I used a menstrual cup for the first time this week.
The perks seemed to outweigh anything bad happening. They use less waste, and contribute less garbage to the earth, and at $40 for a cup that lasts up to 10 years, I couldn’t not do it.
I bought one, read the instructions, and waited two weeks. Tuesday morning it came so I popped that baby in and hoped for the best.
The best was not what I got.
I knew as soon as it was in, I had put it in too far up, and trying to turn it 360 degrees like it said was not happening. The average vagina is only 3-4 inches long so I must’ve just pushed it up as far as it could go. That cup was suctioned to my walls like me on cake at a birthday party. After crying on the toilet while simultaneously messaging my best friend for advice, and Googling for help, I decided to just leave it be for the next 12 hours and hope that gravity would do its thing and lower this bastard down for me.
By 9 pm, I had watched a couple handfuls of videos about menstrual cups, and read every article with stories, hints and tricks, and horrors that I could find. Ultimately I had freaked myself into a hot panic.
It did not want to come out. Spent the whole day just bleeding away and this cup was not budging. I took a hot shower and tried to relax to the advice that the heat would help, but I only ended up squatting in the tub for fifteen minutes and having shaky hands for an hour after.
There was nothing I could do. I would have to sleep on it, and check in the morning.
Well… morning came and it was still stuck.
I stuck my finger way up there and clawed at silicone, like one BuzzFeed article author so gracefully and accurately put it, “like a panicked raccoon,” trying to reach the top so I could pop the seal.
I cried some more.
After that didn’t work, I beared down on the floor and tried again. I thought I was getting somewhere, but all I was doing was bleeding puddles on the floor and dying my hand red.
Oh and bawling.
I was messaging with my datemate Robin, and a friend to see if I could get a ride downtown to Vancouver’s queer health centre. Both of them pulled through, but Robin lives closer, and was also a nurse so I went with her.
Robin pulled up in her awesome mom van with the kids in the back ready for school. I had ceased crying at this point. For the next 45 minutes, I forgot about the horror inside me as we focused on getting kids out of car seats, holding tiny hands across the street, and waiting with other parents at preschool for their time to go in. All of this completely unfamiliar to me. It was pretty cool to see her in this part of her life though.
Robin occupied my head with her own stories until we got downtown to the clinic. I kissed her goodbye and thanked her immensely before jumping out of the van on Bute and Davie.
Three people were ahead of me, and then I got in to see a doctor.
“I have a menstrual cup stuck inside me,” I tried to laugh it off without crying again when I sat in the doctor’s office. I’d been there for standard STI testing, but this was a new one for me, and for this very lucky doctor who hadn’t seen this particular scenario yet. The day was filled with firsts.
They got me in the stirrups and started poking around a bit with some cold lube. I really didn’t think it needed to be more slippery down there. They tried all they could just using their fingers, but to no avail. A purple pair of what I like to think of as medical tongs came next, but the ends were too wide to fit in with a finger. So they called the other doctor in and she got in on the excitement too.
She brought in the speculum in the hopes that they’d have a better chance at seeing this clear coloured object that my vagina was so loving. Like a pap smear, it was awkward with pressure as she cranked it. Finally they were both able to see what was going on – turns out the cup had gotten stuck behind my pelvic bone and there was no way I would’ve been able to get it out on my own.
She pulled the cup out part way with the purple medical tongs, and thought she’d be able to pull the rest out without the speculum so she started taking the speculum out, and before any of us has any idea what’s happening next, the fucking menstrual cup shoots right out of me. Blood and all.
And that is the closest I will ever come to giving birth.
The doctors laughed over their shock, and I looked over the edge to see more puddles of my blood on the floor.
After cleaning myself up and switching back to tampons for the rest of the cycle, the first doctor put my menstrual cup in a biohazard bag for me to clean and boil. And of course I had to get a couple photos cause this is never happening again…
I feel like this hilarious situation has given me enough experience to try this again in January. I’d really like the cup to actually be workable for my life.
The weird thing is that almost two years ago to the day, I nearly died when a plate I was washing exploded in my hands and cut me just above the wrist. I lost 200 cc’s of blood on the floor and was awarded 6 stitches. So I can’t wait to find out how much blood will be lost on the last week of November, 2018.
And now we can laugh about it.
I hope my experience serves as something valuable for someone else, and you don’t get stuck in this mess, but if you do, read the BuzzFeed article that made me laugh and cry.