Ten Years of Fertility
On August 12, 2011, we welcomed a new daughter into our family, our seventh child, fully 10 years from when Dr. Levin and his Team performed my tubal ligation reversal in August 2001, and 16 years from my original tubal ligation in August 1995. Thank God for granting us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this day and season!
I fully accept my reasons and need to choose surgical sterilization those years ago. I had a daughter Rose born in 1993, and although l loved being a mother to her, l had significant marriage problems that warranted an extreme decision to avoid any more pregnancies at all. My family of origin and my first marriage were socially situated within a rigid, fundamentalist religion with a culture of fear, and l kept my surgery a strict secret from almost everyone. I felt a new inner strength after l went through the decision process. The new “me” who was stronger and more safe to make my own decisions turned out not to be so attractive to the person l was then married to. Even though he said he agreed to my decision for a tubal ligation, and other decisions like attending college and getting a career, within a few years, we divorced in 1998. I also walked away from my fear based religion and into a faith based belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob- I am now traditionally observant of Judaism! Judaism has a strong balance of belief in the one true God as well as accepting personal responsibility for my own actions, and l can honestly say l have embraced being Jewish as my life plan. I also am now married to a really great guy who also happens to be Jewish, and together we’re on this spiritual journey to have a relationship with God, make a life for ourselves and hopefully do something positive in our own small way.
When l married Brian in 2000, he knew l had a tubal ligation, and we were set with being a family of 3, with his adoption of my daughter Rose. I talked it over with my rabbi, and my new husband, but ultimately a decision to attempt a reversal was only mine to make. I lived in metro New York which has many medical options, but, after much research, l found Dr. Levin in Louisville, Kentucky.
Our time in Louisville in August 2001 was very pleasant, the surgery was handled professionally and expertly in a sophisticated medical campus, our accommodations were comfortable, and the people we met along the way were caring and helpful. We were able to meet some folks from the local Jewish community, which was a major reason why we eventually moved from New York to Louisville in 2006. The only challenge l faced in any aspect of the reversal procedure was that the prescription pain medication after surgery was too strong for me, and l had emotional side effects like crying and excessive worrying, which stopped immediately when I stopped taking them. I used Alleve starting the day after the surgery, which was satisfactory for my pain control even on the airplane flying home.
You will notice that three weeks after my reversal, the world changed for the whole United States, on September 11, 2001, may all those who perished be remembered in honor. Yet my husband and l renewed our commitment to try to grow our family, and then another deep pain came to us: 12 weeks after surgery, in November 2001, we were expecting our first after-reversal baby when like a shock in April 2002, at week 25 (6 months) into the pregnancy, there was a terminal diagnosis. Yes, all was normal in the first trimester, and we were ecstatic that the reversal worked perfectly, but for reasons that were medically undetermined, we had to face the fact that our unborn son was very sick and was not able to live. This child is our forever baby, born at week 30 on June 5, 2002 and he passed away after 26 blessed hours on June 6, 2002. We named him Moshe, our first son and our second child.
Again, we renewed our commitment to try to grow our family. We could only try because obviously life is in the hands of God. I got pregnant again in November 2002. I experienced complications, and my water broke at week 30. We were worried but like a miracle, l stayed pregnant until week 35 and delivered a boy on July 15, 2003! His name is Ilan. The blessings really began rolling in, because l got pregnant again in November 2003, experienced complications, water broke at week 30, delivered a boy at week 35 on July 28, 2004! We named him Efraim. We really couldn’t stop the blessings at this point, because about the next Mother’s Day 2005 (which was also the time l conceived my first daughter back in 1992), we were expecting again! I was put on strict bed rest at home with this pregnancy, and l stayed pregnant until week 39, giving birth on February 6, 2006, to a boy we named Shimon! Yes, the next Mother’s Day in May 2006 we were again expecting. During this pregnancy, we moved from New York to Louisville, Kentucky! Our first Kentucky baby was born, a boy, on January 29, 2007, less than a full year after the previous delivery. His name is Yosef!
With the birth of Yosef, the very special connection we have with Dr. Levin was tied tighter, because we had a baby naming and traditional bris on Yosef’s 8th day of life at our synagogue here in Louisville, where Dr. and Mrs. Levin graciously honored us as our guests of honor! Dr. Levin held the baby for the bris, which brings a spiritual connection between the infant and the one who holds him. Since Dr. Levin is an amazing person who is committed to bringing new lives into the world, and who brings peace and satisfaction into marriages that were once troubled by infertility, we were and continue to be extremely honored by his presence.
We had our older daughter Rose, and had our fourth son to be welcomed home, but really Yosef was our sixth child – counting our first son who we hold only in our bittersweet memories.
With 5 pregnancies from age 31-37, we felt so blessed, so honored and so thankful to have grown our family into a busy household of parents of 4 after-reversal plus 1 before-reversal children! From ages 38-40, we neither prevented nor specifically tried for more, but it was not until age 41 that baby Ellie came.
With strict instructions to take things easy, I made it to week 37 with Ellie. And she came out backwards- yes, frank breech! Ellie was named at worship services on her first Sabbath day with the congregation blessing her. August is the time when the Jewish people remember our Temple in Jerusalem with a fast day of mourning. For 7 weeks after that sad day, we read scriptures of comfort on each Sabbath; in Hebrew they are the Sheva (Seven) b’Nechema (of Comfort.) Seven has an additional meaning grammatically of completion, peacefulness, and fulfilled promise. When Ellie was born only 2 minutes before the start of the first special Sabbath, we decided to name her Elisheva Nechama, which literally means my God of the seven comforts. Ellie is our seventh child, but our sixth child to come home, and may she be a comfort to us when we think of our baby who passed away.
I hope that our story of 10 years of fertility contributes to your life in some way and I hope you achieve a completely peaceful and fulfilling family life as you work toward your hopes and dreams. Shalom!
4010 DuPont Circle Suite 273
Louisville, Kentucky 40207