An Ounce of Prevention
Okay people who have successfully restrained your reproductive powers, I need some advice:
Before Bill and I got married, we determined that we’d like to have three children. Bill grew up with two sisters and I had one sister with whom I always agreed that there should be at least one more sibling in our house, though alas, there never was. So, three children were what we wanted, and as you may have ascertained, we have reached our self-induced child quota.
See them all there? Count them. There’s three (and a grandma too). And we even got lucky and had representation from each gender. Go us. That being said, I think we’re done. Here’s why:
1. Kids are expensive.
2. Kids are a lot of work.
3. Bill will be 41 this year.
4. Our environmental footprint is big enough.
5. My parents and sister would kill us if we had another. (They help us out a lot with child care, etc.)
While some dark part of my soul would like to have even more kids, another more realistic part of my soul is like, “Are you serious? When was the last time you were able to watch Jeopardy!, or sleep past 5:45am? I don’t care what that Dick van Patten show said, Isn’t three enough?”
Then there was last Saturday when we took our first outing as a complete family unit. Bill, the three kids, and I took off to go to Target and Moe’s. Everybody was very well-behaved, but dear Lord, I thought I’d go crazy trying to keep up with everybody. And then there was that one point when I was picking up a prescription and John escaped and put about five bottles of laxatives into the shopping cart without our noticing. In fact, during this outing, I had the following text exchange with my mother:
Yes, my mother is listed as “Crazy Lady” in my contacts. This is another reason why I need to stop at three. I believe in Karma and I have subjected my mother to a lot of abuse. I’ve got it coming to me… threefold it would seem.
Anyway, so regardless of how I feel about not having anymore kids, the truth is that the responsible and realistic thing to do is stop having kids. I’m done. So, now what to do about it?
There seem to be several long-term and/or permanent birth control options for women. For me, I’ve eliminated all hormonal methods because I am very sensitive to hormones. My skin, my moods, my cycles, my libido, everything gets screwed up when I take hormonal birth control. I don’t take the Pill for this reason. This also eliminates the Mirena IUD and the Depo-Provera shot. Not doing it. Therefore, there are only two other options left to me: The copper IUD and tubal ligation.
The copper IUD has me concerned because many women seem to experience really heavy periods and severe cramping with it, and, quite frankly…
And since I have a history of having already bad cramps with my monthly visitations, I don’t need anymore incentive for my uterus to overwork itself. Moreover, I theorize that the reason so many experience such cramping is because the uterus recognizes a foreign body in itself and is trying to expel it. This feels unnatural. Finally, this would have to be replaced after ten years and in ten years I would probably just go ahead with my second option anyway, which is tubal ligation. The obvious drawbacks to this are that it’s surgery, albeit minor, and it is permanent. The latter “drawback” is more a psychological one than anything. It feels sad and a bit scary to leave my “child-bearing years” and enter exclusively into my “child-raising years.” It feels like the closing of a door and the end of an era, which is always a bit disconcerting to the psyche. I know that I am finished having children. I know that I do not want to go through another pregnancy or infancy or terrible twos, or mood-disorder threes, and who the hell knows what the fours and so on will bring. Again, I’m done.
It’s time to rejoin the ranks of women who aren’t either pregnant or breastfeeding. I’ve been constantly either pregnant or nursing for the past five years. Not only does this take a toll on the body and the identity, but it also takes a toll on one’s professional potential. I’m (hopefully) starting my doctorate this Fall. I miss being able to be a musician and being able to be in community theatre because I’m, again, either pregnant or nursing. Moreover, Bill has not known me except when I’m in a state of hormone-induced instability. It’s time to get to know myself again. AND even more importantly, it’s time to stop making kids and to start really getting to know and starting to mold the kids that I’ve got. Have I mentioned that I’m done? Because I’m done. I can’t rely on less-permanent birth control because I’ve got three first-try conceptions running (or in the baby’s case, lounging) around my house right now. Any brief moment of insanity or a defect in barrier birth control could equal another Hennenlotter. I’ve got to commit and get this taken care of.
As an aside, YES, I know that Bill can get a vasectomy. He’s offered, and in time he probably will. It’s just that he’s not been to a doctor except the CVS minute clinic in the seven years that I’ve known him, so getting him snipped will take some planning and cajoling and appointment scheduling on my part. Meanwhile, I have my six-week postpartum check up already scheduled in three weeks where my doctor will specifically ask me my plans for birth control, which presents the ideal time for me to go ahead and get whichever procedure scheduled and taken care of. Also, I’m not working so I’ve got time for a brief procedure recovery (and if you look back at the text exchange, I’ve already got child-care lined up too!), whereas Bill is starting a new position at Cisco on Monday and should probably delay taking any elective sick leave for a while. Therefore, the time is ripe for me to go ahead and take care of “my end” of this arrangement regardless of when Bill takes care of his.
So, while I’m marginally (not really) entertaining the copper IUD, I think I’ve decided to go with the tubal ligation. Nonetheless, I’m interested in stories from my online and real-life friends. If you have the copper IUD, do you love it enough that you want to have a go at trying to talk me into it? OR if you got the tubal ligation, what was your experience with it? Was the surgery complicated/painful? Are you glad/sad/indifferent about the fact that you did it? I’d love any feedback.
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