Kendall's Dream Come True - Times Two
Kendall Kray was maybe 5 or 6 years old when she first dreamed of being a mother.
“I had always wanted to have children, for as long as I can remember,” she said. “As a little girl, I was always playing with my baby dolls. I even treated my cats like children.”
As she got older, Kendall started believing her dream would never become a reality.
That’s because she was struggling with obesity. The condition is linked to infertility — with one study showing that severely obese women were 43% less likely to become pregnant than normal-weight or overweight women.
“For me, it was a struggle since middle school of not maintaining a healthy weight,” said Kendall, now in her early 20’s. “I kept thinking, ‘How am I going to maintain my health and be in a relationship and have children someday? I didn’t know if it would happen for me.”
Kendall wasn’t alone in her battle with obesity. Her mother, father, and grandmother all had the condition.
Her parents underwent successful gastric bypass surgery.
Kendall saw how the surgery and lifestyle changes had helped her parents lose weight and keep it off. Their overall health improved. So did their self-esteem. And her parents even changed careers: Both became nurses.
With their encouragement, Kendall found hope. She began rethinking her future.
In 2015, Kendall began researching gastric bypass doctors and attended a free educational seminar offered at Dr. Aksehirli’s practice, which is part of AHN’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute.
From the start, she felt Dr. Aksehirli and his staff were the right fit.
“They talked to me like I was an adult,” said Kendall, still a teen at that time. “And I’d heard that he was one of the best doctors around for this surgery.”“My quality of life is much better,” said Connie, a resident of New Wilmington. “I’m more active and feel great. I’m so grateful to Dr. Eid for restoring my health.”
“He understood my concerns about gastric bypass and how I was worried about having children,” Kendall said. “He told me that I was doing a great job of making myself healthier and everything was going to be all right.”
Dr. Spergel’s wisdom proved to be true. Just one month later, Kendall learned she was pregnant.
The years of doubting finally ended.
“I can’t even describe the feeling I had,” Kendall said. “When we found out, we couldn’t have been happier.”
About four months into Kendall’s pregnancy, Dr. Spergel ordered a routine ultrasound. Kendall would get her first glimpse at her baby.
Her mother accompanied her on the trip to Jefferson Hospital, which has a state-of-the-art birthing center. It was then that Kendall got yet another surprise.
The ultrasound technician heard two heartbeats. Kendall was carrying a boy and a girl.
“Twins! I was on Cloud 9,” Kendall said. “We get to be parents of not one but two children. It was the best thing in the world.”
A mother at last
At 6 a.m., on Oct. 2, 2017, Kendall, her mother, and Dwain arrived at Jefferson Hospital for Kendall’s scheduled cesarean section (C-section) delivery. “I walked myself into the hospital, all the way to the delivery room,” Kendall said.
By 8:39 a.m., she and Dwain welcomed 6-pound, 6-ounce Evelynn. Then, at 8:41 a.m., little Leo arrived and weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces.
“I went from growing up and thinking I’d never have children to having two,” Kendall said. “We were just in total awe that this could happen to us.”
With support from Jefferson’s specially trained nursing staff and doctors, Kendall began breastfeeding and bottle feeding the twins, a special time to bond with her babies and get acquainted.
Smiling at the future
Today, Evelynn and Leo are healthy, happy, and growing. And they recently celebrated their first birthdays. “They’re doing great — walking, talking, playing,” Kendall said. “They’re the happiest kids I’ve ever met.”
Their mother is equally happy and healthy — having lost 105 pounds since choosing to have gastric bypass surgery. “I even lost 25 to 30 pounds after having the twins,” said Kendall, who keeps fit by swimming, walking, hitting a punching bag, and using exercise videos.
Sometimes, during the everyday moments — like watching Evelynn and Leo playing or when putting them to bed — Kendall thinks back to just three years ago. She marvels at how far she’s come, how she worked so hard to improve her health and watched her dream of motherhood come true with one surprise after another.
And she smiles at the future.
“This is more than what I could have dreamed of, honestly,” Kendall said. “This is the best fairy tale ever.”
To be referred to a surgeon who specializes in bariatric or hernia surgery at Allegheny Health Network, call 412.DOCTORS (412.362.8677).