I’d heard a mix of stories about getting a vasectomy. I’d heard people tell me about being shaved by someone with calloused hands and a far from tender touch. I’d heard stories of people who had to have the vasectomy done twice because it didn’t work the first time. One friend told me about how he couldn’t take a bump on his bike for a few years because he’d be hit with a biting pain.
It seemed like most men had a vasectomy story, and if they didn’t, it was because they’d refused to get one. Then they would tell me one of their friend’s vasectomy horror stories. I think this is part of the reason many men refuse to get a vasectomy.
These stories were the main reason I wasn’t thrilled about getting a vasectomy.
Once the procedure was all said and done, and I had my pants back on, and the doctor had left the room, and an older nurse was reading a list of things I should know about aftercare, I suddenly felt really nauseous. I felt hot and tired and had to lie down with a wet, cool towel on my head, and I wondered if I was going to have some horror story. I wondered if I would find myself standing around a water cooler telling some other dude about how much I regretted getting the snip.
While it was happening, I thought a lot about watching three children being cut from my wife. I thought about the large incision below her navel. I thought about the air that got into her body after her last caesarean and caused her to feel tremendous pressure in her chest and shoulders. How she cried most of the night. I tried to think about that rather than the horror stories. I tried to think about that rather than the pressure, or the nausea, or the fact that although I was still a man, I was a man without seed.
My wife, the hardcore bad ass that she is, offered to get her tubes tied. But once we compared the procedures, a vasectomy was obviously simpler, and it also seemed like I was due. I mean, I’m not going to say that it was 100% pain-free. I felt a pinch when the doctor gave me a couple shots, and a little burning as he injected something into me. I felt some tugging and a little nausea, and there was the odd fact that I’d never had so many people in one room staring at my junk, but none of it compared to having a 9-pound baby ripped from my stomach. Not that I’ve had that happen, but I’ve witnessed it and know for a fact that my vasectomy was much simpler. For the most part, I really only felt a hit to my masculinity.
Before the surgery, I was given a Valium. I asked to be sedated; instead they gave me another Valium. The doctor also asked if I wanted to watch, and I asked again if I could be sedated.
Needless to say, I was nervous, and so much of that, for me, was the feeling that I was still going to be a man, but a man without seed. I wondered if I would regret it. I wondered if I might want to have kids later on. When I was in college, I waited tables at the Olive Garden, and my boss told me to never get a vasectomy because you never know if your marriage will last. Then he told me about divorcing his first wife, and how his new wife wanted a child, but he’d had the procedure done and couldn’t. I thought a lot about that. But then I thought about my wife and how we’d been married for 12 years at the time. I didn’t see us getting divorced.
And I’m not going to say that I didn’t have some swelling because I did — more than expected. But now, a year later, when I think back on the procedure, I don’t regret it all.
I don’t feel like less of a man. Everything is still in order and works just the same as it always did. Outside of getting some lab data that showed a bunch of zeros for my sperm count, I’m the same guy I always was. I do a lot of distance cycling in the summer, and three months after my surgery, I did a metric century ride (60 miles). No pain. We don’t use any birth control, and we don’t have any fear of something unexpected happening.
In so many ways, it feels like getting a vasectomy has placed us in a new stage, one where managing when and if we will have another child is behind us, so we simply manage the family we have now and focus on maintaining our relationship. I don’t really think about it anymore. I don’t have any scars or pain to remind me that it happened.
And you know what, here’s the thing. I know that I am publishing this essay in a publication that is predominantly read by women. And I know that that this sucker is going to find its way onto some poor father’s Facebook wall along with a wink emoji, and that guy is going to read it and think, “Thanks, asshole, for adding wood to this fire.”
And to the guys out there resisting, I can honestly say, “You got this.” The discomfort isn’t that bad, and they give you pretty good painkillers. You are still a man, and by getting a vasectomy, you will be doing yourself and your relationship a huge favor. This isn’t to say that your wife will owe you anything. She won’t. She gave birth to your children. She’s done enough. But what it will do is show her that you appreciate all the pain she went through to bring your children into the world. It will show your dedication to the marriage and family you hold dear, and it really won’t be that bad.