My Sterilization Story: 1 Week Post-op

Before we get to too deep too quickly… I’m sharing my words, thoughts, and experiences to reach those who need them. My hope is to empathize, educate, and empower. With that being stated, please do your own research and make decisions based on your own needs, beliefs, conditions, and circumstances. I’m in no way a medical professional or expert on this subject matter, I’m simply a real person sharing my very real life. Now that that’s been made clear, here’s my sterilization story.

It’s officially been a week of recovery following my laparoscopic salpingectomy aka having my Fallopian tubes removed. There’s so much I want to share, but I almost don’t know where to start… hmm I think I should start from my first prenatal appointment for my last baby.

Love Magick Dress Test Knit; design by Holly O’Rouke (@discostitch)

I walked into the doctor’s office with husband in hand, both of us excited, but also equally tired. Each prior pregnancy had become more exhausting for us both. Pain, discomfort, and complications could never be avoided on my end. My husband inevitably would be left becoming 2 parents while I’m on pelvic rest during pregnancy and postpartum recovery periods. Also, we had very little assistance with caring for our children. As beautiful and rewarding parenthood had been, it was also a lot compounded on top of a lot more.

The first of many ultrasounds went just as each prior first ultrasound. It’s as if we were at a concert singing along to the favorite part of our favorite song, including the ad-libs. Once the ultrasound came to an end it was time to get my vitals and have the same talk we’ve had for the fourth time, except this time I came ready to change the subject. This time, I was ready to talk sterilization. I wanted to know what I needed to do to ensure for my own sake that I couldn’t naturally have any more kids.

Me; waking up and adjusting from surgery

I cut straight to the chase with my OB, and she very calmly explained how I could achieve what I truly desired. She would simply remove my tubes, it would be irreversible, and I would have practically a 0% chance of natural conception. I was SOLD, BUT I still had questions!

1. How would it effect my hormones?

2. Would I still have periods?

3. Is recovery the absolute worst?

Her answers were music to my ears.

1 & 2. Fallopian tubes aren’t attached to the ovaries. When eggs are released from the ovaries they essentially float into/are received by the tubes in preparation for fertilization. If there are no tubes for the eggs they’re then absorbed into the body. Without a fertilized egg, the uterus will shed its lining to have period. My ovaries would be left intact so I wouldn’t have any disruption to estrogen production and eventually a return of my “regular” periods.

3. This would be a minimally invasive procedure with one main incision through my naval and 2 minor incisions at my ovaries. It’ll take 10-15 minutes, and my discomfort should be minimal.

4. Bonus, having Fallopian tubes removed significantly reduces instances of ovarian cancer in those who’ve previously given birth.

I thought it couldn’t be that simple. I would eventually figure out through my experience that it was PTSD from past labor, deliveries, and being unheard by healthcare providers that made me unnecessarily scared and doubtful of the possible ease this procedure. I also couldn’t believe how I had never heard that this procedure could help in the prevention of ovarian cancer! Why isn’t that information being shared more openly?! Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that because women/people with wombs do so much to bring babies into the world that the default action is to tell their partners to get a vasectomy. I think more women/people would be open to taking fertility/sterilization into their own hands if they were empowered with the knowledge my OB shared with me and my husband.

Now let’s fast forward to me 8 weeks postpartum. I couldn’t have my tubes removed following delivery because I needed to have had a “consent to sterilization” signed and received by my insurance 30 days prior to the procedure. I’m an automatic high risk pregnancy and we play labor and delivery by ear, so planning the procedure around my labor and delivery was nearly impossible given my unique set of circumstances. I had no issue with this because I was able to use that time to begin mourning the reality of no longer being able to have any more kids. I fought with myself because I was volunteering to permanently alter my body in a way that would change my life forever. What would begin to bring me peace is that I made the decision for me and my overall well-being, and no else. Also, just because I could have more kids didn’t mean that I should/needed to have more kids.

Me; at home following surgery

I followed back up with my OB, and my surgery would be scheduled for April 12, 2022. Last Tuesday I arrived at the hospital at 6:15 am and was home by noon. The most discomfort I experienced was a sore throat from a breathing tube, and some mild soreness at the site of my incisions. I didn’t need any medications for pain management. I drank tea to soothe and restore my throat, and was back to business as usual the following day. I have zero regrets. I have moments where I look at my body in the mirror and have feelings that range from complete amazement to melancholy. Overall, I’ve had good days with some sad moments, and I’m ok. I feel like my transition into this new phase of life feels good and right for me. I have what I deem to be a healthy outlook on what I’ve done and look forward to what the future holds.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out in the comments or email, be well.

2 replies on “My Sterilization Story: 1 Week Post-op”

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! I agree that this information should be discussed more readily. I totally understand the mixture of grief and gratitude you’re feeling with this. So glad that you had a positive experience through this and all is well! You are an inspiration!

    • Your words are so appreciated Whit! Thank you so much for getting it! I couldn’t have had a better team… finally getting the care I deserve!

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