Warning - this is a pretty long post but I'm putting my experience here because I'm hoping it helps somebody else as much as all the other posts on here helped me :) I first read about cups online and without doing much research I impulse bought a Ruby Cup based on the work they do for Kenyan women which I personally thought was pretty inspiring (see: http://www.ruby-cup.com/en/
). Firstly let me say their customer service was excellent - when I contacted their info email I got replies pretty much the same day and they were always really helpful and pleasant. In the meantime while waiting for my next cycle I started reading more stuff online and let me say this community was so good at relieving all my fears! (I was pretty afraid it would fall out when I went to the toilet but all the info on here made me realise how silly I was being). Also shipping from EU to Aus only took about a week and a half which was pretty quick. I think on their website its something like 21 days for o/s shipping but mine didn't take even half that long and I ordered on a weekend.
I was genuinely excited when I got my period to try this out feeling all self important and environmental and all in touch with my body... I followed the instructions on the Ruby Cup sheet and tried inserting using a c-fold. All my happy feelings went away as I could not get this thing in. I actually got a thumb cramp from holding the cup in a folded position for so long trying to get it in. Lucky my stubborness kicked in because come hell or high water I had paid enough for it and I was going to use this thing. I remembered reading about the punch down fold and although to me the size difference between this and the c fold didn't really look that different it was actually much easier to insert. I used to squat to get my tampons in but I found this really kinda clamped things down there and a kinda halfway between squatting and standing position with my legs wide apart was alot easier. Although I had done reading I was surprised at how much messing around I was doing down there but I can say I have learnt alot about my own body. Once it was in I tried to rotate it and to my surprise it did this really easily. I did have my doubts but I really didn't feel it once I had it in there. Now I was used to wearing pads with tampons (I always had leaks with tampons) so just out of habit I put an overnight pad on and went to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning I was shocked to see my pad was completely bone dry - like not a trace of blood. And then I realised I had actually slept through the night without waking up all crampy and feeling horrible which is usually what happens on the first day of my cycle. So far the cup was doing all the magical things the internet promised me it would!
And then I went to the bathroom and had the panic moment of I can't even feel the stem anymore - this cup has gone up to places I don't really go and its going to be stuck up there forever!! I was really surprised by how much higher up the cup had moved. I took a deep breath, remembered all the helpful stuff people had posted on here, and kept chanting to myself what goes up must come down. After some feeling around and 'bearing down' I got to the base of the cup and pinched it. Now here comes the part that might sound stupid but I struggled with it for ages as for some reason I just didn't have enough space or dexterity to pinch the bottom and pull down. The minute I stopped pinching I felt the cup kinda open up again and pulling on the stem just didn't do anything. And then I tried my left hand and it worked perfectly! I don't know what it was about changing hands but I would recommend it for newbies as it really did help even in subsequent removals - my right hand just cannot get the cup out. Also, for me, I can't get the seal to stay broken until I pull it down a little. This could be due to my technique, or the cup itself, I'm too much of a newbie to tell :) The first time I took the cup out even though it was folded (u shape) I had a moment of oww due to the diameter. Since then I have watched Melissa L.'s fantastic video and followed her way of getting one side out and then the other which is not only much less painful but actually does stop spillage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLPBZz3uJEg
). After 10 hours, the cup was only around 3/4 full and that was on my heaviest day so I was pretty happy with that. Now I was all prepared to be comfortable with my body but in the interests of being honest I will admit the first time emptying was pretty horrifying for me. But I got used to it pretty quick and when I think about it, it's not like tampons weren't gross either. For the removal I found I pretty much had to have one leg up resting on something - I used my bathtub. So one foot on the ground and one on the top of the bathtub. Once I was in that position and using my left hand removal became pretty easy even with the cup's nighttime wandering. When I say easy, it actually was easy. I was prepared to have to struggle for a few cycles to get this to work but with the one leg up it was pretty effortless to maneuver out even 3/4 full. Also, I thought I would get rid of my stem pretty quickly but I'm glad I tried it a few times first as I found it was pretty helpful and reassuring in finding the base.
About the cup itself - I find it super comfortable to use. I'm in my early twenties, no kids, not a virgin so I'm not sure if this makes a difference and the Ruby Cup only comes in one size. IMHO, it holds alot - I left it in 12 hours after that first time and still no leakage. To combat residual slobber I inserted in the shower. I would soap and rinse as usual, insert, and then just give the area another quick rinse. After that first day I didn't even wear a liner as I found I really didn't need to. It was fun not having to wear my old daggy period safe underwear for a week. Also I find it to be a good firmness/softness for me personally. It always pops open easily and I think if it was any firmer I would have trouble holding it closed while inserting. I was worried after ordering it that I hadn't taken note of my cervix position etc. before ordering and thought I'd end up buying another few cups before getting it right but the Ruby Cup was just perfect for me and I'm still kinda surprised at how well it works. If anyone has any questions about the cup I'd be happy to answer. I think it's a really good alternative to disposable products and I'm super happy with it. And thanks to all the amazing and knowledgeable women on here who helped to sell me on the idea of cups - I read so many posts where instead of being condescending people were so patient and helpful and all the posts here that I read were invaluable for me :)