Information about getting a tubal ligation: Before the Surgery

Last week I wrote a difficult post about the feelings and emotions I experienced when I got my Tubal Ligation. It was terrifying to share what was in my heart and on my mind, but I was extremely grateful for the kind responses I received, so thank you!

This week, I decided to dive back into it all and pass on some logistical information about getting a tubal ligation. It was originally going to be one post but it is so long that I’ll be dividing it amongst a few posts. This is part one. Part two is all about the day of the surgery. Part three is all about recovery. I also wrote about the emotional side of a tubal ligation.

This is all entirely based on my own personal experience and may not reflect other people’s unique experiences, so keep that in mind. As always, I will be completely open and honest, so if you don’t want to hear intimate and sometimes graphic medical details, I encourage you to skip this post and check out some of my delicious recipes! Most importantly, do your own research (with reputable sources- real doctors > Dr. Google), learn the risks as well as the pros and make the best decision for yourself.

Here is a ton of great information about what to expect before your Tubal Ligation surgery. This includes things to consider when deciding to get the procedure, meeting with your doctor, questions to ask and the days before the surgery occurs. Click on the photo to read more.

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Here’s what I’ll be going over in this post (I made them clickable so you can go to the spots in the post if you’re looking for info about a specific aspect of the procedure):

Pre-op:

The initial consultation:

The first step in setting up your tubal ligation will involve you sitting down with your doctor and figuring out if this is indeed the best course of action for you and your family.

Our reasons for choosing for this procedure over our other options (these are just my own personal feelings and may not be the same for others- always do what’s best for you. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, I’m just sharing my point of view):

  • We are 100% sure that we only want to have two kids.
  • I personally don’t like any of the other forms of birth control out there for a variety of reasons.
  • We have ovarian cancer in my family and since they’ve found that some forms of ovarian cancer can originate in the Fallopian Tubes, having mine removed can help prevent ovarian cancer.
  • Since we already reached our deductible on our health insurance with Tessa’s birth, having the procedure this year is saving us from having additional out of pocket expenses.

Questions to ask your doctor while gathering information:

  • Can you break down the differences between a tubal ligation vs. vasectomy vs. the available forms of birth control?
  • What are the risks of getting a Tubal Ligation?
  • What is the recovery like?
  • What actually happens during the procedure? (I’m told there are different ways the procedure can occur- mine involved removing my tubes and cauterizing the openings. The surgery was laparoscopic, so I had an incision in my belly button and a very small incision on either side of my abdomen. My doctor told me that if they aren’t removing your tubes then you only have the incisions in your belly button and on one side of your abdomen).
  • What are some things that I should keep in mind when deciding if this is right for me and my family?
  • If you’re currently pregnant- is it an option to have this procedure done during a c-section if I end up having one or during my hospital stay after my baby is born? Please note: This is a really big thing not to be taken lightly. For some people it may not be a big deal, but based on my experience it might be best to wait until you’re well out of the postpartum time. Read more about my thoughts on that here.

Scheduling a Tubal Ligation:

The next step for my procedure was to have my doctor’s surgery scheduler call me to schedule my surgery date.

A few things to think about when scheduling the procedure:

  • Will you have another adult available to assist you that day?
    • Like most surgeries that involve anesthesia, you are required to have another adult there to drive you home. From a personal standpoint, it made a huge difference having my husband with me before and after the procedure and having my parents in the waiting room.
  • Will you have someone to help you in the first few days following the surgery- both you and your kids if you have them?
    • While they were clear that I had to make sure I was up and moving around, the first few days will leave you at least a little bit sore. In those first couple of days my mom and my mother-in-law both picked a day and came over to help me.
    • Also, keep in mind that if you have small children, you will be unable to lift them for a little while. I needed assistance nursing Tessa who was almost four months old at the time. That sucked a lot.
  • Do you have any big events in the days following your surgery?
    • I made the mistake of scheduling Tessa’s baptism and a few other events mere days after my surgery. I got through it but not without a ton of help from my parents, in-laws and my sister (poor J was pretty sick that weekend). If it weren’t for them, I would have been in a really bad place. Moral of the story, give yourself a good amount of downtime following the surgery.

Your pre-op appointment:

My doctor’s practice schedules a pre-op appointment a week or two before the procedure. What to expect at this appointment:

  • Your doctor will clearly explain the steps of the procedure from start to finish so you understand what will be happening.
  • Your doctor will clearly explain what needs to happen in the days before the procedure and what to expect in recovery.
  • Your doctor will go through the risks associate with this procedure (as with any procedure there are always risks)
  • You will sign a scary document containing all of the above things and basically stating that you understand exactly what you’re getting into- I asked for a copy of this for my records. This is pretty standard practice for any surgical procedure.
  • You will be able to ask any questions of your own.
  • At this point you can also schedule your post-op appointment, which is usually a few weeks after your surgery.

Questions to ask:

  • How long is the recovery time?
  • What are the physical side effects and how long will they last?
  • Can I eat after the procedure?
  • When can I nurse after the procedure (if applicable)?
  • Will there be a pump available at the hospital if I need it (if applicable?)?
  • What is a available for me for pain management?
  • How long will I be out of work (if applicable)?
  • Is there anything I shouldn’t be doing and for how long?
  • What will I need to do to care for the incision sites?
  • What do I need to look out for in recovery and when should I be worried?

The next steps leading up to your surgery day:

  • I was sent a packet of information to fill out and send into the hospital (which I completely failed at- I ended up bringing it with me the day of and they had no problem with this).
  • I had to get blood work done at a local lab a few days prior to surgery (I also failed at this and accidentally got it done about a week before- luckily my doctor was understanding of my apparent lack of reading comprehension and said it wasn’t a problem to use the blood work I got too early).
  • I had to call a certain number during a specific window of time the day before the surgery to find out my exact arrival and surgery times.
  • Make sure if you’re sick you call your doctor and inform them, as this can compromise your surgery (I had a sinus infection for weeks prior and started amoxicillin 3 days prior to my surgery. The decision was made the day before to move forward based on how I was feeling and the fact that the antibiotic had worked. I was able to take a tiny sip of water to take my pill the morning of the surgery but that was it. Every situation is different, so stay in close contact with your doctor if you fall ill in the days leading up).
  • As with most surgeries, you”ll need to fast starting at midnight the night before.

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