Sometime in late 2010, when we were eyeballs deep in our “spirited” 2-yr old’s shenanigans, my wife brought up the idea of me getting a vasectomy. I can’t blame the whole idea on little Frankie Jane, but I can’t say her colic and sketchy sleep habits helped keep my vas deferens in one piece either. Since it’s been a while since 8th grade health class, the vas deferens is the pipeline between the testicles and the prostate. Severing these delicate tubes trap the sperm in the ball region, thereby rendering the semen For Dramatic Effect Only. This decreases your odds of egg fertilization by about a million percent.
Note: I am not a doctor.
Once you achieve Load Limit in your procreative career, your spouse will inevitably lay out the options. The options really only include two:
1) A very invasive tubal ligation for the lady, or
2) The “Simple! Out-patient!” snip-snip for the guy.
A lifetime of condoms or diaphragms just seems really odd, so that was never on the table. I’d rather endure only one embarrassing, existential male crisis with just a doctor and maybe my wife present, over weekly trips to Walgreens, waiting in line with the neighborhood mutants while the teenage clerk scans my rubbers. You would think those transactions become less troubling with age.
When I was presented with the options, I made childish jokes. “What if my 2nd or 3rd wife and I want to conceive?” Gayle thought this was not very funny at all. I said I was perfectly happy with our two gorgeous daughters, and agreed to the procedure.
A few weeks later, during a particularly frisky holiday season, Gayle asked for a word with me in our bathroom. She shut the door. (This scenario typically means that I borrowed or broke something of hers and hid the evidence.)
I sheepishly asked “what’s up?”
She had tears in her eyes. “Look”, she said, pointing.
She had warned me before that borrowing her toothbrush could eventually lead to our demise. I was worried.
Except there, on the counter lay that now familiar white plastic instrument with the (now familiar) circle with the purple line in it. By your third pregnancy you actually remember that the purple line means POSITIVE.
These moments are pure and unfiltered. “Wow. Wowww. WOW! This is great!” I hugged my wife, and now mother of 3.
Three? Not just the simple One, or the harrowing but somehow manageable Two, but THREE? The well-documented Carter Seed had more plans for our family.
Twelve months pass. We’re blessed with a healthy pregnancy, news we’re getting a boy (holy Legos and robots, a BOY!), and Gayle’s 3rd natural birth. If the woman has a super power, that’s it. I was there for all three. Our midwife Alice was there for over 3,000 natural births, and Gayle’s 3rd was in her All-Time Top 5. Her inner-Goddess just takes over, and hours later the monkey (me) presents the cub to the pride. The cirrrrcle of LIFE! A peak experience of Human Love, never less profound and world rocking than the ones before. Makes me cry every time.
Captain Leon Carter, you are our third hero in the trilogy.
Now, let’s research getting the old man’s plumbing fixed because there sure as shit can’t be a fourth.
2011 wound down quickly, and my travel & Full House created a berzerker life typhoon. It was already December. Our insurance premiums were met with the birth. I had to schedule a consultation and a vasectomy before Christmas. I started with my doctor, but was too impatient to wait for his return call. I Google’d “Akron Ohio Vasectomy”.
Dr. Kevin Spear. Interesting. So many great visuals there, of a man getting his spear-area worked over with a spear, for instance.
You start by signing a lot of papers saying that you understand it should be considered PERMANENT. Images of my kids and their births filled my mind. I became quiet and reflective. This was really going to be it, so if I’m sure I better really be sure. No more babies with Gayle, no more babies of my likeness, the name is carried only through Leon, etc. The family trees will read that Kristoffer bequeathed a finite number of three children in total. Lord knows that our three were more than enough on every level, but the permanency of everything weighed heavy.
I was escorted to the end of the hall, and told to wait for the doctor. There was a quick What to Expect / Vasectomy Overview video I would need to endure. Sigh.
The VHS started out with these mid-forties to early-fifties gentlemen playing tennis with their wives. It must’ve been produced in the nineties. It cut to the same couples cuddling on the sofa, eating popcorn. The narrator hammered home the permanency. The vasectomy procedure is one of the safest, most proven birth control methods with the lowest risk of any potential side effects. I was silent. I didn’t want to end up like these tacky douchebags, playing tennis without any sperm count.
And then. In what can only be attributed to either very strategic, or very horrible editing, the Pre-Op Procedure begins. The screen hard cuts to a full-frame shot of a scrotum getting shaved. “Oh no. Oh. No no NO. Oh, hayellll NAW!” I was speechless. I was violated. I was then overtaken by convulsive waves of instinctual, teenage boy laughter. It was just all so wrong. I laughed, I squealed, I kicked carts and shit with my legs thrashing over the edge of the bed. BWAHH HAHH AHAH HAAHAHAH. In that instant, manballs became funny again. At one point a nurse checked in on me, no doubt hearing my wily laugh tornado. I was embarrassed, but still laughing too hard to care.
The laugh riot eased any hesitancy, and I was now oddly looking forward to meeting Mr. Spear. He was a boyish looking, yet old pro who had completed more than 3,500 vasectomies. He prescribed a sedative that I would take 20 minutes before my arrival on the day of the surgery. My wife would need to drive. A local anesthetic would be administered. They would get me out of there in 20 minutes, and I’d wear an ice-packed jock and pop Vicodin all weekend.
Following 12 weeks of either constant travel or kid wrangling, it all seemed to have the makings of a pretty nice little weekend. I’d catch up on my Mario Kart, perhaps read the Kindle, watch the Breakin’ films, and of course ice down the boys.
In short, for one weekend only: I would be too immobilized to parent!
His front desk told me the only available date was Friday, December 16th. This was the day after my company’s holiday party in Chicago.
<READ THE CONTINUATION in “How I Survived my Vasectomy” PART 2>