When we found out that we were unexpectedly expecting baby number three, we were shocked (happy, but shocked). We were certain that two was enough. So certain that we sold 98% of our baby gear and clothes (including my huge stash of maternity clothes). That’s neither here nor there now because we prepared for this baby as if she was our first, except everything was used and we didn’t care what color anything was. We decided that our current set of gear is going with us to the grave and we needed to beef up our future birth control efforts. You see, myself and hormonal birth control don’t get along. It’s a hot mess. So, we did the high school thing and invested in the wrappers. And, that’s how little Abby came to be. No wonder there are so many teen pregnancies.
We decided fairly quickly that Abby is definitely completing our family and we needed to look at a permanent solution. I have no business being pregnant again – it’s miserable and fairly dangerous to my health. Plus, you have to actually be able to afford your children, and it turns out that they are flipping expensive. So, three is enough for us.
The initial plan was for Alex to get snipped because it’s an easier procedure and that’s what people do. He’s talked to countless guys who have had it done. They traded their war stories like women talk about their labors and deliveries. One guy got it done on his lunch break. One guy went to a doctor who gave himself a vasectomy (if he’s good enough to do it to himself…). One guy went hunting the next day and ended up getting stuck in his tree stand. Alex was ready to join the ranks and was requesting it to be over March Madness so he could lay around for an entire weekend doing nothing but watching basketball.
While I was still pregnant, I asked my high risk OB what his thoughts were. Surprisingly, he told me that he recommends that the woman gets her tubes tied instead. His reasoning made sense. If something catastrophic were to happen down the road (obviously something you don’t expect such as a death or remarriage) and you have the need to add more children, you can get around a tubal using IVF. Reversals are an option, but are hardly guaranteed. And if your husband gets a vasectomy, you can no longer use his swimmers. My high risk also added that we were clearly extremely fertile people, so IVF would work if the situation arose.
So, we had a sit down in the subject. Obviously a tubal (if you don’t have it done during a c-section) is a harder procedure. It’s outpatient laproscopic surgery under general anesthesia. There are risks involved, although I knew that I’ve handled anesthesia well with past surgeries. And as it turns out, I’m extremely healthy aside from being overweight. The other part of the equation is that my deductible had been met for the year, so the procedure was covered 100%. Alex’s has not, so we would be paying out of pocket if he had it done.
In the end, we decided that I would have the tubal. To us it felt like we were closing the door, but not throwing away the key. We don’t anticipate the need for more children, but the option is there if we need to go down that road in the future. Since I’m an open book, we started telling people our decision. It was amazing how many people felt so strongly that I shouldn’t be the one getting ‘fixed’. Alex was lectured that ‘it was the man’s responsibility’ and that ‘I had been through enough’. I was told that it was much easier for Alex to get it done and that he should be the one to do it. At first we defended our choice and cited the reasons above. Then, at some point, we decided that we were just going to start screwing with people. When someone started in on how we were making the wrong choice, Alex would proclaim ‘Lisa’s having her tubes tied because I’m the man and I told her to.’ Hilarious to us, because it couldn’t be farther from how our marriage actually operates.
Baby day came, Abby was born, and we still felt the same way. I told my OB while I was still in the hospital that I wanted to schedule it as soon as we could so that we could get it done before the end of the year and so we didn’t accidentally end up pregnant again. The date was set for 8 weeks later and all the arrangements (on their end and ours) were made. I had to jump through the nessecary steps prior to surgery – pre-surgery consult and testing, and we were good to go. I felt good about it.
Fast forward to the Monday before my surgery and I started getting a touch uneasy. I researched (read: I read mommy blogs) about if it’s better to have 3 or 4 kids. I read about middle child syndrome and was worried to think that I could be setting Luke up for emotional distraught. I even sent a friend a text message asking her if we should have one more to even things out. I talked to Alex about it because I couldn’t tell if I was getting cold feet or if I actually thought it was a good idea. He quickly reminded me of our reasons to stop at three, and they were still very real reasons to me. Plus, I started thinking about how freaking crazy it’s been with three up to now. Let’s just say it’s been a major adjustment for me and I barely feel like I’m keeping it all together. In my heart I knew that we were done and I was just having a bit of a freak out. So, crisis averted. I was feeling pretty good about things the rest of the week while I tried to get us as prepared as possible for me being down for the count for a bit. Hell, I was even looking forward to all the sleep I would be getting, even if it involved being sliced open. The day before my surgery, I noticed my stomach felt kind of off. I couldn’t decide if I was coming down with something or if it was nerves. I didn’t think I was nervous, but apparently my stomach didn’t get the memo. I had a few nervous poos and went on with the day.
The morning of the surgery came. We dragged ourselves out of bed and made it to the hospital. I was definitely feeling nervous at that point, but it wasn’t because of the type of surgery I was having. I was nervous to be having surgery. There are risks involved and there’s no way in Hell that I want to miss out on watching my kids grow up. On the way to the hospital I told Alex that we have to make sure nothing happens to me because we are both fairly certain he wouldn’t be able to handle three kids on his own. We agreed that he should remarry (if he was able to find someone who would overlook his kid baggage). I blessed his hypothetical second marriage and told him to not let the kids forget me.
In the pre-op room, I got into my lovely surgical attire and peed in a cup. We managed to make it to the surgery without getting pregnant (a feat that I was told isn’t always easy – apparently a large number of women find out that they are expecting when they arrive for their tubal). I was sitting in the bed waiting for the action to start and let a nervous toot slip out. Apparently my tummy was still a bit nervous. It ended up being so rank, Alex’s eyes were watering. As I was trying to fan it away, the anesthesiologist walks into the room. Poor guy. We went about business and I answered all his questions. As he was leaving he instructed the nurse to give me a Pepcid to ‘settle my stomach’. It wasn’t my finest moment, that’s for sure. My OB made his way in to chat and fill out paperwork. After requesting that he tie my tubes like a beautiful gift wrap bow, we were off to the OR. I was extremely calm (most likely from my now calm belly and the ‘shit that killed Michael Jackson’ medicine the CRNA pushed through my IV), I was even joking with the people who were pushing me down the hall and high-fiving the CRNA who had given me my epidural during Abby’s delivery. I moved to the table, stared at the lights, breathed from the giant mask on my face, and then slipped into the best fucking sleep I’ve had in months.
I’m assuming the ole tubes were taken care of in that time. The next thing I know I’m in recovery and the nurse is telling me that she’s going to keep letting me sleep because I’m really tired. I mumble that I have three babies at home and then dozed back off. I woke up a couple times to her telling someone else how sleepy I was. Eventually I kept my eyes open long enough to be moved to another recovery room. Alex was finally allowed back and he came bearing gifts. His reasoning – since no nuts were harmed in the seeking of birth control a nutcracker was the perfect gift to document the day. I happen to also collect them, so it was a total win-win. Alex helped me get dressed and I was discharged. It was four hours from the time we arrived to the time we were leaving.
Recovery hasn’t been horrible. Trying to eat that first day proved comical. Apparently they give you medicine that turns off your ability to make saliva. Try eating a peanut butter cookie with no spit in your mouth. I’m pretty sure I have peanut butter cookie dust in my lungs now. The anesthesia made me feel pretty blah the first day. Nothing that a glorious nap and laying down couldn’t control. The weekend was spent being waited on by my lovely husband – is this Heaven, no it’s Iowa. I decided that I was going to stay on top of taking the pain medicine through the weekend so that it didn’t get the best of me. Turns out that Percocet makes me extremely nauseous. I spent all day Sunday throwing up and feeling overall shitty. I stopped taking the pain medicine and eventually I started feeling better. On Monday, I was sore but was able to sit up without puking everywhere. By Tuesday, I was around 85% back and resumed my normal motherhood roles. No time for mom to be down, right?
I still feel good about our decision for permanent birth control. I know (as does Alex) that we made the right choice. Still, there’s an emotional side to my recovery. My irrational fear that something horrible is going to happen to my kids has grown. The fear is always there, but I’m a bit more paranoid these days. Rationally I know that this fear will settle back down to a normal level, but for now it’s a bit out of control. On top of that, Abby is my last baby and that reality is hitting home. It’s like I REALLY want to soak up all the squish and squeaks and cuddles because this is it. Each day passes and my last baby gets bigger. It’s all things I would have felt without the surgery, but the tubal made it really hang out there. This part of me is mourning the loss of my childbearing years. Again, I’m glad I had the surgery. It’s just a matter of sorting through all the feels that come with it. To console myself, maybe I’ll get drunk and take advantage of my husband. Afterall, I’m a safe date now, biotches.