Sterilization at 22 (Part Five)

I honestly wasn’t going to write anything else on this subject until after my post-op appointment. But I’ve spent the last few days healing, and I think that’s a journey that everyone should be familiar with, too. 

My ligation was four days ago. They sent me home with norco and ibuprofen. That was it. The first day home, I slept a LOT. My eyes were closing every three minutes. And I was sore. I’ve been in worse pain, so I didn’t think much of it, but the pain is nothing to laugh at. 

The surgeon suggested that I don’t stay in bed the whole time, so the second day I walked home from my mother in law’s. As it turns out, that was too much too soon and I spent the next couple days in bed. 

They gave me just enough norco, as of yesterday ibuprofen was enough to cut it, so long as I’m careful not to bump the incisions. 

With the basics out of the way, I think it’s time we talk about some of the…gross things that happen when you get your tubes tied. 

As I mentioned in part four, I went into this procedure on my period. The bleeding had essentially stopped after the procedure. Spotting has resumed, though I am certain that it is not my regular period. The fact that I don’t spot aside, the color is completely off. (I don’t care if that’s gross, vagina health is the incredibly important, and all vagina having folks should be able to distinguish between normal and not normal.) I’ve been wearing a pad, although the spotting is so infrequent that I probably don’t need to, but who wants to ruin nice panties? 

I was warned that my first period after the procedure would be different than normal. If it’s anything like this spotting, it will be considerably lighter. 

Now, sticking to the subject of vaginas, let’s talk about orgasms for a moment. It hurts. The surgeon instructed we avoid sex for a  week, and we have done so. I’ll spare you the details of how an orgasm came to pass, but I’ll tell you how it felt. Now, vagina having folks understand what terrible period cramps can feel like. It’s unbearably painful sometimes, feeling like you’re being punched directly in the ovaries. 

This is what that very first orgasm felt like. I don’t know if that will be easier after the first week, but as of the third day, it hurt like hell. 

Time to talk about poop! There are two incisions, one IN the belly button and one right on the pubic hair line. At first pooping was not a concern of mine. Norco is a narcotic, and those are notorious for causing constipation. As a couple days passed, I realized that pooping should be a concern of mine. And it turns out, I was right. At the point in time I was finally able to go, I hadn’t gone in four days. I was considerably backed up, and the movement through my intestines caused so much pain throughout the incisions. From there, it was just incredibly uncomfortable. Not quite painful, just uncomfortable. 

After four days, the incisions are clearing up a bit. There’s some bruising, but they don’t look at all as angry as they did when the procedure first happened. The pain is mostly gone now, it feels more like the aftermath of a serious work out than it does a surgery. The area itself is still tender to touch (so careful in the shower) but it doesn’t cause problems on its own. 

My incisions were sealed with a type of glue, but the edges/scab area are extremely dry and rigid, so careful that clothing doesn’t snag. 

Four days later, and the most uncomfortable of things out of the way, and I’m feeling exceptionally good about this decision. 

The pubic incision. They did a great job putting my tattoo back together
The belly button incision, just sort of extends my belly button down.

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Sterilization at 22 (Part Four)

Today was the day.  I woke up at 6:15 this morning, and hopped into the shower to use that atrocious antibacterial soap that reeks like rubbing alcohol. I hate that smell. The clean hospital smell. 

We got to the hospital at around 7:00, and by 7:30 I was upstairs being prepped for surgery. I got to put on fancy hospital underwear, a gown, and socks. 

From that point on it was a waiting game. We all three napped a lot, and then eventually a woman came in with an anesthesiologist to go over stuff. She gave me something through my IV to calm me down, and by the time I was in the OR I was out. 

I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist waking me up and telling me to take deep breaths, but I don’t know for sure if that was while I was going in to the OR or once I was out. There were problems with my oxygen, it was dropping too rapidly, and I had to have an oxygen mask for some time. Apparently they had to pump gunk from my lungs (because I was a smoker, the nurse said. She didn’t like that I told her it was because I never got my morning cigarette.) I remember them saying “I don’t know if all she smiles is cigarettes, but…” which all I smoke are cigarettes, so I have no idea. I’ve also had allergy problems recently so. 

Then I was off and on awake in the room, and I was getting pain killers every ten minutes or so it felt. But what felt like ten minutes was actually the course of three hours or so, and I was being given fetinol. 

Once everything was a bit more stable, I was sent upstairs to a recovery room where my husband and old roommate were waiting. And then I slept some more. 

They brought me ginger ale and ice chips and that was nice, and I had to pee before I was able to leave. I was wheeled out to the car, and that was it. Meds got picked up, we got food, and then we were home. 

So what happened in between? Well, I was put under, and tiny incisions were made. I have two tiny dots that look to be where I was injected for gas, an incision IN my belly button, and one right on the pubic hair line. That’s it. I’m sore as hell, I won’t lie, but it doesn’t look bad. 

They had to burn my left tube. Originally, both tubes were supposed to be banded. But while the right tube accepted the band, the left did not, resulting in it needing burnt instead. But that was it. I needed a breathing tube and a catheter, but they were inserted after I was asleep and removed before I was awake. 

Complications aside, and those were minor complications, it went really well I think. I sleep a lot, but that’s to be expected. The worst part is, I think, the gas. It starts in your lower abdomen, and it has slowly traveled up to my shoulders. 

I went in on my period, day three, and usually the third day is bad for me. Despite the fact I’ve been out of the hospital for seven hours, I have not bled since. I’m not concerned about this, as I was told my cycles could change after the procedure. 

Today was rather uneventful, all things considersered. I’m glad I’m home, and I’m grateful for pain pills. This is not the worst pain I’ve ever been in, but it is uncomfortable. 

It is possible to get a tubal ligation at 22. I’m tired and I’m sore, but if it’s something you’ve been looking in to, I suggest it. I feel a great sense of relief now that it’s done. I’ll probably post another tubal update after my post op, and then again in a couple months. 

Dreams really do come true. 

Sterilization at 22 (Part Three)

I had a mental breakdown today. I was irritable, I took personal offense to everything, and I cried. A lot. About everything. Was this directly related to the fact that I’m having my surgery next week? I’m hoping to explore that a bit. 

I had my pre-op today. For both anesthesia and the procedure itself. It’s all a go. Surgery is clear for April 26th. I am thrilled. Thrilled isn’t even the right word. 

I think the reason I was so edgy today was that this entire time, since a month or so ago when I first got approved, I was expected to be met with resistance. From all sides, I expected this to be a fight. In fact, I’ve been preparing for it. 

There has been no fight. None, from any party. A few parties telling me they regret their decision to have theirs done, on several platforms of social media, which is annoying to be sure, but not a fight. 

My mental breakdown today might have honestly been one of relief. I’ve been so heated up to defend my choice, and today I realized that I didn’t have to. Nobody has challenged it. It could be that they know arguing with me is pointless, and I will go rounds and rounds before becoming so fed up that I just quit. I didn’t need to constantly be on the edge anymore, and when my defensive walls come down, I tend to crumble with them. 

With the procedure only nine days away, I feel like it’s time I explain my choice in a bit more detail. 

I am ill. I have SLE (a form of lupus that targets organs), and mine was so severe I almost died in 2014. My kidneys went from faulty to almost completely dead in a short time span of three months. By the time I received a diagnosis, my kidneys were almost completely shut down and my stomach was starting to go. 

Looking back, it feels sort of like a bad dream. But it is not. This is my reality. I fear nothing more than I fear death. Even thinking about my own mortality causes me to have a full blown anxiety attack. 

No, I never wanted children. But the idea that I could potentially pass this life threatening genetic mutation down to a child, I don’t think I’d want children now even if I had. Kidney function drops during pregnancy (hence the swollen feet and ankles) and that’s not something I ever want to experience again. Selfish? Maybe. 

I am also mentally ill. Major depressive. Anxiety. PTSD. Borderline Personality Disorder. These things, I think, would keep me from being a good parent. Please don’t think that I’m saying people who are mentally ill don’t make good parents, but I truly think it would prevent me from being a good parent. I am selfish. Incredibly so. A fair bit of that is a result of mental illness. I’m extremely cautious about things that could potentially making my mental health worse, and I regard them with disdain and avoidance. Children cause issues in both anxiety and PTSD both. Loud noises, certain things children say that they’ve picked up from television, make me panic. A child of my own would be no different. 

Health issues aside, I have never felt a shred of maternal instinct. I do not get baby fever. A crying baby does not make me want to take care of it, it makes me unbelievably angry. I don’t like children. They are loud, they are sticky, and quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of having to take care of something until I’m dead. Children grate on my every nerve. I don’t treat them differently, I just don’t care for them. 

This is what I want. This is who I am. Child free is not the best option for everyone, and I understand that there are some women who might regret this decision. 

But I have thought long and hard about this for ten or so years. There is no changing my mind, there will be no regret. 

The next time I update my sterilization journey, my ligation will have already been done. This is my reality. 

On Being a College Drop-Out 

I haven’t been in a classroom since early October. My university professors went on strike, and I had a week off. I didn’t go back.

I told everyone (myself included) that I was taking time off. For my health. And while I originally had taken time off for my health, as time went on, I realized I probably wasn’t going back.

If, by chance, I can get the two classes that I need to receive my Associate’a degree, I will. Just to say I did get my degree.

But eventually I had to stop lying to myself and to others about the situation. I am not “taking time off.” As of now, I am a college dropout. I had a lot of feelings about college dropouts once, but looking at my life in the last few months, I can honestly say that I’m grateful I dropped out.

My stress levels are minimal comparatively speaking, I’m not sick all the time, my pain levels aren’t as bad as they were, and I in my over abundance of free time, I’ve started doing things I want to do with my life.

I’m reading again. I made the decision to seek help for my mental illness, and have been on antidepressants for going on two months now, along with an as-needed antianxiety. I started writing a book, of which I am half-way through in just fifteen days of writing. I even found a doctor who’s going to provide me with a tubal ligation.

College was (literally) killing me slowly. I was struggling balancing a job and an education, and the sheer amount of stress left me sick and in severe chronic pain. Not to mention the crippling mental health problems I was experiencing.

I became an English major so I could surround myself with the things that I love. Reading, writing, literature. By my third year of college, I didn’t love these things anymore. It all felt like a chore to me. An exhausting attempt at work, when I wanted leisure.

Perhaps it was the severe depression. Or perhaps it was truly the fact college took everything that I love away from me, I can’t be sure. But it took me five months of doing absolutely nothing to find myself again. In fact, I’m still trying to find myself.

There have been…obstacles, to say the least, that have kept me from absolute happiness along the way, but as I relearn myself, I also learn forgiveness and self-love, things I didn’t know in college.

I might not have a degree. I might be a college dropout. But I am certain this was the best decision for me

Sterilization at 22 (Part 2)

With surgery two weeks away, I thought I’d tackle this subject again! This time, instead of going over basics, I’m going to answer some questions I expect to be asked. 

Q: If sterilization is about as effective as temporary birth control, why not just use birth control?

A: Quite simply, I don’t want to. I don’t want temporary birth control. I want a permanent option, because this is a permanent choice. I don’t want kids. Ever. 

Q: Not ever?

A: Nope. Not ever ever. 

Q: What if your husband wants children?

A: I didn’t come to this decision on my own. My husband and I discussed it at great lengths. In fact, shortly after we got together, I told him I would never provide him with children (assuming I could safely carry), and if that was what he wanted, we wouldn’t work. 

Q: And he’s okay with it?

A: He’s been incredibly supportive (if not the most supportive) with this entire process. He understands what this means to me, and he respects it. 

Q: Aren’t you a little young for this?

A: I was a little young for kidney failure and long term hospitalization, but that still happened. Yes. I am a little young. In fact it’s shocking I found a doctor who agreed. But this is what I want. 

Q: What about post tubal ligation syndrome?

A: Aside from the fact that there’s no supporting evidence that it exists? I highly doubt that I’m going to get depressed that I made the conscious decision to never reproduce. 

Q: But you’d make a great mother! Doesn’t that matter?

A: Thanks. But I still don’t want to be a mother. 

Q: Don’t you like kids?

A: I don’t, actually. Like at all. 

Q: But you’re so good to my kids!

A: I treat your kids like tiny humans. Because they are still humans. 

Q: Aren’t you worried you’ll regret this decision someday? 

A: No. I’m not. I’ve wanted this since I was 12 or so. I knew I wanted it more after I became sexually active. And now I’m married. To my soul mate. Surprisingly, I still don’t want kids ever. 

Q: What about the risks? 

A: it’s a low risk procedure. Most of the risk comes with anesthetics. Or ectopic pregnancies. 

Q: Are you worried about them?

A: Nooot really. No. 

Q: so you’re really going through with this?

A: yes. Without a doubt. 
Those are just a few I can think of. But if you have any questions feel free to ask. 

Sterilization at 22 (Part 1)

When I was fourteen, I knew I never wanted children. Ever. No, not even if I met the right man. No, not even if I got mental and physical health under the belt. No, not even if there was a surrogate involved. Never. 

I don’t like kids. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to treat yours poorly or less-than-human, I just don’t like them. They give me the most ridiculous case of anxiety. They are sticky. They are loud. They are poorly behaved and smelly. I don’t like anything on that list. 

When I met my now-husband, I asked him if he ever wanted any more children, because it was something that I, quite frankly, didn’t want to and probably couldn’t provide him. He was okay with it. 

We were married two months ago. 
It was then I started putting more serious thought into permanent methods of birth control. My oldest sister had hormone positive breast cancer. Due to lupus, I can’t have hormonal birth control anyway. And with current administration, I don’t think regular birth control is going to be a very solid method. I refuse an IUD.

 Being as children were not EVER something I wanted, I brought tubal ligation up to my husband. J was incredibly supportive, and understood why I was making this choice. He encouraged me to do what I thought was best for my body. We talked about the fact that there were many obstacles that would probably be in my way. 

At 22, even the nurse practitioner I brought it up to told me that it was unlikely I would find anyone willing and to speak to an OB/GYN. This nurse practitioner’s first reaction when I asked was,”Aww, already?” As I mentioned earlier, I have known for nine years that children are not what I want. 

I made an appointment with an OB/GYN the day after I saw the nurse practitioner. A month later (the 21st of this month), I had my appointment. 

J and I were expecting problems with both my age and the fact I’ve never had children. We found out that in some states, spousal consent is needed for the surgery to be approved. We couldn’t find out if Pennsylvania was one of them, so he came to the appointment with me. 
The doctor asked me two questions. 

  • Do I want to look into any other methods of birth control
  • Did I ever want children

The answer to both those questions, was, of course, no. And…

That was it. That was all there was. I was able to schedule my surgery. Two questions, a brief review of medical history, and that was it. No spousal consent, no second guessing my choice to not have children. 

My surgery is April 26th. At age 22, I am getting sterilized. It wasn’t hard, but I understand that it can be. 
Over the next month, I’ll be documenting this journey that I’ve chosen to go through. 

How High School Successfully Ruined Me For College

College is great. I love the idea of college. I love learning new things, I always have. I love the expansive library and the people and even the food. It is my favorite place to be.

 

But because of high school, I am not fit for college. High schools like to tell their students, “We’re just preparing you for college, we give you a lot of slack, that won’t happen once you’re in college.” Let me tell you, my college experience has been vastly different than my high school one.

 

 

  • I’m allowed to get up and pee whenever I want.
  • Surprisingly, my shoulders and my legs are not sexually distracting. Which begs the question, are you sure it’s not the TEACHERS who will be distracted by the shoulders of young students? Which poses another question, if that’s your concern, why are you letting them teach
  • I don’t really get a whole lot of homework in college.
  • I also don’t have to show up for class 9/10.
  • Also, college professors are willing to give extensions and drop the lowest test grade. It’s SO WEIRD.

 

You know what happened in high school? You had to show up to class every day, you had to do your homework, and that was it. That’s all you needed to pass the tests. Literally, just those two things, and you’d do fine.

 

Want to know what’s happened in college? I’m failing. I am actually failing out of college, because high school never taught me how to manage time or study. And you actually NEED to study in college. I can do all the homework assignments, I can go to all the classes. But without studying, I still will not pass the test. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

 

My high school liked to tell us they were preparing us for success. Between health issues and having no idea how to study because it was never necessary, I am incapable of college level schoolwork. It’s not that I’m not smart. I’m incredibly smart, and I think every one of my high school teachers would agree with that. I just don’t know how to manage my time, and that’s royally screwed me over.

 

Instead of teaching students they need permission for normal bodily functions like urinating, and teaching them that their bodies are inherently sexual, and teaching them that they can’t be trusted with a personal bag, and teaching them that college is the exact same as high school, I think we should be teaching them important things.

 

Like how to balance a check book, and make a budget, and budgeting time, and STUDYING. TEACH YOUR STUDENTS HOW TO STUDY BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T YOU ARE CONDEMNING THEM TO FAIL.

 

Study habits aren’t some magical facet of the personality. They are learned behaviors, and if nobody teaches them, how will students learn them? Teach them how to get information out of a book. Teach them to find important things out of a book, the things worth knowing.

 

I went to college totally unprepared.

 

Three years later, and I still haven’t figured it out.