November 6, 2016

Getting Fixed: One Year Later

It's been a year since my laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy. Unless you know that I've had surgery (or are a medical professional, probably), you'd never be able to tell. Now that it's been a year I feel even more secure that it was the right decision. I know I can't get pregnant and will never have to worry about what-ifs. Instead of raising children, I'm in grad school, hoping to use my life to make a big difference in the world.

Here's what I look like now. The only visible scar is on my left side.

If you need a recap of my tube removal experience:
One year later, and here's what changed:
  • The Boyfriend and I don't need to think about pregnancy prevention anymore. I still do sometimes, but I was taking pills for 10 years and habitual worrying takes time to die off completely. The panic that I didn't take my pill subsides as soon as I remember I don't need to.
  • This means we've been able to have more spontaneous sex. 
  • This also means sex has been better because we aren't worried about the time of the month or that slim chance pills and/or condoms will fail. I went off birth control pills 10 months before getting spayed and we relied on condoms, which unfortunately meant we used them on occasion and tried to time sex for when I wasn't fertile the rest of the time. Since I had just started tracking my cycle, this was recklessly dangerous and I 1000% do not recommend it. Not to mention, it made both of us worry a lot about sex (mostly me, since I'd be the one actually pregnant).
  • I use an app to track my period now because I'm in less control over when I get it than when I was relying on a pack of pills (meaning I have no control). Fortunately it's crazy regular (more on that below) but it's been helpful having an app.
  • I've been extremely personal on this blog. Before I tried to be pretty vague and not use it as a completely personal platform, but I've since shared about being cut open, my personal decisions for not wanting to be a parent, details and advice about pooping, discussed my period in depth, shared photos with my face in them, shared photos of my bloaty and scarred belly, and now I've shared more details about my sex life than I thought I ever would on the internet. But, you know, I've said before I wanted to shout this from the rooftops and now that I've seen how helpful the previous two posts were to women considering this I'm more than happy to have been as candid and personal.
More importantly, some things haven't changed.
  • I still don't want kids. I got fixed 10 days after turning 30 and I'm 31 now. My biological clock didn't magically start ticking. In fact, my beliefs have strengthened. People in our lives are starting to have kids or talk about having kids and while they can have nice moments they are still so much work. Every time someone we know talks about how challenging it is being a parent I'm like, "...yep." 
  • My period hasn't changed. I've always been fortunate in the monthly cycle department. It came right on time when I was 13, is usually very light and cramp-free (I know, lucky), and is extremely regular, even without hormonal birth control. My first period post-surgery kind of skipped - I had all the symptoms of being on my period without any bleeding, but then it showed up a few weeks later. It took a few months to return to its normal mid-month cycle but now I can depend on it within a few days. I did have one period that was really crampy, but on rare occasion that would happen before surgery, too.
  • My hormones haven't changed. Because the only thing that changed was my fallopian tubes were removed, and they don't affect hormones, everything else has and will continue to happen normally, including menopause. That's also why my period hasn't changed. No weight change, no mood change, no change in appearance, nothing.
  • I can still wear bikinis. Not that I wear bikinis often due to circumstance (more of a mountain person than a beach person) and I would have even if my scars were bigger (because judgmental people can fuck off), buuuut my scars are totally not noticeable. In fact, on 4th of July The Boyfriend took a photo of me in a patriotic bikini and my belly button ring hole is more visible than my surgery scar. (Can you see it? I can if I squint.)
Quite a few women looking for information on laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy as a sterilization method have found my previous posts, and I'm so very glad to have helped them. The biggest selling point for salpingectomy for me was there would be nothing in my body - no copper or plastic IUDs, no clips, and no metal coils. Even the stitching dissolved and glue came off. My risk of ovarian cancer is potentially reduced, my risk of pregnancy is essentially gone, and I won't have to think about having an IUD removed in 5 years. Win-win-win-win-win.

Edit: Now that we know the election results I'm even more happy I've gotten this taken care of. The next president could, and likely will, significantly roll back access to and affordability for procedures like this (and birth control and abortion access). I would be quite worried for my future if I was still dependent on temporary birth control. 

I doubt there will be much to report back on but maybe I'll do a 5 year or 10 year follow up or an update if there's anything to update on. Until then, I've been really enjoying the comments on the previous two posts and love hearing all of your stories. Please continue to leave comments! I may not always respond right away, especially over the next couple of years as grad school takes up most of my time, but I will respond. This has been a fantastic experience and I'm so glad to be in the company of the many, many women out there who decided they don't want (any more) kids and are sick of dealing with temporary and inadequate birth control. Much love to you all.

Photos in order of when they were taken:
Day of surgery

6 weeks after surgery

1 year after surgery