Waiting for Shlomo: Birth control not an option

By Erin, adopting mama blogger

I had my tubes tied on Monday.

essurew6_essurecoil.jpgHaving my tubes tied is something I’ve wanted to do for more than a year now, but it only finally worked out recently. As you know if you’ve read my history, getting pregnant was a huge challenge for me.  Carrying a baby was even more of a challenge. My doctors strongly discouraged me in having another pregnancy, for the safety of the baby, and it did not take Michael and I long to decide that we agreed.  We could not come up with any scenario, short of a new ground-breaking procedure that could heal my “broken” cervix (not gonna happen during my child-bearing years), that could entice us to consider even trying to get pregnant.

That is, IF I could get pregnant in the first place.  In all of my sexually active years, and all of my years of trying to get pregnant, I have been pregnant exactly one time – after months of medications and thousands of dollars with IVF.

Despite the very low odds of my actually getting pregnant on “accident” you can never be too careful.  So, we have been playing the birth control game these last 3 ½ years.  Condoms, pills, a short stint at the Mirena IUD (did not work for me), back to pills, and finally this new tubal procedure called Essure, but I am getting ahead of myself.  Most people don’t understand why Michael did not just get a vasectomy.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt like it was MY responsibility.  I am the one that can’t carry a baby, it’s my body that is the problem.  If, God forbid, something ever happens to me, I want Michael to be able to have kids without me.  That would never be an option for me.  So, I felt the responsibility lay on me, and I was tired of pills.

A year ago, I went to my wonderful gynecologist to discuss my options (after the Mirena IUD failed for me – too many negative side effects).  We decided that this new Essure tubal procedure was perfect.  She explained it all to me, and I was excited.  She went to schedule the appointment, and came back with a frown on her face – my insurance did not cover it.  After talking it over some more, we decided to schedule a traditional tubal ligation (surgery in the hospital, longer recovery time, etc).  I went home dreading the upcoming surgery and big medical bills.

After a couple of weeks of soul searching (and money crunching), I decided to hold off on the surgery.  Back on the pill I went.  Fast forward a year.  It’s the end of February, and my Mother has just passed away.  I have just started my period, and in the craziness, forget to fill my birth control prescription.  Two weeks go by, and I remember.  No big deal.  Two ½  more weeks go by – no period.  No big deal, I can’t get pregnant, right?  We certainly did not have much sex in the midst of the funeral planning and overall awfulness of those weeks.  Another ten days go by – no period.  Oh, shit.  I am convinced I am pregnant – I feel horrible, I feel ready to explode if I don’t start my period soon.  I call Michael and tell him that I KNOW I am pregnant – I am panic stricken.  There is no joy hiding beneath my fear, no glimmer of a smile through the worry – I am terrified.  How could I ever have another high-risk pregnancy again?  How could I ever do it, especially without my Mother?

So, off to the store to buy a pregnancy test, which I take at the store.  Not pregnant.  Thank God.  Another week goes by with no period – I am pregnant, I KNOW it.  Michael is thrilled – he thinks it will be ok.  I am decidedly NOT thrilled.  I buy another test – this time, I buy two.  I come home, rush off to the bathroom and take the test – not pregnant.  Thank God.  Finally, I call my gynecologist’s nurse – stress, she says.  Stress, grief, getting off the pill, etc. — she calls me in new pills.  I start my period two days later.  I never want this to happen again.

Later that week, I call up the insurance company to see if the Essure procedure might now be covered.  Great news – it is, 100%!  I call my nurse, schedule the procedure, and wait the 6 weeks needed to be on the pill before they can safely do the procedure.  The days running up to the procedure were hard.  It was Mother’s Day – the first without my Mom.  A difficult day, but we managed to spend a very good day together.  I am scared about the procedure – scared that I will be the only one to have it go horribly wrong.  I am looking forward to getting it over with, but very sad that it has to be this way – sad that I can’t be “normal” and just get pregnant and have babies like most women.  On Monday morning, Michael dropped me off at Parkhill.  No point in him coming with me – do you know how many invasive medical  procedures I have had these last 7 years –too many to count.  I am an old hand at this.  He will pick me up in two hours.

I came prepared with my prescription for valium, Percocet, 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen, and the book I am listening to on my iPod.  I went to an exam room, “ordered” my diet coke, slurped down my drugs (one valium, two Percocet and a shot in the behind), and settled in for an hour.  I sat in a chair and read a magazine.  I started getting spacey and sleepy, so I laid down on the exam table, covered up with my sweater and turned on my book.  It was very relaxing – almost like a spa day.

After an hour, the nurse came to get me while I guzzled the rest of my coke (the shot gave me a horrible cotton mouth – the worst part of the procedure, really), and she led me, weaving and giggling, to the procedure room.  The Doc came in, gave me some shots in my cervix (did not feel them at all) while I over shared about my life due to the meds 🙂  They came back ten minutes later (another relaxing ten minutes while I used the stirrups as a foot rest and listened to my book) to insert the Essure devices. 

Essure is a tiny little metal coil that is inserted into the fallopian tubes.  It is inserted vaginally – they take the tube through the cervix and into each tube – it’s amazing.  Once inserted it slowly adheres to the walls of the fallopian tubes, and eventually blocks them.  It takes about 3-6 months for the coils to actually do their job.

So, I watched on the screen while she searched around for my right fallopian tube – my biggest fear was that they would not be able to get the coils in for some reason – and finally found it.  I watched her insert this long wiry/tubey thing, and IN went the coil.  Cool.  A little cramp, nothing more.  Same thing on other side – very cool pic of the coil in the tube.   They left, I got up to get dressed, and I think I feel asleep for a minute, b/c the nurse came back in to check on me.  I was done.  In at 8:30 – out by 10:30 and the procedure itself took less than 20 minutes.  Amazing.  By that time I was really starting to cramp a lot, and I was glad to see Michael in the waiting room.  We signed the paperwork, made an appointment for two weeks later (I have no idea why – I was awash in a sea of drugs) and hit the car.

On the way home, I was dying of thirst (cotton mouth from whatever that shot was), so we stopped at a gas station for Gatorade and M&M’s.  I went home, went to bed, and slept all day.  The biggest problem?  I could not pee.  The pressure of the tube against my urethra and bladder, plus the pain pills made peeing a difficult task.  That and the fairly moderate cramping for the next two days were the worst part of the procedure.

Now it’s over, and I feel fine.  I guess I am still a bit sad that it has to be this way, but I am also so glad to have it behind me.  I keep having these moments of remembering, “I just had my tubes tied – holy moly!” But besides that, I feel good.  I go back to the doctor in a week (still have no idea what they are going to check), and then to have a procedure to make sure the tubes are actually blocked in a few months.  Until then, I will stay on birth control pills.  After that, no more pills, no more birth control, just the long, continued wait for Shlomo to join our family.  I still have one unused pregnancy test in my cabinet – anyone need it?


  1. Dear Erin,

    Your story is really amazing. I’m very glad everything went well with you. Hope you feel better. You’re simply amazing.

  2. Hi Erin,

    thanks for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read about the arrival of Shlomo, at last!!!

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