On August 1, 2013, we were blessed with our fourth daughter, Kalyn Susanna. She was born at 38 weeks gestation by planned repeat caesarian. Early surgical delivery was necessitated because of a previous emergency caesarian in 2002. Kalyn came at 8:25 A.M. a healthy 8 pounds, 11 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long.
I lay there that morning in the OR, with all that was going on shielded from my view by sterile drapes. My husband was at my side and the staff talked us through the procedure as it unfolded. I could feel the pressure and pulling of the surgery, and after a few minutes a great relief was felt as our baby was lifted free of my womb and into the world. A hearty cry went up from her little lungs. The once subdued room was now alive with activity and the resounding cries of protest from Kalyn. In that moment I was overwhelmed with the miracle of what was happening. My womb, which had been as good as dead for the past 10 years had just ushered a new life into the world.
This was the latest in a series of amazing events.
It all started back in 2002. My husband and I had decided to have my tubes tied. We were young and foolish, and did not realize the gravity of the decision we were making. The procedure was done, with my tubes being cut and burned after the cesarean delivery of our third (and presumably last) child. A long, complicated recovery and years of hormone imbalance problems, and heavy, immensely painful menstrual cycles followed. I suffered with depression and detachment, in spite of our close-knit home life and overall happy circumstances. I had never considered that these issues could be complications of having had my reproductive system thrown violently off course, until a friend related the sense of joy and renewal her and her husband experienced after having a vasectomy reversal. The possibility of being restored to physical and emotional health was more enticing to me at first then the possibility of having more children. I don't know if medical the profession would agree that my symptoms were related to the tubal ligation, but it was worth a try to me. So I tearfully & doubtfully approached my husband about having a tubal reversal. I related my thoughts and hopes to him, totally expecting a swift and sure, "No." Much to my surprise, when I finished talking, I heard him respond with a confident, anxious, "Yes."
My sister and her husband had also had a tubal ligation which they came to regret. Through a satisfied patient, she heard of Dr. Levin in Kentucky, and his record of highly successful tubal reversals. They had taken the trip Louisville about 2 years earlier and now had a healthy, beautiful son to show for it. Based on her research and Dr. Levin's record, we started saving money and making arrangements to have him perform a tubal reversal for us. This included providing the operative report from my sterilization for Dr. Levin to review to determine if a reversal was likely to be successful. Him being acquainted with my medical history was important to me because I had concerns that I wanted to address before we committed. Dr. Levin took the time to thoroughly address each issue, and asked many questions regarding them. After several phone conversations I felt very comfortable moving ahead and very confident in Dr. Levin's knowledge and capabilities. I also felt like he had addressed the specifics of my case from the perspective of my best interests, rather than simply getting our business.
We arrived at Jewish Hospital on April 4th and within the hour I was dressed & ready to begin anesthesia. My family was able to wait with me in the pre-op room and meet Dr. Levin & others who would be accompanying him in the OR. The environment was calm & I felt very relaxed and at ease. The first anesthesia was administered through my IV right there with my family at my side, which is the last thing I remember, until I woke up in the recovery room. As soon as I was able, we returned to the motel where we would stay overnight and be examined and released by Dr. Levin the next morning. I only needed the pain medicine one time, as the pain was mild unless I had to cough, sneeze or laugh. The incision healed nicely as well. And best of all, the surgery was a success in more ways than one. The dull, lifelessness that had characterized me for years, gradually faded away. I was finally becoming the enthusiastic, patient, well rounded wife & mom that I'd wanted to be. As for my menstrual cycles, they became regular and I never require bed rest or pain medication anymore. These benefits alone were worth the surgery.
At the end of the 6 week recovery period we conceived, even though the length & condition of my tubes was far from optimal, having thickened over time and being fairly short. Dr. Levin sent orders for blood work right away to monitor my hormone levels in order to catch any possible complications early. Through this thorough monitoring he realized that my body wasn't making enough progesterone to prevent my menstrual cycle, which would obviously expel the embryo. Thankfully there is a progesterone supplement, which he prescribed, that successfully prevented this. As soon as feasible, he ordered an ultra sound to ensure the embryo was properly implanted within the uterus. Once he was confident that the early stages of the pregnancy had progressed normally, my care was turned over my ObGyn.
Sadly, this particular pregnancy ended in miscarriage on August 17, 2012, at 12 weeks gestation. This was completely unrelated to the reversal. I had had an identical episode with my first pregnancy.
We were advised to postpone attempts at conception for three months, so we didn't try again until November. The first test I took was positive! The baby was due August 15, 2013, days shy of the anniversary of our miscarriage. I was so thankful that that sad day wouldn't find me with empty arms. This pregnancy was monitored just as the previous one had been, and again, I had low progesterone and required supplementation. A sigh of relief came when everything looked fine and the first trimester, when most miscarriages occur, was behind us. The pregnancy progressed beautifully and on August 1, 2013, at 38 weeks gestation, our miracle baby was born, healthy & beautiful.
She has been a great blessing to our family. We would have missed out on all the joy she has brought and will bring, if someone like Dr. Levin had not had sympathy on those of us who made the mistake of "permanent" sterilization. We are so thankful he has invested himself in this ministry of life.
We praise the Lord for each of our children and for equipping man with the wisdom and will to restore what was broken.
Francis and Elliot Brown
St. Louis, Missouri