Anyway, I'd been looking for a new cup for a while and of course, stopped by here and looked to see if anyone had posted experiences when I saw the Merula go up on the Feminine Wear website. I didn't see anything, and still don't, so I thought I'd post my thoughts.
For a bit of background, I'm 27, nullipara, with a very heavy flow, but also a very low cervix on my heavy days. So, there's a bit of a conflict there obviously. While I have always found cups to be better than any of the alternatives, I have also had frequent problems with urethra pressure and, with larger cups, a worsening of my cramps. It's always been a balancing act between capacity and size/length for me.
I got the Merula because it was a short cup with a very high capacity (!!!) and I was hoping it would solve that conflict for me! It also has pretty nice silicone. But when I got it, I was a little worried that it was so firm and had no air holes.
My first experience was more or less a disaster. I tossed aside the instructions ("I've been using cups for over a decade, I don't need no instructions!"). I used the 7-fold that I always used, and inserted it the way I always do, with the fold facing towards the front of my body.
It was pretty darn uncomfortable. I could feel ever bit of that bulk and stiffness. It stayed half-collapsed and I kept messing with it. Incredibly, despite how short it is, my cervix managed to sneak past it anyway, and it leaked instantly.
At that point my vagina was pretty sensitized, and I decided enough was enough and put it away for that cycle.
Next cycle, I decided to actually read the instructions and think about it a bit more.
The instructions tell you to use the punch-down fold, which I did. I also decided to insert it with the fold facing my back, so that when it popped open, the rim would be aimed slightly down and hopefully under my cervix.
Bam. I got the easy, 5-second insertion that I get with traditional bell-shaped cups. It still doesn't open 100%, but it's not supposed to (reading the instructions for the win!). It did open much more though. It's also very comfortable. Strangely, despite how stiff it is, I still don't feel any pressure on my urethra.
...And it didn't leak at all.
I wore it for 12 straight hours on the first day of my period. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been able to do that with a cup in my entire life. Normally I can't go more than 5 (and with any other menstrual product, I've never been able to go more than 2 hours). Normally, that's just more than even larger cups can handle, especially since my extremely sneaky cervix seems to eventually find a way to get past them, or otherwise reduces their capacity by sitting directly inside them. At this point in my life, I have basically resigned myself to the possibility that leaks on the first day or two of my period might just be inevitable no matter what product I use.
And, who knows. This is only the first cycle where I've gotten it working properly. Maybe I just got lucky. But the thing was only half-full when I took it out!
Oh, and that pull ring thingie. I LOVE IT. Normally I chop the tail off my cups completely, partly because low cervix, and partly because I find them useless. Either it just stretches and the cup doesn't budge, or it winds up sort of folding in on itself so I'd rather just have my hand on it ready to catch it so I don't make a mess.
The ring is THE BEST. I know there are a couple other cups with rings (I think MeLuna makes one, and also the FemmyCycle), but I've never used one before. I cut it down to just the last ring, and it's the perfect length, and it I can actually stick my finger through it and pull the cup down so it comes out cleanly. Holy crap. Science.
I think after 12 years of various degrees of "close enough," I have found my Goldilocks cup, you guys.
For newer or very young users, do keep in mind this is a pretty stiff cup. Also keep in mind this cup is relatively wide. The Merula only comes in one size, and is as wide as a large Si-Bell. While I think it is quite comfortable when inserted correctly, cups that are either quite soft or quite stiff tend to have slightly more of a learning curve, in my experience.
But if you are a low cervix/heavy flow person like myself who has struggled with finding the right compromise in a cup, I think this might be very appealing for you. Also, I GET THE RING THING NOW.
Anyway, there's my experience for whatever it's worth. Basically, no matter how much of a cup veteran you are, this is a different sort of cup than you're used to and will probably require a slightly different approach to make work properly. But once you do, it's pretty awesome!
Also, for size/shape comparison, here it is next to all the other cups I own. The Merula is definitely the odd duck in the bunch!
Also, some slight lens distortion is making the Si-Bell and the Merula look wider than they are. In reality, they are both the same width as the Fleurcup.