I have 3 sons, aged 5, 3, and wee. When I’m out in public, strangers either ask me if I’m “trying again for a girl” or else they tell me I have my hands full. The truth is that our family is complete now. We’re all set! And so my husband signed up for a vasectomy.
I’ve always had this vague, gross awareness that my father had gotten a vasectomy, because my family makes odd jokes about it, so I knew this was a thing that existed, but I didn’t know the particulars until I was helping my husband get ready for his.
I did not know:
- Urologists book months in advance! We had to call in October for a late-December procedure
- There’s a consultation appointment prior to the procedure
- Vasectomy is not an immediate pass for pregnancy-free intercourse. There’s a period of time after the procedure where the dude is still fertile
- Men must get their semen tested following the procedure, and sometimes it takes multiple tests to get a sperm-free result, which means using a barrier or other method of birth control in the meantime
- More vasectomies are scheduled during March Madness than any other time of year, according to my friend who works as a urologist
- Most practices schedule vasectomies on Fridays so men have the weekend to recover and then return to work on Monday
Apart from all those things I didn’t know, I learned that there’s a difference between urology practices on what sorts of medications patients get for the procedure. My husband was prescribed a Valium prior to the procedure and 24-hours’ worth of narcotic pain reliever for afterward, which meant he couldn’t drive himself to/from the office.
Other practices just prescribe ibuprofen afterward (everyone gets anesthetic during)!
Apparently, the worst part of the whole thing is the shot delivering the pain killer, which the urologist described to my husband as similar to “getting punched in the balls.” My husband said afterward that this was an accurate assessment.
He was asked to shave his scrotum prior to the procedure and told to bring bike shorts or a jock strap to help contain swelling afterward. Then, he nestled into the couch with a bag of ice and proceeded to ask me for nachos or cookies every time I stood up for the next 48 hours. I called in for backup help with the boys, since it was too much for me to take care of everyone all at once.
My husband had instructions not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for a week following his vasectomy, which meant he couldn’t lift any of our children, not even the baby. He could, however, hold the kids on his lap if I handed someone over in frustration.
While we got a prescription for the follow-up testing, he was not given a receptacle to transport his semen to the testing facility. We chose to use a breastmilk storage baggy for this purpose, because who has time to drive to Quest and ask for a container prior to the testing?
So, even though we knew for sure our family was complete with this last baby, we’ve now made it surgically so. To use the words of the inquisitive old people on our street, we’ve closed the factory. For us, this was a great decision and it was the least-invasive option for our family. Our health insurance fully covered the procedure, and we haven’t looked back.
Did your family opt for permanent birth control? Leave us a comment to share your experience.
Image source: jamesrbowe via Flickr