This is going to be a long post and one I have been contemplating writing for a while now. I was sitting with Jesse in my lap this morning and feeling a bit sad thinking about how fast he is growing and that I will never again be pregnant, feel a baby grow or give birth.
I do not for a second regret the decision to have a hysterectomy, health wise it has probably been the best decision I have ever made, it still makes me sad sometimes though and there are many times when I have asked myself why?
I mean I have 3 healthy beautiful kids and even if I had the chance to have another baby again I am not sure that I would, I think it’s more the way in which everything happened and that the eventual outcome of my hysterectomy was not my original choice, in many ways neither was my tubal… yes the words came from my mouth yes I even convinced myself that it was what I wanted but in the end I don’t think it was, I had already gone through my family ragging on me to have my tubes done through Gabriel’s pregnancy and then through Jesse’s, I was told over and over that babies only get more expensive, that I need to think about the ones I have already and that someday I would want to enjoy my life as if children meant that I would be held down until my older years etc top that off with the years of heavy painful periods and many, many trips to my doctor I was tired and worn down and got to the point where I believed whole heartedly that this what was needed to be done…
I had my Tubal Ligation done directly after my Caesar with Jesse I really didn’t think much of it I was just so focused on my baby and being with him, but everything seemed fine and the actual procedure caused no more discomfort than a regular Caesar would have so I went home happy.
However once home my issues started, I bled heavily like blood bath heavily and started passing large clots which I knew was not normal from my previous Caesers.
I called my doctor and had to see her Locum as she was on leave, he did an ultrasound and found that I had a number of large clots and tissue in my uterus that were not coming down on their own and I needed to have a dnc asap which I did later on that same day.
When I chose to have my tubal done my doctor did explain that with my history it was very likely that my periods would continue and sure enough they did only my periods were now extremely painful and even more heavy, I was in severe pain for days at a time and had to change so often it was a joke and so when I saw my doctor at 6 weeks post op she suggested that I undergo a fairly new procedure known as the Novasure Procedure, she explained that it was very simple and non-evasive that I would be taken into ‘surgery’ completely knocked out that a special tool would be inserted into my uterus which opened up like a fan and emitted microwaves into the uterus which basically burnt the lining of your uterine wall making it not only inhabitable for an egg implantation but also would prevent the lining from ever thickening again so I would not get my period again, this procedure was designed for woman with heavy painful periods who didn’t want any more children and apparently I was a perfect candidate so of course I said yes I was so desperate to be free of pain and didn’t even think to second guess or ask more questions about what my doctor had said to me, which is my fault not hers as she really is a great doctor and always takes the time to answer ever question I have no matter how silly.
So a few weeks later whilst still on maternity leave I underwent the procedure and when I woke up all I can remember is a nurse saying in Afrikaans to another nurse that the procedure had failed I was groggy and confused and when my doctor eventually came round I was looking for answers as I was in quite a bit of pain and discomfort and the procedure had taken much longer than I was told it would- she explained to me that due to the angle of my uterus which she only saw when she went in with the camera for the procedure she could not properly burn the entire lining, she explained that this was the reason I had so many issues in my previous pregnancies as my babies could not properly progress into the ‘birthing cavity’, it was why I didn’t dilate after hours of labour etc, and also that because she could not do the full lining I would more than likely continue to have my period in the same manner, she said that she could try again and go in manually with a sort of scoop and scrape the lining away, it was either that or a Surgical Hysterectomy, I chose the former in an attempt to avoid the hysterectomy.
Unfortunately for me the 2nd procedure also failed and I was devastated but determined not to have a hysterectomy I decided to leave it and see how it went.
The next few months were an absolute hell for me I was in almost constant pain I bloated to the point of looking 8 months pregnant, I got migraines my blood pressure and iron levels dropped, eventually I could not take it anymore I wasn’t enjoying my life or my new baby and I booked another appointment with my doctor who after an ultrasound informed me that my uterus has fused shut from the Novasure procedures and that blood was therefore pooling there with nowhere else to go, so I had months’ worth of dirty blood sitting there and causing all my issues, I asked her what my options were and her answer was well either you live with this on meds for the rest of your life or you have a hysterectomy- you cannot have any more children anyway as your uterus is now severely scared and inhabitable as she put it, so I said ok and then cried all the way home and every time I was alone up until my surgery which was a few days after Jesse’s first birthday on October 2nd.
Since having the procedure my health and pain issues have resolved I have no more period to worry about and my hormones have balanced out now which helped me lose weight and helped with my skin and moods etc so I cannot say I regret having it done now like I said before.
It is not the fault of my doctor, my husband or my family in the end I was the one who made the decision but still there are days when I feel like turning back the clock not saying yes to all the various after surgeries, doing more research instead of going in blindly.
I guess that is why I decided to put this post together after seeing so many woman looking into tubal ligation's etc lately I just felt like I wanted to give a little forewarning or tips for ladies facing this decision.
1) Do not make this decision whilst pregnant because I honestly believe that if I had waited until I had Jesse I probably would not have gone ahead with the tubal- when you are pregnant you are so completely tied in with the baby you are carrying that it is hard to think or contemplate having another, I know I didn’t want another I wanted Jesse and that was as far as my thought process would extend, when my mom had hers her doctor made her wait 6 weeks first and I think that is properly a better way to go, bearing in mind that they don’t necessarily have to cut you to do a hysterectomy now they can go in vaginally and remove it, I had to have mine surgically removed due to my 3 previous Caesars and the recovery was such like a Caesar would have been.
2) Know that even though they say a tubal ligation procedure can be reversed- the reversal surgery is not covered by medical aid, nor is it a cheap or easy procedure, it also has a low success rate, also know that a male vasectomy procedure is far cheaper and less invasive also easier to reverse to keep that in mind.
3) Do your research if I had, I would have seen all the complications that can come from a tubal and then Novasure surgery and I would have been prepared for them I wasn’t and it led me down the eventual road of a hysterectomy. For example no one explained to me that after my Novasure procedure there was a chance that my uterus could fuse shut (I don’t even think my doctor knew, research shows it is more common than one would think) and that blood would pool there with no escape leading to unbearable pain and bloating whenever my monthlies would arise also no one told me that many woman suffer after a tubal ligation with hormonal and period issues as well as bloating weight gain and mood issues, I found all this out afterwards it doesn’t happen with all woman but I wish I had educated myself in the event that it could happen.
4) Look at your family history- my mom went through the exact same issues and also had to have a hysterectomy after she developed the same issues from her tubal
5) Make sure it is your decision not anyone else’s do not let anyone convince you that this is your decision if it isn’t as you cannot turn back once it is done
6) Don’t think that you have failed because you didn’t end up with the birth you wanted, what I mean by this is that I do also feel that the grieving I experienced was part in parcel due to my births and that all 3 of my boys ended up in NICU even as a Caesar mom who was very open minded when it came to a birth plan I still envisioned the 4 days of my hospital stay so differently that they would be centred around breastfeeding and kangaroo care with my new-born just the 2 of us bonding constantly in seclusion for those 4 days however what I got was 3 trips to NICU which meant pumping and bf struggles it meant not being able to be with my babies constantly or follow the due process I had envisioned I hoped that my 2nd son would give me that and then my 3rd it didn’t happen and I am pretty sure that any future births would have resulted in the same thing if I had gone that way, it doesn’t mean that my births were terrible or that I failed in any way it was just not what I pictured.
7) Prepare to grieve- the doctor told me that many woman experience grief after these procedures even when they chose to have it done, I brushed it off and a few weeks after my hysterectomy I went into a very deep grieving over my decision I cried for hours every day and then cried because I was crying and couldn’t understand why etc
8) Talk- talk to your doctor, your partner, talk it out let your concerns and feelings be known, do not bottle it up and do not wait until afterwards to speak your mind.
I still have moments of sadness and longing I think its instinctual for most woman to feel the need to carry and have a child I think it is also a lot of what makes us feel like we are a woman even though the ability to procreate doesn't make you a woman if you understand what I am saying...
I apologise for the long post but I hope this helped give a little more insight to woman who are facing this decision please not I am not saying do not have these procedures done or that what happened to me will happen to you as I was told that I was a less common case however I know that there are many woman out there with similar histories or in need of some information and assurance before making their decision, and I encourage everyone who is struggling or is unsure to wait until you are sure, our bodies are amazing complicated things and every bit of information helps lead to an informed positive choice.