Every parent knows that there comes a point in life when you’re done having children, whether by your own choice or by Mother Nature’s natural process of old age. For my household, three was a compromise. I wanted an animal’s lifespan, sized litter. I’d easily pump-out babies like the Duggar family if I could but let’s face it, no one is going to give me a show and I’m not winning the lottery anytime soon. A family of that size is simply out of the question, for me.
Beside for those reasons, my husband was done and had no want to produce any more children. Over all, we really didn’t want to enter the world of needing a large van or over-sized SUV, just to get around. He wanted two at the most and you know how that goes. We had baby number two and he grew just as fast as they all do. That’s when you start feeling the “no more tiny clothes, no more baby giggles, no more crawling, walking and talking firsts for you” moment. Needless to say, after our first night out in almost two years, we came home and decided it was time to have another child. Of course, this decision came with the “who gets fixed” conversation. This was a pretty short and we’ll say easy choose, for my husband. Our insurance wouldn’t cover him, (I’m told most don’t, though I don’t sale insurance, so I wouldn’t know) it would however, cover mine.
I knew from the start that I didn’t want anything that needed to be inserted every few years. I had heard too many terrible stories and possible side effects, making it the wrong choice for me. However, I didn’t want the pill or a shot either, that just screamed “here comes baby number four”. I felt that if I had to stop then I really wanted to stop. Without the worry of things possibly migrating through my body or having to wonder if the product was working properly. (Remember though, nothing short of a hysterectomy will be 100%.)
Now is where you may feel that my insanity kicks in, I wanted the hysterectomy! Crazy right? You see, I just didn’t want the chance of getting pregnant a few years down the road. Especially ten or more years down the road! I also didn’t want to bleed every month for no real reason or meaningful purpose. I realized that I ran the risk of feeling like less of a woman for a while but I knew I’d be ok, eventually. I wouldn’t have to worry about getting pregnant or bleeding every month. That’s got to free up some time right?
I was aware that I would likely feel the wrath of menopause, as my mother had hers at twenty-three, though not by choice. So I was well informed of what my life would be like and honestly I felt I could deal. No matter what, if I had it done, it’d be over. I’d have to deal because there is no going back. It all makes very little difference though because the doctor was not going to do one. I was only twenty-four and in this case, it was not medically needed. When it came down to it, the doctors didn’t even want to do the tubal. They insisted I was too young, that it would be easier for my husband and of course, it would be bad for business. Seeing as how I was still in my twenties, they would much rather give me any other form of birth control.
They were very good about checking to make sure I had not changed my mind. Which is good because this isn’t something you should decide lightly. Since there was no way I could have the hysterectomy, I settled for the next best thing, a Tubal Ligation. I was assured it was a simple procedure, though all surgery produces a risk. This surgery was not likely going to be the thing that kills me, I hoped anyways.
Nine months later and a day after my youngest was born, I have the surgery. At this point I’m a bit scared, I’m second guessing myself, I don’t want to leave my baby and I don’t want to be put under. Honestly, I had been questioning this decision from the start, I didn’t want surgery and really, I didn’t want to stop having kids. The problem was that doing this was the best thing for my family. We didn’t need any more children, I didn’t need to make my husband suffer through another birth. He says they’re very stressful and scary, as in, he’s afraid I’ll die. Really I think he’s just afraid I’ll leave him alone with the kids and he might actually have to “dad”. Either way, it didn’t look like I had much of a choice.
All I could think, while waiting to go back is “I didn’t get to love on my kids before coming down here and it’s been about a day since I’ve seen my daughter.” (She left with nana after meeting her new brother.) “I can’t call my daughter, I’m barely holding the tears back as it is.” (I’m not much of one to show weakness.) “I was supposed to be in surgery an hour ago, an hour wasted without my new baby.” (Why do hospitals do this to you, it’s horrible…I’m sure they don’t try but it is so nerve racking.) If I wasn’t thinking about never waking up, I was questioning myself and wishing I was just home with all my kids.
Still waiting, I spend my time stealing glances of my husband. Remembering how he looks and thinking about the time we’ve had together, not all perfect but not many things are. When it came down to it, he was the one I was really doing this for. It was better for us money wise, he really hates doctors and most of all: he can’t stand needles. I just kept trying to convince myself that these were good enough reasons and that I was doing the right thing. Like they say “the right thing, doesn’t always come easy”.
Finally the doctor’s ready, everything was signed and it was show time. We’re heading back and I wish I was walking. At this point, I imagine I’m slightly doped up. The lights flashing over head as we walk the long halls make it feel like I’m in a movie. I was scared but also proud of myself for managed to stick to the plan and without crying during the long wait.
As we entered the operation room the nurse pushing me is talking about his children and recent vacation but I can’t seem to focus. Quickly, I’m lined up with another table and pulled over, onto it. Here’s where it gets fun! All the doctors and nurses are talking like this is just another visit to the barbershop. Each them just anxiously waiting to get off and have a drink. Then a head pops into view and I’m told the rest of the drugs are being inserted into the IV and to just breathe through the mask I’m wearing. He’s still talking but he’s fading away before I can catch it all. The last words I can remember hearing are “Unless something goes wrong.” As you can imagine, that’s exactly what you want to hear, just before you go unconscious. NOT!!
The next thing I know, I’m trying to scream. My body wants to bolt from the table but it refuses to work. My throat won’t allow the sounds to escape and my body disagrees with any movement. My throat feels like what I imagine a forest feels after being set on fire. My insides felt ravaged! I wonder if I had I just been a part of a zombie attack? I drift in and out and again the lights above, pass as if this were all just a bad film. I was being transferred to recovery, I felt like I had only been gone a moment. As if life had fully left me, only to return in what felt like convulsions, my body did not feel its own.
The nurse in recovery was nice, I could hardly speak but she worked hard to help with the pain. It took an insane amount of drugs to ease the pain, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought my stomach was hanging open and the flashes of pain were my organs falling to the floor. All I could manage out was “where’s my husband and baby” By this point, I felt like they must be gone, as if I had been stuck somewhere a very long time.
It’s very strange how it felt like a lighting flash but at the same time, it almost felt like I was just returned from some form of purgatory. I was in recovery for a long time, an operation that was only suppose to be a couple hours, had turned into many. Finally, after the pain was eased a small bit and I had enough strength to raise the bed up, I was on the way to the room. It was yet another in and out experience and finally, I woke to my room and to my husband at my side. He scared me just a bit, one minute there is no one and the next someone right against you, I admit to jumping out my skin but just a little. I automatically ask for the baby and some support in holding him, I had been gone for hours and knew he must be starving by now.
However, my want to hold my son is shortened by the pain, which is quickly returning. So much so, that I’m now afraid to hold the baby, as I fear I’ll end up dropping him because of the random stabbing pains. Mentally, I’m still not quite in reality but believe me, my bodies feeling every bit of it. It also still refuses to function and just work with me. I’m dying inside, I just want my baby in my arm. The pains blinding and my throat is indescribably raw, soon nurses are in and I’m given more pain killers. It was a compete nightmare, I had never imagined feeling so horrible and empty. It’s as if by this point, I’m just watching myself go through it all.
Moving is unbelievable….this whole thing is really unbelievable. The nurse mentions how sorry she feels for me (having had the same operation.) she tells me they never really tell anyone how bad it can be. I feel as if with ever movement my stomach will just rip open. I would never do it again, had I known how bad it was I’d never have done it. I know it’s over with so no use thinking about it but who knew something so small could be so painful.
Getting up with my son that night, was terrible. My first nights of bonding with my baby were in a way, ruined. Yes, I enjoyed every moment I had alone with him but I did it through a lot of tears and pain. I feel I must note that my pain threshold is pretty dang high. I never just cry over some aches or pains but this in itself, was worse than labor. This was a whole different level, I’d rather have repeatedly birthed babies, back to back, while ripping a little each time….than to feel the way I did.
Upon getting out of the hospital I was not allowed to lift my children or heavy objects. This was heart breaking as well, the pain continued intensely for 2 weeks. After that it became a more manageable pain, I didn’t need a pain killer just to get up in the morning or lay down at night. After about 4 weeks I was basically back to normal, only sharp or shooting pains every once and a while. I had my check up and everything was in order, everything was normal as far as the doctor could see. I don’t regret my choice, I know it was best for the family but in hindsight, I would have gone a different way, without giving it a second thought.
Unfortunately the experience doesn’t end here, it actually gets a little worse. Once my husband and I were able to be romantic again, I found that I had lost a lot of feeling, which is good for no one. Thankfully though, after about eight months this started to change and I was able to once again feel my lady parts. Here it’s almost eleven months after surgery and my periods are still pretty random. I have it one month then it’s off two month or three months and I’m back to regular, for the most part. Those months it disappears though, can be a bit nerve wracking. It’s even worse when you add on pregnancy like symptoms. To be honest, it all makes you feel a little crazy. Then you add a handful of women we know, who’ve had it done and still got pregnant. Of course, you don’t find that out until after you’ve had it done. No matter what, it seems that the thought of pregnancy will remain in the back of your mind. That even though it is unlikely, it is still possible and here’s to hoping I won’t. I really don’t want an infant when all my other kids are teens or worse adults!
In the end, there are still times when I don’t feel like a “woman”, as if a part of me is missing. Like most thing, there are plenty of pros and cons. In some cases we can’t know how bad the cons are until after we have tried it. Like I said I don’t regret it but it was a terrible experience, for me. I haven’t seen very many, if any women sharing their true and painful experiences with this. I wanted to be sure to put mine out there for all those who have been through it or are thinking about doing it. I want more women to know what you could possibly go through if you to have a Tubal Ligation. I wish I had known more and been able to find more personal accounts, before making the decision. I hope it helps you out, if your searching for answers and if you’ve had it done or had a similar experience, I hope you feel less alone.