My Husband Had A Vasectomy And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

57 Comments

My husband is the introverted type, so out of respect for his privacy, I’d like to talk to you about his vasectomy.

 

We put it off longer than we should have. I guess the ideal time might have been between baby no. 2 and baby no. 3, but we’re super happy with the one that slid underneath the closing door, all Indiana Jones-style: “Waaaaiiiiit you have one moooore!” But at some point you have to just make the arbitrary decision that you’re done meeting new offspring.

 

So we finally made the call that it was time to turn the spigot off. An informal survey revealed that getting a vasectomy was the birth control method of choice among the vast majority of older parents in our circle. It’s minimally-invasive, complications are rare, and (who knew?) our insurance covered it. Seemed as though the only prerequisite was a few days’ freedom to convalesce on the couch and several bags of frozen peas.

 

We described the procedure to our children, the youngest of whom is five, figuring they’d naturally wonder what was going to make Daddy walk around the house in a half-crouch in a Vicodin-created fugue state. We spent some time describing the vas deferens, and the special seeds that help Mama’s egg become a baby, carefully playing up the benefits (no additional sibling rivalry!) and downplaying the discomfort (it won’t hurt more than getting a shot).

 

Yet still, the very next time I brought my youngest, Molly (who’s five) out in public, she announced to any and all within earshot: “My daddy’s getting his penis cut off.” I protested with nervous giggles the first few times, but after awhile took great satisfaction in merely raising my eyebrows and glaring silently.

 

In honor of the procedure, my husband’s coworkers served two types of cheese balls with carrots and celery sticks, artfully arranged. Oh: and mixed nuts.

 

I kind of assumed I’d be on The Pill until menopause rendered my womb a windswept desert nurturing nothing but a bleached rock outcropping and occasional tumbleweed, but lo! Verdant and lavishly fertile, and already relieved of the threat of childbearing. It’s a medical miracle.

 

I’d like to chalk up the following unsuspected side effect to the array of painkillers my husband was on when he came home from the surgery: when I arrived from taking our Molly to her first dance class, I sat next to him, all propped with pillows and sipping water through a straw, and flipped through the photos I’d snapped on my phone. Molly’s leotard and tutu are far from new — like all of her clothes, they’re hand-me-downs several times over. So the crotch hangs to mid-thigh and the tutu is torn and hanging low on one side. There’s a small rip in one knee of the black tights. At first glance there is nothing pathetic about this picture; she’s a happy girl, hands on hips, looking off to the side. She has the sort of hardscrabble disposition you would expect from the youngest of three. But of our children, she is the only dancer. Music moves her physically. My husband slid past this picture and then slid back and regarded it silently for a moment. I felt the wonder and grief behind his simple words: “That’s my last baby.”

 

And in a flash: my own times of bed confinement, postponing early labor. Cups of crushed ice and marshmallows, surer signs of pregnancy than a positive test for me. Vernix-covered little red crying faces, one after the other, lain against my chest. There was the cutting of the umbilical cord, always a bittersweet moment, giving that baby over to the world and all its variables, the concept of protection an illusion. And then there is this last cut. A “relatively pain-free procedure.”

 

And just like that, we say goodbye to all of it, say with certainty that we are done, we are parents to these three and no more, no longer getting to rewind the tape with each newborn, to relive that particular kind of falling in love.

Comments

  1. 2

    Amanda says

    So here is a question, men get vicoden for their “procedure” but women get ibuprophen following childbirth . . . . ?????? Seriously we are ok with this? lol

    • 3

      kim says

      I got Vicodin after birth (not a C-section)–and I had to use ALL of it (for back/tailbone pain). I would have demanded it on discharge!!

    • 4

      Angela says

      I got percocet after I gave birth. I kept telling the nurses and the doctor that I was breast feeding, sure that they were making a mistake. The DR. gave me a wink and said “i know, it’s a low dosage. All it MIGHT do and i emphasize might because most don’t see this, is a slightly sleepy baby after nursing.” I am most thankful for the painkillers…

    • 8

      Jen says

      I’ve had 3 c-sections, none of them text book, the first wouldn’t come down and required a resident up on my belly pushing to get him out, the second was stuck in my pelvis and required the removal of clots after the freezing had worn off, and the third required extra meds to relax my uterus to get him out… I was given ibuprofen for all 3, and had no choice but to get off my ass and take care of the kids after each!
      Weaker sex my ass!!

      • 9

        Ashley says

        I work in a pharmacy near a hospital and you can always tell who had a baby and who is breastfeeding. If you’re not breastfeeding you get percocet, iron, stool softener, and ibuprofen. If you are you get iron, stool softener, and ibuprofen. I think it’s crazy that if you’re trying to breastfeed you don’t get any pain pills. I know that the percocet will be in the breast milk, but I almost feel like you’re being punished if you decide to breastfeed. And this is just this particular hospital’s protocol, not all hospitals do this.

        • 10

          Jenni says

          That’s crazy! The first 2 weeks I was home from the hospital, I was still learning how to breastfeed my baby. If not for the painkillers they gave me (Percocet), I may have given up. The latch was good, he was gaining and giving me the proper amount of poopy/wet diapers, but the initial latch on for the first few weeks hurt like hell! And no, the Percocet did not seem to make him sleepy.

    • 11

      KK says

      I got percocet after my vaginal births and after my c-section. I never needed it after the vaginal births (this body was apparently made for droppin’ babes) and I really only needed it occasionally after my C-section – but I was given it along with giant Advil…

  2. 12

    Grits says

    We’re getting my husband the snip pretty soon. I’ve had these very thoughts. This post even made me tear up a bit. We know we’re done. The reality is that we can’t afford anymore in a lot of ways. But love isn’t one of them. It is a very final thing, but one that we’re sure of. Thanks for this. Sincerely.

  3. 19

    Michele J. says

    Beautifully (and hilariously) written. We have yet to schedule my husband’s procedure, but know that our third child (who is now 2) is our last. I’ve had these same thoughts of sadness and grief. Your description of your deserted womb is perfection. Thank you.

  4. 20

    Falon says

    This gave me chills, as we are also “done,” but haven’t sealed the deal yet. Maybe I’ll just kill myself on birth control for another 20 years just to be in control. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. 21

    MILF Runner says

    Really fabulous post. Then again I’m a sucker for Big V posts! My husband had a vasectomy before I met him. Had it reversed “for me.” We had two kids and snipped again. He got to have that “my last baby” feeling twice. Just kidding. He had it reversed again and we had some more (the last when I was 46). We call the last one The Hammer. Girl never stops. He really went out with a bang :). Love and blessings to you, your wonderfully sensitive husband, your tiny dancer and the rest :) Just love this post!

  6. 25

    amy says

    love the post. i personally suffered post-vasectomy depression upon realizing there would be no more babies for us!

  7. 28

    Keri says

    Aww. We’ve got two boys, and we’re trying for a third now. I’m having those thoughts, “This will be my last pregnancy… our last baby.” You should have warned us that this post wasn’t just funny, it’s kind of sad too! Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. 29

    Kristen Mae says

    “My daddy’s getting his penis cut off.” I spat my cappuccino all over my computer.

    It was TOTALLY worth it.

    When is your memoir out, because if it’s as good as this brief essay, I want the whole thing!

  9. 31

    DSDO says

    My husband is also an introvert. I LOVE THIS LINE!!:

    My husband is the introverted type, so out of respect for his privacy, I’d like to talk to you about his vasectomy.

    I didn’t even read the whole thing yet but I had to comment on this.

  10. 32

    Jenn says

    Every time someone asks me if our son will be an only child, I smile and say, “Yes, I’m 38, my husband has 2 kids from his first marriage, and we can’t afford more than 1″.

    But in my heart I yearn for another.

  11. 33

    Meredith @ The Girl Next Door Drinks and Swears says

    I loved it.

    This is exactly the reason we haven’t taken the step to go “permanent” yet. While I know I’m not going to have any more babies, we can’t seem to admit to ourselves that we’re done. And my husband is actually having a harder time with it than I am.

  12. 34

    Audrey says

    My husband just had this done a few months ago, just received the A-OK from the Dr that it worked. And while I know, KNOW, I don’t want to have any more kids, it does make me a little sad to know I will never have a newborn again.

  13. 35

    Brigid says

    What a timely post…my husband is going in in the morning for his “procedure”. After 3 kids, we decided it was time. And yes- tricky luring us in thinking it was going to be all laughs and then breaking me down into tears. :)

  14. 36

    Angela says

    I’m pregnant with our third kid. So the whole “this is my last baby” line had my hormonal ass tearing up. Thank you very much. Very well written. We are not planning on more kids, but I believe we are going the implant route so we won’t be permanently closing the door. I say this because I don’t want to be thirty-two or so thinking “I wish i could have another baby”, when in reality with my luck, I’m going to be forty something screaming “Why didn’t I just get fixed!!!!” staring at a plastic stick with the little plus thingy on it in horror.

  15. 38

    Debbie says

    Wow you ladies are lucky. Back in my day of having kids, after giving birth to the 3rd I had my tubes cut and tided the next day. I was already hurting so more pain didn’t really matter. Back then it was the thing to have them nature. Wish these fools would make up there minds, it would have saved me a lot of pain.

    Also back than guys didn’t think they were men anymore if they have a vasectomy. You would have thought they were cutting there balls off, instead of a snip here and there.
    Thanks for the smiles and laughter.
    Debbie

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