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



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.

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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.”

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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.


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  1. 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

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    • 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…

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    • 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!!

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      • 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.

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        • 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.

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    • 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…

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    • Kristin says

      I got pain meds after my first and I didn’t need them I felt fine, but after I had my twins, of which the doctor gave me pitocen and wouldn’t let me have an epidural or any pain medication for fear it would stop my labor (omfg that hurt), my insides felt like they were going to fall out and they wouldn’t even write a prescription for Ibuprofen they said over the counter only

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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!

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    • T.O. says

      I was wondering if you can tell me what doctor did the vasectomy reversal? You are very lucky it worked, not once, but twice. My husband had a reversal done three times and they all failed….I would be so grateful to know who did your husbands?? I’ve wanted and waited for so long to have a baby and now turning 40 and timeis running out.

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  6. 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. :)

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  7. 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!

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