Sep 052010

I’ve never wanted children. Consequently, I’ve always been very careful. When my boyfriend and I had been together for almost a year, I decided that since he didn’t want children, either, I’d have a tubal ligation. Even though I’d never had children, I was over 40 and the physician believed me when I told her I never wanted children and wasn’t going to change my mind. So I had the surgery, then followed the instructions to continue birth control until I got my period. We continued using birth control until my period arrived, on time as usual.

About one month later, I felt horrible: depressed, exhausted, constant headaches, cramps. My boyfriend thought I was going to dump him. Then my period was a day late, for the first time since I was a teenager. I waited a couple of days, then took a pregnancy test, which was positive. I immediately contacted the physician. An ultrasound and bloodwork confirmed I was about 5 weeks pregnant. I told the physician I didn’t want the pregnancy to continue under any circumstances. I was treated with methotrexate because she couldn’t rule out ectopic pregnancy (a second opinion later showed the pregnancy was intrauterine, not ectopic). A couple of days after being treated with methotrexate, my headache, cramps and exhaustion were gone. About ten days after being treated with methotrexate, I began to bleed and had a few cramps. It wasn’t bad because this was a very early pregnancy, too early even for RU-486. Two weeks later I tested negative for pregnancy. Four weeks later my period returned.

Meanwhile, the physician told me I must have been pregnant at the time of the surgery, even though I’d tested negative the day of the surgery and all tests indicated I was at most 5 weeks pregnant. She basically accused me of being careless or lying because she didn’t think the surgery failed.

Later tests by a new physician confirmed that the surgery failed and one tube is still open. My boyfriend is considering a vasectomy. I have nothing but contempt for my original physician because she treated me so poorly (I do understand no surgery is 100% guaranteed and that is not why I’m angry!). I have nothing but sympathy for women who faithfully use birth control and become pregnant nonetheless, especially when their health care providers imply they must not have followed instructions. I also tell women considering tubal ligation to be aware it’s impossible to tell if the surgery failed until it fails, which usually happens many years later. These late failures can be very dangerous because about one-third are ectopic pregnancies. It’s very rare for a tubal ligation to fail as quickly as mine did, but when this happens within one year, at least it’s only rarely an ectopic pregnancy. Men: if you really love your partner and the two of you definitely don’t want any more children, please consider a vasectomy. It’s very easy to test if a vasectomy is working, even years later. Also, many women can’t tolerate the side effects of hormonal birth control, or do so with great difficulty.

I am not sorry I had an abortion. Ironically, prior to the surgery, I told the physician I’d have an abortion if the surgery ever failed, never dreaming this might happen to me. After all, I didn’t consider myself unlucky, and I’ve always been very careful.

Share This Post:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • email
  • RSS
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Contact Us