I went on birth control for the first time when I was 20. I had just started having sex and I was petrified of getting pregnant. Little did I know, about six years later, I would get pregnant while on birth control. So much for that then huh? After all those years of making sure that I didn’t get pregnant, my birth control had failed me. I felt betrayed honestly, and then confused. How could this have happened? I mean, I knew that birth control isn’t 100 percent foolproof, but after being on it for so many years you think you’re safe. That, is apparently not the case because I got pregnant while using Nuvaring.
So, just how did I manage to get pregnant while using Nuvaring birth control?
Well, there’s no way to know really, but let’s at least get the backstory. After going on birth control at 20, I went off at 22 when I was no longer insured. I had been using the Nuvaring because I loved not having to remember to take it every day. I could set my calendar months in advance because I knew exactly when I had to take it out, when I should begin my period and when it was time to insert the next ring. But the Nuvaring isn’t cheap when you’re uninsured. Luckily my mom was friendly with the nurses at her gynecologist’s office so she got me samples of the Nuvaring. But that only lasted for a few months. Since I was living at home and was single I just went off it. I wasn’t having sex anyway so it didn’t matter.
Fast forward almost two years. I was in a serious relationship. We were spending several nights a week together so birth control just seemed like the smart thing to do. This time I went to Planned Parenthood and was able to get insurance. They gave me pills while we waited for my approval and while I wasn’t thrilled at the switch but it was only temporary. I went back to the Nuvaring and everything was fine. Then we moved cross country a year and a half later. My doctor wrote my prescriptions for multiple rings at a time so I was actually covered for a while. When I went back home for a friend’s wedding I was able to fill my next prescription so again I was covered and I could pay for a few out of pocket while I figured out my insurance.
That is where things must have gone wrong.
There was never a time when I didn’t have birth control, so it’s hard to figure out exactly how I got pregnant. Maybe it was a ring that wasn’t properly stored and therefore less effective. Or maybe my hormones were thrown out of whack by the stress I was experiencing at work. When you’re on birth control an irregular cycle is kind of hard unless you mess up somehow. The Nuvaring is actually one of the most effective birth control options you can have; there’s only a two percent failure rate. According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, only 9 out of 100 women get pregnant yearly while on the ring.
Finding out I was pregnant was like Ross on “Friends” finding out Rachel was pregnant.
I wanted to call up the birth control people and give them a firm talking to (I didn’t.) In spite of being on birth control when I got pregnant (and for a couple months after), my son developed completely normally. I had been nervous, but my doctor assured me that everything was fine. He was almost seven pounds at birth, even though he was 15 days early. Now he is a energetic 4 year old who is as tall as a kindergartener. The biggest lesson I learned from is that nothing is 100 percent foolproof!
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(Image: iStock / AndreyPopov)