Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Ball of Confusion

Wow, a whole month has gone by and I haven't posted anything.  Where did the time go?  I know exactly where it went.  It was wasted away beating myself up over things that I have done, and failed to do.  The miscarriage really did a number on my brain, I must admit.

While I would have sworn to you that my life was just fine the way it was, having conceived again makes me question if that's true.  On one hand, I was so amazed at having a positive pregnancy test.  I was in shock and awe that my surgery didn't just relieve my pain, but also allowed me to be open to new life again.  As time went by, it really hit me that I WAS PREGNANT.  It made the whole grief over having the tubal start to fade away.  I felt joyous.  Cautious, but exhilarated.  My husband was in shock.  I'm not sure he believed I would be able to get pregnant again.  I really think he was afraid.  After all, I had just had surgery three months before, and he was now considering that another pregnancy would result in another csection, and last time didn't go so well.

And then came the loss.  The loss was a sadness for both of us, but the aftermath was the complete opposite for each of us.  He felt as if it was meant to be.  I felt as if it was all my fault for having the tubal.  He felt relieved that now he didn't have to worry about his wife having another surgery.  He didn't have to worry about  something happening to me and having to raise four kids alone.  He felt like we could go back to life as it was.  I felt that life would never be the same.  I conceived.  I saw my baby on the monitor.  I saw a heartbeat.  It was a new life, that in my mind was supposed to be with us.  And it was gone.  Just like that, here and gone.  I was grateful it happened early.  But angered that I didn't have more time with my baby.  Mostly, I was angry with myself.  I felt as if my past actions caused this.  I not only damaged my body, but I had damaged my baby's chance at life.

My hubby does not want to try again.  I wish we would.  Just one last time.  I have some sense of hope.  We are NFP as birth control, and my hubby is not keeping track.  I won't lie to him if he asks where I am in my cycle, but at the same time, I'm not reminding him either.  I know that's bad, but I want to be fully open to new life if that is in God's plan for me.  I also don't want to make the love of my life unhappy, nor do I want to take away time and energy from my living children.  So, it makes me just one big ball on confusion.  In the meantime, I am doing what I can to prepare my body in case another pregnancy should occur.  Planning as if it is going to happen.

I will be glad when this emotional roller coaster comes to a stop.  One day grateful, one day sad, one day remorseful.  It seems to be getting better.  It has all been very confusing as a whole.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring, and honestly I wouldn't want to know.  It would spoil the surprise.  But I just have to have faith that there are good things in store for me.

Blessings to you all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just a little PTLS Humor

Ok, so I know it is a guy in the cartoon, but doesn't PTLS make us feel this way?  I thought it was cute and true at the same time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remorse, Regret, and Release: Pregnancy Loss after Tubal Reversal

It is with a heavy heart that I write this entry.  Despite the fact that my hubby and I were using birth control, and despite the fact that we were done having kids, I found out in April that we conceived.  It was a surprise for both of us, as we had been very careful.  I kept saying to my hubby, "I don't understand.....how could this have happened?"  Well, of course, I know how it happened.  But I had been charting and knew when I ovulated.  And although I was shocked and surprised, I was also a little giddy.  This meant that my reversal surgery worked.  Really, worked. Wow.

The initial shock then turned into a scare as I was feeling some pain in my side and knew that ectopic pregnancy could be possible.  So off I went for blood tests and an ultrasound.  Tests showed hcg levels rising appropriately which led my gyno to believe that it was not a tubal pregnancy.  This was exciting until the ultrasound showed that the gestational sac was very small for the date.  She told me that she didn't think that this was a viable pregnancy.  I was disappointed.  I was to come back the following week for one more ultrasound and more blood work.  She was concerned that what we were seeing on the ultrasound was a pseudo sac and that there could possibly be something in one of the tubes.  She then reassured (sarcasm) me that women who get pregnant after a reversal almost never carry to term.  :(

The following week found increasing hcg levels and an ultrasound that showed everything perfect for a 6w1d pregnancy.  I was once again excited.

Unfortunately, two weeks later the ultrasound showed no growth.  I was told to wait for a miscarriage.  On June 8th, 2011, I lost my fifth pregnancy.  It hit me as a bigger loss than I expected.  I cried for days while my husband held me tightly in his arms, telling me that it wasn't meant to be.  I continue to carry such a feeling of remorse that I couldn't have maintained the pregnancy.  I felt like it was all my fault because I had the tubal ligation that messed with natures design of my body.  And even though I am repaired and feel so much better, I am obviously not well enough to have the hormones to maintain a pregnancy.  I know that this could have happened pre TL, when I was younger.  I know miscarriage is common.  I just have such a sense of regret for ever having the tubal ligation in the first place, that I have tied it together with the lost of this baby.  So, now I wait for relief.  I know that I will never "get over" this.  Time heals all wounds, but this baby, who lived under my heart for a short while will live in my heart forever.

So, going with my gut feeling that it was a boy, I have named him William Marshall.  Some people think that it is stupid to name a pregnancy that you only carried for 8 weeks.  But it makes me feel better to name him, and some how brings me a little sense of peace to call him by name instead of "the pregnancy".  I wasn't even given an ultrasound photo, but I took the above photo when I was told I would most likely miscarry.  I wanted at least one photo with him inside of me.

It is my hope that, with prayer, some of my pain will be released.  I don't know what the future will bring for me.  I assume that we will go back to saying we are done with building our family.  I now think of myself as a mom of 5.  I think it's fair to count him.  He was mine, after all.  And technically I did give birth to him, just way too early.  It is just very hard thing to go through emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  So, blessings to you all, and if you could say a little prayer for me too, it would be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All Tied Up: Selling Sterilization

Here is an article that I wrote for Associated Content.  Thought I would share it with everyone.

Over 43 million women in the U.S. today are using contraception, 27% of those rely on surgical sterilization as a permanent form of birth control. Many women are sold on this procedure by their gynecologists, girlfriends, family or are simply pressured into it by a partner than feels strongly about it.   Statistics show that half of all women ages 40-44 have been sterilized.  Sterilization is pushed primarily toward women who are 35 or older, married, with two or more children, and with incomes that fall below the poverty level.  The biggest issue to face women concerning sterilization is not about choice, but rather one of informed consent, and whether or not women are being given all the information they need to make a truly informed decision.  Unfortunately, doctors often trivialize the possible complications and thereby make the side effects of tubal ligation invisible.

Brochures on sterilization misrepresent tubal ligation with subtle terms that lessen the severity of the procedure.   After all, it’s all about how it is presented. Words can have emotional connotations and the medical community does not want to scare women by using the terminology that might give light to the procedure that is actually occurring. The understatement of bodily information makes tubal ligation seem like a simple contraceptive method. It also makes women believe that it is not as invasive and physically mutilating as the operation actually is. Gynecological texts are not neutral with their language.  They accurately explain that the surgery crushes a portion of the tube and kills the tissue that surrounds it.  Medical texts discussing electro coagulation  describe the fallopian tubes as smoking, swelling, and finally popping when the tube has been damaged enough to tear away a segment. Other texts say that “complete vascular obliteration” must be assured.  In other words, cutting off the blood flow to the tissues and surrounding area.  Would women agree to surgery if the text read “crushing, smoking, swelling, popping and obliteration”?  They might stop to consider the surgery more carefully if they were fully aware that cutting off blood flow to the ovaries is nothing less than female castration. 

Most brochures give a brief explanation of reproduction followed by a very basic description of the surgery. Words such as “closed”, “blocked”, “clamped” or “tied”, make it sound like reversing it would be as easy as “unblocking”, “unclamping” and “untying”.  Some doctors even promote certain types of tubal ligation as more “reversible” than others.  The current worst offender is the Filshie Clip, made by Cooper Surgical, that promotes in their patient literature that, “Reversal of Sterilization is Possible!”  Yet these clips work not only by blocking the tubes, but by causing inflammation and scar tissue that could likely make any hope for reversal impossible.  Just the discussion of reversal by a doctor, or in a pamphlet makes women disregard the permanence of the procedure and sets up the idea that the operation is semi-permanent. 

Sterilization reversal, or tubal reversal, is not a simple procedure, but requires major surgery by someone who is skilled in microsurgical repair of the fallopian tubes.  Studies show that over 25% of women who chose sterilization would like to have a reversal.  The actual numbers of reversal, however, are about ten percent of all tubal ligations.  The lower numbers of tubal reversal reflect both the cost and the difficulty.  Even if the reversal is a success, most women still have to use fertility treatments to become pregnant due to reduced ovarian function.  A study in 1994 (Hakverdi) showed ovarian deficiency after 12 months in 60% of women, and 30% stopped ovulating all together.  So even though tubes can be opened, hormonal deficiencies keep the ovaries from making eggs and generally reduce any possibility of pregnancy. 

The seriousness of tubal ligation is also negated in the literature.  Laparoscopic sterilization is sold as “quick”, “simple” and a “band aid” operation.  After all, if it only requires a band aid on the outside, it must be no big deal right?  Depending on the technique used, between 800 and 2,000 women out of every 100,000 will have a major complication at the time of the operation, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But the safety of sterilization is measured by how many women are subsequently admitted to the hospital for complications after the procedure.  What gets swept under the rug are women who end up at the gynecologist office complaining of pain, discomfort and menstrual problems.  These problems go unrecorded and are often dismissed as minor.  Women are left to deal with the effects of their sterilization on their own.  They are told the side effects are all in their heads, and are offered birth control pills and anti depressants to “deal with” their symptoms.  This silences the collective voices of women’s experiences of pain and discomfort and allows sterilization to be continually seen as a safe and simple procedure.

There are many documented side effects of having a tubal ligation and these have become know collectively as Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome:

1)      40%  more menstrual blood loss (Lawson, Cole, Templeton, 1975)
2)      Pelvic pain, especially with clip and ring methods (Lawson, Cole and Templeton, 1975)
3)      40% increase in irregular menstrual patterns (Tappan, 1973)
4)      Ovarian dysfunction (Alvarez-Sanchez, 1981)
5)      Lower progesterone levels (Sumiala, Tuominen, 1986)
6)      Early onset menopause due to damaged ovarian blood flow (Alvarez-Sanchez, 1981)
7)      3-4 times more likely to need a hysterectomy, and that doubled for women who were under 25 years when sterilized (Shy, 1992)
8)      Mood disorders and depression caused by hormonal imbalance; increase in suicidal thoughts (Wyshake, 2004)
9)      Loss of libido, or sex drive in 44% of women (Philliber, Philliber, 1985)
10)   Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy to 7% or more compared to 1% of the population.
11)   Bladder or bowel puncture, or other tissue damage during procedure. (Harlap and Kost, 1991)
12)   49% suffer heavy periods and 35% suffer more menstrual cramping (Wilcox, 1990)
13)   Risk of cervical cancer at 3.5 times the normal rate (Wilcox, 1990)
14)   Increased risk of spinal fractures and osteoporosis (Wyshak, 2005)
15)   Lowered milk supply if done during the post partum period (Vytiska, 1989)
16)   Hot flashes, Night sweats, and flushing (Wyshak, 2004)
17)   Lower abdominal pain experienced by 35% of women (Smith, Lyons, 2010)

These are just the effects that are currently documented.  Women suffering from PTLS have a much longer list of symptoms than have not been studied in the medical community.  What is concerning is that many of these side effects have been know since 1975, and yet are still discounted by the medical community.

How can women give a truly informed consent when doctors are still perpetuating a mythical account of sterilization as a quick, easy, simple, procedure that enhances sex drive?  The pain and discomfort from this procedure is so downplayed that women are often caught off guard, and are left feeling scared, confused and angry that they were not told how much damage was going to be caused to their health.

Sterilization is sold to women by playing on the fear of pregnancy, and encouraging them to alter their bodies to “protect” themselves.  They are told that by removing the threat of pregnancy that they will enhance their sex lives.  But sterilization does not remove tiny children needing your care, nor does it make up for the exhaustion from working all day, nor will it improve an existing relationship.  Many studies have looked at sexual satisfaction in terms of frequency.  The implication is that more sex means better sex, but from a woman’s point of view this may not be so.  44% of women experience decreased sexual desire after tubal ligation. (Phillber and Philliber, 1985) Since many women experience heavy and prolonged bleeding, and/or abdominal pain, this can put a serious stop to the uninhibited sex that they were promised.  Many women can’t even get help from their doctors until they tell them that the pain and bleeding is ruining their sex life.

If you are considering sterilization for yourself, or discussing it with your partner, please take into consideration the possible ramifications that the surgery will have.  The fallopian tubes are not just “tubes” but a hormonal conduit between the ovaries and the uterus that can greatly alter a woman’s physiology if damaged.  The potential for mental and psychological side effects are much greater than is explained by doctors and literature.  Consider all of your options of reversible contraception before making a body altering decision that could result in irreversible damage.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Great Sperm Race

Ok, let me just say that I think this is the coolest video.  There are six parts to this series on You Tube and it takes about twenty minutes to watch them all.  It really reinforces how very special each and every one of us are.  We are after all, the winners!

The Great Sperm Race

Mellow with Magnesium

I found out an interesting fact that magnesium is thought to keep the fallopian tubes relaxed, facilitating the travel of sperm to meet the egg.  It also can calm the uterus which encourages implantation.  The suggested dosage to get this effect is 750 mg daily.  This is an easy and safe addition to add to your supplements if you are trying to conceive after a reversal.  It also makes me wonder if it wouldn't help with pain after having your tubes tied since the fallopian tubes are muscular structures.  Maybe relieving some of the tension will help to relieve the pain.  You can also find magnesium in seaweed, cacao, leafy greens, nuts and seeds.   Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh where, oh where did my progesterone go? Tubal ligation and Low Progesterone...

After I had my tubal, I had a huge, no HUGE, hormonal upset.  My body freaked out.  I didn't understand it at the time, I thought I was going crazy.  But the reality was I was in hormone shock.  My progesterone levels had fallen and they couldn't get up.  The only "life alert" button my body had was to make me feel with full intensity that SOMETHING was WRONG that needed my full and complete attention NOW.  It was on the advice of a kind women on a message board that I tried natural progesterone cream.  Desperate, I bought the first cream that I found without looking anything else up.  I didn't have time.  I was drowning in hormonal imbalance, and I needed air (progesterone) fast.

The cream did seem to help me a little bit.  Then, I wanted to know why.  Research shows that when we are pregnant, progesterone increases up to 300% of our usual levels.  It is one of the hormones that help us maintain the pregnancy.  Then, after birth we have a sudden drop in our hormones, and it is that drop that ultimately causes those darn baby blues.   Once our hormone levels stabilize, we begin to feel more like our old selves.  Now, imagine having the baby blues that never go away.  It could be depression, but it could also be a sign that you are deficient in progesterone.  Many research studies show that women who have a tubal ligation will have decreased rates of progesterone production.  For some women this takes a year or more to stabilize, although never reaching their pre-sterilization levels.  Usually, they end up with only one third of the production that they used to have.  This has to do with the changes in blood flow to the ovaries.

Progesterone can help:
  • Protect against breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
  • Normalizes libido
  • Helps stop hair loss, and encourages regrowth
  • Improves new bone formation
  • Restores normal sleep patterns
  • Helps thyroid function
  • Relieves PMS
Progesterone works primarily by being the opposition to excess estrogen.  It helps to maintain the balance within the body.  And anyone who has had a tubal and is suffering from it with PTLS knows that you feel out of balance.  Many of the excess estrogen symptoms are the same as the list of PTLS symptoms.  Now, I am not saying that all everyone needs is some natural progesterone.  While it did help me with some of my symptoms, it really just made them easier to manage.  It didn't take them away.  At that point in my life, I was willing to take any help that I could get, and any relief was appreciated.  

Here is a link to the product that is reputable:

And if you would like it pre measured for you...

Please keep in mind, that I don't have stock in this company.  I am not trying to sell you anything.  I just want to let those of you know, who are waiting for a reversal and suffering, that this can help ease some of the problems that women encounter with a tubal ligation.  Ultimately, what helped me was my tubal reversal.  I am in awe at how good I feel.  And I am now making more progesterone again, but I still keep the cream on hand after finding out the benefits of having a balanced estrogen / progesterone ratio.  A great book to read is What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by John R. Lee.
 I found out so much information in this book that really pertained to the hormonal issues that I was suffering with the TL.  It is written for those who are 30-50 years old, but it would be an interesting read for those of you who are younger.  I found my copy at the local library.  It is worth a read if you have the time.  Hope you all have a wonderful, hormonally balanced day.  Blessings :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hello Out There?? Anyone with Filshie Clips??

Hi everyone.  I am hoping that some of you can help me out.  I am looking for those of you who have or had filshie clips used in your tubal ligation.  I am in the process of writing an article that I hope to persuade a more main stream magazine to run.  I am looking for your experience with filshie clips, if you feel they caused you pain, if you got them without knowing that was what they were using, or if your clips fell off and/or migrated to another part of your body.  Basically, I am looking for any experience with the filshie clips, good or bad.  It is my sincere desire to get the word out about PTLS and about the misinformation about sterilization.  Please help me by relaying your experiences and thoughts on the subject.  Thank you for your help!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Thoughts

I had a wonderful Easter and I hope that everyone else did too.  I enjoyed so many things about this Easter break that I was unable to enjoy last year.  To be honest, I don't even remember much from last year.  But this year was different.  I was back to being present in my children's lives.  We must have dyed eggs last year, but I don't remember doing so.  There are no pictures.  I know that this year is the first year that my three year old was able to dye them.  I know that sounds crazy, but he is allergic to eggs, and this was the first year that he was able to touch them without having a reaction.  When he dunked his egg into the dye and it came out blue, he was wide eyed and said, "It's a miracle!"  I was so happy to be there when he got to experience the shock and excitement of dying an egg blue.  It felt like a miracle to me too, but for such a different reason.  Last year at this time, I was in such a mess both physically and emotionally.  I felt as if my world had come undone.  I was Humpty Dumpty, who was broken and could never be put back together again.  I do remember crying my eyes out last Easter after a big family celebration.  I remember feeling sadder than sad.  And then in the middle of my meltdown, we had a good sized earthquake.  That's all.  I don't remember dying eggs, or hunting for them.  I didn't go to church, or dress the kids up.  I don't remember the kids at all.  It's like my mind erased them.  Creepy really.  But this year was different.  All fun, smiles, and joy.  Just the way that life should be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Re-Birthday to Me!


My tubal reversal date fell exactly 6 months after my real birthday.  On my original birthday I was given life, thanks to God and my Mom.  I had a beautiful, amazing life filled with love and laughter, hope and joy.  I had the tubal ligation and all of the good I felt in my life disappeared.  And then my re-birthday came on February 18th, 2011.  I told my husband that the TR surgery was like giving birth to myself. I got the calm, happy person back that I used to be, along with the smarter and wiser person that I had to become after having the TL. The reversal was the best decision that I could have made for myself. I know I will never regret being restored to the whole and happy self that I used to be.

So, in honor of spring, a beautiful season of birth and renewal, I am going to celebrate my own joy at being whole.  I am going to take time off until after Easter to enjoy this religious season and ponder the implications of a God that so loved the world......

I am going to dye Easter eggs and not once worry about my own eggs or whether I am ovulating.  I am only going to worry about the temperature in the backyard, and not the temperature of my body.  I am going to enjoy everything I ingest, including peeps, and I am not going to worry that I have forgotten to take my supplements.  I am going to laugh and play and take a week to not think about any of the things that have plagued my mind for the last few years.  I am promising my family that at 3:15 when I pick up my children from school that I will not utter, or even think the words, tubal, ligation, reversal, ovulation, ptls, or even the word hormone.  They are all out of my vocabulary at least for the next 8 days or so.  I am choosing instead to focus my time and energy on the many miracles in my life.  And while I'm at it I might just have a chocolate bunny or two.....

Blessing to all.  Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Second Chance at Motherhood

It's not often in life that we get a chance to be able to right something we consider is wrong.  Most mistakes we make we just have to learn from, and then pick ourselves up and move on.  I, like most women understood the permanence of the tubal ligation when I signed the form.  I didn't sign it thinking that it would do for now, until I was ready to "untie" the tubes and have another child.  Sadly, some doctors are promoting certain types of ligation as "more reversible" than others.  This sets up the idea that the tubal ligation isn't permanent.  And for some this may be true.  It all depends on how the original ligation was performed, and how much damage has been caused.

For many women, tubal reversal surgery is that second chance at motherhood they were hoping for.  The chance to right the wrong.  None of us know what life can bring us, and for many this means new loves, more money, or a safer situation.  I totally understand the desire to have a child ( or another) with the love of your life.  That longing to feel another life growing and moving inside of you is intense.  It's just that's not why I had my reversal.  I actually already had my shot at a second chance.

When my husband and I were first married we enjoyed each others company.  We waited for five years before having our first child.  Two years later, the second one followed.  It was honestly all a blur.  The first two were both girls, and life was easy, sharing clothes and shoes.  We had both agreed to two kiddos when we were married, so after two were born, it was assumed we were done.  I was sad that it was over so quickly.  Boom.   Just like that.  Pregnant, pregnant, Done!  But I was exhausted and I rationalized that this was all I could ever handle.  I considered permanent measures then because I couldn't imagine having any energy for more children, and I also couldn't foresee a future with a bigger house or more money.  I guess I thought that life would just pretty much stay the same.  But deep down, I knew I wasn't ready for anything permanent.

So many things changed over the course of the years.  My hubby began making more money.  We sold the house we had been renovating for far more of a profit than we had ever thought imaginable thanks to an outrageously booming economy.  We moved on up, so to speak.  At this point both of my girls were in school and I went back to work teaching.  I had a new appreciation for my ability to handle children.  After all, if I could handle a class of 25 kindergartners, couldn't I handle three children of my own?   The biological clock began to tick, and then tock, and then when I continued to ignore it,  it started to gong.  I begged my husband for another child.  I knew that the third would be a boy, and I wanted the experience of raising a son.  My loving husband finally gave in, and we conceived our son.  He was ten years younger than the first and eight years younger than the second.  I felt fabulous.  I felt complete.  I now had everything I could have wanted from life.  I always pictured myself with three kids, and now they were all accounted for.  In my mind, this was my second chance.  My chance to experience the joys of pregnancy again.  My second pregnancy was a blur since I was still taking care of a baby while being pregnant with the second.  But for my third pregnancy I paid attention.  I knew it would be my last.  I noted every detail, every joy, every pain, every test, every little thing.  I felt outrageously blessed. 

Not long after my son turned 18 months, I found out I was pregnant again.  You would have thought that I would have been elated.  But I wasn't.  All of those memories of trying to take care of two little ones in diapers flooded my brain.  I cried.  I wanted to be the best mom I could be to my son.  I wanted to give him all the attention he deserved.  But as soon as I saw the fourth baby on the ultrasound, flipping and flopping around everything changed.  It was too early to tell the sex, but I knew she was a girl.  I was in love.  When we found out for sure that we were having a daughter I think I was momentarily disappointed because I thought of how fun it would be for my son to have a brother to run around with.  But at the same time I was so relieved.  Boys, in my opinion, are hard work.  So much more active than girls.  I knew for sure at that point this would be my last pregnancy.  Four was a big family, and four was enough.  And for goodness sake, my uterus was damn tired.  It was after all, 39 years old. 

So, now I have started all over again.  Two small children, diapers, potty training, sippy cups, baby locks, and all of the other things that I never thought I would need again.  I love it.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  When I just had my girls, I was a little jealous of my friends who had one of each sex.  Now, I get to know what that life is like.  When people see us together, they automatically assume that either my husband or  I have remarried.  The first two look so much like him, so they assume that they are his girls, and the last two are our children.  I understand the assumption because there is a ten year gap between the first and the third, and the second and the fourth.  I like to joke with people that it is my second family with my first husband. 
In all honesty, it is kind of like having the experience of three families.  The first family had two girls, the second had four kids, and because my oldest will graduate high school before the youngest will start kindergarten, the third family will be back to two kids, only this time one of each.  Pretty cool.  A three-fer-one. 

So, please understand when  you ask if I had the reversal to have more children, the answer is no.  I am so happy with my family.  I had the reversal to get back the one family member that was missing: ME.  The tubal ligation took me away from my babies.  It took me away from my husband.  It robbed me of my sanity, my hope, my joy.  Ptls sucks in so many ways.  But, in a way I did get to have a second chance at motherhood.  It was having the ability to give my last baby a chance to know the real me.  The one without intense anxiety, the one who didn't cry all the time, the one who could take pleasure in her beautiful smile.  So, I did give birth again.  I just gave birth to the new me.  Mom 2.0, Smarter, Wiser, and Pain Free!  It's just the second chance I needed.

It is my sincere prayer that every woman who wants to have a reversal will have the means to do so.  I hope that all of you have the chance to give birth again, whether it is to a new soul, or to a new pain free version of yourself.  And for those of you who are pregnant right now after a reversal, an extra sprinkling of sticky baby dust to you.  Blessings to all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peace, Love and Understanding

I have to give a big pat on the back to my husband.  He is a wonderful man, a loving father and husband.  He has been my biggest support through thick and thin, for better and for worse.  The aftermath of my tubal ligation definitely falls under the "for worse" category.  Neither one of us was prepared for what was to lie ahead in our lives.  I know there were times when he was truly concerned that I had gone off the deep end.  (In truth, I thought I HAD gone off the deep end)  He couldn't understand what I was going through at first. I couldn't understand why he didn't care. He thought it was just pregnancy hormones, that when I stopped breastfeeding that my anxiety and depression would stop.  He thought I needed time to heal, that the damage had already been done.  He held the family together, while I fell apart.  He tried to understand, and once I began to explain to him that I wasn't the only one who was effected by a tubal ligation he came to realize that there was a problem.  He worked hard to pay for tests we couldn't afford.  He held me when I shook and cried.  He put his arms around me when I needed it, and would tell me it was going to be ok. 

When I realized that I had filshie clips inside of me, it sealed the deal for a tubal reversal in my mind.  I didn't want anything foreign in me, and he didn't like the idea of me having them inside anymore then I did.  He did everything in his power to make the reversal happen for me.  He was the first person I laid my eyes on when I woke up from reversal surgery, and I knew that not only was this ordeal over for me, but it was over for him as well.  He took awesome care of me after surgery, and has been loving every step of the way.

Now, it is my husband who tells others not to have their tubes tied.  He was recently working with a pregnant woman who commented that after her second child was born that she was having a tubal.  He told her what happened to me, told her to look up Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome, and how we just spent our tax return on my tubal reversal surgery.  She of course had never heard of any complications before.  I felt such a swell of pride and love for my husband as he told me this story.  Nobody warned me, or tried to save me.  I so wish someone had.  But maybe, just maybe, his words gave her pause enough to look up PTLS and decide whether it was worth the risk.  He may have just saved this woman a lot of pain and heartache.  He may have just ensured that her children will have the loving, happy mom they were meant to have.  And he also may have saved a marriage that might not have been strong enough to withstand the horrors that PTLS can bring.

So, I am proud of my husband for trying to save another woman from the pain that I have been through.  Thankful that he was the one understanding soul, that recognized a part of me had been taken away during the tubal ligation.  And so very grateful to him, for working so hard to make sure we had enough money for my tubal reversal surgery.  The love that I feel for him is beyond measure.  The reversal has brought us both a sense of peace.  I wish peace and blessings for those of you who long for a tubal reversal.  I hope that your partner is as loving as mine was.  Share with him what you are going through.  It you don't tell him, he won't know. Having a loving supportive partner made all the difference to me, and it will to you too.  Blessings to all.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Let's Cut to the Chase....The Big Snip

You would not believe how many people asked me if my husband would get a vasectomy after I got my tubes reversed.  What do people think that by just being in the same room he will spontaneously impregnate me?  We have lots of running jokes about his super sperm, but really, vasectomy is going way too far.  And in case you didn't know, vasectomy is as hard on a man as tubal ligation is for a woman.  I won't go into details here, but men have Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome.  It is very real and causes extreme pain and suffering.  Oddly enough, when they go to the doctor they are also told that it is "all in their heads".   It also changes their hormone levels, and testosterone drops off for the first year.  Many will go on to have issues with erectile dysfunction.  And half of all men who have a vasectomy never tell others because of feeling embarrassed and ashamed of having it done. So, if you are suffering from PTLS and are encouraging others to avoid tubal ligation, don't imply that their hubby should be the one to get the big snip.  Many men are pressured into vasectomy and are told to "man up" or "take one for the team".  Reality is our bodies are intricate and incredible.  They work best when all of the systems are working and that includes our reproductive organs.  Even those of us in long term relationships could do well to learn barrier methods and natural family planning.  Don't fix what isn't broke.  That's my motto from now on!

Take a look at:

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Tubal Reversal Surgery

I want to tell you what my tubal reversal surgery was like because most women are interested in what the surgery entails, and how much pain is involved as well as healing time. 

My reversal was scheduled on a Friday. The office was three hours away and my husband and I drove up a little early to check into the hotel and find our way around.  I had to be there the day before for a pre op appointment.  If I had lived closer, I could have come to that appointment ahead of time.  The doctor had me do some blood work, and then he did a vaginal ultrasound.  He made sure that everything looked ok, and that there would be no major surprises when he got inside the next day.  It was actually a really neat appointment.  He did the ultrasound on a big screen and I was able to see my uterus and ovaries in a way that I have never seen before.  You could even see the follicles on my ovaries.  Pretty cool if you ask me.  The doctor discussed the surgery with me, and answered all of my questions.  I told him that I was so excited to get this done, and he said, "I am so excited to do it for you."  I could tell he genuinely meant it.  Every one in the office seemed liked they loved their jobs.  And why shouldn't they?  They are helping women to create an new life, or at least make them feel like they are getting their life back.

The next day I had to arrive at an outpatient surgery center at 6am.  We stayed in a hotel just down the street so we were just minutes away.  I was so excited, but not really nervous because the doctor was so calm and reassuring at the pre op appointment.  They checked me in, and my hubby helped me get into a gown and into a hospital bed.  The nurse took my temperature, and blood pressure.  She started me on an antibiotic IV drip.  The next to come in was the anesthesiologist.  He asked a few questions and noted that I seemed really relaxed.  Everyone was there early and so surgery started a little earlier than my original 7:30 am scheduled time. 

Everyone seemed so happy and relaxed.  It wasn't at all like my csection.  And I didn't have any concern for a baby like you do during  a surgery for birth.  The nurse and anesthesiologist wheeled me down the hall, and they joked about each others hospital bed driving abilities.  My doctor walked in immediately and noticed my hand on my right side (where I had been hurting) and said," We're going to take care of that today".  He then told the staff that they were to save my filshie clips because I wanted to keep them.  He held his hands up to his ears and joked about how I wanted to make earrings out of the clips.  I laughed.  I felt good.  Relaxed to know that everyone looked to bright and cheery.  The anesthesiologist gave me something in the IV and said it would relax me.  I laughed and told him I was already relaxed.  They had me scoot over on the operating table, and put a mask on my face and told me to breathe.  That's the last I remember.

The next thing I know, I was hearing the nurse's voice saying my husband was coming in.  She asked if I was in pain, and there was a little bit of pain.  I said so and she gave me some Demerol.  I was groggy from the general anesthesia.  Once I woke up more, they helped me get dressed.  I was a little nauseous for a few minutes from the anesthesia, but it passed.  They put me in a wheelchair, and wheeled me to the car.  We went back to the hotel, and I took a couple of vicoden and some Motrin.  I was afraid of the walk from the car to the room, but it wasn't bad as long as I went slowly.  My husband helped me get into bed.  I laid there feeling so glad that it was finally over.  So relieved that the filshie clips were out.  My husband looked over at me and told me that I looked so content.  I felt content, and relieved. I watched a little bit of TV, and I was so hungry.  Even though I wasn't supposed to eat anything heavy, I had a gigantic sandwich!  I wasn't in hardly any pain, I could move around much better than after the csection.  It was really more of a soreness, kind of like you had been hit in the abdomen.  I was so surprised at how well I could move.  But here's the best part - the pain that I had lived with for 14 months, the pain that I felt even through pain killers and pain injections, was finally gone.  The reversal was the best choice that I could have made for myself.

The next day the doctor met me back at his office (on a sat!) so that I wouldn't have to come back for a post op visit.  We went over everything, and he said that the surgery went great.  Both tubes were open, he didn't find any surprises.  He gave me a little baggie with my filshie clips inside.  I was great to see them because then I knew for sure they were out!  My doctor said that I needed to avoid lifting anything over 15 pounds for 4 weeks, that I could have sex again at 2 weeks (if I felt up to it), and to just generally take it easy for the next couple of weeks.  He had me take an extra vicoden for the ride home so that I would stay comfortable.

We drove home and I wasn't in any pain.  I'm sure I would have been sore if it wasn't for the medication, but the pain pills kept me more than comfortable.  That being said, I was glad to be home, to crawl in my own bed and take a nap.  I slept for about 6 hours or so after arriving home, got up had some dinner and a shower and went back to bed.  The next week went by pretty fast.  I did nap a lot, and continued to take the pain meds, but around day 5 I just went to Motrin only.  By day 7, I was in the grocery store shopping for food, but others carried the bags to the car, and into the house.  By day 10 I felt fantastic! 

Right around this point I had signs of ovulation, and for the first time I didn't need to curl up in a ball and cry.  It was great.  A couple of weeks later I started my period, with no cramps, no heavy bleeding.  It was a normal cycle 4 days long.  I was so thrilled.  No more 10 day long heavy periods!  The only thing I noticed was that when I first started there was a little bit of burning pain equal on both sides right where I imagine my tubes were put back together.  It only lasted a minute and then it was gone.  A little weird, but that was right as I was starting, and maybe it was caused by a uterine contraction or something. 

A couple of days ago was the 6 week mark for me.  I still feel good.  My incision looks like I got a little scratch, I'm pain free, and I get to have great sex with the hubby again.  The anxiety is gone.  I have taken the kids to the park, and out for walks.  My sixth grader just went to camp this morning and that would have sent me into a panic attack a couple of months ago.  But now I know she'll have fun.  No worries.  All in all, it was a much easier experience than I had anticipated.  If you are considering having tubal reversal surgery, I wouldn't be worried about it too much.  Find a doctor you are comfortable with, who is experienced with the micro surgical repair of the fallopian tubes, and go for it!  I'm so glad I did. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Filshie Clips are a Pain in the Tubes!

Ok, so I want to talk a little bit about the type of ligation that I had, which are filshie clips.  First of all, let me say that this is my opinion, and my blog, so I'll say what I want. 

I think they suck.  I know that most TR doctors will tell you that they are the easiest to reverse.  Ok.  Score one for the filshie clips.  But do you really want a foreign object inside of you?  I didn't.  Here's my story about my filshie clips. 

When I had my tubal ligation done, I was adamant that I didn't want anything left inside of me.  My tubes were supposed to be done by the pomeroy method.  (See types of ligations page)  What I got instead were filshie clips.  These, in my humble opinion, are the dumbest idea anyone could have come up with.  These clips are made from titanium and they have a silicone lining. They are roughly a half an inch long and an eighth of an inch wide. 

This is probably closer than you would ever want to see them.  But now you know what they look like.

Fishie Clips are put on laproscopically, or during the time of a csection delivery.  They are honored as the gold standard because they are quick and efficient.  There's just one tiny problem with them.   They hurt.  Our insides were meant to be soft and fluid.  Our organs move as we move, swaying gently.  These clips are now left inside, on our fallopian tubes, next to our uterus where they poke and prod and cause pain.  Anyone who says that this is impossible probably has a penis, or at least doesn't have clips.  Many doctors have gone so far to say that women only feel pain from the filshie clips, because they know that they are there.  It is another version of the "its all in your head" song that women hear about PTLS.  But I didn't know they were there.  I found myself in intense pain, especially on my right side.  It started immediately as the pain meds began to wear off in the recovery room.  I was worried that a stitch had come off, or that something else other than my tube was  burnt.  I asked and was told that was not possible.  (But not why that was not possible)

So, my life moved on and I waited for my pain to stop, but it didn't.  It throbbed where the clips were, not so much on the left, but horribly on the right.  It would actually swell up on the right side and it would look like I had a marble under my skin.  I was so afraid that I was living with an untreated infection.  I did the responsible thing and went back to the doctor.  (See My Story of PTLS)  When I finally found out I had the clips it all made sense to me.  It totally felt like I had a foreign object inside of me.  When you pressed on that point I would scream out.  It hurt to sit, to walk, to carry my children.  It hurt to sleep on the right side (which was my favorite spot), and worst of all, it hurt during sex.  The whole point in having my tubes tied was for the sex.  (Just being honest!)  The only time it didn't hurt was when I laid flat on my back.  At night my husband didn't get the wife who wanted sex, he got the wife who wanted to lay still with an icepack on her abdomen. 

Once I found out about the filshie clips from obtaining my operative report, I began to tell my doctors that I thought they were causing my pain.  The second gyno said that it was a common complaint of those that had filshie clips and she would be glad to take out my fallopian tubes.  What???  I wasn't really into curing my pain by causing more damage.  So I turned back to the internet, and to the CHTR website (see my list of doctors) and found so many other women who had the clips and had the same pain.  (They also had ptls, but right now I am just focusing on the pain.)

So, its not just me.  Here's what other women have said:

I am 30 yrs old, a mother of 3; ages 10, 3, and 18 months.  Six weeks after the birth of my third child I had a bilateral tubal occlusion with filshie clips done.  This was April of '09.  I started having pain immediately following the surgery.  It felt like my ovaries were going to burst all the time and that my tubes were being squeezed.   I had the filshie clips removed 10 days ago and in less than 24 hours I noticed a big difference.  I think my body was trying to fight the clips.  For the last 10 months or so I have been waking up with my whole body in pain.  It got worse and worse.  It was getting to be a struggle to get out of bed every day because of the achiness.  EVERY DAY I felt like I had been hit by a bus the day before.  My legs hurt, joints ached, and just felt terrible in general.  I also run about 4 miles a day.  I thought the achiness was either from running or just getting older.  Well the day after my surgery I woke up feeling perfectly fine.  It never even crossed my mind until then that those clips were causing my body to hurt.  As I said, I am ten days post op and have not felt the slightest bit achy since.  How weird is that?

Or how about this one:

  I had a tubal done in August of 2006 and started having mysterious pelvic, abdominal, rib/back pain that continued to worsen.  (I did not know that filshie clips were used in my tubal procedure). The mysterious pain went on for years...because the drs just could not figure out why I had pain they suggested that I have my gall bladder removed - which I did in Feb 2009 (even though I did not have stones and I passed every test/scan).  I continued to go downhill all of last year, and by November I was laying down at every chance.  I went to a number of drs who came up with all kids of ideas: they thought I had nerve pain "left over" from the gall bladder operation, or fibromyalgia, or depression, or IBS and I kept telling all of them NONE of those things "fit".  I finally found a dr who was willing to listen to me and was willing to do surgery to take a look around.  She took out the clips and I no longer have pelvic pain or rib pain!! Those clips were rubbing on my abdominal wall and there is no doubt my body was NOT happy.  I would have never approved ANYTHING being left in me (knotting and cauterizing the tubes was plenty sufficient!)  I have lost a lot of faith in drs and health care in this process, not to mention thousands of dollars in co-pays to reach out of pocket maximums!  Had I been given a CHOICE or warned about the use of them, I might not have spend the last 4 years of my life struggling with pain and fatigue!  

Or this one:

I had the filshie clips put on approx. 2 years ago. Since then I have had constant pain in my lower right and left hand side below my navel and constant bloating. An ultrasound proved nothing was wrong. I then had bleeding in between my menstrual cycle. My gyno decided to do exploratory surgery. It was found that the clips had caused massive adhesions and they were removed at once. Now three days after the surgery I have never felt better. To say the problem is rare, I dont know after reading through the posts it seems to be a bit of a regular occurrence???? Maybe more studies need to be conducted after all.  I now have been recommended to have a hysterectomy due to the damage that has been done.

So, see it's not just me!  Actually you can find so many posts if you look up the search "filshie clips and pain" or "filshie clip removal".  The biggest problem is the pain is in addition to the suffering caused by PTLS.  If I had just had pain from the filshie clips, I would have sought a reversal.  If I just had the symptoms of PTLS, then I would have had the reversal.  But the two combined made me want to die.  And to go to the doctor and have them tell you that it is all in your head is so incredibly wrong. 

The last thing I want to tell you about filshie clips is that they migrate.  Yes, that means move.  Apparently, after the tissue in the clip dies, the clip can come loose and float or migrate around the body.  We are told that this is OK because they are designed to stay in the body indefinitely.  I don't know about you, but for someone who didn't want clips in the first place, I really don't want them if they are going to move around.    Here, see for yourself:

Figure 1

Notice there are two clips on the left hand side of the pelvis.  Hmmmm.....shouldn't there be one on the left, and one on the right?  Not if the right one fell off and is floating around.  There have been other reports of women who had filshie clips come out of their vagina, anus, or end up in their bladder, stomach, spleen or appendix.  That doesn't sound like fun.  My gyno admitted that the last time she did a hysterectomy, the woman had a filshie clip embedded in the side of her uterus.  Hmmmm....could that have caused pain?  It is estimated that this type of migration occurs in 25% of patients.  And doctors who perform tubal reversals say that one or more clips are missing roughly 30% of the time.  Don't you think that women should be told this information before agreeing to filshie clip sterilization?  (I will provide a link at the bottom if you want to read my source) 

So, today as I sit here and type this I can't help but be grateful that the doctor was able to find both of my clips.  I even got to keep them.  You would be amazed at how big they are in your hands, and how rough they are to the touch.  I am so glad to be rid of the pain in my side as well as my ptls symptoms.  If you have filshie clips and are considering removing them due to pain, then I say go for it.  You'll feel better.  I do!

Link to Filshie Clip Migration Info

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breastfeeding and Tubal Reversal

Ok, so I know you are reading the title and you are thinking, don't you mean breastfeeding and tubal ligation?  Nope.  Here's my story, it's a little weird, but true. (And pretty amazing to me!)

I gave birth to my daughter in December of 2009.  She is my fourth and I had breastfed all of the others with no problem what so ever.  If there was a problem, it was that I had more milk then my babies could possibly handle, and I always had to have pads in my bra.  My husband's running joke was that I wanted to feed not only our baby, but all of the hungry babies in the world.  Sometimes it was uncomfortable, but I liked knowing I could pump out a large bottle on a moments notice.  And I loved that I didn't have to buy formula.  And then the fourth was born by c-section, and I had the tubal done. 

The fourth was a hungry little baby.  A natural nurser straight away, she nursed, and nursed, and nursed.  I waited for the milk to come in, and when it did, it was shocking.  There really wasn't hardly any milk to be had.  Here I had this baby attached to my boobs constantly since birth, and there wasn't much milk.  It didn't make any sense.  The baby was checked to make sure she was sucking properly, the lactation consultant gave me the "new mom" breastfeeding speech, and my ob said that sometimes this happens.  Where were my gigantic porn star boobs filled with milk??? What happened??? My baby loved to nurse, but what little bit of milk we could get out of my breasts was not enough to fill her tummy.  I supplemented with herbs to increase milk supply and it helped very little.  But I continued to nurse, but had to follow each feeding with a bottle.  This went on for many months and my husband, ever so patient, continued to buy formula and would make sure our daughter was full with a bottle.   The fact that I couldn't even fill my daughters tummy just added to the depression that I felt over all of the other symptoms of the TL.  Yet, I didn't link it to the TL at first.  I thought maybe it had to do with having the csection, thinking major surgery might put a damper on making milk.  I asked God to just help me continue to have that close bonding time with my daughter even though I wasn't fully feeding her.  I later found information that a medical study proved that milk supply is reduced if a tubal is done after birth.  Just another thing that PTLS took away from me.

Long story short, I became snack food.  Never enough for a feed, but enough for comforting, for holding over until we got home to a bottle.  She didn't particularly love formula.  She didn't gain the same amount of weight that her siblings did.  But she loved to nurse.  I was her pacifier in the middle of the night.  Her comfort when she was sad or tired.  By the time she was 10 months old we were down to just occasionally nursing at night before bed.  She enjoyed just a few moments before being laid in the crib.  But not every night. I assumed that there must have been a few drops of milk to be had or else she would give up nursing entirely. 

At this point my tubal reversal was in the works, and my cycle was crazy and couldn't be counted on.  My doc likes to do the reversal on days 7-11 of  the cycle, so in order to plan he put me on monophasic birth control pills (estrogen).   I had told him about the breastfeeding issues when we talked about my PTLS symptoms.  He said that if there was any little bit on milk left it would dry up with the BC pills.  I do think my daughter noticed because she became disappointed when she did occasionally try to nurse.  Even the few drops she got were gone.  I figured that was ok since she was about to hit a year, and it wasn't like I was her food source anyway. 

Fast forward to the reversal.  All went great, had the reversal on a friday, and post op appointment the following day, and I was free to make the three hour drive home with my husband.  We got home about 1pm, I curled up in bed, took a pain pill and dozed.  I woke up at 6pm, got myself out of bed, and slowly made my way down the hallway to look for my family.  When I found them my oldest daughter said, "Oh mom, you spilled something on your shirt".  I looked down and my tshirt was soaked in the front.  I reached up and touched my shirt, feeling a little drugged from the pain pills, and I realized that my breasts were hard.  They were engorged.  They were filled with milk in a way that they never had after I had given birth.  I stood there shocked, confused, and in awe.  I looked to my husband and he said, "guess your hormones are working again."  I started to laugh.  If having a tubal didn't disturb your hormones, then why did this happen after getting it reversed? At this point, my tubes had been reversed for only 36 hours!

My husband suggested putting my daughter back to the breast to see if she would nurse, and she went right back to it like no time had lapsed.  For the first time in her life, she was able to fill her tummy with milk from me.  She was now 14 months old.  We spent the next month bonding, nursing, and snuggling in a way that we never did when she was tiny.  I felt so blessed that I was given a chance to experience something so special.  It is now 6 weeks (today!) post op, I feel great, my breasts are still full of milk, and my daughter is still nursing in the morning and at night.  I will wean soon enough, but right now I am enjoying this gift I've been given.

I had to put this up for others to read because after searching on the Internet I couldn't find any instance where a mom had milk come in after a TR.  Granted, I couldn't even find an instance where a mom was looking for a TR while still breastfeeding.  I know my tubes weren't tied long, and I know that my daughter was still nursing occasionally up until a month before my surgery.  But having milk come in bigger and better than after birth, amazed and delighted me.  Others will say it's biology, but I choose to think of it as my own little miracle brought about by a caring doctor and a tubal reversal.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So this is what causes ovulation pain......

Human egg makes accidental debut on camera

A doctor about to perform a partial hysterectomy on a patient has inadvertently caught the moment of ovulation on camera. The pictures have been published in the New Scientist magazine, and will also be reproduced in Fertility and Sterility.
Observing ovulation in humans is very difficult, and previous images have been very fuzzy.  Jacques Donnez, of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, observed the process, and commented, ‘the release of the oocyte from the ovary is a crucial event in human reproduction’.
The pictures have changed the perception of human ovulation, which was thought to be an explosive affair, whereas, in reality, the process takes about 15 minutes. The follicle, a fluid-filled sac on the surface of the ovary, contains the egg. Prior to the egg’s release, enzymes are released that break down the tissue in the follicle, causing a red protrusion to appear. A hole becomes visible in the protrusion out of which an egg is released. The egg then moves to the fallopian tube, which transports it to the uterus. When the egg is released it is only about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
There are no immediate scientific findings resulting from the pictures, but they do give a greater insight into the ovulation process. Professor Alan McNeilly, of the Medical Research Council’s Human Reproductive Unit, said ‘it really is a pivotal moment in the whole process, the beginnings of life in a way’.

I also think it's funny that we women have been saying that we feel ovulation and that it is not a quick affair.  But now that they have caught it on film, they believe us.  Maybe one day they will believe us when we say that PTLS is real!  Here's hoping :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fertility Affirmation

Here is a really neat fertility affirmation.  I think it is great whether you are trying to conceive or not.  Some of us are just looking to give birth to a new version of ourselves, one without pain, one that has renewed hope for each day before us.  :)

The Golden Light for Fertility

As the Universe divides, Heaven and Earth are spontaneously manifested. 
Clear light energy becomes the Heavenly Realm
Dark, heavy energy becomes the Earthly Realm
In my being, the energy of Heaven and Earth unite.
My being is the Temple of the Universe.
I cultivate the way of storing the energies of Heaven and Earth.
My mind is the infinite Heaven.
My mind is open and peaceful, and I let all willing and beautiful spirits engage me.
My body is the vast Earth.
My body is full of vitality, nurturing and ready for life.
My ovaries are the golden sun rays, which warm up my entire pelvis.
My uterus is a rain forest, where all lives grow and perpetuate.
My uterus is a house; it is comfortable, cozy, relaxed and ready to receive.
My spirit is true.
My wishes are genuine.
May the Universe  bring comfort and peace to all lives.
May the Universe select me to carry on the spirits of mankind
By conceiving and giving birth to willing spirits
To fulfill my destiny as the Universal Mother.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What's age got to do with it...??

I am thoroughly amazed at the misinformation out there about the side effects of tubal ligation.  Many of the websites that even admit  there might be problems after getting your tubes tied clearly state that if you are older (mid to late 30's or beyond) that you will be in the "safe" area where you are not going to notice any side effects.  And if you do, it is because you are stopping the pill and you don't really know what your body can do.  All I have to say is, AGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.   I was 39 when my tubes were tied, and I had an immediate bodily reaction to having this done.  I had not been on the pill for 11 years.  I had been using natural family planning, and had conceived quickly and easily at 37 and 39.  I knew my cycle, I could set my watch by it, and it drastically changed.  I am also irritated that so many young (20's) women are having this done and being told that the side effects are just from getting older.  Those of us who made it to "older" before having this done know that what you are experiencing is not normal, and not a product of getting older. 

It is OK for any of us to decide that we are done having children.  All children should be wanted, and loved.  But if at anytime you know in your heart you are done, well then you have every right to be.  I think we all need to stand up and clearly shout to the medical community that they are selling us on a myth of a safe form of birth control that simply doesn't exist.  It causes problems in young and old. (relative terms!)  I know that I would have much rather taken the chance on having another child then put up with half of the pain and suffering that came with having my tubes done.  Our doctors need to recognize this, and give us better advice. 

One last note:  I also want to recognize that I do not want to take away any one's right to chose sterilization.  I have heard from young women who know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they NEVER want to have children.  This is their right, their choice, and their life.  I want them to be able to make that choice without having someone turn them down due to age.  But, most importantly, I want them to have ALL of the information about the side effects that could in sue.  I think that science could come up with a better way, a safer way, if we demanded loudly that was what we wished.  (Don't say Essure, it has it's own problems!) 

Blessings to ALL :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

On pins and needles....

I keep talking about how great I feel after having the tubal reversal, and I think that its because I was so surprised at how fast I felt better.  It is wonderful.  But what do you do to relieve symptoms of PTLS if you can't afford a reversal right now?  One thing that I found, which consistently helped me, was acupuncture.  I'm sure theres a handful of you out there that are really unsure about acupuncture,  so let me describe what happens at an acupuncture session.

First your acupuncturist will have you fill out a health questionnaire, just like when you go to a new doctor.  You'll tell them about your medical history, meds you're taking etc.  But here's the difference as I see it:  instead of them asking you what's wrong with you, they ask you how they can HELP you.  It really is an entirely different attitude.  Then the practitioner will take you back to a room, usually a very relaxing setting, and they will  go over your information.  Then here's the weird part for us westerners.  They will ask you to stick out your tongue.  The tongue has a strong blood flow and allows them to check on vascular problems.  Then they will feel your pulse.  Both tell them many things about the state of your health.
You will then lie on a table, face up (dressed, but your might have to lift your shirt), and they will insert needles into specific acupuncture points to help balance and align the body.  Now, I know that the needle part is what loses some people.  They are very tiny diameter needles, they are barely inserted into your skin, and most of the time you won't feel it.  When you do feel it, it is just a tiny sting for a half a second.    You are also only getting about 10 needles in at a time depending on your needs.  Each needle comes in a sterile package and is disposable and only used on you.  You might have one on your arm, leg, abdomen, etc.  They are spread out.  Then you will be left to rest and listen to some relaxing music, with dimmed lights and a heat lamp on your feet.  After about 30 minutes, you're done and the needles are removed.  It is a very relaxing experience.   I felt such relief the first time that I had it done, that I actually started laughing.  It was wonderful since it had been such a long time since I could laugh!

So, now you're probably thinking, but how do you know it works?

1) It decreased my pain level
2) I had a period, after not having one for 3 months
3) I had my hormones tested before acupuncture by coincidence due to the missing periods, after 12 sessions I had them tested again and all of my values had increased.
4) It brought me a little bit of peace.

Acupuncture isn't expensive, about $30 bucks a treatment in my area, and it's worth a shot to bring some relief if you are really suffering.    :) 

Blessing to all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting the word out...

When I had my first consultation with my tubal reversal doctor, I told him that I regretted my tubal ligation with every ounce of my being.  I spoke of it being the biggest mistake of my life, and told him clearly how miserable it had made my existence on this earth.  After listening quietly to everything I was telling him, he asked such a simple question,  "How were you talked into this procedure?  What did people say to make you think you had to be sterilized?"


Tears welled up in my eyes and I wasn't sure I could even answer him.  There were so many factors that I didn't know how to sum it all up.  And quite honestly, even I was wondering just how I was talked into something that I swore I would never do.

There were so many personal factors.  My husband and I were surprised by our 4th pregnancy.  I will never say she was an accident, because every child is a gift from God, but she was definitely unplanned.  As the months went by and the pregnancy progressed, I became more and more uncomfortable.  I had gestational diabetes, she was a big baby, and I had the belly and the backache to prove it.  My hubby started saying, "This is never happening again.  One of us is getting snipped."  I blew it off thinking that sterilization was extreme.  A permanent solution to a temporary problem.  After all, I was 38 and I figured that I didn't have too many more reproductive years left.  Family and friends also began making the push.  They would make rude comments about having four children.  I heard how I was overpopulating the earth, how there were surgeries to "fix" this kind of thing, and the ever popular "if it was me I would kill myself."  I was able to blow it off for most of the pregnancy.

And then the financial crisis hit.  My husband works in the construction industry, and work simply just disappeared.  We went through our savings, and retirement and there was a baby on the way.  He panicked
and so did I.  He pushed again for sterilization.  I finally agreed that if I had a csection I would have my tubes tied, otherwise a vaginal birth meant he was getting the snip.  When I made this agreement it was with the knowledge that I had normal vaginal births with all of my other big babies.  In my mind, it wasn't going to be me.  I never thought anything more about it. 

My doctor asked again and again at every visit, if I was ready to have my tubes tied.  Finally, eight months pregnant, and exhausted I gave in and signed the papers simply to shut him up about it.  But I was clear, and it was in my file, only with a csection, and NO foreign objects! (Rings or Clips).   He insisted that at my "advanced maternal age" that it was the way to go.  I would never notice a difference.  All the fun of sex without the worry.  And then he added, "after all, hasn't your body been through enough with four kids?  Don't you DESERVE to have your tubes tied?"  Hmm...good sales pitch.

Then another sad event really effected me.  My sister and I were pregnant at the same time.  She was carrying her third child and was so excited to be pregnant.  It had taken her years to conceive.  Unfortunately she lost the baby and it was devastating to her.  I tried to be strong, but it was devastating to me too.  I started to worry that I would lose mine as well.  I told myself that if I could just get through the pregnancy that it was probably for the best if we stopped having children.  I didn't want to experience that kind of devastating loss.  I didn't think I had it in me.  But I still wasn't set on sterilization.  There was time to think about it.  After all, he wouldn't be having it done until after the baby was born, and maybe then we would change our minds.  There was time. 

But there wasn't time.  I required a csection, and since I had signed the consent forms the doctor asked if I still wanted to have it done.  My husband smiled and nodded when the doctor asked.  I felt I had no choice.  It was our agreement.  It was probably for the best.  It wasn't what I wanted, but it was what everyone expected me to do.  I was so tired.  I couldn't think.  I had already been given something to relax me, and I agreed.  I even remember making a joke about getting a dog if I wanted more kids.  The pain relief for the csection wasn't working well and I was intermittently feeling what they were doing.  Some spots were numb, and others weren't.  It was awful.  The first moment I saw my daughter, I wanted to stop the ligation.  But I was in so much pain, and so drugged, it seemed like the blink of an eye and they were done.  They never announced that they were doing the tubal, nor did they ask me again.  It was too late.  I told myself later that I would just have to live with it.

Just days after she was born, I sat crying in the bathroom wondering how I could be so stupid to make such a horrible mistake.  I couldn't explain it to others.  There was this deep sense of hurt and loss.  But there was very real physical pain as well.  As weeks went by, I waited for the physical pain to stop.  I knew that the emotional pain was my own dragon that I had to slay.  And I started thinking again, "How did I get talked into this?" 

I went back over the literature that I was given.  It was made to seem like it was such a simple and easy procedure.  The consent form said the risk was from anesthesia, that it was permanent, and that there was a risk of ectopic pregnancy.  That's it.  I thought about what the doctor said, and how I would never notice any difference.  And yet, I had low mik supply for my baby, my hormones were insane, and I had intense anxiety that I had never had before.  Worst of all, was this horrible stabbing pain in my right ovary.  I began to look up on the Internet and read about ptls.  I felt tricked, duped, like my doc had pulled a fast one and was laughing behind my back.  If I was already feeling bad, this made things ten times worse.  No one had every mentioned the physical complications, let alone the emotional ones.  How did I get talked into this??  How stupid could I have been?? 

My husband repeatedly told me he was sorry.  He didn't know.  How was he supposed to know?  I had looked up tubal ligation on the Internet, but it said the same things that my pamphlets said.  Permanent, non hormonal, slight chance of ectopic pregnancy, freedom from birth control.  It was just the side effects that they failed to mention.  I was angry.  If anyone had mentioned any of the side effects to me I would have run for the hills.  NO way, NO how, could you have talked me into a tubal knowing what I know about them now. 

So, I began researching and found alot of really interesting information about the careful wording about sterilization, and how women are encouraged to get it done.  So, I did the only thing that I thought would make me feel better.  I wrote about it.  If I could change one woman's mind, then it will be worth all my typing!  Check out my article at associated content:


And while your at it, check out a really great blog about ptls, by someone who has also lived to tell the tale of suffering from a TL.  Thankfully, she has also had a reversal and has started a new chapter in her life! She has a great video blog that you have to check out as well.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's a Sun Shiny Day...

I woke up this morning feeling wonderful, like all is right with the world.  I hopped out of bed, made pancakes for the kids, and got the oldest two off to school.  This sounds like it might be a normal day for a mom, but it wasn't too long ago that I didn't have the energy to even think about making pancakes.  When my kids woke up and saw that I had cooked for them they seemed shocked.  PTLS robs us of so many things, but I realized today that it had also robbed my children of the loving mother that they had before I made the mistake of having the tubal done.  I used to do so many things with my kids.  I love them more than anything in this world, but I literally checked out of their lives after the tubal.  I went through the motions, but I really wasn't there for them.  I was lucky that my husband was great with kids and he took over.  He was the primary caregiver for my youngest after she was born because I was in so much pain.  She bonded with him and still prefers daddy to mommy if she has a choice of who to be with.  It was if I was an outsider in my own family.  I would watch them playing in the backyard, but I didn't want to join.  It was like part of me just wasn't there anymore.  I think one of the best things to come out of my tubal reversal is that I finally feel like I am back in my own body.  I am able to look at my kids and really see them.  I laugh at their jokes.  I am present, and I don't want to miss a thing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My story of PTLS

This is my first post one month after having tubal reversal surgery.  All I can say is how incredible I feel!  I had my tubes tied after the birth of my 4th child in December of 2009, during her csection. (Filshie Clips)  Side effects started immediately.  The first thing that I noticed was I was not making as much milk as I had with the other kids.  I  just had a child two years before and had not had any problems with milk supply.  I had actually breastfed him up to 18 months, stopped for two months and became pregnant with number 4.  But this baby had to have bottles to supplement with, despite pumping and taking milk enhancing supplements.  The next thing that I noticed was that I didn't have that happy peaceful feeling that I usually had during that post partum period.  I was full of anxiety, sure that something was going to happen to one of my children or my hubby.  When I went to my six week appointment, I talked to my doc about this and all he would do is send me to the psychology department.  By the time I got my appointment with them I also had my first period.  This blew me away because I had never had a period so soon after birth, and it was horrible and painful.  I attributed it to the csection since it was my first time not having a vaginal birth.  I also still had horrible pain on my right side and I had no idea if it was from the csection or from the tubal.  At the time, I didn't know that they had used filshie clips.  I was adamant that I didn't want anything foriegn left inside of me.  No clips or rings!  The psychologist said she didn't think it was post partum depression, and encouraged me to go back to the doctor and explain the pain.  When I went back to the gyno, complaining of pain by my right ovary, I told her that I was concerned that it was where they removed a peice of the tube for the ligation.  She told me that I was "stupid and didn't know where my ovaries were".  I was so embarassed and angry.  But I was also scared.  I was in pain and she wasn't listening.  The nurse was in the room when she said this, and she asked the doctor if an ultrasound was in order but the doc wouldn't do it.  Then she said she would give me a localized pain injection in  case of left over inflammation from the csection.  If it made me feel better, I could come back the next day for a second longer lasting dose.  The pain shot helped, but when I went to go back the next day she wouldn't see me anymore.  She passed me off the primary care doc.

The primary care doc was quite nice about it all.  He agreed to give me another shot for pain and I explained that I was afraid that it was where they had removed a piece of the tube.  He looked up my operative report and said he didn't think that was it.  (but again, didn't tell me why)  When he had me point out where I was hurting, he said he couldn't give me a pain injection too deep as it was right above my right ovary.  It felt great to know that I wasn't "stupid" after all.  The pain injection only lasted for a couple of days much to my disappointment.  He scheduled me for an ultrasound. 

By this point I was feeling horrible about the Tubal Ligation.  My periods were heavy and irregular.  I had horrible hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety and depression.   My hair was falling out, my nails were breaking way back into the nail bed.  But the weirdest thing was I had a rash on my back that itched like crazy.  Each time I would ask about these symptoms I was told they were all in my head.  I couldn't wear jewelry anymore without getting a rash.  I always had an allergy to nickle and that was why I didn't want to have any clips inside of me.  Then finally my periods stopped altogether.  I needed answers and fast. 

My ultrasound found nothing.   I had blood work done that was "unremarkable".  Then I kept having this nagging feeling that I needed a copy of my operative report.  I requested both the operative and pathology reports from my surgery.  When they could not find a pathology report, I knew that something was up.  When I got the copy of the operative report I found out that the doctor used filshie clips for the ligation.  I was sick.  There were metal clips in me that I couldn't do anything about.  Yet, I thought maybe it was a blessing.  I had already been looking into tubal reversal and had read on numerous sites that fishie clips were the easiest to reverse.  I didn't know what to feel at that point, but I was relieved to feel like I had an answer to my pain. 

On to the next gyno.  She believed me about the pain and said that women with all types of ligations complain of the same pain that I was describing.  (Where was that on the informed consent form?)  Her solution to my pain was to take out my fallopian tubes.  I was shocked.  How could causing more damage be a good thing?  She said it would be a four to six week recovery.  She ordered a CT scan just in case one of the clips came off and had migrated.  Great.  Another worry.  CT scan came out normal. 

By this point nine months had gone by and I had no more answers or relief.  I finally started another period and it was the most painful and intense period of my life.  It lasted twelve days and was unbelievably heavy.  I was wiped out and told my husband that I couldn't take anymore.  I finally sent my operative report off to the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Tarzana California.  I had a phone consult with Dr. Marc Kalan.  He was compassionate and understanding.  This set my tubal reversal in motion. 

Waiting for the reversal was the hardest part.  Finally the last few months he put me on birth control pills which helped the pain during ovulation and slightly lessened the heavy flow. 

Finally, 14 months and two days after making the horrible mistake of having my tubes tied, I had the reversal surgery.  I woke up feeling peaceful, and the pain that I had been feeling since having the TL was gone.  I feel back to normal, anxiety is gone, I've had my first normal period since giving birth, and I can move without pain!

I am starting this blog to help other women realize that having your tubes tied is not what it is advertised to be.  And while I realize that there are many women happy with their tubals, there are many more who have horror stories like my own.  All women deserve informed consent, and a right to know what side effects they could have.