Last week, my neighbor, who I see frequently, often multiple times a day even at the bus stop, startled me with what seemed to be a very sudden decision. “I’m getting my tubes tied tomorrow,” she said. “Really?” I asked, a bit confused. For some reason, my first thought was that all the Octomom coverage must have finally pushed her over the edge. I mean, the thought of all of those stretch marks have definitely haunted me many a time over the past few months.....it would be totally reasonable to me if she said this was the impetus for the decision.
No, after talking to her about it, it was obvious that it was something she had put much thought into and had been on her mind for sometime....long before Octomom started looking like Angelina Jolie.
Not that it would be fodder for block party conversation, but she had made her decision and was at great peace with it, inserting the mention into the conversation as casually as someone would say, “I’m dropping the kids at the pool tomorrow,” “I’m going to get the cat shampooed,” or “I think I’ll laser off all my visible hair,” or “we got Snuggies for the whole family." It all seems alright at the time, but once hanging in the air, spoken out loud; you wonder if there are any lurking second thoughts.
As a veteran of three, yes three, c-sections, I am no stranger to invasive abdominal procedures. But, when she began to tell me about what they were going to do and how they were going to do it, even I felt my uterus cringe.
I remember after the birth of my third, as my intestines and various other internal organs were laying somewhere over my stomach, my OB asked me not once, not twice, but THREE times if I wanted to have my tubes tied. The situation was a bit surreal, somewhere between getting your bangs trimmed (“oh, it’ll be a quick snip”) and the part in the wedding ceremony for those to speak now or forever hold your peace (“it’s the perfect time, you’re all opened up on the table, it’s not as easy as it seems later.”)
But I was young, foolish and fading in and out of consciousness from the morphine in the spinal. At the time, I kept thinking, but what if we want a fourth, what if something happens to my husband and I want to have more children, what if something happened just like in a Jodi Picoult novel and we needed one child to help save another….and so in my drugged out stupor, and despite the not so inconspicuous nodding and scissors gestures my husband was giving the doctor, I declined.
Here I am 5 years later, we are all in good health and as my husband will say, “well, you’re only going to have three with me...and if a fourth comes along you have a lot of ‘esplainin’ to do.” Enough about my uterus and back to my neighbor's and the harrowing account she provided of having her entire abdominal cavity inflated with gas, like a collapsible queen sized air mattress or hot air balloon. Laparoscopically, they went in through the belly button, but had to take the low road too, through the Cha-Cha Wawa. Four days later she is still walking a bit funny and has a tummy bruise.
But she is happy, because each day she is feeling better and can get busy on coffee tables if she wants and not worry about repercussions. And I am happy, because she has helped me make the decision to never get my tubes tied. My husband can trot his boys over to get snipped, and then ice his grapes for a few days.
Speaking of my husband....he is pretty damn pissed about all of this. No, not at me or my neighbor, but at her husband. When I told him the story, he wondered aloud why he couldn’t have just sucked it up and taken one for the team. With his twisted logic, my husband figured that just maybe if he had, I wouldn’t have heard the tale of tube tying woe and decided against it. Now it looks like my husband's grand plan will go up in a cloud of blue smoke!