Libby Price, 37, had two children – and a husband who'd had a vasectomy. Then, one day, in the middle of a kids' clothing department, she had a change of heart...
How many children did you plan to have originally?
When my husband Mark and I first got together and talked about that kind of thing, we'd always said we'd like to have four.
Why did you change your mind?
Our first child Daisy was born in July 2003. I don't think you are ever prepared for how much your life changes, and after she arrived we thought even two children would be hard work, let alone four! So, when Luke came along in February 2005 we felt that we had the perfect 'one of each' family. I'd also had quite bad experiences with both their births. With Daisy I had torn a lot, and Luke had been born 'blue' (i.e. deprived of oxygen), so we felt as though we'd be daft to test our luck any further.
When did Mark have his vasectomy?
Not long after Luke was born, in July 2005. It was a very hot week, and I think for Mark it was all a little bit uncomfortable!
When did you think you'd made the wrong decision?
I'd gone out to Marks & Spencer's to buy Luke's first pair of school trousers. It's funny how it's the little things that hit home. I stood there holding them in the kids' department and burst into tears, realising my baby was going to school. I suddenly thought that actually I could do it all again...
What did your husband say about your change of heart?
He was supportive. He'd always said he would have his vasectomy reversed if I decided I wanted more – and he was actually really excited despite what he'd have to go through.
When did he have the reversal?
It was four summers after the operation itself, in August 2009. He would claim that it was a lot more painful than childbirth – but then he's a man!
When did you conceive again after the reversal?
It didn't take us long - we were very, very fortunate. By October 2009 I was pregnant again, so we only had one month worrying it wouldn't have worked. The odds are about 50 per cent, but we'd always hoped we'd have better chances as it was the same surgeon undoing his own work, and only four years later. Then Evie, our third child, was born in July 2010.
And now you're expecting again?
Baby number four is due in November 2011 - so 16 months after Evie. Thankfully Daisy and Luke are really helpful, and we coped with a small gap between the first two. However this is definitely it!
I am one of three, and never wanted an odd number – so once we'd had three it was always going to be four – and there is no way it would be six! The logistics of four children are just about doable - in terms of getting out and about - but more than that would be madness!
I've also struggled with pregnancy number four. I had terrible morning sickness at the beginning, and now, in the final trimester, my back is very painful. I think my body is telling me never again!
What do people say about the age gap between the two sets of children?
If it wasn't for the fact that the kids all look so alike, I suspect people would think that they were from different parents – but there is no doubting they are all our children. We were quite open about Mark having the snip in the first place, so I felt we needed to be about the reversal - otherwise I could imagine the talk in the playground that I'd had an affair! Also, having the gap means that the older two are really helpful – although I suspect there will be more and more juggling as they all get increasingly independent.
What would you say to other couples who regret a vasectomy?
I would say definitely consider a reversal – it could be worth trying. But don't build up your hopes, as the odds aren't great. We are delighted with our second chance!
For more information about vascetomies and reversals, visit NHS Choices.
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