The decision had been made: the Levisays would not be gracing the world with any additional spawn. Had we met 10 years ago, we would’ve gladly fielded a hoops team of our DNA, and one with decent depth coming off the bench. But because we met later in life, and after doing the math realized the very real possibility that adult diapers may be involved by the time our youngest graduated from high school, we knew we had little choice but to throw in the breeding towel.
There was never a question regarding how the de-spawning would occur. Like just about everything else involved in baby making, the procedures for the respective sexes are far from equivalent: 1) female method (major surgery, under general anesthesia, in an in-patient/hospital setting) or 2) male method (minor, outpatient procedure that takes less than five minutes).
The only real question was when the “end of days” would occur. Tragically, the Wednesday before March Madness was booked out until the year 2075, so we went with our default, the Friday before New Year’s. Now if you’re thinking that it was a mistake to have one of us on the disabled list for New Year’s Eve, then you clearly have no children, and therefore that holiday – much like St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday mornings, and summer break – has not yet been sucked dry of all its glory. If you have children, then you’re fully aware that New Years Eve is now just another night, except if you do venture out, babysitters will cost you double, as will the following day when your hangover-sniffing bloodhounds wake you up at the ass crack of dawn to ensure that the next 12 hours will feel like 12 months.
So it was actually a strategic choice, and one that took into account an extended weekend for recovery purposes (despite the fact that Kelly Johnson’s husband allegedly went snowboarding the following day…I’m just saying). Not only was it a long weekend, it was a weekend chock full of college football. Now while I concede that the bowl season has become about as tolerable as a Two and A Half Men marathon, give me the Beef O’ Girty Colonoscopy Bowl any day over an off season Saturday lineup of televised fishing, bowling, or the most abhorrent of them all: NASCAR <shudder>.
Once on the calendar, there was miraculously only one threat of postponement – purportedly for “insurance purposes.” The best part was when I told my father that things might be cancelled and he replied: “That’s smart. I’ve known a lot of men who ended up regretting the decision. Either they got divorced or their wife died unexpectedly – you never know what could happen.” Yeah, thanks a pantload Captain Pragmatic. And you do realize that the unfortunate “divorcee” and “untimely death victim” in your uplifting little scenarios there is your beloved first-born, right?
I will say that my husband – ever the comforter – reassured me that should something tragic ever happen to me, the last thing in the world he would ever want to do is… impregnate my 23-year-old, Brazilian replacement: “you think while I’m lying on a beach in Rio after a substantial life insurance settlement, I’ll look at Rafaella and think: you know what’s missing from this little slice of paradise…A BABY! Besides, I’d never dream of ruining her promising modeling career. Your dad’s macabre scenario is reason alone to get it done, and while I appreciate his ‘bro’s before ho’s’ mentality, we’re definitely still a go.” (And you realize that I’m the “ho” in that examp…oh never mind).
In preparation for the big day, extensive research was done. Nights were spent scouring Internet discussion threads after searching: “vasectomies gone wrong.” Post after post, revealing an arms race to see who could divulge the most horrific symptom: “coconut-sized,” “aflame,” “blueberry hue,” “fire-hose of ooze,” “stench that would gag a maggot,” and the most terrifying of them all: “permanent performance problems.” Of course this all begged the critical question: why – instead of seeking immediate medical attention – these Mensa members thought it most prudent to consult fellow contributors of a “vasectomies gone wrong” thread? Needless to say, a palpable unease was beginning to set in.
I remember trying to comfort my husband, reminding him that his own Dad, a seasoned urologist, had performed thousands of these over the years without complication. His response: “I’m not afraid of the pain, and disasters aside, the most disconcerting thing about this entire premise is that unauthorized personnel will be messing around with the ol’ wobbly bits, knife in hand.”
This actually made sense. Other than the fleeting “cradle and cough” during a high school athletic physical or the mercurial single digit in the buckeye for the over 40 crowd, there’s not much to a medical exam of a male’s nether-regions. Contrast that with our annual erector set encounter, and you have a wildly discrepant level of trepidation among the sexes regarding medical assessment of the crotchal region.
When V-day finally arrived we made our way through the clinic halls, all named after Colorado outdoor attractions – no doubt an attempt to remind patients of manlier times. We reported to the “Mount Massive Wilderness” wing, where sat Shauna, a portly, pale, low-ponytailed malcontent, who greeted us with quintessential medical receptionist despotism, ordering us to take a seat and wait to be called.
Every 7-10 minutes another victim would arrive, desperately searching for validation of this most important day – the day he would lose his baby-making power. Each one spouting stale jokes to mask the anxiety: “Looks like the only loaded weapon in our house now will be the 12 gauge.” And snarky Shauna would cut them all down, one after one, dismissing them to their seats without acknowledgment. Reduced to just another nervous dude in sweatpants, legs crossed, waiting for his jewels to be summoned.
So we sat and waited. Me hoping that my frontal lobes would activate at some point, and inhibit me from live tweeting the event, and my husband leafing through a copy of US Weekly magazine, disheartened that he no longer recognized any of its subjects (“Who the F is Blake Lively?”). Finally it was “our” turn and he disappeared to the back.
My tweeting attempts thwarted by poor cell signal (sadly not by functioning frontal lobes), I was forced to peruse the US Weekly (it was that or the clinic pamphlet entitled: “Fixed For Retirement?”). I didn’t even make it to “Who Wore It Best?” before my husband was wheeled back out, sporting a rather relieved, Valium-augmented grin. The entire event took less than 15 minutes – the procedure itself, less than 3.
I remember thinking that it must add insult to scrotal injury to have such an epic, life-altering event take less time than a morning bowel movement following a late-night Chalupa binge. When I asked him how he was feeling, my husband, ever the finance guy, responded: “The doc’s record is 14 in one day. That’s almost $12,000. What a fantastic business model.”
As we drove home, we reviewed the post-“op” instructions:
Avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours after your procedure. So the usual weekend itinerary for us avid indoorsmen.
You may return to work (if it is light activities) the day after your vasectomy. Or hit the half pipe…(I’m just saying).
Avoid all physical labor for two days, including any heavy lifting. That means someone’s relieved of all baby duties given Big Handsome’s most recent “99th percentile weigh-in” at the pediatrician’s office. How convenient.
You may apply ice or a cold pack to the scrotum as needed for swelling. (A bag of frozen peas will mold to the area). <Side note: mixed berries – while also good at “molding to the area” – will turn your “scrotal supporting briefs” an alarming crimson hue upon melting>.
Expect some mild swelling of the scrotum and possible fluid leak from the site of the incision. This drainage may continue for up to a week and is normal. You may resume having sex after two days, if comfortable enough. There may be some blood in your semen for the first few ejaculations; this is also normal. Because nothing says “sexy time” like a swollen, leaky scrotum that may produce bloody batter.
If you experience unusual or severe pain that is not relieved by pain medication, excessive bleeding or drainage, excessive swelling or redness, foul odor or a fever over 101° F, please contact the Urology clinic immediately. Or alternatively, just log onto the Internet and discuss it with a group of anonymous hayseeds.
All kidding aside, it really is one of life’s major decisions. And there’s a profound sadness when it hits home that there won’t be any more little ones coming – even when you’re up to your eyeballs in diapers, diaper content, tantrums, and toddler sass. It’s a reminder to appreciate as many moments as you can with your children, since it will be the last time for all the “firsts”- first smile, first giggle, first “mama.”
We made it through the weekend and as a reward to the 4-year-old for having endured two days of lockdown, we headed to the building that parent guilt built: Chuck-E-Cheese. It was there, at this particularly low-rent location, that I was treated to an unforgettable hallmark moment, a perfect culmination of our last 48 hours.
A mouth-breathing Dad wearing a “Who Farted?” t-shirt and making Corey Hart proud with his indoor Maui Jims, surrounded by six banshees all under the age of seven, and a wife who was moments away from giving birth to the seventh. His entire posse was screaming profanities at each other, yet still managing to mock the other young patrons dancing with Mr. Cheese. Meanwhile, “Daddy” was busy berating a young acne-embellished employee because the Skeeball machine shorted him five tickets (valuable currency that could be used to purchase a set of plastic glow-in-the-dark fangs for himself). And there, next to this Dad of the Year and his infinite brood of bullies, stood my husband, still tenderly ambulating as though he had spent the afternoon on the field lining up against Jadeveon Clowney instead of on the couch watching him.
My husband, a man representing the top 1% of the Dad bell curve, who has set the fatherhood bar so exceptionally high that words like “kind,” “patient,” “authentic,” “funny,” “role model,” don’t even come close to honoring his mastery of the role. He is exactly what a father should be, and just because we got in the game a little too late, he would no longer be producing amazing children who could cancel out some of the circus erupting in front of me.
Oh the irony. It was as thick as the layer of congealed cheese on my pizza slice.
This post was originally published on FlipCollective.com