Where to begin? As I sit here watching my teething, sweet, awesome 9 month. daughter, Grace Hope, it brings tears to my eyes to think I almost missed the blessing of her. As she's trying out the strong healthy legs and arms, seeing if she can get them in synch to crawl and maneuver herself into getting something else, I think that I almost missed this chance to rejoice in her new found skills. My journey to have my tubes reversed began before I totally was out of recovery from my tl. On December 30,2002 I had a tl because of the amount of pressure and trying to "please" those who had said we already had enough children, mainly family. You see, when Mark and I married, he adopted my oldest two daughters from a previous marriage. We were blessed with 3 boys and 2 girls together. So with 7 children one can imagine the comments and remarks that were being made. Now, that we have 8 we still get them I have just learned to respond in a different way.
For me, having a tl was never part of my thought process. It was as if once the process started going, I couldn't stop it. For me it was a total violation of my body. The physical, mental, and emotional side effects were worse than I ever thought, but then since I didn't think there would be any change I didn't expect any. That's what my Dr. told me anyway..... When I awoke, crying, after the tl, the first words the nurse said right in my face,"Well, NO more babies for you." It cut me to my soul. My husband and I didn't talk the whole way home from the hospital. He just said "I'm sorry. We were wrong." Over the next two weeks I slipped into a very deep depression. Mark didn't know how deep it was, no one did. I needed to keep my world together and so I shoved it down, cried every chance I got by myself. My self confidence went way down to the "0" scale. It wasn't until in tears I told my endocrinologist what I had done, and he said,"Don't you know you should NEVER let anyone do anything to your body that you don't agree with?" Now, as a mom, how many times had I taught that to my children for their protection and well being?
Thus began my quest for knowledge of how to undo the wrong I'd done. I have journals filled with the pain and heartache that I experienced through that time. My saving grace was my faith in God. One night while on line, I had never used a "search engine" before. I typed in tubal ligation reversal. Dr. Levin's site came up and from there my life changed forever. The women on the board heard all my cries, and emptiness. I learned I wasn't alone in my thoughts and feelings. Mark wasn't sure he understood and couldn't see why I couldn't "just get on with life." Then Rebecca and Jon Hart were willing to share their story and what they'd gone through and how it affected their relationship. Because Jon shared with Mark from a man's point of view, and Mark was listening to me and my heart, and he was listening to God, we moved forward with plans to reverse what we felt was so wrong for us. Jon said something to Mark that really made him think. Did Mark want to look into my eyes 10-15 yrs. down the road and still see the pain and emptiness when he had had the power to bless me and agree to a reversal and didn't? Mark loved me enough to know he didn't want me to live with that pain. I went into the reversal knowing it wasn't about having a baby, I had 7 of those blessings. It was about reversing the wrong and obeying my belief that God is the one who controls us having children not anyone else.
God is so good and faithful, in providing the women on Dr. Levin's board whom became my life supports on some days. They know more about me than my family or friends here do. Some of those friendships have lasted and will for a life time. We shared our ups and downs, disappointments, tr successes and not, positive and negative pregnancy tests, death and illnesses of parents, siblings, children, divorces, marriages. We encouraged one another as we thought of innovative ways to save and earn money for our tr's. We laughed at things only those going through what we were would laugh at. We truly became a group of cyber family. That was fostered by the fact that Dr. Levin is such a gentle and caring man. He never failed to answer any question or anxiety tr or otherwise, that I had via email or phone. When I had my first consult, He took all the time I needed. He read my report, and told me he didn't think it would be any big deal and just the timing was up to me. He didn't make any rude remark about my age, I was 41, or how many children I had. During my searching process, I did look at other Dr's. who preformed tr's. Of those I saw, the remarks that were made to me about having MORE children, the price, the whole attitude was that of this is a business regardless of the outcome didn't set well with me. One Dr. had his nurse tell me one price, telling me if he got in there and found any problem, ie adhesions, fibroid, etc. it would be another price. Dr. Levin's response was, "Well it's just housekeeping, to make sure your chance of having a baby are not hindered. I'm in there anyway." I also wouldn't meet that Dr. until after the surgery the next day! Theoretically it would have been another $1,000 when I woke up! Another Dr. in CA where I am, was charging $19,000, and when I asked why the price difference, his response was,"Well, this is California that's why!" Mark and I had a total peace about Dr. Levin and all the support and encouragement he offered, although I really never thought I'd be blessed with another baby. I just wanted to be put back together, to be whole. To have my body react "normal".
A week before my surgery, Mark was not going to be able to accompany me, because the weather changed to record heat, and since we're in farming, and our livelihood depends on weather, he couldn't be gone. I prayed and prayed. A dear sister from Dr. Levin's board, Laura, offered to drive from her home to Kentucky, so I could still have my tr done. While I was nervous about now going by myself, God's hands were in every detail. Laura and her daughter met me at the Jewish Inn. Donna sent me a "care package" that Dr. Levin was so good to deliver! Charlotte and Diane were having their tr's also and we all met and shared a meal and our stories. It was truly a great time. The nurses were great as I had had troubles in the past with IV's and they did it without a problem. Dr. Levin and Venicia were so awesome. They both were so caring and genuinely real.
My surgery went well, and I had 7cm on the left and 2.5 on the right. On my right side, Dr. Levin repaired some adhesions that had given me pain for most of my life. Other Dr's. had told me the pain was all in my head. After 20+ years, I felt so validated. I felt great after the surgery. There was minimal amount of pain, nothing intolerable and a dose of pain med didn't cover. I think the pain from childbirth is probably harder then the tr recovery. Mark and I were very faithful on the 2 week waiting time before we bd'd. From a later sonogram we were able to see that I had conceived on our first time bding off of my right tube. Mark says he "knew" when I got pregnant, he had no doubt I would. So, when my age at the time 41, the shorter tube, and conceiving without any help from meds, are all taken into factor, Grace Hope is truly a miracle. She has blessed us, and all the process to bring her here, brought Mark and I closer than we ever imagined. We both look at her each day, and we marvel in what an awesome God we serve. For me, having never truly expecting to have another child, it all still amazes me. In 1Samuel 1:27 God hears Hannah's prayer, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him." God listened to my prayer, saw through my unbelief and granted me my hearts desire. Not a day goes by, that I don't ask for God's favor to continue for Dr. Levin and his family, and Venicia and hers, as they use their talents and skills to change lives in ways that will effect generations to come.
By the way, since we never told anyone except a few close friends about the tl, we never have had to tell anyone about the tr. So I am totally privileged to tell Grace Hope's complete story, and perhaps it will encourage others to follow what they know to be true for them regardless of what others may think. I pray there will be a time I am able to share her whole story with those whom thought she shouldn't be here, because, "after all 8 children is just too many." I always remember, "God doesn't make mistakes, just people do." God is using Dr. Levin to help fix those mistakes. Thank you so much Dr. Levin for being such a blessing to our family, and helping bring Grace Hope Bauer into our world. We missed her, and didn't even know it!
Mark and Kelly Bauer
" Children are a blessing from the Lord. Blessed is the man who's quiver is full"