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I lift my head to look at him, his face etched with concern. “It was put in nearly five years ago, are you telling me that I’ve been unprotected for the last five years?”

The doctor pulled out the ultrasound wand, giving me another slight reprieve. “It appears so; you’re very lucky you didn’t accidentally get pregnant. Do you want me to take it out now or later?”

“Take it out now and please put the new one in,” I told him. He inserted the clamp, and a moment later, I felt something tear inside me as he forcibly pulled the IUD out of my cervix. I cried out in pain, feeling the utter sharpness from the IUD as it was ripped out. A moment later, he inserted the new one, causing even more discomfort than I could possibly imagine.

He took the clamp out, as well as the ultrasound wand, and reinserted, ensuring that the new device was properly placed inside of me. Luckily, it was found exactly where it was supposed to be. The doctor advised me that in five years, I would need a new one and that I would experience some discomfort during the next couple of weeks.

But I wasn’t listening anymore. My body ached from the IUD tearing out of my body. My mind was reeling with the newfound information the doctor had just given me. Unprotected for five years…

Several years before, my husband had gone to get an ultrasound of his own. He had found a benign cyst on his testicles, and after several doctor appointments, they told him he would likely become sterile within a short amount of time. With this news of his sterility, and combined with the bad placement of my IUD, it was safe to assume that we are unable to have children. Being 28 years old at the time, as I was done with school, and working on a career, I was shocked to find that the next step of life, which I hadn’t quite figured out yet, was no longer an option.

My husband and I decided when we first got married that we would wait a while before having children, much to the confusion and frustration of our families. I wanted to finish school, have a house, a career, and overall stability before considering having children. I wanted to make sure that I was damn good and ready.

When we had initially decided that we were going to put off having children indefinitely, we told our families with an incredible amount of push-back. I tend to do whatever people tell me not to do, or what people tell me I don’t want to do. My family knows this, but they seem to forget this when it’s something important or life-changing. The bottom line was that I was nowhere near ready to have children in my early twenties. Even though I was married and technically, we had stable housing due to my husband being in active duty military, we weren’t really on board with the idea of having a child while moving every other year.

Both of us being children of divorce, raised in lower-middle-class families, we agreed that having children when we could barely afford groceries and our car payments was not in the best interest of anyone involved. Each of us carried with us memories of the hardships endured by our single mothers, and we had been stigmatized and targeted. I would never forget watching her clipping coupons for hours and planning everything we did around that. I remember the endless hand-me-downs from my mother’s friends and my patched up clothing. While I’m often reminded of my mom buying our shoes at least two sizes too big so they’d last longer, and then wearing them down completely, to the soles. My husband had an older sister and was made to wear women’s hand-me-down garments until he had literally outgrown both the clothing, and his sister. One of his most prominent memories is of his mother’s half-acre garden and how all the kids would ransack the area of all its contents; then coming around to ask for more. I knew and my husband knew what it

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