My wife, Taela, is amazing. She is great at everything she does because she has the rare ability to focus on things she has passion for. She's an amazing musician, an exemplary nurse and a wonderful wife and mother.
She also has the ability to make big, life-altering decisions at just the right time. Without her instinct and drive we wouldn't have reaped the benefits of buying our first house when we did nor would we have locked in a historically low interest rate when we most recently refinanced our current home. But most of all Taela has known when it's time for us to make-a somebabies!
I was always one of those people that thought there was going to be some moment in time when everything would be perfectly ripe for adding to our family. I was going to be successful and have a great job making tons of money. We were going to be living in our dream home...that kind of thing. But Taela knows more about life than I do. And people kept telling me what everyone else in the world already knew...namely that there is no perfect time to have kids. Kids are additional human lives brought into your family for which you have ultimate, constant and enormous responsibility.
So first we had Caleb. Anyone who knows us knows how amazing he is. Then we had Tenley. Equally amazing! Then there was this period of a few years in which I was (I thought) completely satisfied by the general size of my fatherhood. But people would ask me all the time if we were going to have a third and the answer I gave would always sound like this: “I think we are set, but my wife has this biological need to have a third. Her work has her delivering babies all the time so I don't think that need is going to go away.” She would say either we had to have a third or I needed to “get fixed” because being in between was too much for her.
And so along came Micah. That kid is fantastic. She was TOTALLY right. He's the funniest little booger and our house wouldn't be complete without him.
And then it was time to “get fixed”. Here's the thing...I didn't even know I was broken! The only thing I knew about getting a vasectomy was how pitiful my cat was in the aftermath of having him neutered. And that was pathetic. He rolled off my bed and dragged himself after me any time I left the room. But he didn't have the strength to do anything but squeak. I certainly didn't want that to be my fate.
Well, fortunately for me it turned out that getting a vasectomy and being castrated are two (slightly) different things. The doctor explained that he would be going into something he called my “scrotum” (a word with which I was unfamiliar) and he would be cutting and tying off my “vas” (which, he corrected me, is not the same as a “vag”). After thevas is severed my sperm would no longer be able to do something called “fertilize eggs” which apparently has literally absolutely nothing to do with Scotts Turfbuilder or store-bought chicken products sold by the dozen.
My instructions for the procedure were as follows:
- Shave everything you can reach “down there”
- Wear tighty whities
So apparently I'm supposed to be en vogue and out of fashion all at the same time!
My wife drove me and the kids to the doctor's office. The family waited in the...drumroll...waiting room while the procedure was performed. In my head it was going to go like this: a pretty nurse was going to “prepare the area” and compliment what she saw. The doctor was going to numb me up, then badda bing! badda boom!..five minutes later I'm sitting in the car with a bag of frozen peas in my lap. Instead it went like this:
I was told to get naked and lay on a table. An unattractive nurse very clinically sterilized my bag of goods and failed even one time to mention anything about how nice they looked even as she was poking my nads through a hole in a sterile cloth. The doctor then entered and we immediately began talking about golf. He was very good looking and he was a better golfer than me AND his junk wasn't laying out in the open for both of us to look at so I felt at a distinct disadvantage. Talk about not being in a position of power. For just a moment I considered the idea of trying to get aroused just to get the upper hand, but quickly decided he would probably take that as a compliment which would only further humiliate me.
Time for the left side. Needle poke: numb. “Can you feel this?” No. “How about this?” Nope. “Okay...here we go.” Home freeeeeeeeeeOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!
Me: “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts” It was odd because I was looking right at this guy and I swear that, visually speaking, he wasn't turning the screws on a vise with my left testicle about ready to pop inside it. But that's exactly how it felt! “Hold on...I'll numb it more.” It took precisely 11 hours and 47 minutes for him to administer the additional anesthetic...or so it seemed to me. It was probably more like 30 seconds but it was an eternity that I have never forgotten.
After that he continued about his work and the pain was, mercifully, gone. But as he worked I felt strange. I felt the same as I did the time I gave blood. I know what you're thinking...you're thinking “like a wuss?” Yes...kind of. But also like I was going to pass out. That was a huge shot of adrenaline for a naked guy who just had his tube tied. He said he'd keep an eye on me and I wouldn't be the first guy to pass out on him during this procedure (are you sure you're doing it right???). Tug tug, pull pull, sizzle sizzle, sew sew...
After it was complete he gave me a few minutes to compose myself. Then he had me stand up and slowly put my underwear on (not provocative-like, but careful so as not to blow a gasket). I had brought boxer-briefs (because I didn't want the hot nurse to say something like “1982 called and they want their panties back”). The doctor looked at me like I'm an idiot (I feel like I type that a lot) and says these underwear won't provide as much “support” as the tighty whities. As he said “support” he cupped his hand under my balls and lifted them up...apparently because I was such an idiot as to not know what “support” means. Then he went and grabbed a huge wad of gauze...I'm talking 30, 40 pads of it (which has to be about $1,500 worth when itemized on an ER bill) and shoved it all under my dangles. I must have looked exactly like one of those ballet dancers (come on...you know they stuff).
The doctor then gave me a sealable container and told me to “fill” it in a few weeks after I had sufficiently “flushed out my system”. I was to bring back my pearly treasure for them to examine.
Then he walked me out to the waiting room and presented me, like announcing the happy couple at a wedding, to my family. And there I stood...bruised but not broken. Sad but not dead. Manly but not really.
They asked me how I was. “A bit woozy but fine.” They were proud of me and sympathetic. We got into the elevator and went down to the first floor. I took about 10 steps down the hallway toward the exit and said to Taela “I can't make it to the car. I need to sit down or I'm going to pass out.” We found a chair in the hall and I sat in it. I breathed in deeply. You know the old ladies that volunteer at the hospital and just sit up front and welcome you but they don't really know enough to answer your questions? That lady was sitting at a desk right next to us. She was probably 90. Taela asked what she could do. I said I wanted to get down on the floor because if I fainted I was going to fall there anyway. So I slowly got down and laid on my back on the floor of the hospital. The old lady at the desk began laughing. “Huh huh ha ha ha ha ha!...you don't look very good! Ha ha ha ha!” Well at least I don't look 90.
I almost passed out, recovered. After 5 minutes or so I stood up and we walked out the door only to stop 20 feet short of the waiting car (where the kids were already buckled in). I had to sit down against a concrete pillar. Another 5 minutes and Taela was helping me into the passenger seat to return me home...a mere shadow of the man who had left so boldly on this adventure not 90 minutes before.
And then, for the rest of the weekend, peas on my crotch and sports on TV.