When my husband and I decided to have our third child, we did so knowing it would be our last. We were already overwhelmed with our 5-year-old autistic son and our extremely active and demanding 2-year-old daughter. Having already had two C-sections, I knew my doctors would strongly suggest I have a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks gestation. My husband and I also decided to have a tubal ligation done at the same time — a permanent form of birth control. I was rather sick of being on oral birth control, and with a C-section scheduled it made sense to get my tubes tied then as well.
While I knew this was a great option for us, I struggled throughout my pregnancy with whether I would go through with it. What made my decision much easier was thinking about C-section surgery and recovery — and how I never wanted to experience that again — not the fact that we didn’t want any more children.
Even on my C-section day, when the nurses handed me the paperwork to sign off on “sterilization,” I had a twinge of uncertainty. Now, one month postpartum, I can say I am extremely happy I did go through with the tubal ligation. Here’s why:
Surgery hurts (obviously)
Having a six-inch incision and your insides moved all around hurts. At first you are completely numb, but as the anesthesia wears off you are in serious discomfort. Also, immediately after you have surgery your nurse is required and will (for lack of a better word) “punch” you in the abdomen every 10 minutes. This is to ensure your uterus is contracting. It is terrible.
Adhesive residue and steri-strips
My C-section was a month ago, and I’m still picking the sticky glue-like residue off my legs from my initial surgical dressing. Granted, I just had my third kid, and picking at the sticker residue is very low on my priority list. Steri-strips are paper tape that goes directly over your incision. Your nurse will tell you they will fall off after a week. I had to painfully pull mine off after three weeks. Imagine having a bikini wax over your incision. Get the picture?
Edema is the medical term for swelling. Before, during, and after a surgery you are given IV fluids. These fluids can be retained in your body and can cause extremely uncomfortable swelling. My feet looked like tree trunks, and I had a pocket of fluid in my back that made it uncomfortable to sit or lay down. My edema got much worse when I got home from the hospital, and I could barely walk. It lasted about two weeks.
It’s not that C-section recovery got harder the more children I had; instead, it’s that I had to go home to two children with a newborn. One of the pediatricians in the hospital said to me, “It is crazy that we send moms home after major abdominal surgery with a newborn to care for. Imagine if everyone who came in to have an appendix out was sent home with a baby.”
Tubal ligation was the right decision for me and my family, and I’m glad I don’t ever have to think about birth control again — or having another C-section.
If you are deciding whether a tubal ligation is right for you, click here to check out this pros and cons list.