After my fourth child was born, I was pretty earnest about making a trip to the doctor for a vasectomy. I love all my kids! But I felt that after number 4, we had our hands full and our financial resources were already strained to the breaking point. My wife was adamant about me NOT having a vasectomy. She didn’t want to close that door. “Wasn’t God in control of blessing us with children if He chooses?”, she said. “No, it’s a matter of biology. Ya know, that whole sperm and egg thing getting together?”, was my response.
Since she was very passionate about her position, and because she vowed that we would follow birth control while she focused on improving her health, I didn’t do anything. But less than 2 years later, that whole sperm and egg thing happened. She was pregnant with number 5.
If you’re a parent, you know that it feels weird to talk about birth control when you think about the kids that you have. The thought of not having one of your precious kids in your life is unspeakable. The decision is such a personal thing, and my youngest (my second daughter) is such a joy. A very sweet girl.
But even after the birth of number 5, my wife was still very set against a visit to the doctor for me. I told her she was nuts. I scheduled my consultation appointment and asked those usual selfish questions a guy will often ask… Like, how long is recovery? And is there a change in the sensation or pleasure? Are there side effects or concerns? The short answer is, it’s a pretty simple procedure and after a while, you can’t even tell that anything’s different.
Naturally, the doctor wanted to ensure that a patient wasn’t rushing into a decision like a vasectomy but as soon as I told him how many kids I had, he slapped his folder closed, and said, “Well then. No more questions from me! Let’s get you scheduled for surgery!”.
Next, I scheduled the actual procedure and of course I told my wife that it was scheduled for such-and-such a date. She had a mixed reaction of anger and denial. She figured that if I really had scheduled the deed, I’d change my mind before the solemn day arrived.
I had to drive myself to the doctor’s office. The procedure itself went smoothly, but I was a little taken aback by the male nurse who shaved and prepped me. He was truly the spitting image of the famed soul singer, James Brown. And I kept wondering if he’d suddenly break out in song while he carefully shaved my family jewels… “Wo! I feel good! Nana, nana, nana na. I knew that I would now… So good! So good! I got you!”
And yes, he certainly did have me in the grips of his hands.
Thankfully, he was skilled with the razor blade and I suffered no harm. After the doctor completed the procedure, I was bandaged and released. When the frontdesk nurse asked if anyone was taking me home, I said, “No unfortunately, I have to drive myself home.” And I did.
The thing I didn’t expect was the reception at home. When my wife realized I really had gone through with the procedure, she got very angry and we had a huge fight. Emotions were so high that I decided some time apart was best, but being light on funds (5 kids are expensive!), I grabbed my sleeping bag, camping gear, packed my car, and headed to one of the beautiful national parks within an hour’s drive. I can’t quite describe what it’s like to go camping just mere hours after having your vas deferens yanked, cut and cauterized. It wasn’t pleasant, but that 3 day camping trip turned out to be a blessing. I enjoyed the beauty of Virginia’s nature while recuperating.
In the years that followed, I made several more solo camping trips and I found the solace and peacefulness very enriching. Those were wonderful times of reflection about the world.
Life can be pretty odd sometimes.
[Crazy Addendum to this post 6/4/15]