WARNING - WARNING - WARNING: If you are of the male persuasion, this is not a post that you will want to read. Heck, most females I know are probably too squeamish to handle this one. This is not a post for those who are uncomfortable with frank descriptions of female anatomy, bodily functions, or profanity. I may have lost my entire readership after that disclaimer. In case there are still a few of you left, this post is a real doozy for you brave souls to digest.
I know this will not come as a surprise to any of you who are still reading this, but I have had things in my vagina from time to time. Not weird things, you freaks, normal things that might end up in a vagina. I'm not a virgin, so I've had a wiener in my hoo-haw. My doctor ruthlessly crams a speculum and his ham hands up there each year for a pelvic exam. I have used tampons for nearly the entire time that I've had periods - over 20 years. But I have something very strange in my vagina right now.
It started innocently enough. I was reading a message board and several members of this group were touting the awesomeness of menstrual cups. I'd first heard of reusable menstrual cups over 15-years ago when I was reading The Tightwad Gazette. The thought of using a little cup to hold your period drippings (and the subsequent washing of it) didn't appeal to me and I disregarded the idea as some kind of hippie horseshit. But within a couple of years, a friend gave me a box of Instead disposable menstrual cups that she didn't plan to use.
I'll try nearly anything once and I'm not afraid of my vagina, so I gamely used one of these Insteads on my next cycle. Insertion was remarkably easy and it was so comfortable that I nearly forgot that it was even in there. I thought these things were great. I was sold - no more tampons for me! Until it came time to remove and discard the cup.
Hooking my finger on the ridge of the cup was easy enough and I naively thought it was smooth sailing from that point on. Imagine my horror when this slimy little cup slipped out of my hand as I was about to dump an entire days-worth of blood. It looked like I had just killed someone in my bathroom. To make matters much, much worse - the bathroom was carpeted. Even worse than that? It was a light-champagne colored carpet.
I spent what seemed like forever cleaning up the scene of the crime. I muttered darkly about menstrual cups in general and vowed to never touch one of the slippery little sons-of-bitches again.
That was then. For several reasons, menstrual cups appeal more to me now than they did in my youth. I go through a box of tampons every month and the cost seems to increase with every freaking cycle. Seriously, is a little box of rolled cotton really worth more than $6? I guess it is because that's what I've been paying each month. And that's assuming that I can even find the ones that I use, which is often not the case. I can assure you that hunting the drugstore for tampons when you can tell that your pretty panties are getting destroyed is an impossibly frustrating feeling. I use tampons that don't have an applicator, so I'm already pretty comfortable having to put my fingers in my vadge while OTR. And, dang, those women on the message board made reusable menstrual cups sound so perfectly easy to use. Really, I'm a cheap little broad and the potential cost savings was reason enough to give menstrual cups another try.
So I began researching the dark & mysterious world of menstrual cups. You have two choices right off the bat: reusable or disposable. I decided to buy one of each. I know that using disposable cups would wipe out any potential cost savings, but I thought I'd give the Instead cup another shot anyway. There are many different varieties of reusable cups and I chose the Diva Cup because it seemed like the popular choice. I bought both on-line and even scored free shipping. Woo-hoo, I was feeling pretty happy with my decision.
Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to change the shipping address, so the boxes ended up going to my husband's office. Ooops! He rolled his eyes when he handed me the box and sneered, "Your Diva Cup arrived at my office today."
Now, you'll have to bear with my fuzzy logic here, but part of me felt that I'd be guaranteed a pregnancy because I had just spent a lot of money on menstrual supplies. That wasn't the case (duh!) and my Aunt Flo made her monthly visit yesterday. I purposely didn't restock my tampons last month and I had only two choices: Run to the store with my panties stuffed with toilet paper and hunt for tampons or try a cup. I decided to try a cup.
The Instead cups are sort of like a diaphragm, small & flexible. The Diva Cup is ridiculously long and somewhat rigid. Seriously, it's a couple of inches long and, even all folded up for insertion, it is waaaay the heck bigger than any tampon I've ever used. I chickened out and grabbed an Instead. Just as a remembered, it was easy to insert and I couldn't even tell it was there. I even handled removal, emptying, and disposal like an old-pro. But, if I wanted to try to save some cash, I'd have to try the Diva Cup.
I took a warm shower to relax. Had my husband been home, I would have had a drink. I felt very intimidated by the Diva Cup. I realize that I've had much bigger things in my vadge, but it's usually after making out for a little bit. This stupid Cup wasn't even taking me out to dinner!
I couldn't even get it in at first. I had to try a few different ways to fold this beast before I could even get it in beyond my opening. I started pushing it in. And then it stopped. I kept trying to push it in further and it wouldn't budge. I wondered if it was possible to get it stuck. I tried to squeeze my fingers by to see if I could tell what the roadblock was, but there was no way I could feel that far without hooking my knees behind my ears. I was sweating at this point and wondered if I was making a huge mistake. I ultimately decided the positioning must be correct because there was nowhere else for it to go.
How'd I like it? I didn't. I have never suffered from cramps in my life, but holy smokes, this thing made my lady parts ache. I periodically (heh!) would check it to see if it had somehow moved. Nope, it was wedged up there pretty good. I went to bed, thinking that I'd have to find a way to deal with it in the morning.
I dreaded dealing with this thing this morning. What if I couldn't get it out? Would my husband be willing to pull the plug, so to speak? How would I explain this to the ER staff? Just when I started to really freak myself out, I flung the covers back and stomped into the bathroom to deal with the damned thing.
I sat on the toilet, doing the Larry Craig wide-stance. I took a deep breath and began my fishing expedition in the tight confines of Menstrual Lake. This cup has a handy little stem, which made finding it much easier than I anticipated. Removal was more painful than I expected, but it wasn't horrible. I pulled it out and emptied it in the toilet without even having to look at the contents. I felt so smart for my forethought.
And then I was left holding a bloodied cup in my hand. Remember, the Diva Cup is reusable. It lasts for a year. . .perhaps longer. But you're supposed to wash the cup prior to reinsertion. How was I supposed to clean this thing without dripping blood all over my bathroom floor? The idea of not washing it skeeved me out, so I decided on pulling the junior high move of stuffing toilet paper in my pants while walking to my sink to wash the cup.
Afterward, I folded it the way I had last night and insertion was much easier. It just doesn't seem like it's high enough up there. One other thing has been bothering me; you are supposed to spin this cup around while it's inside. Something about making sure that it's sealed. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have room for it to spin. It's like my vagina has it in a death-grip or something. I've tried several times and it just won't work. I'm going to have to guess that all of this is normal for my body.
I've worn the Diva Cup for nearly 24-hours. I can't say that I'd recommend it to anyone at this point, but I understand that there can be a learning curve of sorts. For right now, this Diva's Cup is for Aunt Flo. If things don't get easier by the end of this cycle, I think I'll be hunting tampons again.