This is a rather long winded story, but one that I feel I have to share, for other women out there, who may have similar problems but are not putting two and two together like me.
Two long years ago I had my second child Nickie. What a true delight! Nickie joined an older brother Alexander who was just turned 2. I was so lucky!
As a result I spoke to my mid-wife about protecting myself against child number 3. It was suggested that I have an implant in my arm called Jadelle. It lasts for 5 years, has no side effects and can be removed at any point when ready for another child. It is also government funded so only cost $40. Off I ran!
So I then settled into caring for my boys. Sleep wasn’t really ever a concern for me, Nickie slept through the night at 5 weeks old (sympathy to all those mums whose children don’t!). Life was good. And then not long after I started to feel sick all the time, tired, grumpy (apparently!) and just generally all out of sorts.
So off I went to the doctor. He checked me out and told me that there was nothing wrong and that it was just the side effects of having the baby. So I carried on, as you do.
Eleven months after Nickie was born I honestly have no idea how, or even specifically when, I tore my ligament in my knee, and as a result a cyst formed on the side of the bone. So off I went for a knee operation.
Two months after this, and still recovering I got up in the middle of the night to take Alex to the toilet, got a glass of water and then went back into my room. I then felt ill, went around the bed to the ensuite and passed out cold on the floor. I remember waking up and thinking, ‘ouch that hurt’, got into bed and went back to sleep.
Turns out that I had fractured my foot upon falling, and was in a cast for 4 months. Please bear in mind here that I have played netball all of my life (right up until getting pregnant with Nickie) and have never broken anything before in my life.
I then went back to the doctor and insisted that there was something wrong with me. They finally listened and took blood tests to find out that I was completely anemic. I went on iron injections and tablets. After 3 months the levels were still not coming up so I went back again and the doctor said that I had sleep apnea.
Everything that he was describing to me was sounding right – I was sleeping during the day – was incredibly grumpy at a moments notice – couldn’t sleep at night – was often tearful for no reason – was unable to move any of my baby weight no matter what I ate or how I exercised – and was able to drop off to sleep during a conversation with someone. Not a good look!
So after a long and honest conversation with my husband about my behaviour we agreed to do what the doctor suggested…which was see a specialist, go on anti-depressants and other medication daily, and to see a counsellor. Nothing really changed, but I had to carry on and trust that it was going to get better.
At this point husband and I sat down and discussed more children. I am 36, as is my husband, and we decided that two children was the perfect number for our family. I said that I wasn’t happy about the amount of medication already going into my body (I normally take nothing) and would he consider getting a vasectomy - that made him stop and think (and go slightly pale!). But he agreed and off he went.
In the mean time 3 months after my doctor referral Rotorua hospital rang me with an appointment. I meet with a nurse for 15 minutes, who said, yes I think you have it, we will now send you to a sleep clinic in Hamilton. Another 3 months later and I went up there and stayed overnight whilst a whole host of tests were run on me. Three months on from that, and note that I STILL do not have the results of the sleep clinic.
So 2 years have gone past, and honestly if my husband and I didn’t have such a good relationship I am pretty sure he would have walked out long ago.
So I approached him about getting the jadelle taken out of my arm as a way of taking back a little bit of control. I wasn’t happy to wait for the all clear from his vasectomy because frankly I was just over how I was feeling.
So in I went, and what do you know…1 month on…I am sleeping through the night again, have (with doctor approval) taken myself off the anti-depressents, have normal iron levels, and am currently a normal human being again. The cloud that has been hanging over me for the past two years felt like it had lifted after 2 weeks and I am bouncing all over the place, am interested in things, and have even managed to lose 4 kgs! Scary thought, but I am considering going back to play netball again.
So, all of my problems were put down to the implant called jadelle. In the last month I have spoken to my playgroup, kindy and friends about it, and I have been horrorified with the stories that I have heard.
What concerns me the most is the my next door neighbour is due to have a baby in 8 weeks and has told me that in her anti-natal class they are being advised to use the jadelle for contraception.
I am not saying that every person will react the same way that I did – everyone is completely individual at the end of the day – but just putting it out there for everyone to think about if they are struggling, and have a jadelle implant, or are thinking about getting one.