About a month before my son was born, my obstetrician offered to give me a tubal ligation. Pregnancy is incredibly difficult for me, and my husband and I knew our son was going to be our last child. I have experienced a host of complications during my previous pregnancies including blood clotting issues, diabetes, and hyperemeis gravidarum, that all work together to make my pregnancies not only miserable but literally life-threatening. Still, the thought of tying my tubes gave me pause and I ultimately ended up declining the procedure. Sixteen months later? I regret that decision.
A tubal ligation would have been a great option for me during my son’s delivery because I was having a C-section (a tubal now would be major surgery). I declined it for two reasons …
The first was my fear of complications like Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS). Women with PTLS suffer all kinds of symptoms like irritability, irregular periods, memory loss, yeast infection-like itchiness, and a whole bunch of other not-fun-at-all stuff. Even though the odds of developing that were low, my hormonal brain was too scared of the risk.
The second reason is one I was embarrassed to admit at the time, which was that I was afraid of how permanent getting my tubes tied would be. Though my husband Mike and I knew we were done having kids, there was a tiny voice deep in the back of my mind that shouted out: “What if you change your mind?!” and that stuck with me. I knew I didn’t want to be pregnant again, but the “what if” was hard to ignore when I was pregnant and hormonal. My husband was incredibly supportive as I grappled with the decision, never pressuring me one way or the other.
Unfortunately, I failed to take into account the fear of pregnancy every month. I currently have an IUD but I’ve had some side effects that make me not want to use it long-term. These side effects also mimic my early pregnancy symptoms (breast tenderness, nausea, and missed periods), so I practically have a heart attack every month. Pregnancies with IUDs are rare but could be life-threatening for someone with my clotting history, as they have a higher rate of miscarriage. Every month I fight the urge to use a pregnancy test, when really, it’s not something I should have to worry about at all.
My husband WILL get a vasectomy, but the fact remains that for now, the burden of birth control is mine, and I wish I’d really considered that before I’d checked “no” on the pre-surgery paperwork.
Now, sixteen months later, I’m in a much better position to accept the permanence of a tubal ligation. I’ve given away all of my baby gear and the newborn clothes are long-gone. I’m done. I just wish my body was, too.
How about you? Do you regret not having (or having!) a tubal ligation?