The Sidespin Guide to Getting Your Vasectomy

I have two children. I love them dearly. They are clever, sharp, and funny kids. I can already tell that my daughter, who is 1, has a wicked sense of humor. They're the best.

In fact, they're so wonderful that my wife and I have chosen not to have any more. They're also so terrible that we're choosing not to have anymore. Those feelings are logically inconsistent but normal with your children: you love them dearly even though they drive you batshit crazy. We decided the both us just couldn't go back to the "waking every three hours to feed stage" of parenthood.

Arriving at the why, to me, was the hardest part. Once we got there, the question was, "How?", and that seemed much more straightforward. My wife, like many other women, takes birth control. However, with two kids running around setting fire to the toilet, sometimes she forgets and I don't like surprises. There are certainly other methods of contraception that we could have tried, but my wife has known women who had bad experiences with IUDs, ruling that option out.

The decision came down to tubal ligation or vasectomy. Tubal ligation seemed unnecessarily invasive: it's considered major surgery; the patient undergoes general anesthesia; there's a long recovery time. That means I would be taking care of my wife AND the kids simultaneously. No way.

Vasectomies, on the other hand, are outpatient surgery. Your balls are on the outside (unless you're Echo, who's testes have yet to descend)! Genius! The recovery time is relatively short. Also, the vasectomy is a more effective birth control method than tubal ligations: the failure rate is 1 in 2000 versus 1 in 300 to 400 in tubal ligation. (cite)

Believe it or not, this was easy decision to make. It was time to man up.

Planning

Like any major surgery, the first step was to find a good doctor. You don't want some crackpot operating on your junk.

My wife's OB-GYN's husband was a urologist, we'll call him Dr. C. So that was one recommendation. I also asked my kids ENT doc for a rec. He also suggested Dr. C, not only because they share a similar providing organization, but also because he had gotten his vasectomy from Dr. C. That seemed like the ultimate thumbs up to me.

I also tried to be smart about planning when to do the procedure. I scheduled my ball-icing time for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (For those wondering, I went with naming my bracket 0 Seed.)

I went to see Dr. C. for a preliminary appointment. Because of the permanency of the operation, I expected to get the third degree ("Are you sure you want to do this?"). I did not receive this: I explained that I loved my kids and did not want any more. He nodded, made chart notes, and gave me the day that I wanted.

He also gave me an antibiotic to take. You have to take the antibiotic the day prior to surgery.

I planned to take 3 days off of work, although the recovery time is typically shorter. I wanted to milk this experience: my balls were getting sliced open.

The Day Of

Surprisingly, I was not all that nervous. I took the kids to daycare and filled my prescription for Ativan and Oxycodone. The Ativan was prescribed to chill me out during the procedure, while the Oxycodone was for the pain.

I swung by Dick's (oh, the irony) and picked up a jock strap. You need this for recovery.

Next up was shaving my balls. Now, I'd imagined that some nubile nurse would be delicately caressing my testicles and shaving them with care. Nope. They outsource this. You're going to want to devote a new razor for this and it's going to be a one-time use. Also, you don't have to shave your pubes. I learned this during a careful reading of the instructions after shaving.

My wife was scheduled to drive me to the appointment and wait for me and then drive me home. Oh yes, that's right: you need to make sure someone is available to drive your loopy ass home.

But, my daughter had booted all over daycare. We had to pick her up. My wife dropped me off at Dr. C's and zipped off to pick up our daughter. She would be back to pick me up later.

I signed the consent forms and popped the Ativan.

The Procedure

The nurse took me into the procedure room, took my vitals, and told me to get undressed. Nancy was a burly, yet friendly woman. She poured some sort of dye (which was ice cold) onto my nuts and handled me gentility, but brusquely.

Dr. C came in and we were off. First, they applied a local, which felt like a pin-prick (ha!) and then a kick to the groin. I'm not going to lie: that hurt like hell, but it was the worst of the pain.

Then, he began the procedure. My body began to freak out because, obviously, I am a tremendous pussy. I started to get nauseous. Nancy gave me a wet compress on my head and after a minute or so, I calmed down. The Ativan didn't seem to prevent that, which I don't fully understand.

The rest was a bit of a blur. It took about 25 minutes. I listened, but didn't really pay attention to a This American Life podcast while it was going on. Ira Glass would be so fucking thrilled to know he's the "official" podcast of vasectomies.

Afterwards, Nancy told me I could clean up in the bathroom adjoining the procedure room. I was fairly out of it by now and proceeded to walk out the door to the hallway. Luckily, Nancy grabbed my shoulder before I provided a horrific show to another unsuspecting patient.

I cleaned up, called my wife, and went home. The rest of the day was spent lounging and napping at weird times. The Ativan kept making me fall asleep, mid-conversation. It was like being narcoleptic for a day.

Recovery

One of the drawbacks to telling your wife that you'll be at home doing nothing for three days is that she knows you'll be at home doing nothing for three days. Below is a list of things that occurred on the recovery days:

  • Painting the exterior of the house;
  • A useless cable guy came by to fix the upstairs television;
  • Pest control came to spray for bugs;
  • The garage door was fixed (me too!).

Actually, that was all just the first day. My in-laws were also in town taking care of my ill daughter, so that was fun having them around too. I don't recommend this.

You'll have to wear the jock for the next few days and also ice your balls, a lot. It'll keep the swelling down. A bag of peas is actually perfect for this. Don't put the cup in the jock. I made that mistake for a day or two before calling to clarify.

I resumed physical activity (all forms of it, wink wink) (I'm talking about sex, Gamboa) in about 10 days and so far so good. There's a bit of an ache when either of my kids step on my balls every so often, but this is normal.

I haven't gone for the follow-ups yet where they check semen to see if the little guys are still floating around in there. I've got four more week. Obviously, the nurse will check my sample and be like, "WOW YOU ARE THE MOST VIRILE MAN ON THE PLANET! WILL YOU HAVE SEX WITH ME THEN HAVE ANOTHER ONE OF THESE?!"

Update: I should mention that I never actually took any of the pain pills, because, honestly, the pain never bothered me.

Do you have vasectomy stories? Please share!

The Sidespin Guide to Getting Your Vasectomy