This stems from something I read not long ago. In my case it happened decades ago but not many questions were asked or third degree. Just to be sure I asked Hubs what he remembered about the months in question and he explicitly said no one talked to him about it besides me. First, some background.
We were nearing our 9th anniversary in 1978. Parents of two, Shannon was 7-1/2 and Joshua was 3-1/2. I no longer had to pack diapers and extra outfits every time we left the house. Although I asked him a thousand times a day, Josh had to go potty as often as a parched camel needed a drink.
I hadn’t been feeling very well. Nothing specific, just a tender belly. I trudged to my OB/GYN who ran some tests. When I returned for the results he said frankly, “you’ve been taking this birth control pill too long (about 7 years total). You need to stop immediately.” I frowned, “but there’s this issue of not getting pregnant. It’s been a great form of birth control.” He hammered his argument home. “This pill is much stronger than we’re prescribing now. It’s causing complicated issues with your normal cycle. Honestly, I doubt you’ll ever ovulate again.”
Well this was a conundrum. Hubs and I hadn’t really discussed adding another child to the mix or doing anything permanent to prevent it. John knew since our dating days I didn’t want a baby after I turned 30 but I was only 27. He hadn’t offered to have a vasectomy which would have been ideal. After all I’d taken care of the birth control during this marriage for 8 years and counting.
I was concerned and uncomfortable enough to stop taking the pill, accepting doc’s theory regarding another pregnancy as highly improbable or impossible. And I did feel much better within a couple months. I thought we’d take a few months before deciding on what to do to prevent another pregnancy or maybe add to our family. You know where this is going, right?
Yup, a couple months later I was feeling mislick (Dutch slang for lousy) and headed back to the doctor. I was light headed and queasy with black spots before my eyes, so not really shocked when the pregnancy test came back positive. Doc acted embarrassed like it was his fault. Ewww. I wasn’t very happy but that was just me being selfish for a nano second, seeing my short lived freedom heading south for a few more years. Hubs was ecstatic.
Soon I was shopping for some new fangled one-piece T-shirts (onesies) in pastel colors and realized I was excited about becoming a mom again. Started seeing the doctor every month for my prenatal checkups and brought up the subject of a permanent solution for birth control. I hesitated bringing up the idea of a vasectomy again to John, but short of forcing him thought that idea wasn’t gonna fly.
“Doc, this is my third baby and I’m done having kids. What do you suggest?” “Well, at 28 you’re awfully young to do something permanent. Why not try a lower dose birth control pill?” Giving him my tried and true patented stink eye, “Because it’s not a permanent fix. How can I word this? I DO NOT want to go through another pregnancy and have 4 children. After this baby, I’m done having kids, no matter the outcome.”
The doc suggested choosing something less permanent a couple times before the end of my pregnancy, but he lacked enthusiasm on the subject as did I. When he realized he could not persuade me to try another birth control pill he suggested a tubal ligation the day after the baby was born, which would require one extra day in the hospital. Now this was an idea I could endorse. A couple of times he tried to change my mind because of my young age or me changing my mind later but he never once broached the subject of talking about it to Hubs.
One of my (way younger) Facebook friends recently posted this: “let women get their tubes tied-no questions asked,” which is the reason I started thinking about that summer of 1979 when I was last pregnant. Ugh, I’m old.
I was shocked and saddened by some of the comments on the ‘tubes tied-no questions asked’ issue. A couple women said their doctor required them to ‘get’ written permission from their husbands before scheduling a permanent birth control solution. One gal said she went to six (yes, 6) doctors before one agreed to tie her tubes because of a serious health concern. Another married gal had 3 children, didn’t want anymore children but the doc was reluctant because she was under 25 when she requested to have her tubes tied.
Three young woman wrote, “my doctor risked her license to give me a hysterectomy when I was 20. I had to get my husband’s signature too. This was medically necessary since I had gone through puberty.” Second gal, “I wanted my tubes tied after having my son and I knew I was having a C-section, but my insurance company said no and my doctor said she could lose her license because I wanted permanent birth control.” And lastly, “this should be as easy as a vasectomy. If a woman doesn’t want children it’s a good solution vs birth control which is known to fail.”
I’ve never been the gal who’s happy discussing controversial issues. I believe in something wholeheartedly and you believe in the exact opposite, but just as fervently, which is each of our rights. But this struck a chord with me since I willingly and (forcefully) went through it decades ago. But it was my decision alone to make, not anybody else’s…
One thought on “Permanent Solutions…”
I definitely agree that it should be a woman’s decision – regardless of age or circumstances. I had a tubal in 1981 when I was 26. I don’t remember it being an issue whatsoever. We had two boys and a girl (within 3 years). I think my oldest son looked into getting a vasectomy when he was very young (18?) and had no children. His doctor talked him out of it and now that he has his two sons, I am pretty sure he is grateful for that, but at the time I would have supported him if he was determined to do it.
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