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?"

Wow.

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:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7892272/selling_sterilization.html?cat=52

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.
http://fittobeuntiedposttubaligationsyndrome.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for speading the word, and linking my Blog.. xxxx's. What a blessing to find another woman with such a similar story. I am relate to the sales pitch the DR gave, i got one similar. and the comments about just getting it taken care of while I was in the hospital, and how I would never regret it etc...
    If only we had known...
    anyway... we are here now, and thankfully have been able to get that reversal!
    =)

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