A Reversal of Expectations

It was over. The vasectomy surgery was done, and I was filled with regret.

I knew it had been coming. I was 34 and getting too old to “safely” have children, yet why did I feel so much sadness? If only I could go back in time and somehow stop my husband. That strong cultural message that there are great risks if you have children after 35 had been deeply rooted in his mind. Having our five sons was a blessing, but he didn’t share my desire to have more children and wasn’t interested in discussing it.

In some cases vasectomies don’t work, and I prayed that I would miraculously get pregnant in spite of ours, but that was not to be. I kept telling myself that my longing for more kids would go away in time and reminding myself that I was crazy busy: home schooling five young boys and completely renovating a 1970’s rambler, with a husband who traveled extensively for work.

Over a year after the surgery, the topic came up in a conversation with a friend, and she shared the same regrets. After talking with her husband and finding out their insurance company paid for a vasectomy reversal, they scheduled the surgery and she got pregnant immediately.

I prayed often during this time, crying out to God to either make my desire to have more children go away or to change my husband’s heart. My husband was firm on his decision and the topic was not debatable, so I remained silent but prayerful.

One day while eating lunch at a sandwich shop, the kids at one table and Dave and I at another, he said, “So, what should we do now?”

I said, “I think we should have another baby!”

He said, “I was thinking about a vacation!”

Before he shut the conversation down, I said, “Could I please just share my heart? Can we just talk about this?” I know God’s hand was in this conversation, because we were able to talk about desires and concerns, both sharing honestly.

Our open conversation addressed everything from prior infertility struggles, to concerns about my advanced maternal age, to the financial burdens of our children’s education and surgical costs. But in the end, we decided to pursue, budget for, and schedule the reversal.

My friend who had been through a similar experience and whose due date was coming up was the only one who knew about our plans. The day my husband had his vasectomy reversal is the day my friend gave birth to her reversal blessing.

Six months after the reversal surgery, I was ecstatic to take a positive pregnancy test! That excitement was short-lived, however, because I miscarried that baby early in the pregnancy. After the two years of praying, the wait after the reversal, and then the loss of the baby, I was devastated. Grief can cloud hope. Tears flowed often. Then, my friend who had given birth the day of our reversal discovered she was pregnant again. Ouch! Although I was happy for her, my heart ached and I became despondent.

However, God used that loss to change my husband’s heart radically, from agreeing to one more child to handing our family size to God. Being open to whoever God chose to give us forced us to trust him completely, with finances and time. Intimacy changed from trying to get pregnant to loving each other more deeply.

Three months later, we were blessed by another pregnancy, our first daughter, born when I was 37. I had more losses and blessings: I miscarried three more babies but also gave birth to four more children, including a set of identical twins. My last son was born when I was 44.5 years old. Amidst all of this, my marriage has become stronger and deeper. I am so grateful I listened to my regrets, prayed, and trusted.

And because everyone asks...... We are not Mormon or Catholic, but have friends who are. Not only do I know what "causes" pregnancy, but consider myself somewhat of an expert. We do home school, but my mother, mother-in-law, aunt, uncle, and grandmother were all great public school teachers. Although being a mom to 10 keeps me moving, it did nothing for my weight or fitness; I have Jillian Michaels to thank for that! I don't have all the answers and we are not a perfect family, but I love to share the helpful nuggets we have learned along the way.

Author of book: Parenting Sensibly: Turning messes into successes.

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