It’s My Body and I’ll Tie if I Want To

When we found out we were pregnant with this baby, Mark’s immediate reaction was to declare his intentions on getting a vasectomy. While he loves me and loves our children, he does NOT love pregnancy’s effect on his wife – neither physical  nor psychological. While initially we both were on the same page with how many children we wanted (we discussed it in depth on our first date), after Dexter was born, he admitted that he was a little nervous to have any more. Once Daniel came into the picture, he was quite happy to stop there. And so when we got the big news earlier this year that we had yet another on the way, he was adamant that there would be no more.

I admit, as much as I love my babies, I can’t imagine going through another pregnancy. As much as I mourned our last chance to have a little girl, I can’t ever put myself through this again.

So when my OB asked at last week’s appointment what my plans were after this, I laughed and said, “this is it. No more.” She asked if I was sure, and I told her that Mark was already planning his vasectomy for as soon as possible after the birth. She asked if I was interested in having a tubal ligation, commonly referred to as having my tubes tied.

Right up until the very second that she asked, I hadn’t ever considered it an option. My mother had had her tubes tied after her third child was born, and when he died of SIDS at 3 months old, she had had to go through the ordeal of having a tubal reversal.  Knowing this, I have always said I would never have my tubes tied, “Just in case something happened.” But lately, through many talks with Mark and with my own understanding of my body and its limitations, I have realized that pregnancy is not my friend. I am great at actually giving birth. Both my kids have basically walked out of me, with little effort on my part and no rips, tears or scars to show for it. But the 9 months leading up to that point? Not good…

My doctor explained that if I opted for this option, it would involve them making an incision into my abdomen (providing my uterus was in the right place after the birth), pulling through my fallopian tubes and snipping them. Recovery would be fairly easy, and I should be able to go home on the same time scale.

She asked about my periods and whether I was regular. I told her that I am not ever regular, having dealt with PCOS my whole life, and she said that I needed to consider other birth control options. She strongly suggested I consider an IUD, which would last for five years and could be inserted 6 weeks after the baby came. She said it would make my periods lighter, regular and may even get rid of them all together. She was very enthusiastic about it, and she said she thought it may be a better option. Mark, too, thought that this was a good idea.

I decided to take the literature home and read about it and think what I wanted to do. But inside, I kind of already knew which way I was leaning.

Pros and Cons of Having Tubes Tied

When I really think about it, there are pros and cons to each decision. Mark will be having a vasectomy either way, just as double insurance since we clearly are INCREDIBLY fertile together. But a vasectomy can take months to become 100% effective, and even then it may not take.

So here’s what goes through my mind as I consider my options.

  1. I really don’t like the idea of having a foreign object in my body. An IUD may be great, but the thought of it inside of me really freaks me out. Also, while you aren’t supposed to be able to feel the strings that hang down, and it’s supposed to be rather unobtrusive, the literature I’ve read says that you have to check it once a month and be sure it’s in the right place. This is hardly something I want to have to remember to do!
  2. There have been reports of IUDs perforating the uterus and causing real problems for some women. That thought terrifies me.
  3. Between 2 – 10% of women will have the IUD fall out in the first year. Could you imagine?? If I wound up pregnant again in a year, I don’t know how I would cope!
  4. I know myself pretty darn well. I know how my mind works. After each of my previous children, I have been CONVINCED that I would never have another. And yet… here I am about to have a third. My mind will work to convince me that having another baby is a good idea somewhere down the road. If I have an IUD, the odds are that I would probably have it removed at some point and “leave it up to fate.” But if I have my tubes tied, I wouldn’t have this option. I am not about to have an unnecessary and invasive surgery in order to reverse it, which means that having my tubes tied is a PERMANENT solution that I don’t have to worry about again.
  5. Sure, tubal ligation is not 100% effective. But combined with my partner’s vasectomy, I think the chances of further pregnancies would be pretty slim.
  6. Having my tubes tied would be immediate and completely effective from the first moment. So as we wait for Mark’s vasectomy to work, we are protected.

The doctor warned me that tubal reversals are hardly ever effective, so if I changed my mind, I would probably still not be able to get pregnant. I had to laugh. I am the PRODUCT of a tubal reversal. My mother had hers done fairly immediately after my brother’s death, and while it took her a couple of years to actually get pregnant again, she did it. And after I was born, she even managed to do it again and have my little brother. It’s clear where my fertility comes from, isn’t it!?

At the end of the day, the worst fear I have about having it done is that something will happen to one of my children. This is a fear all parents have, and it’s horrible to contemplate. But I have unfortunately seen it happen to too many people to believe it can’t happen to me. And so I fear – if I’ve had my tubes tied and then the worst happened, would I want to have another baby?

The answer is hard… Of course I would WANT to, but I don’t think I would. I think I would be heartbroken and bereft, and I would try to convince myself that another baby was the way forward. But right now, I genuinely believe that I couldn’t do it. I know that I can’t go through it again, and the easiest way to ensure it is to have my tubes tied.

So next week, when I go back to the doctor, I will give her my answer. Unzip me and snip me! I am done.


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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

29 Responses

  1. Remember hun this is your’s and M’s choice consider and talk about all of them. Try to hang in there. I hope he decides to stay in his cozy home for a few more weeks. Sending love and prayers.

  2. I thought about Ligation after having my second daughter. I can understand having difficult pregnancies as my first was born 11 weeks early with no sure reason why and my second I was in and out of the hospital from around six weeks pregnant til I was finally induced at 37 weeks. Still after all that I changed my mind after having my second daughter and went with the Mirena IUD. It works for me and I just don’t like the idea of not having the option of not having anymore children.

  3. i have been where you are twice.second time just made it to 36 weeks and everything was you say its your body but you are no less a woman for having it done.i had to have a full radical at 39 but i was just grateful to be around to see my kids grow,and i have never felt less of a woman.good luck to and baby x

  4. Great article. How come your OB didn’t bring up Essure? It’s a simple outpatient procedure and I’m hearing good things about it.

    1. I’m not sure why it wasn’t brought up. Possibly they don’t offer it, or she doesn’t recommend it. I may ask the next time I see her. Though I have read a little about it (not much!) and I think the fact that it would be a foreign object in my body AND takes a few months to take effect would put me off of it. Something to consider though!

    2. Good point. I was skeptical about the Mirena IUD at first but ended up with it for 4 1/2 years. It turned me into someone else though so I had it removed. Like your husband, mine wants to do the same thing when we are done. He feels it is his duty as a husband beings I go through the childbirth part. Kinda like relieving me of my duties. Lol. Hard to explain.

  5. I feel the same. I am pregnant with my third boy and will be 27 next week. Like you, my pregnancies are horrendous and I really don’t want anymore children. But I just don’t know whether I could do this. Do they do it after labour or a few weeks after?

    1. You can do it any time, of course, but the easiest way is to do it within 24 hours of labor if possible. I definitely think that if you are unsure in any way you should not do it. There are great options for birth control, and you have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. I never thought I could do it, and there is still the chance to change my mind… But I am pretty certain that it is best I do not go through another pregnancy, and I think it’s the best thing for me.

    2. I understand completely. If your hubby is willing, a vasectomy is a great option. It takes up to six months to work, though so precautions need to be taken until it is 100%. It is really difficult to make a decision like this – especially when you have many child bearing years left. I suggest research and soul-searching to figure out what you’d be most comfortable with.

    3. It’s a very hard decision. I can’t use contraception. Fell pregnant with my first on the pill, my second on the injection and my third on the coil lol so it either leaves a vasectomy for my husband or this for me. I definitely cannot go through a pregnancy again so just need to decide now

  6. Huge decision! Given you horrific history during pregnancy I can’t imagine ever wanting to be pregnant again. I bet many women struggle with this, most of them never coming close to the crazy drama in pregnancy you have experienced.

    1. It really is a huge decision. Part of me feels like taking away the option to have babies makes me less of a woman in some ways. I feel like after years of infertility myself and seeing others who struggle to get pregnant, it is selfish for me to take this option. But these are small considerations when compared to how it would be to deal with the fallout of another pregnancy. I will have three kids very soon, and I want to be there for them and healthy enough to see them grow.

    2. I had mine done, but I knew that I was done having children; this coming from a woman who had 3 c-sections & never fully breastfeeding any of my children.. I don’t feel any less of a woman; but you’re right, it is a big decision & shouldn’t be taken lightly.. Do what you feel is right & think long term.. I can’t say that I would do it again, but hindsight is 20/20, I guess.. Good luck to you!!

    3. Being alive and healthy to raise the 3 wonderful children you are going to have is the most important thing you can do. Whether having tubes tied eases the burden of an unplanned and potentially damaging pregnancy that’s another thing. BUT, do not EVER think it would be a selfish decision or one that would make you feel any less femine. Nothing screams femininity like 3 little ones underfoot 🙂

  7. I have 2 children. A few miscarriages before them. I was 36 when I had ny daughter. I decided then to have a ligation. I’m glad I did. Do what’s best for you. 🙂

    1. I, too, had miscarriages in my younger days, which is part of my considerations. I’m so sorry you had to go through them. I am definitely strongly leaning toward the ligation, and I have good support for it. I hope that I will have no regrets. 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience. This is a tough issue every couple has to face when they are done having kids.

  9. #3 is going to be a year old next month and I am still trying to figure out what I want to do for birth control. I am definitely not having anymore. I had planned on the IUD but I just don’t think I can do. The thought of something up there all the time, the possibility of it coming out, and I’ve heard it is extremely painful to have put in. Decisions, decisions.

    1. I hady tubes tied 4 months ago when I had my 3rd baby… Everyday I am thankful I did it. Aunt flo is out of wack for me because I’m breastfeeding but I do get her so far its 36-45 days between and not bad. The only issue I have is I can tell what side I ovulate from because that side hurts for a day or two. Not oh my gosh i am gonna die hurt just twingy uncomfortable pain. Other than that its awesome. I do still wonder if its the reason my period came back so fast this time… With my other two I had 6 months to a year.

  10. My first pregnancy was great. Miscarriage followed that baby. My next (and last) pregnancy was awful. I wasn’t even sure I would make it the delivery room with my last pregnancy – super stressful. Bleeding through week 34 and the cause was never found. I had an IUD following that pregnancy and it was awful so I decided to have a ligation along with an endometrial ablation. BEST DECISION EVER. No regrets! Good luck to you!

  11. This is such a brave topic to write about, especially when you are going through so much uncertainty. When I went for my first growth scan and was told that baby was most likely to be delivered at 34 weeks, be very small and weak for that gestation and require lots of special care, the doctor also asked me if I intended to have more babies after this one. Rather than tell her maybe, maybe not, I told the truth and said that 4 was our number, had always been our number. She then proceeded to advise me to have the same procedure as you are considering and told me that it could be done at the same time as my section. At the time a VBAC was still very much an option to me and I was so upset. But thinking about it, I knew it made a lot of sense. This pregnancy has not been kind to me and the chances of having another baby with issues will only increase if I were to fall pregnant again. But I couldn’t, and still can’t, shake the feeling if dread that comes with the option of no more. Especially when in one breath the dr is saying that our baby could be gravely poorly, and in another cutting off all chances of another one. ITs such a hard decision to make and I know that whatever happens you will make the right one. I still have not given my answer and not sure I will ever be able to x x x x

  12. Just found you via Ello! I’ve had an IUD and have also suffered with PCOS (Great for you not to have fertility problems with PCOS!!) and I have to say I loved my IUD. It was hurtful when they put it in and I was not expecting that but I loved it. I’m honestly regretting not just putting another IUD in instead of getting my tubes tied. I also have difficult pregnancies and we had decided after my last one that we were done. I’ve been having issues losing weight this time around and IDK if that has anything to do with it. I’m back on Metformin but no real weight loss. But google the issues women have been having after tying their tubes! I wish I would have done that before hand because there’s no real reversing it for me. It’s not covered by insurance so I’m stuck with my decision. At least an IUD if it doesn’t work for you then you can just get it removed. I had mine in for 18 months and went right back to normal after removal and then I was pregnant right away. Just a thought!

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