whose tubes are these?

While still in the hospital, after I gave birth to my second child, I had the fleeting thought that maybe I should have my tubes tied. I approached the subject with my doctor and she didn’t give my semi-request a second thought. “In order for me to have done that for you at 27,” she said, “you would have had to have asked a LONG time ago!” By a long time ago, I suppose she meant eight or nine months. She did the right thing, because although I talked big stuff about not wanting any more children, I completely planned, and currently cannot imagine my life without, my third, and final, child.

This last time around, I was adamant the entire pregnancy. My doctor got to the point where she just recited my request for me on her way into the room during regular visits. As it happened however, she was on vacation when I went into labor three weeks early. I ended up with a very frank, satirical, smug surgeon. It didn’t bother me just how dry and tired he clearly was, because I was in “third baby mode.” I was quite certain that I was an old pro at this point and all would be well. Somewhere after the epidural it occurred to me however that I had forgotten to bring up the tubal ligation. I stared up at my c-section team in a panic and blurted out the big news. My first response came from my surgeon, who I later affectionately likened to Larry David. He told me, “well you know this is a Catholic Hospital and they adopt policies which are generally against that procedure.” I was immediately flippant, if the Catholics wanted to frown on me for giving birth to only three kids they could go right ahead. Sorry, but the epidural had set in by that point and I was about as frank as he was after that.

The one-two punch was concluded by the only black female attendant in the room. She blurted out that, “because I was on Medicaid I would not be covered for that procedure.” Now I was certain I must have been on drugs. Thankfully, Larry David checked her and told her I had Aetna and I didn’t have to black out on her real quick before my baby was born.

It was finally settled, not only would my insurance cover it, my regular OB had it written in my chart that I was serious about tying those knots and it was taken care of. It left me wondering though, how is it that birth control is still left in the hands of others in today’s fouth-wave-feminist age? How much voice do we really have in the “control” of our bodies and birthing plans? Particularly when it would be far less painful if our male partners put forth the effort!  I wonder if the Catholics would sneer at that snip as well?

6 thoughts on “whose tubes are these?

  1. I was raised Catholic and are the opposite of everything they believe. I’m of the mind that it’s your body do what you feel is best for YOU, not what someone else feels is right for you. When I had my daughter at 21, I was told that I had to be at LEAST 27 and have two kids. I’m 35 and still have only one. At this age i’m not planning to have anymore , but if I choose to get my tubes tied, NO ONE should be able to tell me what to do with my body,except me.

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  2. At 20, my mom had two kids, and I think they denied her the right to get her tubes tied because of her age. It’s ridiculous that anyone should be able to dictate to any woman whether she should have the ability to have more children or not. It’s actually ironic too, since women who then go to have unwanted pregnancies will likely have abortions, which I assume religious folks would find much more morally offensive.

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  3. Exactly Latoya! Their is great irony in that. Nakia, I fully support your position. Did you feel like your religion enforced tight restrictions on you growing up?

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  4. Great post, Tanji. So many interesting points to address, so little time! (My office hours start in 20 minutes!). I do want to quickly address, however the nurse’s assumption that you were on Medicaid. The assumptions that those in the medical profession make about our ability to pay for services based on our skin color are enraging. It was the main motivator for me to switch doctors, and as a result hospitals, in the middle of my pregnancy. Not only was I referred to the emergency room every time I wanted to see a doctor, and never allowed to speak directly to my OB-GYN, but medical staff treated me like an annoying problem to be “managed.” It wasn’t until I blew up one time at a nurse and said, “I understand my rights as a patient, and demand to speak to my physician right now,” did my doctor get on the phone. WTF? I eventually had to move to the hospital where wealthy whites and Cubans went to get better service. My former hospital not only had a poor clientele overall, but they assumed that every person of color who walked in through the door was poor and un-empowered. When reading your post, I had to conclude that not only did they assume you couldn’t afford the medial services you were requesting, but that their assumption regarding your financial status also played into an unwillingness to allow you to make your own choices about your fertility. Like I said, enraging…

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    1. My medical treatment in having Amina was a world’s difference from having Ahmir. Being young and black in Philly came with a whole lotta assumptions that I feel like I escaped coming out here to have my baby. My whole birth experience was a 180 from the trauma of having Ahmir. Same thing – everytime something was wrong, I had to go to the ER in Philly. Here, I get a same day appointment with my doctor, they treat me like a person. There aren’t many black folk around, and I know that having my type of insurance helps a lot too. In Philly, my insurance was so/so, so they felt like they could treat me like crap, just another young girl (cause everyone thinks I’m 5 years younger than I am) having a baby.

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  5. Great Post! No need for me to repeat what everyone else has so eloquently stated. In answer to your question? I’ll simply answer in Nasirian fashion: The Tubes is Yours!

    These days EVERYTHING is reminiscent of life on the plantation: the constant attempt to demonize Black women, to experiment and control our bodies…just gets me RILED. UP. Self-determination in ALL things I say!

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