"It is not economical to go to bed early to save the candles if the result is twins."
To Essure Or Not To Essure...
Recently I had to make a very difficult decision for myself and for my family. I had to decide if I was finally ready to move past fertility and give up the possibility of having another child. I know that for most people this is an easy answer either to keep one's fertility or to let it go but for me it was a really tough decision that left me feeling slightly off balance and wobbly. I spent many years fearing that I would be forever barren, which in this day and age makes me a bit old fashioned, many would say. I, however, never desired a career beyond being a housewife and mother. If I worked outside the home it would be to supplement an income never to be the "breadwinner". It was a constant heartbreak for my mother who envisioned me as a career minded woman strongly and confidently "having it all". The problem was a house, a loving partner and a couple of children were, for me, the very definition of "it all".
For over ten years we had sex, Sigel and I, unprotected and month after month we watched my period arrive with a weird mixture of self-loathing and relief. We didn't have "good jobs" and health insurance was a dream, but damn it all if I still didn't want a child of my own. I began to feel like I wasn't really a woman and people I worked with treated me like I was a perpetual teenager until I was over 25. I wasn't a child and I wasn't a "real" woman either and the pain of this cut into my self-esteem worse than even my belief that I was fat.
Sigel did his level best to reassure me that I was perfectly fine, but NOTHING could shake this bone deep feeling of loss that I felt whenever I saw a pregnant teenager or young professional with her laptop and baby stroller. I felt as though I was somehow less, maimed, and I had no idea why or what I had done to deserve this. My tests all came back normal, Sigel's tests all came back normal, but still every month my hated period would show up again and again, year after year.
For a pagan the "moon flow" or Womanly Time is a sacred event heralding the time in a woman's life when she is at her most powerful. The problem was my power was being inverted, turned against myself in an effort to explain why I wasn't "worthy" of being blessed with children. I cannot tell anyone the depth of my self-loathing, despair and even how much I hated Sigel for being grateful that I wasn't pregnant. Hating the man that I have loved since I was 15 years old was the worse side effect of my baby madness. In some ways I don't think I really ever got over how horribly that cut into my soul.
Then one day, as I was standing at my workplace listening to the break room chatter, I realized my coworker was pregnant. This day, however, instead of the usual flare of jealousy that had marked my behavior for many years I was just mellow and curious. I had in many ways given up, you see, so I wasn't even tracking my basal temperature anymore. As she talked about what she was feeling I realized that my breasts were itching, my nipples tingled oddly. It was driving me mad! I stood there trying not to scratch and thought, "How odd! Why am I itching so badly?" My Mother came in for dinner that night and I mentioned that one of the girl's was pregnant and I thought maybe I was too. She had heard it before, but this time she just looked me in the eyes and asked how far along I thought I might be! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Well as it turned out I was pregnant, finally.
Just after having my "miracle baby" I realized my breasts were tingling again, and once again I was indeed pregnant. I was blessed with two very healthy girls and Sigel felt that since I hadn't had the easiest time of it that he was content with the girls. He quickly made the decision to have a vasectomy as he didn't want me to undergo abdominal surgery. Everyone agreed he was being responsible and doing the right thing. The problem was my baby madness hadn't yet run its course. I never dealt with the issues causing me problems.
When I met Arch, and he became our life partner, it was with the understanding that I wanted another child. He wanted to have a child with me and Sigel was content to co-parent a child. I had managed to make them both feel responsible for my madness; I still rebelled at infertility with all my soul. Soon after we made these monumental decisions I got pregnant with our son. Through it all Sigel was a trooper, Arch was a new father and I was insane. I began planning how many more I would have...and then reality struck home. Both Arch and Sigel were a united front; they didn't want any more children.
I fought the idea, but together they managed to pierce that shell of madness and forced me to look at the fact that I had three healthy children, really healthy children! Emotionally, physically and sexually healthy children who proved that I had done what I set out to do; have a family, stay at home, and a wonderful housewife! I didn't need more babies to prove I was a woman, the proof was walking around and just about to tackle the world!
What To Do Now?
So, having decided to make my health a priority, I got some help to deal with the baby madness I had been locked inside of for so many years. I talked and reasoned, and then shut up and listened, and then I began to learn that I had value as a human being. My reproductive abilities aside, I was a pretty amazing person!
Sigel had already had his vasectomy, and Arch was looking into getting one done as well. I knew that I needed to move on as well so I investigated the types of sterilization procedures available for me. Arch was getting grief from his doctor about performing the vasectomy and the pill was making me very ill. I cannot handle my body chemistry being yanked around, so even hormone laced products, like IUDs, were not going to work for me. I needed to be sure I was not able to get pregnant because my fertile partner was serious when he said he didn't want another child!
I looked into Tubal Ligation and realized that the risks of injury to my bowel, bladder, uterus and ovaries were pretty significant. I could have an adverse reaction to anesthesia, develop an infection or suffer prolonged abdominal pain. There is a risk of ectopic pregnancy and even a risk that the procedure won't "take" and I could get pregnant anyhow! I also had to factor in the fact that, while I am not categorized as obese, I am certainly not at my optimal weight to be going in for surgery.
The guys were not real happy about this procedure no matter how reassuring my doctor was. As it turned out my doctor doesn't perform sterilizations on women unless it is just after they have given birth, so I made an appointment with an OBGYN who does sterilizations.
At the OBGYN office the Doctor listened to my reasons and heard the indecision in my voice. She was kind, understanding, and matter of fact about the drawbacks of tubal ligation. She suggested I have an Essure procedure done instead, if it was possible. I had heard about celebrities having this procedure done and it was safe, 100% effective, and doesn't cause any interruptions in the blood flow to the ovaries.
The Essure Procedure begins with a soft, flexible spring that is made from the same material as a heart stent, and is inserted into the fallopian tube. It remains visible so the doctor can confirm that the insert is properly placed. The spring causes the tube to scarify and close up around the device. After a few weeks a confirmation test is done to make sure the procedure was successful and the fallopian tubes are properly blocked.
The benefits of this type of sterilization are lack of incisions, not risk to internal organs of the abdomen, less pain, less anesthesia, and you have a 100% guarantee that the procedure has left you sterile. So yes, this was the procedure I was willing to have and the guys were comfortable with me having!
The only complication is you have to sync up the menstrual cycle to when the Essure device is placed. If the uterus has begun to rebuild its lining the path to the fallopian tube becomes less obvious. There is also a small chance that one or both of the tubes will spasm making insertion of the spring impossible. For ladies that would like more information about the procedure, including a step by step illustrated guide, I will include the official website for the Essure procedure in the bibliography of this article.
For once my body worked with me and my menstrual cycle ended the day before my surgery! I was just about as clean as you can get inside. I was an emotional ball of insanity, but I was clean and ready.
The End Result
I went into the hospital room a ball of uncertainty, but I walked as fearlessly as I could into the lion's den of my emotions and found acceptance. I watched the ladies entering the obstetrics wing and relived the painful journey that had lead me to this tiny, little, sterile room. I realized that I truly didn't want to be pregnant again and that it was alright for me to make this decision for myself. I will always love my babies and I can celebrate with them when they have their own babies. I can be a Mother Goddess facing growing into a Crone Goddess, and I can embrace the wisdom that is going to come with time.
My children will continue to grow, and eventually they will spread their wings and try flying for themselves. I can be there when they falter, and I can really cheer them on as they feel the warm air currents carrying them as far as they wish to soar. My nest will eventually be just a place for the three of us to relax and get to know ourselves as "empty nesters".
I realized further that this frees me from the constant worry that I will end up exactly where I really don't want to be: pregnant! I have made the same decision millions of women have made over the years and will continue to make in the years to come. I have decided to embrace freedom and celebrate the children I have, instead of being mad for the children I never got to have. I have found my sanity and I find that it's a really lovely little gem.
So for the first time since I got married at 19, I am content with my fertility, and I am content that it is slowly leaving me. I am looking forward to what the future will bring with more joy than I thought possible. As the physical pain leaves me two days after the surgery, I am losing the emotional burden I had not realized I was living with for so many years. I have finally made peace with my fertility, and I can bid it a fond, and heartfelt, farewell.