” (bankers, I guess?) estimate that it costs a whopping $233,610 to raise a baby-child, including the cost of childcare, food, clothing, school (not college), and stain remover. I’m not a mathematician, but I’m fairly certain $233,610 would buy me a lot of chocolate. Maybe even a life-sized baby-shaped hunk of chocolate, that I could push around in a stroller while slowly eating its toes.

Go forth and procreate (or don’t).

P.S. I'm not a birth control expert, or even fully aware of the many types of baby suppression devices out there, so I'm in no position to dispense advice. Nexplanon might work great for you, or you might need a blood transfusion. Ask your doctor, like I did, and blame him/her for any period woes.


Sarah Rose

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