The process of getting sterilized

September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m sterilized. Not germ-free, more-babies-free. Even with my uterus saying how it wants babies recently, I do not regret my decision. Recently I came across the saga of trying to get my tubes tied on an old blog I used to keep. I shall repost bits of it here for you.

February 6:

It just occurred to me yesterday that what I was blaming on Turkey, all these damn pimples, are probably actually the fault of my IUD. Dur. We tried when we first got here but we’re going to try again to get Robert a vasectomy. Obviously birth control for me isn’t working to my satisfaction and them saying that he, an adult, is unable to make his own decisions about his own damn body is just complete and utter bullshit.

If they tell him no then I can see about getting a tubal. I really don’t care which one happens and woe be to the healthcare provider who gets in the way of a woman’s reproductive choices!

I guess this is what started it all. Later that day I posted this:

So, Robert has wonky testicles. Because of this, the doctor said that it’s not a good idea for him to get a vasectomy while he’s here. So I just called and made an appointment to see my gynecologist about getting my tubes tied. I have an appointment in the morning.

And a month later I was sterilized. But let’s not skip over the story, shall we? After several appointments, spanning a couple of weeks, I finally got the go-ahead that I could have the procedure and my pre-procedure appointments began.

February 26:

So I went into the doctor’s office this morning and he told me that he had a patient come in who he’d given a tubal to six months ago and now she wants a reversal. He said he was unable to give her one because he’d cauterized her. So he said instead of cauterizing my tubes, he’s going to tie them off. He’s also going with minilaparotomy instead of laparoscopy.

I always found it a bit odd that the decisions of other women were used so the doctor could decide what I’d want instead of me being asked what I want. By this point, I didn’t really care which type of procedure I had, as long as I had one. I did my research and found that while just tying the tubes gives them a better chance of growing back, it’s still just a teensy tiny chance.

February 29:

I just got a call from a major at the women’s health clinic. Basically, she said, “I know you say that you don’t want anymore kids, but I think that you do and my opinion is more important than yours.” She went ahead and set me up an appointment on Monday (ON MY BIRTHDAY) to have just one more round of counseling. “But we’ll still treat it as if you’re getting the tubal on the 10th,” she says. As if. In other words, “I just know you’re going to be changing your mind after THIS round of counseling because I know what you want better than you do. I don’t know this because I’ve met you and know you, I know this because you’re only 22.”

I’m tired of reiterating all the reasons I don’t want any more kids to people. When I was on the phone with her it basically just came down to, “Look, I never wanted kids. Now I have a kid and … … I don’t want any more.” It sounds mean and unloving to finish that sentence, which is why I didn’t. Will I on Monday (MY BIRTHDAY)? You betcha.

Oh man, that bitch pissed me off so bad. I ended up going into that appointment and telling the doctor I met with that I had suffered a violation of my HIPAA rights and wanted to file a complaint against the major, since she had nothing to do with my care and shouldn’t’ve known I was getting fixed let alone called me at my home about it. Needless to say, my surgery went on (almost) as scheduled. (My anesthesiologist got sick so it had to be delayed by a week.)

March 4:

[T]here has been a trend over the course of me trying to get my tubal that has seemed rather odd to me.

Even though everybody says it’s my age that gives them pause when I’ve asked for permanent sterilization, one of the alternatives that’s ALWAYS mentioned is Robert getting a vasectomy. I get that, from a medical perspective, vasectomies are less invasive and usually safer. Fine. But offering that up as an alternative to what I want does not address the main concern: my age.

I don’t get it. There’s resistance to giving a tubal to a 23-year-old woman, but giving a vasectomy to her 22-year-old husband is all right? Or, if not all right, at least preferable?

It makes me feel … weird. Almost grimy. I’ve developed an aversion to the question. If it was posed by itself and framed in a medical context, I don’t think I would feel this way. But it is invariably asked along with a list of other alternatives to giving me a tubal. Leave my IUD in. Get a hormone-free copper IUD. Implants. NuvaRing. Vasectomy. Shots. One of these is not like the others. One of these doesn’t belong.


No, I’m being paranoid. I *must* be paranoid. It couldn’t be that men are viewed as more capable of making such a permanent decision. It couldn’t be that there’s some misogynistic reason to keep a young woman fertile against her will. It couldn’t be. Could it?

Now, I’m not saying there’s intention here, but when this same question is posed over and over, here’s what it eventually sounds like: “I don’t mind if you don’t want to have children again as long as you are fertile.”

Oh, god damn, that was annoying. I was viewed as incapable of making such a permanent decision because of my tender age, but my younger husband was perfectly capable. What does that say?

In the end, I love my tubal. I farted a lot afterwards as the air they pumped into me escaped. And then this funny thing happened…

March 17:

And then I woke up. I had been vividly dreaming, or so it seemed, and I was awake. My glasses were on and I felt like I was having period cramps. I didn’t feel like I had gone anywhere. I said “that was weird[.]” … I asked Robert who put my glasses on me and he said he did…because I’d asked him to. I told him I didn’t remember that at all.

I just asked Robert if he could tell when I “woke up” to myself. He said I was awake when I was wheeled in the room, but I don’t remember that. I told him, “It’s when I said ‘that was weird.'” He said, “You were saying that over and over from the time you were wheeled in the room.” Hahahaha… I must have been having that same sensation of waking up over and over.

At least I know that I react the same way every time I’m faced with that particular situation. But I guess it’d be odd if I reacted differently one time, you know?


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§ One Response to The process of getting sterilized

  • Deena Monk says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I had problems with using birth control, the hormones caused me to have blood clots. My docotor was the same sort of way in trying to convince my boyfriend that he was the one who needed to getting fixed. Even though she knew that I didn’t want anymore children (I have a son who’s 8.) and the risks that are involved with me having children.
    I have had to defend my choice to many people, including my own mother. I hate it. It isn’t anyone else’s choice it is ours and ours alone.
    I wish you all the best!! Enjoy!!!

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