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.