If you follow me on social media, you know I had surgery on November 12th. This might be new to my blog readers, who are used to recipes and travel guides, so if this isn’t your kind of read, skip over it. We’ll be talking about salpingectomy, the surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes and why I choose to get it done also known as my road to no kids ever!
I think I used to want kids. I’ve seen some old Facebook quizzes that used to go around asking you a million questions, and one of them used to be if you wanted kids. I always seem to have replied to this with yes and that I wanted 1 or 2 kids, but nothing too certain. It was in my early twenties, between college and a few boyfriends, and knowing what I wanted wasn’t something I was yet confident in. Slowly, as I dove into my career in the restaurant industry, watched my friends have kids all around me, got married and moved to Martha’s Vineyard, the lukewarm desire evaporated.
I’m diving deep into each topic below as a guide to my final decision to get my tubes removed, so I won’t get too much into it in this introduction. I’m 35 years old, don’t want kids, and took matters into my own hands. Here’s my story.
Let’s talk family.
I had an amazing upbringing, great childhood in the Dominican Republic, and I am the eldest of three. I have two younger brothers, Martin and Daniel. Some people that don’t want kids have expressed how they had no interest in playing with dolls, but I was quite the opposite. I played with baby dolls, spent hours playing house, and established myself as the societal standard of what we think little girls are supposed to like: the color pink, wanting to be a princess, and playing with dolls.
My parents were (and still are) great parents. To this day, they love each other more than anything in the world and are happily married. I grew up with the model marriage and parents. It was quite lovely to be honest. I also grew up Catholic, which had truly no effect in my desire to want kids, but more on that later.
Like I mentioned, I was my parent’s only daughter. A reminder that I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, to Caribbean and Catholic parents, who also fell in line with the societal standard of wanting grandkids from their daughter. I got married at 26 and by then, I 100% knew I didn’t want kids.
Let’s talk husband.
Married at 26, we obviously talked about it before we got married. I would not have married someone that wanted to have kids, no matter how in love I was. I honestly don’t think I would’ve seriously dated anyone that wanted kids. Sure, I had boyfriends in my twenties that talked about kids, but nothing at 22 was serious, so I didn’t even give it thought.
But something must’ve happened between the ages of 18-26. Between the ages of 18-22 years old, I was going for my Bachelors in Hospitality in the Dominican Republic. Kids never entered my mind. By 22-24 years of age, I was pursuing my Associates in Baking and Pastry Arts in New York and kids again, weren’t something I ever thought about much and when I did, it wasn’t something I ever saw myself doing.
I moved to Martha’s Vineyard and met my husband Brian, and we dated for almost a year before getting married. We discussed kids and I mentioned I didn’t want to have them, and he agreed, saying he had no desire to bring kids into the world either. Perfect, we have a match!
Let’s talk birth control.
I had been on the pill for a decade, ever since we got married. Ten years on birth control can do some heavy damage to your body and as I came into my thirties and cleaned up my lifestyle, I realized that hormonal birth control wasn’t aligning very well with my non-toxic wants and needs.
I went into taking birth control because it’s what my doctor at the time recommended. Easy, simple, one pill a day for the rest of your life, or until you decide to stop, ha. A little pill that would give me the freedom while at the same time, wired my body to not reproduce. A little pill that also came with a mile long list of side effects, ones I ignored always, throwing away the pill insert that tried to explain to me the risks of taking it. I was always willing to take those risks because the benefits were greater, in my opinion then.
My doctor prescribed a combination pill of 2 hormones: an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (drospirenone). I was an easy patient – that pill worked perfectly, didn’t make me gain or lose weight, didn’t cause me to break out, made my periods super regular and easy, and didn’t give me any obvious issues. It was the “perfect” fit for me.
Fast forward to 2017-2020, where migraines, anxiety, irregular headaches, and mood swings all started to develop. Was this the pill? I won’t really know, but all of this is listed as a side effect to it. That’s when I started thinking about surgery.
Let’s talk meeting my doctor.
At the start of initially considering salpingectomy surgery, I first looked into my insurance and noted that the procedure was 100% covered. Thankful for my husband’s job that provides it, I felt more at ease we wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for this surgery. That’s a privilege, I am well aware.
It became something I wanted to do and mentioned it to my husband, and he was supportive. Every winter between those years, I considered getting it done but between travel and work, could never find the time. And then a pandemic hits and I knew that the winter of 2020 would be ideal to get this done. We weren’t going anywhere, anytime soon, so might as well.
For the past decade, I’ve only really gone to a general practitioner and have been through about 3-4 of them because they move or retire. At my most recent physical, I mentioned that I wanted to chat with a gynecologist about the possibility of permanent birth control surgery, and my general practitioner called in a referral to see the doctor that would perform my surgery.
Note, this was a new-to-me doctor, so he didn’t know me and I didn’t know him. Everyone asks how that first meeting went and if the doctor was “okay” with performing this surgery on me. Here’s how it went, in the simplest of terms:
Marnely: I would like to talk about getting my tubes removed this winter.
Doctor: Yeah sure, first let me ask you this – are you high risk for ovarian cancer, does it run in your family?
Doctor: Ok great. Well removing both fallopian tubes may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 42% to 78%, so it’s a good idea if you’re looking for permanent sterility.
Marnely: Awesome, even better!
Doctor: Let me run you through your options. He goes over tube removal versus ligation, talks to me about the procedure, etc. Asks me if I had considered IUDs or tubal ligation. During the conversation, he discusses how ligation works and it’s tying the tubes with titanium, which is not something I wanted.
Marnely: I don’t want them tied because I don’t want any foreign objects, like titanium, in my body. I prefer total removal of the tubes.
Doctor: Perfect, sounds like you’ve made up your mind. How does November 4th sound?
Marnely: Day after election? No, let’s do week after that.
Doctor: November 12th work?
In regards to the main difference between tubal ligation and tubal removal (salpingectomy), I didn’t feel comfortable having my tubes tied. Foreign objects, though proven “safe and effective”, in my body, was something I didn’t want. Plus removal of the tubes also lower my risk of ovarian cancer. I preferred to go the way of tubal removal and this would become the biggest blessing of the entire process, but more of that in the next post.
Let’s talk the surgery.
That meeting with the doctor performing the salpingectomy surgery was mid-October, so a month before the surgery date. He ended the consult with asking me know if I had any questions or concerns, and telling me to get in touch before the surgery.
On November 2, a week before the surgery, the operating room department calls me to go through the process of what will happen on the day of. It’s the moment I realize my husband won’t be in the room with me, holding my hand, when I come out of surgery. It’s a pandemic and all of course, but I had forgotten about this and started crying on the phone with the nurse. Let me just warn you I cried a lot this week before surgery. Mostly due to nerves. Other than that, she reminds me:
- I can’t eat or drink after 5pm the day before surgery
- I can’t have any jewelry on when I come in
- My husband is to drop me off at the hospital entrance and he will be called to pick me up, he wasn’t even allowed in the hospital waiting room with me
I had to get a COVID test two days before the surgery (November 10th) as well as blood work done to confirm I wasn’t pregnant. Both came back negative, whew! The operating room again calls that same day to confirm you’re ready and know what’s happening. I cried again.
November 12, the day of my surgery comes, and I’m ready. I’m excited and nervous. (Oh I forgot to note, that on the call on November 2nd, I realized I would be on my period the week of the surgery and I asked if it would be an issue. The answer was no).
I get a hospital bag ready and barely need anything but the pajama pants I packed. I had ginger tea, essential oils, CBD oil and more – I had no time or need for any of it, but it helped me feel comfortable. I also did pack my stuffed turtle, and that’s the only consolation I needed.
I arrive at the hospital, wait around in the lobby until my room was ready, and am finally admitted. I change into a gown and nurses come in. They were the nicest nurses ever and we go through my vitals and the process once again. They put on grippy socks and these inflatable feet pillows that will massage my feet during surgery to ensure circulation.
In my nervousness, I start asking everyone what they had for breakfast, as it’s around 11am by now. One nurse had bulletproof coffee, I can’t remember what the other nurse had. The doctor comes in and chats with me, he’s feeling confident as he’s done this hundreds of times. His breakfast? Shredded wheat cereal. The anesthesiologist comes in with a smile and great energy, tells me I’m going to have an IV hooked up which I knew about but that reminder was enough to get me crying once again. Oh did I mention I have a phobia to needles?
So I’m shaking like a leaf by now because I knew an IV was coming and I have never had one. The nurses say they can wait until the last minute to put it in and the main nurse says she’s “super gentle.” The anesthesiologist comes in and says “it’s time,” and decides to do the IV himself, so I cry even more. I’m super nervous by now and he’s putting the IV in. It’s in. Soon I’ll get rolled into surgery. They all leave and then come back, and the anesthesiologist gives me some drugs that make me incredibly loopy and happy and for the two minutes between my room and the operating room. I am now just deliriously happy and not nervous at all. Last thing I remember before the anesthesia kicks in are the operating room lights and saying “wow, this is an actual real operating room…” and poof, out I go.
The surgery takes 45 minutes and I wake up. I’m slightly loopy and my throat hurts. My lips are chapped and I feel like I have cramps, but overall that’s about it. I get to relax in the room with the nurse monitoring me for about 20-30 minutes. My surgeon comes in and gives me a recap of the surgery: everything went well, except they did puncture my uterus (it seems I have a tiny uterus) but it was cauterized on site and I was given intravenous antibiotics for that. Despite how it sounds, apparently it wasn’t a big deal. Tubes were removed and sent to the laboratories for routine labs. He gives me instructions about meds, prescriptions are sent in, and he bids me farewell.
I then get changed into my street clothing by myself or with help, and this is the part I don’t recall much. I got in a wheelchair and was rolled out slowly to my husband in the parking lot, where we got in the car and drove home.
Let’s talk recovery.
Sure, my main reason to do this procedure was to not have kids, but also the thought off taking a week off from work and being catered every minute of the day by my husband was also a great delight, ha. I stayed in bed the first two days, walked very slowly to the bathroom, and returned to my bed. Meals in bed, read in bed, watched TV in bed – I was living my best life. I was cramping a bit and the area hurt slightly, but nothing unbearable. I didn’t shower, per instructions, for the first two days.
It wasn’t much the pain, which was low (and mind you I tear up just getting my legs waxed, so my threshold for pain is low) but more so the discomfort. I was prescribed Oxycodone for the pain (ten pills) and I took them all to avoid going into major pain. The doctor mentioned in passing that opioids caused constipation, and we also picked up some Dulcolax (stool softener) to help with this.
In the shower, I had to be careful the water wouldn’t hit the sutures directly. I couldn’t sleep on my side for the first week and after that, it took about 3 weeks for me to be comfortable sleeping on my stomach, my preferred sleep position.
Let’s talk a month later.
The incision is healing well, I feel great. I wanted to bottle up this feeling, one I hadn’t had. I looked in the mirror and felt so empowered because of this surgery. It felt different. It felt like I was in control. Birth control gave me control, but I was still at the mercy of it. Having removed the organs that made me fertile – made me incredibly happy. It was all I wanted and more. Until my first period after it, ha.
My first period off birth control after a decade. The doctor mentioned my period could take up to three months to show up, but being my punctual self, it showed up right on time and with a vengeance. My period on the pill was typically three days short, very light, and easy. This day one of my newfound period was – a lot. Let’s just say my feminine toiletry budget has increased significantly as well as my cramping. I went through a day and a half of cramping I had never experienced before. Is this why everyone else wants to stay home on the first day of their period? I get it now.
Let’s talk society.
These have all been said to me, in person and online, by people I know and strangers.
You’ll change your mind. I won’t.
You’re too young! I said this even at 32.
Your husband will leave you. We talked about it. If he ever does change his mind, we would talk about it again. I won’t compromise my decisions.
Your family will be so disappointed. I can imagine my family was sad, but they knew it was what I wanted and supported me.
You must hate kids. I actually love babies, ask my best friend who has five and I visit her every time just for the pleasure of holding a newborn for endless hours. It’s the best. Now, rambunctious toddlers that scream their heads off? I don’t think anyone enjoys those.
You would make an awesome mom. Cool, thanks?
You’ll regret not having kids. I’d rather regret not having them, than having them and regretting them.
Who is going to take care of you when you’re elderly? This is never the reason to have kids. It’s selfish to think your kids are bond to you for life and they have that responsibility. I’m working hard to retire when I do and if I need help in my elder years I’ll be taken care of by someone that does that work.
Not the catholic way. Well, I’ve done a lot of not very Catholic things, so just add this to the list.
I used to think that, and changed my mind. Sounds more like your problem and not mine.
That’s so selfish. *shrug*
You’re not a family unless you have kids.
Let’s talk what’s next.
First of all, if you made it this far reading, I deeply thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. My hopes, other than documenting this for myself, are for other women to feel seen. Not everyone wants to have kids. That doesn’t make you a bad person. I am here to remind you that. You are free to choose what you want out of life and if kids aren’t in the picture, that’s totally okay. What’s next is waiting for results of the lab testing of the tubes that were sent in for regular testing (they do this with anything that is removed from your body, to ensure everything is normal). Other than that, my body seems to be back on track. I have other subjects I’d love to chat about as I move into this season of my life, but will gauge interest after this post goes live.
If you’d like to leave a comment with your thoughts, please do so. If you’d like to connect with me privately via email, you can send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to a long life of empowering women every day more and more with my words. Thank you for being here.