By Gregory Keer
Sitting in bed with a bag of frozen peas in my lap, I was in heaven. Never mind that I was enduring a steadily pulsing pain in the middle of my body. My wife was catering to me. She served me food, allowed me to nap for much of the day, relinquished ownership of the remote control, and gave me long looks of adoration. For the first time in eight years — since my wife got pregnant with child #1 — I was the center of attention.
The secret? Four little syllables. Va-sec-to-my.
In my proud state of convalescence, I had grand visions. Mostly, they involved variations on the following dialogue:
Wendy: “We can’t have sex tonight. I might get pregnant.”
Gregg: “Of course we can. I got a vasectomy!” (Insert image of me in superhero spandex, bearing a giant VM on my chest for Vasectomy Man!)
Certainly, my vasectomy would not preclude the other excuses of “I’m tired” and “honey, the kids are playing Candy Land™ in the next room.” But this new state of male harmlessness would put me in the driver’s seat on all other occasions.
I must admit that more readily accessible physical activity was a motivator for getting snipped, though it wasn’t the only factor. My wife and I had reached the point of child saturation. Three boys were enough to keep us happy and busy. Also, after years of primarily relying on Wendy for the contraception, it was my turn to take the responsibility.
So, four months after Ari was born, I made a pre-op appointment for my little procedure (please don’t take the word “little” the wrong way). In Dr. Leff’s office, I felt a bit funny. It wasn’t just because the urologist was a family friend whom I knew since I was 12. It was the thought that, upon getting vasectomized, I would no longer be able to create children. I knew I would still be a man, but this was an alteration of my identity.
Then, as Dr. Leff explained the procedure, I realized this was one of the most grown up things I could do. It’s one thing to decide to have children. It’s another to close the chapter on creating kids and concentrate on raising them.
A week later, I found myself in the surgical chair, ready for this new chapter. Dr. Leff politely asked if I wanted to watch the procedure. I passed on the observation part (I was confident but not THAT confident) and opted for a verbal play-by-play.
“Last chance,” the good doctor said, as he prepared to snip.
“Let’s do this,” I chuckled in my vulnerable state.
With that, he cut, cauterized, and tied off the vas deferens in less than 20 minutes. The only evidence was two small red marks.
At the end, a scene from Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask popped into my head, the one in which the sperm prepare for lift-off. In my sequel to this vignette, “workers” assemble for a big speech from the boss, who says, “We’ve closed the factory.”
Yep, my “boys” had officially retired. Barring a $10,000 surgery that could restore my baby-making ability, I was a new man. As Wendy drove me home, I announced, “Let’s go for lunch to celebrate.”
“Will the Novocain last?” she said.
“I’m fine,” I said with bravado. “I feel — oh, that’s a little sore. I need to lie down.”
At home, I applied the bag of frozen peas to reduce the swelling, but the pain never rose to the level of serious pain. Maybe it had something to do with all the wonderful service my wife provided during the day and the loving hugs of my sons who came home later (I decided to leave out the details of Daddy’s doctor visit and opted for a “Daddy strained his leg” explanation), but by the next a.m., I felt tender but not uncomfortable.
I managed to coach my oldest son’s basketball game that morning and, aside from some ill-advised jumping up and down to protest a bad referee call, you would never know I was nursing my lower anatomy.
About six weeks later I was pronounced sperm free. Today, I feel no difference in my body. Mentally, I’m rather proud. I’m even part of a club of friends I never knew had had vasectomies. Like so many other intimate details, most fellas don’t discuss getting clipped. Perhaps it’s because, physically, it isn’t as big a deal as it may have been for generations past.
As I prepare for this month’s Father’s Day, I’m happy to report that, while I’m no longer in the baby business, I’m ever more focused on just being Dad – and hearing a few extra “yes’s” from my wife.