Well, for those of you who don’t know, I did it, and by it, I mean, I got my tubes tied. Actually, to be more specific, I had them charred into little Fallopian briquettes and am toying with hiring the Black Knight from Monty Python to stand in my uterus proclaiming, “None shall pass!” to dissuade any enterprising sperm who get in there looking for trouble.
And given the Black Knight’s propensity for flesh wounds, I might see if Gandalf is also available:
At any rate, when it comes to sterilization, my bases should now be covered. I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about my experience with tubal ligation, should any of you decide to give it a try. Reactions to my decision to do this have been varied. A lot of people got down on Bill for not getting his junk snipped, but they shouldn’t because this was totally my call. I don’t even think he believed I was serious about doing it until he picked me up afterwards. As I mentioned in this post, it was more convenient for me to get taken care of… moreover, once we investigated the insurance, we found it was cheaper too. I’ve met my out-of-pocket maximum for this year what with having the baby and all. Therefore, this procedure was free for me. It would never be cheaper to do than it is right now. Also, every time more than 34% of my children are crying, I am reminded that I do not want any more children. We’ve got a great little family: an heir, a spare, and a princess. The gang’s all here and I couldn’t be happier about it. So, don’t worry that Bill isn’t pulling his weight in the sterilization process. He and I are happy with this decision. And he was ready and willing to sterilize himself, it’s just I wanted to go with the tubal ligation.
The other strange reaction came from the nurse at my pre-op appointment. She looked at me skeptically when I said what I was doing and then said, “How many kids do you have?” And I told her and she said, “Well, I guess you know what you can handle.” Then when she asked what I was using for birth control, I had to out myself that I had not officially gotten back in the saddle again since the baby was born, which she thought was weird. THEN she asked when my last period was and I had to tell her it was the one before I got pregnant, and she was like, “Well, you’re late with everything.” And I said, “Not really. My period doesn’t generally come back until I finish nursing. And it’s been difficult to find the time for the other with three kids under five.” Then I sat quietly and contemplated my weirdness while she took my blood pressure and stuff. My doctor, on the other hand, was totally cool with what I was doing.
Anyway, after the pre-op appointment, I had a few days to do my typical I’m-gonna-die-during-surgery panic party, which was fun. Every happy moment with my kids meant that I’d think in the back of my mind, “What if I never see them again after Thursday?” I posted copious Facebook statuses highlighting my fears of imminent death. And then Thursday came…
I went to the hospital after refraining from all food and drink, including water. I’m not a huge tea/coffee drinker, so my morning jolt comes from Coke and the hospital lobby taunted me by having one of these:
That’s a Coke machine. I wanted a Coke really badly. I have a Coke problem.
I would say the fasting was the worst part, but the first day or so of pain wasn’t my fave either. So after the registration process happened and everyone struggled to pronounce my last name, I was taken back to the pre-operation corral where they have the little line of rooms with people waiting their turn to go under the knife. I did the song and dance of putting on the hospital gown, getting my IV inserted and answering questions about my medical history. Then I just sat, talked to my mom, and pondered my imminent death until the anesthesia team came in. There were three of them who I guess were the nurse anesthetists because the anesthesiologist had come in earlier and she was a one woman show. These guys seem to have a three-stooges-like camaraderie that put me right at ease. Right before they wheeled me out, one of them said, “I’m gonna put some chemical courage into your IV now.” He took out a syringe and put something in my veins and after that, my memory is pretty limited. I vaguely remember having my arms strapped to the table, I vaguely remember the warm towels and then the next thing I remember is waking up in recovery where my lady parts immediately reported that something bad had happened to them that they were not happy about. The nurse gave me something in my IV that worked on the pain for about 15 minutes, then they gave me some pill in recovery room 2. I had to wait in the second room until I peed, which given that I’d not had anything to eat or drink since midnight the night before, took several 12 oz cups of Coke. I was worried that I’d feel sick from the anesthesia because I had with my other surgery, but this time I was fine.
The recovery from this surgery was more difficult than I’d expected. Back when I had to get my laparotomy for the 18cm cyst that I got during my first pregnancy, the talk was that the laparotomy was a lot worse for recovery than the laparoscopy. Maybe this made me lower my expectations, but I’ve found recovery from this to be more painful. Then again, my memory might be a bit shady too. Anyway, the incisions are tiny little places in my belly button and on my old laparotomy scar. The pain has been substantial though. I think it’s probably the gas that they pump you full of so that they have room to navigate in there, and the fact that stuff just got moved around a lot. I’m still hurting and I do hurt in my shoulders, which they warned me about. Apparently, the leftover gas drifts up to your shoulders and bothers the nerves. So I was thinking that this was going to be a relatively “easy” procedure and it wasn’t. It was surgery. I tell you this because I kind of neglected to pay attention to the fact that this IS a surgery and surgery DOES require substantial recovery. This is totally my bad, but if you’re considering it, just know it’s gonna be 5-7 days of pain, some days worse than others. Don’t let anyone convince you that you’re just gonna bounce right back.
Overall, though, I don’t yet regret doing this. I mean, I’ve not tested the waters yet, so to speak, but I think this was a good decision for us. The worst part was the pre-surgery paranoia, but once all was said and done and I lived through everything, I felt/feel good about my decision. I’m ready to leave my reproductive years behind and embark on new things. I’m excited about my future with my family. And I feel like this procedure not only physically put an end to my child-bearing potential, but it also served as a good psychological end as well. It’s like the surgery was a big enough event that it closed that door in my brain and focused me on what life will be like going forward. Another good effect is that I got lots of support from some blog friends, including Beth Anne, who had a laparoscopy on the same day, in the same hospital, and the same doctor assisted! She was having a cyst removed and her surgery didn’t go as smoothly as mine, unfortunately, but we both made it home to recuperate. We’ve commiserated a lot on Twitter, which has made the pain and boredom of recovery easier.
So, that’s my tubal ligation. That’s not all that’s going on around here, though. Other than that, here’s what’s new for us:
1. I got into the doctoral program in curriculum and instruction at UNC-CH. Perhaps the wedding invitations to my daughter’s wedding will read: Mr. and Dr. William Hennenlotter request the honor of your presence… We’ll see. I’m excited to go back to school though.
2. We are looking at new houses in the western part of the county since Bill and I both may be working in the RTP- Chapel Hill area soon. (Fingers crossed that a new job opportunity comes through for me. It would be great, especially as it’s a raise from my current job and would provide tuition assistance! I’m not getting my hopes up yet, though.)
3. John is on his way out of diapers. He has made multiple deposits of all varieties in his potty and has cut down his diaper use by 65%. I’m optimistic. I can’t wait for the day when none of my kids need diapers, but it’d be nice just to have to worry about changing the baby and not the toddler too.
4. I think Katie Beth might be kind of smart. Like significantly advanced smart, and I’m not being a bragging parent when I say that. She’s been rolling over from tummy to back since she was six weeks old, but that’s not the big thing. The big thing is that at eight weeks, she started talking. She says hi, hey, hello, and oh. I’ll hold her, look down in her face and smile, and she smiles and says, “Hi!” or “Hey!” without prompting. Outside of that, she’s really good at imitating sounds. She imitates “hello” and “oh” and other things. Also, today when I put her in her car seat, which she hates, she yelled, “No!” just as plain as day. The ‘no’ is probably a coincidence, but she seems a little young (11 weeks) to be such a good imitator and she definitely imitates what we say. I seriously don’t know if I should be proud or scared. Here’re a couple of videos. In one, I’m getting her to say ‘Hi!” in the other, my sister gets her to say “hey!” because she says that’s what southern people say. Her best attempts are at the very end of both. I’ll close with these. Have a great week.