Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Diva In Me

Literally.

TMI Warning: read no further if you are squeamish, or have issues with discussing menstruation.

I finally broke down and ordered a Diva Cup.

For those of you who don't know, the Diva Cup is a menstrual collection device made out of medical grade silicone that looks like this:

I used to have extremely sporadic periods. They were light and fairly painless. I enjoyed that a lot until it came time to have babies, and then I realized that periods are good. Because periods mean ovulation. Ovulation means babies.

I did manage to get pregnant on my own, but it took some concerted effort. It didn't really take that long, it just took...dedication.

The first time I got pregnant, I had absolutely no idea until I was 9 weeks along, because the standard and usually reliable indicator of a successfully established pregnancy; absence of one's period, meant nothing to me.

It was only when I began to experience extreme fatigue that I caught on to the fact that maaaaaaaaaybe I was pregnant.

Anyway....like the boob fairy when I was 15, the period fairy visited me when I was about 37. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, my periods became like clockwork, which was quite a novel thing for me. But with increased regularity, came increased everything else; cramps, clotting, and flow. My god, the flow.

I went from scarcely needing a pad or panty liner, to needing a full herd of adult sheep to stuff up there each cycle. They would have fit too. I gave birth to a nearly ten pound baby, doncha know.

It got to the point that some days, I could scarcely leave the house because of the heaviness of my flow. A medical exam assured me that there was nothing physically amiss. My doctor, a woman, looked at me sympathetically and said "That's just what happens when our bodies start to age. Things change, and not always for the better."

Great. So I'm not dying of uterine cancer, but I have to put up with this crapola for another 15 years.

Hysterectomy began to look like a very attractive option to me. I don't need the damned uterus anymore, why not just yank it out? This coming from someone who is extremely phobic when it comes to surgery of any sort. Unfortunately, they do not offer hysterectomy as an elective surgery. And if they did, there is no way any health insurance company would pay for it.

Then we'd have backalley hsyterectomies happening all over the place. And nobody wants that, right?

I have several friends who have been using the Diva Cup for a couple of years now, and have raved about it. To hear them tell it, the Diva Cup is the best thing since the Rabbit.

But I was skeptical. I'm not that big a fan of the rabbit, so I know that one woman's Diva Cup is another woman's Peter North ejaculating dildo. Interesting in theory, but in practice, kind of a mess.

So I dismissed the Diva Cup and continued spending ridiculous amounts of money on products that are really terrible for my body and the environment, and really don't do that good a job. Even the Super Ginormous Plus Plus size seemed to leak, even before they were fully saturated. And sometimes they would slip right out at the most inopportune moments.

"Excuse me, do you have any fresh (((CLENCH))) asparagus today?"


Plus, I felt so self-conscious buying them. I might as well have donned a placard bearing the legend...

"My Vagina Is Capacious"

or maybe

"My Uterus Will Be Fully Visible In 20 Years."


I finally decided enough was enough and last month, after my period had ended, I ordered a Diva Cup.

I really had doubts about it staying where it is supposed to stay, due to the birth of the aforementioned ten pound baby and the lamentable need for about a gazillion stitches after his passage into the world.

Did you know that they won't actually "take a few extra stitches"? They don't think it's very funny when you ask either.

It's as if you are asking them to compromise their professional integrity or something. They are reconstructing vaginas, which to them, I suppose, are a very utilitarian part of the female anatomy. They are repairing a piece of machinery, not sculpting a work of art.

Frankly, I would kind of prefer that my vagina resemble a Picasso rather than a Peterbilt.

But I digress....

My other fear was the mess. I really couldn't understand how one could extract and empty the thing without spilling the contents everywhere.

Those fears turned out to be completely unfounded.

It does stay put. The trick, really is finding out where "put" actually is. There is a learning curve with this product, but once you have determined where to position it most comfortably and effectively, it is a dream come true.

I had a trial run before my period started to experiment with where and how to position the cup. I highly recommened doing so to anyone considering trying this product. Everybody's body is different, and it turns out that it works best for me sitting slightly higher in my body than the directions would have led me to believe.

Wearing it lower caused it to tip back towards my spine, breaking the seal. Also, the stem chafed my labia a little. As any woman knows, labia chafage can be a deal killer. It's why I could never really get excited about thongs, lack of panty lines notwithstanding.

But the most disconcerting thing by far was the fact that I could feel the bell sitting in my vagina. It wasn't painful at all, but rather similar to the senseation one gets towards the end of pregnancy that makes it feel as if one is perched atop a bowling ball.

It was just very...evident.

So I tried wearing it higher, after discussing it with my Diva mentor, and found that so positioned, the seal remained intact, I could not feel it at all, and the tail end did not protrude from my vagina. Voila. I found "put".

And it stayed there, even after I relieved myself. Number 2, not number 1.

Geez, here I am talking about capacious vaginas and I can't just say I had a bowel movement? How ridiculous. Well I did. I had a bowel movement with the Diva Cup in, and the sucker didn't move so much as a millimeter. Sold.

I started my period today, so with some trepidation, but a lot of excitement, I inserted the Diva Cup. Insertion was easy, since I had already practiced. And I was a bit smug about that. Until the second time I emptied it.

To insert, one is supposed to fold it into a c-shape, insert it into the vagina, and then rotate it until it pops open and forms a seal. All that happened the way it was supposed to. The first time.

The second time, I could not get the dad gummed thing to pop open. So I just shoved it in unfolded. While this method is perhaps lacking in finesse, it works just fine.

Now, here's the best part. There was NO leakage, whatsoever. The first time I put it in, I wore it for five hours and it was only about 1/2 full when I took it out to empty it. I could easily have gone another two or three hours before emptying; perhaps longer.

Unlike Tampons, there is no risk of toxic shock from prolonged wearing. The Diva Cup can be worn for up to twelve hours if you do not need to empty it more frequently.

The second time I emptied it, I had been wearing it for six hours and it was about 3/4 full. I sat through an entire ball game and did not have to change tampons in the nasty, disgusting park facilities. I did not have to stuff my purse with tampons and pads. I did not have to resort to desperate clenching as a rogue tampon tried to make it's escape from my vagina.

Really, you could be out for multiple hours and never have to worry about emptying it in a public facility.

I found, however, that extraction and emptying were very easy and not at all messy as I had feared. I suppose if the cup was overflowing it would be, (Update: Yes, it is. Do not wear it so long that it exceeds maximum capacity) but as I said, I wore it a very long time and did not fill it up. I think the only time one would come close to reaching capacity would be after a full night's sleep (Update: Yes...and then some)

Anyway, one simply pinches the bell to break the seal, and then pulls it straight out. The sides are rigid enough that they will not collapse when full, so there is no danger of spillage unless you pretty much upend the cup completely. (or, leave it in so long that it exceeds maximum capacity. Lesson learned.)

If I did have to empty it in a public restroom, I would not be nervous about it at all now.

They say that you really need to use the cup for several cycles to know if it's right for you, but after only one day, I'm convinced. I don't know why somebody didn't think of this 40 years ago.

Here's an instructional video that some brave soul put together. It's very informative and helped me a lot. I must also thank my Diva mentor Lisa, for answering all my very graphic questions without batting an eyelash.



If you have questions you'd like to ask about the Cup, please feel free to ask. I'm not the most experienced user, since I've only used it for one day. But if there is something I can't answer, I can consult my Diva mentor and then post her answers here.

Cost effective, good for your body, easy, clean and convenient.

Who could ask for more?

Isn't it time you put a little Diva in you?

UPDATE: My first night with the Diva Cup was slightly less successful than the first day. Apparently, my flow increased dramatically overnight. By 6:00 am, the cup was full, (I went to bed around midnight) and I learned a valuable lesson. When the cup has exceeded capacity, the seal will simply let go. I felt it when I rose from the bed. It won't fall out, but it will make a big, fat, mess as you run for the commode.

Still, I consider the Diva Cup a resounding success. With tampons, I would have been rising every couple of hours during the night to change, despite doubling up with a heavy duty pad. I anticipate that today I may have to empty the cup every 2-3 hours. That's still a vast improvement over tampons. On my heaviest flow days, I would normally change tampons every hour, sometimes even 30 mins.

39 Comments:

  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    do you need to like, rinse it out when you empty it?

     
  • At 11:22 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    If a sink is available, sure. But if not, you could just wipe it out with a bit of toilet tissue or a wet wipe. You really don't get any on the outside at all, so even if you didn't have anything available, in a pinch, it wouldn't be a big deal, as long as you washed it thoroughly at least once each day.

     
  • At 12:06 AM, Blogger Lara said…

    honestly, i've seen people talk about this before, and i've always thought, "ew, disgusting." but your post and the video (which i watched intently) actually made me decide i should give it a try. i will let you know how it goes. (you know, if you want to know...)

     
  • At 12:15 AM, Blogger Marit said…

    Here in Holland people are usually just given the birth control pill if their periods are heavy. Is that not done in the States? I've never even heard of the Diva cup!
    Amazing what one learns through reading blogs!

     
  • At 2:03 AM, Blogger Irish Quilting said…

    unheard of. Very interesting! Though, I am your opposite: My grueling flows ended once pregnancies began. Now the 'coil' keeps Aunt Flow away altogether. Just the same, it's good to keep up on these things-I have two daughters. Thanks!

     
  • At 5:27 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Lara: Yes, I would love to hear about your experience with the cup!

    Marit: I think some women do take the pill for heavy periods, but I can't for medical reasons.

    IQ: I assume by "coil" you mean an IUD? I tried one after the birth of my second child and my uterus was not amused. I bled heavily and continuously for six months.

     
  • At 6:45 AM, Blogger Jozet at Halushki said…

    Ah yes, my body went from 50 days between periods, to a mere 30.

    I've been thinking about a Diva Cup. Maybe I'll try it. I don't want to offend anyone, but for the environmentally conscious period-haver, the DC sounds just a bit less ooky than reusable hemp pads.

    And dude? We both mentioned labia in our recent posts. Great minds and all. ;-)

     
  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    The Princess is considering trying one. I'll direct her here to read for herself.

    For me.......just couldn't do it. Don't know why, but even the thought kind of nauseates me.

     
  • At 7:49 AM, Blogger Baroness von Bloggenschtern said…

    Good for you for , er, showcasing this valid alternative to regular products. I tried something similar called a menstrual cup; worked wonders, but not so capacious (lol!). Great for the leak-prone.

     
  • At 8:39 AM, Blogger womaninawindow said…

    1. How brave are you?
    2. Why in the hell hasn't evolution taken care of this? I mean, really?
    3. Why in the hell hasn't evolution taken...
    4. I think I might just send myself to the edge of the village for 6 days and call it quits, this is crazy what we have to deal with with a smile on our face!
    5. Never heard of this. #1 again!

     
  • At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Lisa63 aka divaguru said…

    Its amazing that menstrual cups have been around since the 1930's and I only found out about them about 2.5yrs ago.

    They go by many names around the world; Divacup, Femmecup, Keeper, Lady Cup, Lunette, Mooncup, to name a few.

    I just wish I knew about this years and years ago.

     
  • At 9:39 AM, Blogger Dolphin Valley Academy said…

    Thanks for the frank discussion (as always)! I knew of the Diva cup before, but not in quite so much detail. Heavy AF sufferer here, too (nor can I take the pill for bp issues), however I'm still not yet sure I can take the plunge. Keep us updated! ;P

     
  • At 10:44 AM, Anonymous G. said…

    I've been using the Moon Cup (bought it at Boots in England) for about 6 months now. I am very happy with it! I also have very heavy periods and the cup works great for me. But even on my light days I like the cup, as it just catches the little bit of goo that there is and I do not have to deal with icky pads or dry tampons.

    I am certain my Moon Cup has paid for itself several times over already, in just half a year.

     
  • At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    Thanks for the information despite the TMI aspect. This is a pretty brave post, considering.

    Also, I have a friend whose doctor DID in fact put in an extra stitch to tighten her back up for her husband. She was miserable with it, and only recently had the situation corrected when she gave birth to her second child. So there are doctors out there who consider the tighter stitching, though in this case, it was unwarranted.

    And PS, Jonniker (www.jonniker.com) had a few posts about this on her site, and the comments section (as always on her posts) is HILARIOUS, if you have some time and are looking for some laughs. Seriously, it's a good, informative discussion with a sense of humor involved. Start here.

     
  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger The Woman Formerly Known as Jenn said…

    I *love* my Diva cup. Love it!

    FYI, for many women (myself included), using the DIVA cup helps alleviate cramps. Yay!

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger cndymkr / jean said…

    I've heard of this before and I'm sorry, but I find it gross. Now, having said that, you really presented it with great care and very honestly. I doubt I'll ever use it but at least I now know it really works.

     
  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Traceytreasure said…

    The blogs I've read today consisted of a corpse rotting on a toilet and now the Diva Cup. Even though I've had 4 kids, three at home, I'm not up for the Diva Cup. Thank you though! I'm so happy that it works for you. Maybe I'll try it someday, but not today!! Congrats on finding a great product that actually works! I'm learning SO much before breakfast!! Hugs!

     
  • At 11:35 AM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    There is also endometrial ablation, if you are no longer interested in pregnancy. I only heard about it when I was googling my OB/GYN, who apparently does this procedure. This is a quick link that I found (first thing to pop up on Google in my search), but there are many other sites out there:
    http://www.gynalternatives.com/ablation.htm

     
  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    I read about this product on a parenting site I belonged to. However, I really don't have a need for it as my periods are on the light side and I don't think I'd want to mess with something that big for a small bit of fluids. I didn't like using my diaphram when I had to get off the pill so I don't think I'd like trying to put that in. Although that was eons ago before I started trying for kids and wasn't use to put foreign stuff in me.LOL I do think it's a great product for those of you who suffer so badly from the effects of AF. I hope it continues to work for you all.

     
  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I know what you mean about the changing of the period thing. I was really regular until I miscarried and that just blew everything out of the water. I found it to be a bit disconcerting.

    Interesting post. I can't believe I'm saying that about a post on Diva Cups, but seriously, I found this really interesting, as I've been considering trying something like this out myself.

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger insane mama said…

    yea, I agree with the other comment
    What the "f" can't drs just get rid of our periods once we are done with kids and you would think that evolution did fix all this

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger nina said…

    "getting to knooooow you, getting to know all abouuuut you..."

     
  • At 3:46 PM, Anonymous mischief said…

    LOL at nina!!! But anyway...... You know the story - I had 11 day long heavy periods, went on the pill only to get a blood clot (scary), the anemia became worse, fainted, etc. Finally got the previously mentioned endometrial ablation. My periods are now three days total, and light. No regrets.

    I'm glad the Diva is working for you, and I appreciate your honesty. I live with boys and they don't understand all the details of what females experience each month. But we gotta do what we gotta do.

     
  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    I'm not looking forward to seeing how my body will change after this baby comes. I was like you, light and easy periods. Loved that about myself. Glad you found your solution.

     
  • At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I used to have the same problem. My OB/GYNE suggested ablation therapy. It worked like a charm...and believe it or not, even though I menustrate each month, there's no blood. I highly recommend it.

     
  • At 7:22 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I checked out the website and they had me at "environmentally friendly". I love this idea ~ thank you so much for your frank, honest sharing of your experience! I will have to try one! :)

    But not for a few more months....

     
  • At 7:32 PM, OpenID wheelsonthebus said…

    I had NO idea this thing existed. Reusable pads seem gross to me, but this doesn't. In a year and a half, when I get my period again, I will be trying it!

     
  • At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Caryn said…

    I had never before heard of the Diva Cup. I'm currently going without periods thanks to my particular brand of I.U.D., but will consider the Diva Cup when I have the other device removed.

     
  • At 8:01 AM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    I enjoyed reading this post while I TRIED TO EAT MY BREAKFAST CEREAL!!! Good info, despite my not being hungry anymore.

     
  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Holy crow, people like talking about this subject, lol! I've been considering the Diva cup for a while and you may have sold me on it. After three large kids, I was worried about the 'seal' but it sounds like that won't be a problem. I'm a bit bummed that it doesn't make it through a heavy night though but I have to get up now as it is, so it shouldn't be that big a deal. I need to have some uterine surgery next month, so I'll have to wait until afterward to consider this.

     
  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger West Coast Diva said…

    I tried the Diva Cup and while I see it's purpose it made my cramps worse. Way worse. Tampons make my cramps worse. And pads are just damn gross.

    Your insurance might pay for endometrial ablation. http://www.novasure.com/index.cfm

    I hope the cup continues to work for you!

     
  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger jen said…

    i love that you wrote about this. all the things i was too squeeged out to ask.

     
  • At 8:56 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    I love my Diva Cup
    My period has always been regular and light.
    With it I feel like I am not even on my period.
    Glad you like yours too
    I have been using mine for a year

     
  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger Meg said…

    Ok. I'm new to your blog. I'm new to the Diva Cup. What are the odds that so many of your readers use them?

    I guess you learn something every day--if you're not careful.

    p.s. I like your badges.

     
  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    What will they think of next...(Oh, wow, I sound more and more like my grandmother every day...)

    I laughed out loud at "labia chafage can be a real deal killer."

    But good to know there's an option like this!

     
  • At 5:56 AM, Blogger Mary Alice said…

    Bless your heart, that was the bravest post EVER. I was wondering how those would work....for ummmm "mature women" that occasionally become home bound by the "mature" flow.

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tried these about 10 years ago, they were okay, but a little messy http://www.softcup.com

     
  • At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had endometrial ablation 27 March. For the first time in a very long time, i feel free of the bathroom for the first few days of my cycle. It was painless (seriously) and a GREAT solution for me.

    Marie

     
  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger J. Denae said…

    Ordered the Diva Cup after your blog post... and I love it! I had never heard of it before I read your blog, so thanks so much for the info!

     

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