The Saga of The Snip
So, if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you may know that we have three children, the most recent one having joined us in December 2010. You may also know that I never really wanted children, and having met my dream girl who happened to want about 30 children, I compromised and agreed to 0-1 children. Of course, my opinion of children changed once I had my own and I’m actually kind of fond of the little ankle-biters now. With that said, three is plenty and now that we, as parents, are outnumbered, it’s time to stop this procreating nonsense.
February 9th – I went in to see the doctor for a “pre-vasectomy consultation”. I was given a lovely information packet, with some details as to what to expect, what exactly a vasectomy is and what you can and can’t do afterwards and some nice diagrams for those that need them. I sat for about 5 minutes, hiding the “Vasectomy – What to expect from a vasectomy?” (in a large bold font) cover sheet from the other waiting room occupants.
After that, I was shown to the examination room, where I waited another few minutes, letting the gravity of this sink in. When the doctor came in, he shook my hand (something I immediately regretted, knowing he may have just done someone else’s “pre-vasectomy consultation”) and introduced himself. He talked frankly about the procedure, and then it was time to get up on the table and lower my drawers. He checked out my business end for about 3 seconds and indicated there didn’t appear to be any issues and that we could go ahead with the procedure. I instantly started thinking about what kind of issues he might be looking for where someone would be deemed ineligible for a vasectomy. “Sorry sir, but as it turns out, your wife appears to have your balls in a glass jar anyway, so we won’t be going ahead with this.” Anyway, the doctor’s hands were gentle, warm and soft. I can tell you that much. I can also tell you he washed them, relieving me of my initial handshake regret. I booked in for the next available appointment, which was conveniently over two months away thanks to the doctor’s imminent vacation, giving me plenty of time to stew about this.
And stew I did. It’s not an easy decision to come to – to have someone slice into your nether region, whilst under a minor local anaesthetic, and snipping off the stream of life that has allowed you to father children thus far. This is a multi-pronged issue. First of all, as a man, you would understand the cringe-worthy aspect of the physical part of this operation. I’m not a big fan of having anyone other than my wife handle my junk. My family doctor briefly gets all up in my business once a year and other than that, I’m a one-party fondling recipient. And I’m totally fine with that. I’m not excited about having my penis and scrotum moved around and pinned back or whatever it takes. Next, I’m not fond of the concept of a sharp tool puncturing my body in that particular region. I don’t like knives cutting me anywhere, never mind right by my precious nutsack. And I’m not fond of the idea that I’m going to be sore and in pain afterwards, and that I’m going to have to put frozen peas on my permanently-damaged baby batter maker while it heals.
But perhaps, after all the stewing I’ve done on this matter, it’s the psychological effect that has put me out the most. My wife and I made a joint decision to go ahead with this. I don’t think it’s up to my wife to solely take care of birth control. My wife has made numerous sacrifices to have my children, and I’ve made very few. It’s the least I can do. But somehow the prospect of losing the ability to father children when you have had this ability all along toys with the mind. It tugs at emotions that become difficult to put into words. I don’t want any more kids. I don’t plan on ever leaving my wife, or needing to have children with anyone else. So why is it then that my mind is telling me that this isn’t natural? I feel as though I’m giving up my manhood in its entirety, yet in reality, I’m only giving up the part of my manhood that I’m glad to divorce with. Because I’m done with it. It’s a strange sensation, a dichotomy, and one that I’m wondering whether other men getting vasectomies have experienced. If you’ve went through this, did you have these feelings pulling you in both directions?
Regardless of my emotional pangs, and fear of a scalpel slip into the parts of my equipment that I still need, I am obviously going ahead with it.
Fast forward to March 28th. If nature had any designs of me fathering a last-minute fourth child before my vasectomy, my 3 year-old daughter just took care of any worries there. She decided it would be a fantastic idea to come running toward me, and at the last second, head-butt my rear end. Between her forward momentum, and the swinging head, and my remarkably poor decision to turn around at the last second to see what all the commotion was about, I believe there is no longer a need to go ahead with this procedure. Anything that was alive down there has wilted and I can’t breathe without a sharp, stabbing pain in my groin.
April 19th – my last day as a whole man. Suddenly, I have a lump in my throat but I’m not sure why. Also, we have run into a logistics problem in terms of tomorrow morning. My surgery is at 8:30 AM. I am dropping off my car for an oil change at the dealership first thing and then getting a ride to the doctor’s office. That should all work out. It’s the getting home part that appears to be an issue. You see, my wife has a coffee date with some friends – I shouldn’t be surprised since she has one of these every day. The coffee date is planned for 8:30 AM tomorrow morning. I’ve been told to count on being at the doctor’s office for 30 minutes. After that, I should be good to go home. Now, since I don’t have a vehicle, I won’t be able to drive myself home. That leaves two options – getting a ride home (which seems to be out, unless I can swindle someone else into it) or walking home. It sounds laughable to walk home after my own vasectomy but I only live about a 5 minute walk away. Normally not an issue, but minutes after having my vas deferens and my psychological manhood simultaneously severed? I can’t see it happening.
It’s April 20th. The day of reckoning. Or wreck-oning. As in, I’m going in to have any chances of fathering future children wrecked. And, after having had over two months to dwell on it, I’m OK with it. The lump in my throat remains, but perhaps more so because I hate needles and knives headed in my direction. The courtesy shuttle from the car dealership almost screwed me over – I was at the dealership at 7:00 AM, on the shuttle by 7:20 and arrived at my destination with 2 minutes to spare – at 8:28 Am. Suffice it to say, Helen Keller could have planned a better route for dropping people off. So…. I’m here.
I wait in the front area for only about one minute, after which I’m ushered into a room in the deepest bowels of the clinic. I immediately conclude that they put you at the very back so that people can’t hear your screaming. I’m left to my own thoughts for a few minutes, which is unfortunate because it is at this time, as I scan the room, that I see the tray of instruments. I snapped a little picture for you, so you can share my instant anxiety.
Clamps, a blade of some sort, gauze, a needle!!! …. Other instruments and medical implements that suggest a procedure are spread around the room – all in perfect harmony, set up to aid someone in removing my ability to….. And here comes the doctor. As always, he is a gentleman. He asks how I’m doing – am I doing alright? I lie: “Oh yeah, I’m fine.” This doctor was the right person to pair me up with during this experience. I’m not a details guy, but when I’m looking at the big picture, I like to be as aware as I can be. And aware I was, because he talked me through the whole procedure. It’s kind of like Buckley’s cough syrup that way – it sounds awful, but it works – it helps to know exactly what’s happening down there.
First things first, the pants and underwear get slipped down to knee level and I lay down on the table. The doctor cleans the area with a clinical-smelling solution, preparing it for the procedure. Next comes what the doctor has advised me is the worst part – and I agree. It’s the freezing. Hilariously, but not at the time, the doctor says: “OK, so whatever you feel now, please keep your hands and your feet to yourself.” I immediately imagined a knee-jerk reflex to getting stabbed in the nuts, and my hands flying to my groin to protect myself. To be clear, it’s not nearly as bad as I had thought, but in order to not sugar-coat any of this, you get what I believe are four quick shots of freezing – and this is what he said to me: “OK, so there’s going to be a little pinch and a shot into the right side (this was followed by exactly that – a little pinch, a few seconds of minor pain) and now another shot in the right nut.” Before I could protest, or swear involuntarily, or even process that information and then faint appropriately, I did feel that and I believe he wasn’t lying. Anyway, the pain was momentary and these two steps were repeated for the other side. After that, we chatted for a few moments, letting the freezing start its job. This would have been a lovely chat, except for one small thing – in the back of my mind I’m thinking “Um, I just got a needle into my balls”. I’m hoping it’s the last time I ever have to think that.
After that, I can only tell you what I think is happening, as I’m obviously not watching, and the freezing really does work. I believe he made a small puncture in either side of my scrotum, pulled out the vas deferens, which I believe is like a rubbery string, severed it and closed up each side of that severed line. Essentially I could feel some tugging and movement down there, but no pain. One time, I did feel an aching – I’m not sure if that was my balls or my emotions.
All in all, the pain was absolutely nothing compared to what I believe my wife went through, having my babies, and so if you think you’re going to complain about the “pain” of your vasectomy to me, I’ll be glad to do my own scalpel-less vasectomy on you, by kicking you repeatedly in the groin until nothing works anymore. Man up, my friend – it’s the least you can do for your significant other.
That’s about it. To be honest, the worst part of the procedure for me was when my blood pressure dropped. The doctor advised me that it’s typical – and then the body tries to compensate for it by pumping you full of adrenaline, which makes you feel light-headed, somewhat nauseous, sweaty and woozy. It lasted about 2 minutes or so. After that, we were done – it took about half an hour from start to finish. I was asked to keep laying down for a few minutes, and was given a cold cloth for my head and some juice. And after that, I jogged home. OK, my wife picked me up and dropped me off at home.
That freezing doesn’t last forever – it’s exactly like a dentist’s freezing. As it slowly wears off, the dull aching becomes real. It’s not true pain, but there’s nothing great about it. Essentially, as a man, you have very traumatic memories of things in the past, and at least a few of those memories are getting hit or kicked in the nuts. There is a natural reflex to protect that area of our bodies, and a feeling of helplessness when it is injured. The ache is akin to having been kicked in the balls about 15 minutes ago. It’s not the crippling pain, where a guy goes down to the ground. But it’s constantly there. The suggestion of using supportive underwear or a jock is a good one. Laying down is more bearable, and yes I used a bag of frozen peas – for about 15-20 minutes every couple of hours. What was most uncomfortable was getting up and walking. The ache increased substantially. Also, Edmonton’s horrible roads are not your friends – any expansion joints or potholes will have your cursing your way down the road. Bumps are bad.
It’s a couple of days until one starts feeling normal-ish and apparently about a week until it’s all good. Oh, if you think this procedure is a free pass, think again. There is enough sperm in your plumbing that it takes 25 or so ejaculations before it should be clear – being married, that’ll take about 3 years for me. I kid, I kid! And make sure you get your sterility tested before you consider it your sole method of birth control.
To conclude, my journey up to and through this vasectomy wasn’t that bad at all. I couldn’t believe how many others have done it and were willing to offer advice and support. And if you’re considering it, I’m guessing you are very likely a father to one or more children. The fact that you have children is enough – be very thankful for those blessings and for the responsibility you’ve been entrusted with and focus on that. You’ll be just fine.
In the end, it turns out that V is for Very Good Decision.
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