The Road To a Reversal
By Lori Crank
As they wheeled me into the operating room to perform my tubal ligation, all I could think was, even though I could not have my desire to have as many children as God would give us, I would not have to worry about getting pregnant and possibly having a hysterectomy. The recovery went just as they had predicted. I was sore and drowsy the day of the operation but up and functioning enough the next day that we took the children to a museum. What I had not anticipated, nor had been advised about by the doctor, was the emotional roller coaster that this very simple operation would cause in my life.
All changes in life bring about a certain amount of stress. However this change, along with other changes that happened during the same time period, brought about a real period of depression that really surprised me. In a four month period our youngest stopped nursing (due to a hospital stay I had for a kidney stone), I had the tubal ligation, and our oldest began kindergarten at a private school. I began to see my days as a mother to younger children quickly vanishing. Our oldest no longer saw me as the center of his world. His teacher was now the supreme authority. With every stage that the youngest went through, I realized that this was the last time I would pass through that stage as a parent. I was thankful that this child was a willing lap sitter and liked being with momma. God was gracious. Nagging in the back of my mind was the simple truth that I would only be 42 when this last child graduated from high school.
As I cried out to God, He began to relieve that depression with the return of my children to home through homeschooling. I had taught them all the basics they knew up to that point. Now I was able to continue where I had left off a year and a half earlier. We also became involved in music lessons and other church activities that filled the gaps left by having no young children.
The years continued on, but each time my monthly cycle came around, it was a reminder that we could no longer have children. I continued to feel that if I were given the opportunity, I could have a normal delivery and possibly more children. But I knew too well the reality of my tubal ligation. The doctor made a point of telling us that he had cauterized my tubes three times on each side to make sure there was no possibility of a pregnancy. I became pretty successful at burying those feelings in the back of my mind. I did continue to become a little envious of others that became pregnant. Then God would bring to my mind a friend who was barren or someone who had many children that did not walk with the Lord and so I would then start seeing my cup as full again.
Our life continued on an even level for several years. When our youngest was 11, we heard about a family that we knew pretty well having a vasectomy reversal. A spark of light came to my mind but I put this immediately out of my mind. I knew that a reversal wouldn't do me any good because the reason for the tubal ligation was a medical issue, not a heart issue. A few months later we received medical information that proved the doctor was mistaken in advising us not to have more children. I was surprised to see that this particular information, dealing with the strength of the uterine lining, came out in the spring of 1979, about the time our last son was born. As with all new medical studies, it was viewed skeptically at that time by most doctors. God brought back to my memory the verse he had given me when the first cesarean section was done. Gen. 50:20 -"And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
I viewed this medical news with great excitement. I was surprised when David did not see it as exciting. I did not realize that he was thinking more about the possibility of losing a wife than the possibility of more children. I could not believe the peace I felt with leaving the decision to investigate further in David and God's hands. A month later, David wrote a letter to the Medical Training Institute of IBLP (Bill Gothard's organization), asking for names of doctors that could possibly help us. While we were waiting for a reply to our letter, we were asked to care for two different families' children. During the time we were taking care of the second family, the one year old came down with an intestinal virus. I had to take her to the doctor to get medication to stop the vomiting and diarrhea. The day before they left, Heidi and I came down with the virus as well. When the mail came that day, we received an answer to our letter with names of doctors. God does have a sense of humor!
The letter gave us the names of two doctors that could possibly help us. One was located in Texas and one in Illinois. The letter also said that I needed to get my medical records from the doctor that performed my tubal ligation, so the doctor could know what was done to my tubes. Now, I had a few issues to deal with. Did I really want more children? My life was getting easier all the time. The children were pretty well self-taught by now and could take care of themselves. David and I could get out by ourselves without getting someone to take care of the children. I could spend more time on my hobby of quilting. Did I really want to go back to diapers, feedings, potty training and all the other things that come with more children? I let this letter lay for a while. Then one morning, a couple of months after we received the letter, God brought to my mind the verse: James 4:17 "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin." This spoke to my heart. God was giving me the opportunity to resolve the issues that had plagued me for so many years and I wasn't willing to give Him the opportunity to work in my life. Needless to say, I called and got my medical records sent as quickly as possible.
Dr. Rath in New Braunfels, Texas seemed to be our best bet as far as money and accessibility. David sent all of my records and a letter of explanation to the doctor. About a month later he called to talk to me about his findings and what he could possibly do for me. He felt there was no reason for me having another c-section if I were to become pregnant. He was not sure of his ability to repair the damage done by the tubal ligation, but would not know until he did the surgery. God provided the money and so we set up a date for the surgery. During the time between getting my medical records and the surgery, God led me through a study in Psalms 37. He impressed on me the verse Psalms 37:4:"Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart." This was to be the verse that took me through this season of life until the birth of Sarah.
As with all things in life, I knew that God could repair my tubes but would He think this was best? All I could do was go through with the surgery. When I came out of the anesthesia, my first question was, "Was it successful?" It seemed like an eternity for David to get the word "yes" out. Later that day, we found out from the nurse, that I was the first patient he had been successful with repairing three cauterizations on each side. One other feeling I had was that I was now "complete" again. I could have those other children. Again the question in my mind over the next several months was, "Would God give us more children?"
I was now complete again with the hope of delivering children normally. I had made the journey back to the point where this nightmare had started (see Vol 1 Issue 1 Birth of a Baby - Death of a Vision) but was I going to be able to bring this nightmare to a successful end with God's help?
Volume 2 Issue 1: Jan / Feb 2001, © Unless The Lord ... Magazine