Friday, December 31, 2010

Our vasectomy reversal journey

3D of Baby B, 19w4D
From August 2007 to February 2010 my husband and I used a vasectomy as our means of contraception and family planning. Considering the stress that was in our lives and our marriage in those early years of the vasectomy we didn't give the choice a second thought. However, God had other plans for my marriage and family. First came a 180 degree improvement in my marriage thanks to a lot of hard work on our part and an even bigger helping hand from Him.

After those issues were fixed God began working on our heart regarding our choice for family planning. Sometime in the Spring of 2009 my husband and I began seriously reconsidering our vasectomy choice and began our vasectomy reversal journey (vasovasostomy). I wish I had known way back then what an emotional journey we were about to embark upon. I suppose all the trials and tribulations were little tests of our true faith.

Our journey began with heartache and frustration. My husband met with the urologist that did his vasectomy and while he found out that because we were under the 5 year mark we were excellent candidates for a successful reversal. Bad part, reversals are not covered by insurance and we were going to have to pay upward of $5000. Where in the world were we going to find that kind of money? My hopes we dashed. I can distinctly remember sitting in my car after a shopping trip to a local plant nursery crying my eyes out from frustration. I honestly thought this would be an easy process. Get it reversed, assumed it would be covered by insurance, and we'd be well on our way to growing our family the way God intended and commanded in scripture. Boy was I wrong!

After the discovery that we'd have to pay for the surgery ourselves we came up with a budget and began scrimping in other areas of our expenses whenever and wherever possible. God's hand was upon us once again when he put me in touch with another homeschool Mom on the same journey towards a vasectomy reversal. She was a wealth of information, stuff I hadn't even considered. I felt truly blessed the day she emailed me without prompting and offered up her invaluable advice. I spoke with this wonderful via email in late 2009/early 2010. As a result of that conversation we found a wonderful Dr. in Texas who has a reversal ministry and does micro-vasosostomy for a fraction of the cost we had originally budgeted for. Because of our budgeting and saving we had about 95% of the costs including travel expenses saved. I called the Dr.'s office in January 2010 to inquire about their procedures, costs, requirements, etc. At that time they were scheduling about 3 months out however, as if God's hand was upon us yet again they had 1 opening 2 weeks from the date that I spoke with her. I quickly called my husband to see if that date was ok with him and he said yes. Almost overnight I went from dispair to elation, we were one step closer to making our vasectomy reversal a reality and we weren't going to go in debt because of it. Oh how far we'd come from crying in the plant nursery parking lot!

With arrangements made we were off to Texas to make God's plan for our family a reality. I thought we were golden, end of story. Bada bing, bada boom. We'd have the reversal, get pregnant and be well on our way. Little did I know that the most difficult and emotional part of our journey still lay ahead of us.

The surgery itself went very well. As a Christian ministry, the Dr. and his staff said a prayer over my husband before surgery started. I was allowed to stand/sit at my husband's head and comfort his as best I could during the surgery. Being a biologist, I was also intrigued to be able to watch the surgery up close. Certainly a memorable experience. My poor husband was in a lot of pain after the surgery with the plane trip home being the hardest part. He is a trooper though and made it through as best he could. I know his discomfort level went down a lot when we took his stitches out.

Much to our surprise and against Dr.'s orders 3 weeks later we found out we were pregnant. We were elated! See, I knew this would be an easy journey once the reversal was completed. Boy was I wrong! I miscarried the very same day I tested positive. Crushed, disappointed, frustrated, confused; none of it can even begin to describe the range of emotions I was experiencing. As a couple we had never had any problems getting pregnant or staying pregnant. I knew I was fortunate in that regard but honestly took a lot of it for granted. I had friends who struggled month after month to get pregnant, I told them I understood but in reality I didn't. You can't truly understand or appreciate emotional struggles until you experience them yourself.

My miscarriage was painful physically and emotionally. I tried my best to pick myself up and move on. I had no reason to believe that we wouldn't be pregnant in another month or two at most. I miscarried on a Saturday and the following Sunday while at church a dear friend of mine loaned me the book A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris (wife of HSLDA's founder Michael Farris). It is a book mainly on homeschooling from a Mom's real life point of view but Vickie also struggled with miscarriage after deciding to follow scripture regarding birth control. When my dear friend mentioned that Vickie was a homeschool Mom who struggled with miscarriage after opening her heart to God's will for her family I BURST out in tears; we were in our adult Sunday school class so this was not an easy event to hide from others. We both immediately knew that her willingness to loan me the book unprompted was God's doing. What a blessing that book was for me on my journey. After devouring that book in a day I moved onto other books with a similar theme; following God's will for birth control as dictated in scripture. The books I read were all written by real Moms on real journeys. What a blessing those words of advice were to me at a time of grieving and severe frustration.

In May 2010 when we still were not pregnant I kindly asked my husband to make another appointment with his urologist to have his sperm tested. I really wanted to know what (if anything) was causing our inability to get pregnant so easily like the times before. I was afraid his tubes had grown back together or he had torn one or both of them picking up our toddler inadvertently those first few weeks of his recovery. The results of his testing showed that his numbers were good but the little guys didn't want to swim. I also had my own suspicions about my fertility. In the 4 years since last giving birth and more prominently since my miscarriage I had noticed a change in my own body. I began to doubt I was ovulating and I knew my "moisture level" down there wasn't like it had been in the years past. Combining all these factors, all I could think was that the cards were stacked against us. All I could think is "God, why did you bring us down this road only to close the doors to allowing us to conceive and successfully carry to term?". Yes, He was testing my faith. I was failing his test miserably! Feeling led to research natural methods to remedy our problems I came upon some great websites that helped me develop a plan. In June 2010 my husband and I both began taking supplements to help with our fertility challenges. Again, I was hopeful that we'd be back on track and conceive easily. The supplements I began taking showed an improvement almost immediately. Men are different. It typically takes 3 months for their supplements to make a difference in their swimmers, just by nature of their biology. Despite knowing this, month after month ticked by with more frustration and tears. When my cycle arrived in August I was at the end of my emotional ropes. I cried, moped around the house, and finally just gave up. I prayed a very long prayer and gave it all up to Him. I was no longer going to get my hopes up each month only to have them dashed every 4 weeks.

I no longer had expectations for conceiving. I began to think that perhaps this long journey was just a test of faith. God wanted to see how far we were willing to follow his calling for our lives. I thought perhaps He really never had any intention of allowing us to actually grow our family like we had hoped. I quickly settled back into my routine with my 3 kids. I ramped up our homeschool work and was content with where we were as a family of 5.

When the last weekend in August rolled around I held out no hopes for a positive pregnancy test. However, when the day I was due for my cycle came and went I started to get suspicious. We were in the middle of the house buying process though and just assumed I was stressed. I have skipped a cycle once before without being pregnant about 7 years ago so I knew it was possible. I was due on a Friday so when Saturday and Sunday rolled around without a trace I knew I was going to have to test just to make sure I wasn't, which I had already assumed it would be negative. But as any woman who is trying to get pregnant will tell you, you ALWAYS have a slight hope for a positive even despite all the negative thinking and convincing otherwise that we all do to ourselves. Monday morning, Labor day 2010 I woke up early to test. As with my other 2 pregnancies the pink line was almost immediate. It was faint though and I questioned myself if I was seeing things. Holding the test closer to the window I realized I wasn't just imagining things. I crept back up upstairs and woke my husband up with the good news. It was exactly 3 months since first starting our supplements. It had worked!

I was excited but also nervous considering our earlier loss. I tried my best to comfort myself with the knowledge that even on the day of testing, I was farther along with this pregnancy than I was when I lost the baby earlier this year. Everyday I stayed pregnant I said a prayer of thanks and asked for just one more day of being pregnant. Was our journey to growing our family really over? Had we actually made it through the storm successfully? I could hardly believe the road we had traveled. I had felt alone and frustrated but once we were through it I knew God was with me every step of the way, he never left, but rather carried me through the rougher patches of the journey.

I am encouraged and hopeful for 2 other homeschool Moms I know who are on a similar vasectomy reversal journey. And to anyone else out there that might be reading this, whether you are considering a reversal or are in the low spots of this journey please do not give up hope. No matter the end result, you are following God's will for your family as commanded by scripture.

I am also happy to announce that not only are we expecting one blessing but rather 2 beautiful blessings. God has blessed us with so far healthy identical twin girls! The journey is clearly not over yet, God has big plans for my family. I am excited to see what those plans include being a Mom to twins.

If you are considering a vasectomy reversal and would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to share any and all information I have to provide, including the Dr. and his wonderful ministry that made all this financially possible.

 Due to the tremendous outpouring of response I have received from this post I want to also include the primary source I used when researching supplements to help with our infertility problems. Natural Fertility Info

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  1. Crying. Due to several really bad labors, and fear for my health, we made the heart wrenching decision for my husband to have a vasectomy. We made the decision based on other decisions available that we could not make. We hoped it would not really work. I think in some ways it was the right decision, but we are also sad about the procedure working. We have one small income, 6 children, and no insurance. I recently asked my husband if he would do a reversal if we could pay for it with our tax return. He said yes, but we couldn't afford the 5,000-8,000 number we were finding.
    Any info you have, I would love to hear.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. I'm sure your story is a wealth of inspiration to so many! It takes courage to fly in the face of modern thinking, especially with something like birth control. congrats on your little girls - I always love seeing your updates on FB!

  3. I was directed here from someone on a board that I am a part of for VR's.
    I'm also a part of the TOS Crew! And we had our VR in November with Dr. Wilson. So nice to meet you and to hear your story. What a great encouragement!

  4. Gayle, I am so glad you stopped by and that my story could offer you some encouragement. If anytime during your journey you want to talk please email me, I'd love to chat more.

  5. Lyssa, birth control is certainly a hot societal topic. We have experienced plenty of family pressures and rude comments because of our choice to have a large family. It is our choice and our life though and we know that in the end we will have only God to answer to, our family's opinions here on earth will not matter.

  6. Samantha, you know I am praying for you!!

  7. Hi,

    I am new to blogging & stumbled upon your blog. Myself & my partner are currently awaiting our first appointment to discuss about a VR. I hope you don't mind but I've followed your blog. Would love to continue reading your story & progress.


  8. Welcome Jenna, I always love to hear from new readers. So glad you found my blog.

  9. My husband and I have been saving for a reversal for some time now. While I know we will eventually get there, it feels as if we are years and years away from having the enough money. Any and all information you are will to share would be GREATLY appreciated. We live in Texas so this sounds excellent! Thank you for new hope!

    1. AmAzOn, there are quite a few Christian doctors that do reversals as their ministry in Texas. The Dr. we saw was in New Braunfels. I will be praying for you and your family!

  10. For anyone who read this and wants a reversal but can't afford five grand, please look into Dr. David Wilson. He is a Christian and does this as a ministry. The cost is only $1,800. He is near Tulsa.



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