How does one decide to get a vasectomy? And then what happens when you do?
At a certain point after a child is born, parenting teams who sexually intercourse will likely have a discussion about the future of their families. For those of you not in the know, sexual intercourse between humans can directly lead to human babies.1
After the initial conflicted feelings around the discovery that our second child was on the way, my wife, Kat, and I had a discussion about what our family would look like. Did we want to have more children? And if not, would we ever change our minds?
We knew we did not want any more babies. The next question was what to do about it.
Most long-term birth control involves regularly putting chemicals into a woman’s body. Kat was wary of the side effects that come with different types of female contraception. If there was a pill that I could have taken I would have taken it, but the patriarchy is a bitch. Since we were D-O-N-E done, there was an option that made sense for our family: a vasectomy.
A vasectomy is a relatively simple outpatient surgery with a high success rate and a low risk of complications. Afterwards everything still “works”, but you are sterile. It sounded perfect for my situation. Since the only reservations I had were science fictional,2 shortly after my youngest daughter’s first birthday I called up my friendly neighborhood urologist and made an appointment.
After an initial consultation with my urologist (where I was the youngest patient in the office by several decades), I scheduled my surgery. Kat had to drive me, so we needed someone to watch the girls for half a day. My mom and her sister were coming through town that weekend, and I asked her if she could do it. Initially, I felt awkward about how specific to be in my request, but it turns out if you tell your mom you are having surgery without any context, she gets really worried.
I was grateful to hear the relief in her voice when I told her I was having a vasectomy, but I was most grateful for the conversations I had about the men in my extended family who had also had or contemplated vasectomies. Vasectomies are very common, but nobody ever talks about it. Knowing that what I was doing was normal for my family made me feel like a grown-up.
We told my oldest daughter (then four) a fair amount of what was going on. We shared that her mom and I were done having children and that I was having surgery so we wouldn’t have any more babies. It was also important for her to understand that she not jump on daddy for a few days, and that I wouldn’t be able to pick her up for a couple of weeks.
The day of the surgery came without incident. I have seen hundreds of surgeries in my day job, so I am quite familiar with that environment and knew more or less what was going to happen. An OR nurse gave me some Versed and some Fentanyl, and then a nice man showed me a chunk of my vas deferens.
Recovery was three days of taking it easy with my iPad, a bag of frozen peas, and Tylenol with codeine. My oldest daughter told everyone in the neighborhood to be gentle with me because I couldn’t make babies anymore. After that life was pretty much back to normal, although I had specific homework from my doctor. Roughly three months later, I was deemed medically sterile.
I have zero regrets. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. When the zombie apocalypse comes, after humanely euthanizing my wife as per her wishes, I will be on the front lines fighting back the horde but not repopulating the species.
— ∮∮∮ —
- I consider Homo Superior to be fully human. Just call him “Alex”. ↩
- What if there is a superflu pandemic, and I dream that an elderly African American woman wants me to move to Boulder? What if I accidently suck my best friend, my college professor, and a motown singer into a parallel Earth where there is a shortage of men? ↩
Photo by: James Bowe