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


10 comments:

  1. I just had mine done on the 4th!Trying to find all the info I can as I was originally going to have my tubes burned;due to the surgery center being in mid-move they had already moved the burny thing to the new center (which is not where I was) and in a desperate attempt to not have clips I asked the dr to just remove the damn things. To my great surprise he thought a moment and was like..... Yeah actually we can do that. Super happy to have such a permanent fix but I wish I could have done more prep work beforehand..... No idea what will happen with my insurance with such a last minute change of plans.

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  2. Congratulations on your surgery, Jess! Obviously I believe that salpingectomy is the best route - no chance that it will fail because they're gone! It's unfortunate that you didn't have time to do much research, but hopefully you're well on your way to recovery and will have an easy follow-up appointment. Also good luck with insurance - it's too late now but you might be able to talk to your doctor or billing department about what you can expect. Hopefully you have better insurance than I do.

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  3. I'm so very happy to see that you're doing well :) It's so hard to find anything positive about tubal ligation (or salpingectomy) when looking for personal experiences online. Most I'm coming across are either people that have PTLS or deep regret. It's great to see that a year later, you're happy, you're healthy and you're doing just great! Congratulations! Wishing you continued good health!

    All is good with me. I had the tubal fulguration (burning the tubes) 2 and 1/2 weeks ago and saw my surgeon yesterday. My scars have healed nicely, I'm definitely feeling NO REGRET, now I get to just enjoy life with my husband and 2 kiddies with no worries about ever getting pregnant!! Sexy time was awesome!!, my husband and I are happy :)

    Thanks again for your posts!

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    1. All of the regret stories I've seen were from people who were already mothers and then decided to have more children (a lot of the time because they had new partners). When I had my surgery I hadn't read any stories of women who never wanted kids regretting their sterilization. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it seems less likely. Personally, if I suddenly do change my mind and just have to have a baby of my own, I hope someone will talk to me seriously about it. I've been pretty sure I don't want kids for 10 years and very sure for 6 years, and kids are such a big responsibility that a decision like that should not be taken lightly. I don't see that changing, though. :) Hopefully more mothers can chime in with their successful and happy sterilizations so the regret stories are not so overpowering!

      Congratulations again on your tubal AND your lack of regret! You sound like you have a lovely family. And the uninhibited sexy time really is the best. Enjoy!

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  4. I know you've heard it a bunch of times already, but I just wanted to say thank you for creating a helpful insight on this procedure. Because of your indepth account of the whole process, I have my procedure scheduled for Monday, November 28th. I am scared since I've never had surgery of any kind but your blog has put a lot of my mind at ease with a number of questions. I took yaz for a year and it almost killed me in 2008 due to blood clots and a bilateral Pulmonary Embolism. I've had two copper IUDs fall out of place and now one is embedded. I started to research a tubal but came across your blog.I am so glad that I did. Thank you thank you thank you again!
    Ashley

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    1. Hi Ashley, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note. I am so happy my experience has been helpful. Good luck on Monday! This was my first surgery, too, but it really was easy. I hope you have someone to dote on you for a few days while you recover, and after that you can look forward to not worrying about birth control ever again. :)

      Feel free to check in here after your surgery! I'd love to hear how it goes.

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  5. Thanks for such a detailed account. I'm thinking of getting the surgery as well. Could you tell me the name of the doctor you used? I live in the SD area as well so could possible go to the same doctor.

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    1. Hey fellow San Diegan! I found my doctor on this site: https://www.reddit.com/r/childfree/wiki/doctors

      Mine was Dr. Khan, though it was the other doctor in his practice that I connected with (resident? fellow?). Either way, that office is willing to discuss this procedure, which was a welcome relief after previous consultations. :)

      Good luck!

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  6. I'm having my bilateral salpingectomy tomorrow!

    Thank you for sharing your story with others. You've been more informative than my doctor. I didn't know i had to abstain from sex for six weeks after surgery.

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    1. Hi Crystalann, hope you had a great surgery and are already recovered! TBH I'm not sure why 6 weeks of no sex or tampons... maybe a month but I felt OK much sooner than 6 weeks. Either way, glad my story was helpful!

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