Last September, with a pounding heart, I smuggled a mason jar filled with a urine sample into my purse. My husband had just woken up, his eyes swollen from too little sleep and red, from yet another long night at one of our start-up businesses. I rambled on about needing eggs and dashed out for a solo trip to Publix. Fast forward past the appearance of those two little lines.
Through months of anxiety, and refusing to announce the pregnancy to anyone outside our immediate family, for fear of bursting into tears, we welcomed a sweet baby boy. He has been with us just shy of three months, and I can’t imagine life without him. He filled a void in our lives that I didn’t know there – there’s now a completeness within our unit not present before his arrival. And we have dubbed him our bonus baby.
While three children had been on our peripheral before my oldest was born, the fact is, we had gotten further away from that idea and had begun discussing permanent birth control options. Specifically, ahem, a vasectomy. Clearly, in this case, actions are better than words. Despite the combination use of a diaphragm and natural family planning (in efforts to balance hormones), we became a family of five. When my Midwife asked about our birth control plans at my two weeks postpartum visit, it spilled out of my mouth faster than my brain could formulate the thought. Tubal Ligation. I had considered it, throughout the pregnancy, of course. But I had been so adamant about permanently ending my ability to create life before, that I wasn’t sure I would go through with it.
Without much more thought we began the process and scheduled a consultation. The GYN assured me it was “nothing.” Hardly any recovery time, and he’d send me home with two band-aids – easy peasy. “It’s going to be like a spa date,” I told my husband. “Two band-aids. Easy peasy, and then we can go out for breakfast”. Well, I am here 14 days post op to share with you a few things to know before embarking on such a date.
1. Treatment of the day – Tubal a la Ligation
Ladies, if you allow yourself to believe it, it is almost like a spa date. After filling out your pre appointment paper work (bring your living will if you have one), you’ll be escorted back and asked to change (bring your socks!). It’s not exactly a fluffy white robe, but they do kindly offer you a freshly warmed blanket. Nursing mama’s, this is your chance to pump (to maintain supply)! It’s tricky, friends, being hooked up and all, but stick with it. There’s a prize at the end.
Yep, they will ease any post pumping; pre surgery flusters with the house cocktail. Between the warm blanket and the relaxing concoction provided via IV, I promise, you will completely forget that your rear is exposed. Now pay attention this is the most important part. Make friends with your RN. She is the one who takes care of you post op, and if you’re friendly and chatty (don’t worry, you’re heavily intoxicated, remember?), she might even let you take an extra nap. Which is about all I remember after that. Waking up and Jen (I love you Jen!) remarking I was awake and stable, and informing someone else that she was going to allow me to sleep a little longer – “she has a newborn at home.”
From there you will be picked up by your partner and continue to your date, should you choose to. I hope you do, by the way. As parents, we need to take advantage of any kid free time we might have with our partners.
2. Wear a dress!
For the love of all things holy, wear a dress. The dress serves two purposes. A. Aids in the delusion that this time away from your kid(s) is, in fact, a date. B. It prevents your carbon dioxide bloated belly from rubbing on your waist band. Whatever you do, don’t be like me and wear jeans. Skinny jeans are not the look for your tubal spa day.
3. You’ll be a cheap date
Most surgeries are scheduled for first thing in the morning, thus making breakfast the perfect choice to cap off your morning excursion. Skip the bottomless mimosas; you’ll still be feeling your pre op cocktail and then some. You might also be less than hungry. Jen, my RN Bestie, mentioned I might have a lack of appetite and even nausea upon hearing our plans for breakfast. Neither applied to me, but worth mentioning, none the less.
4. Did I mention it’s surgery?!
Around this time it will probably dawn on you that you JUST. Had. SURGERY. You will realize, as the pain medication wears off, that even though it’s a measly bathroom cabinet style band-aid that covers each incision site – you are in a decent amount of, dare I say, pain. I would like to take a moment here to address all the c-section warriors out there, who are shaking your heads saying “gurl..”. Hats off, ladies. Slow clap, and Hats. Off.
Somewhere between the words “routine,” and a “completion time of 11 minutes and 23 seconds” I lost sight of the fact that, as easy peasy, as it is, it’s surgery. A team of medical professionals knocked me out, cut me, and entered my body with the goal of cutting more parts of me. I was blindsided by the amount of discomfort I was in for the week it took me to feel fully recovered.
5. Cross check your meds (Nursing Mothers).
All joking aside, please be sure to cross check the safety of your medications. I was very vocal to everyone who I came into contact with that I needed breastfeeding compatible drugs and medications. Nevertheless, I was prescribed a breastfeeding incompatible pain medication. Should you experience that same problem, you can request a different prescription. I chose to stick with prescription strength Ibuprofen, which made my discomfort throughout the week tolerable, albeit I may or may not have been Mrs. Grumpy Gills.
6. Be prepared to feel all the feels.
Upon leaving our favorite breakfast spot and heading home, we drove past our old rental home, as we often do. I gazed dreamily out the window and nostalgically envisioned walking the yard during the “5 O’Clock Fussies” with my oldest when she was fresh in the world. The finality of the chapter closed stung my eyes with hot tears. It wasn’t regret. Nor sadness. Merely a reflection of an another stage of life behind us. Just as I did not expect real pain following the surgery, I did not expect to feel emotional.
In the week that followed there were more emotions; a small amount of resentment toward my husband – which I hate even to mention, namely because it was when I was tired and uncomfortable. However, there was also empowerment and wisdom. I felt in control of my body, my future, and incredibly mature for recognizing what no longer served me and had the strength to let it go.
As with all things parenting and life, what works for one may not always work for another. For my family and me, the path of permanent sterilization was the one for us – without a doubt. Whether or not it made for a great date, is still up for debate. And, for the love of all things good and holy, why did no one tell me to wear a dress?!