Guest post by Jeffrey Cole
Vasectomy. For men, that can be a scary word.
I reminded my coworkers in late May that Baby Boy #4 was fast approaching, and the number one question I got asked was, “Are you going for a girl?” Truth be told, I would dearly love a daughter, but I’m not exactly a modern day Henry VIII (he of the many wives and daughters and not as many sons).
I cheerily and confidently told them that, no, we were stopping at four; they responded with good natured joking about having enough kids for a sports team, or maybe my family should do a reality show. My mind, however, was made up.
It wasn’t a decision made lightly; my wife and I still had to make sure that we were, in fact, finished making babies. Though at least plausibly reversible, a vasectomy is considered permanent. We looked at the crib that shares our bedroom, then to the wee babe nursing at my wife’s breast. A sweet moment. “Hey, put that down!” a tiny voice yelled, followed by more yelling and a crash from some combination of our other three children…moment over.
Even with the steadfast decision to end my procreation on a high note, the actualization of making the appointment, sitting in the urologist’s office and talking with the doctor was still a little jarring. He explained to me possible side effects, gave me some statistics about failure rates, and asked me repeatedly if I was sure this was what I wanted…all while barely looking up from his laptop. I’m sure he gives this speech a dozen times a week. He was sure, I was sure, and he sent me on my merry way to make another appointment for the procedure. Forty dollars for five minutes.
So now, I sit here typing this, my last day as a fully functional male. On some level, I mourn the loss of my little swimmers, but I’m mainly looking forward to taking charge of my own birth control. Men have condoms available, while the ladies have pills, a patch, implants, a diaphragm, rings, and shots, all of which they are responsible for taking, inserting, managing and/or maintaining. That hardly seems fair.
It will be a month or two until I’m completely sterile, and there’s the rare chance that the procedure could reverse itself (as Jeff Goldblum would say, “Uh…nature, um…finds…a way.”) but for the most part, this is it.
Jeffrey Cole is a husband, father, teacher and actor in the Richmond area. He is devoted to his children, and hopes they take care of him when they are rich.