It seems to me like my life has been a pretty cool meandering journey that has been punctuated by a series of defining events. School, exams, university, more exams, job, girlfriend, proposal, engagement, marriage, and finally, and most amazingly, children.
In my mind, in terms of my life events, this was probably going to be it until my next career move, or indeed retirement. How wrong I was. There is one other life event that I had missed from the list, of which, more later.
As a man, you spend your entire adult life trying not to get girls pregnant. The warnings start early at school and are dire. For example::
“Unless you use protection, if you even so much as smile at a girl from five metres, you’re almost certainly bringing up triplets in nine months, your life will be ruined, and your dream of leading Arsenal out in the FA cup final will be over. Forever.”
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, and never mind my inability to kick a ball in a straight line, but I bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker which I guess is the point. Whilst the consequences for a young man of course are nothing of that to a woman, they could still be pretty bad if you’re not ready for children.
The word that is used in these warnings is always ‘protection’. I’ve always had a problem with that. I instantly think of armour, crash helmets, ropes and knee pads, which in my younger and more athletic days might well have been useful bedroom accessories, but of course it means contraception and protection from STIs, which are very important considerations, especially when sex was outside of a relationship.
So eventually it came to the point where we wanted a family and decided that we would try for a baby. All bets were off. No ‘protection’ sex, which in our case meant that my wife came off the pill, started eating weird food, and popping folic acid like a toddler with Smarties. Another benefit for us too, I thought, as well as the baby will be loads more sex. Awesome. How wrong can you be?
We definitely had more sex, but after a number of months of trying, but failing to get pregnant, this became a very mechanical process driven by necessity. The pressure to perform was huge. This was rubbish… I had spent my whole life being incredibly careful not to get girls pregnant, but when I wanted to it was actually more difficult than trying to do the rubik’s cube blindfolded. The warnings from school sex education lessons were wrong! Mrs Jones from science class had a lot to answer for!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, after much heartache we were eventually incredibly fortunate to be blessed with two amazing children, which brings me to the point of the article. That’s it for us. Two children is enough, and makes our family complete. So, what next?
For us there were a few options to consider:
- Pill – possibly, but are there long term health implications for my wife?
- Hormone implants – again possible, but why should it be the woman that has to take responsibility for contraception?
- Vasectomy – Nope, most definitely not. Forget it.
- Condoms – Never really got on with them, and with two small children, the amount of time spent fumbling around in the dark opening the packet, working out which is the inside and which is the outside, and then putting it on could be the only window of opportunity we have before we find a small visitor in our bedroom.
- Vaesectomy – Still a ‘no’.
- Sterilisation – Health risks, and frankly having witnessed childbirth from the business end, I think that asking my wife to undergo this procedure would be really unfair.
- Vaesectomy – Absolutely no way, no how, never. Forget it. Forget it. Forget it.
Actually, it turns out that the only option for us is a vasectomy. So back to the beginning of my article… this is the life event that wasn’t on my radar at all. I mean, it’s just something that old blokes have, and don’t really talk about. Right? As it turns out, I am now that old bloke. I never saw that coming if you’ll pardon the pun. Every time I write or say vasectomy by the way, I notice that I am involuntarily crossing my legs. I’m nervous.
I went to see the doctor earlier this week to discuss it. He actually sniggered, and virtually laughed his way through my whole consultation. Way to go. There is definitely something amusing and horrifying in equal measures when you talk about the big V. My friends who haven’t had it done just shake their heads and wince, and then tell me stories about other friends that have had it done. These stories always include references to shaving and cauterisation. This does not make me feel any better.
My friends that have had it done all laugh like the doctor did. What have I let myself in for? Will it be painful? Will I feel like less of a man? Will I come out looking as sad as our dog that we had fixed? Can you actually smell the cauterisation? Actually, it is also a bit of a weird to think that I’ll lose my ability to get a woman pregnant again. Strange.
I’m expecting an appointment letter any day now. If I’m feeling up to it (!), I’ll write again and let you know how I get on. I mean they won’t be doing anything to my fingers will they?
Oh, and the doctor said of all the operations carried out by the NHS, it’s the one that the most number of people don’t turn up on the day for, so if I chicken out, I’ll be in excellent company!
Can you relate to this? Have you had a vasectomy and if so, how was it? Did it hurt? Are you considering a vasectomy at the moment? Please share your thoughts below.
Written by Daniel Jones