In a couple of weeks, I'll turn 42 years old. I have a beautiful wife and three awesome kids. Add the fact that Meredith and I are currently in the process of adopting one (possibly two?) children from Ethiopia, and I will soon be the father of four.... possibly five. Yes, I said FIVE!! How can we afford it? Well, for starters we'll just have to draw straws to see who gets to go to college. Blue straw, you go to a state-supported university and pursue a career. Red straw, you learn to wait tables and say things like, "Thank you, please come again."
But seriously, given that our soon to expand family seems to be nearing completion (although with the Howards you never know), I finally had to acknowledge that the time had come for Kindred to take a huge step. Knowing that we would still want to have sex but not wanting to cast our own production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Meredith and I decided that yours truly should get the Big V--a vasectomy! And so, last Friday morning, I dropped my daughter off at school and set off to the doctor's office to break ties with my little swimmers.
Why a vasectomy? Well, there's a few reasons. First and foremost, a vasectomy is a lot safer and offers a much easier recovery time for a man than other procedures offer for a woman. Plus, my wife has already experienced three miscarriages, carried three children to term, and undergone three C-sections; so any suggestion by me that she be the one to undergo surgery could very well have led to a physical assault and the implanting of a large object up one of my bodily cavities. Thus, I decided to do the considerate (and safer) thing; I agreed to the vasectomy.
Just in case you're wondering, vasectomies aren't fun. In fact, I'd put them right up there with that exhilarating prostate exam your doctor performs every time you go in for a check-up. You know, the one where your physician puts on a latex glove, douses his finger in petroleum jelly, then tells you to bend over and "try not to move." He then proceeds to ask you how your weekend was while going the wrong way up what God definitely intended to be a one way street. All the while you're trying not to sing like Julie Andrews and praying it will soon be over.
Anyway, my appointment started out easy enough. I filled out the normal paperwork, answered the normal questions, flashed my insurance card... all the usual stuff. Then, the doctor came in. He asked me a couple of questions to make sure I understood the permanency of what I was about to do. He then told me to disrobe from the waist down and promised he'd be back soon.
There I was, lying on the table, my little buddies left hanging. I felt like a sentence with dangling participles. Then, without a word, a nurse walked in carrying a tray of surgical instruments. She set down the tray, marched straight to the table, grabbed my special places, and began spraying them with something cold. "Whoa!" I thought,"How about a little conversation first, Honey. At least tell me if you like moonlit nights and walks on the beach." Then, once our 'first date' was over, the nurse told me to wait on the doctor who would be in shortly. (Like I was going anywhere.)
I then proceeded to lie on the table for over thirty minutes waiting on the doctor to arrive. At one point, a tiny Hispanic woman I'd never seen before walked in the room, looked right at my testicles and said, "I here to get cotton balls." She then rambled something off in Spanish while searching the cabinets above me. Looking for her supplies, she seemed totally undaunted by the fact that my little Taco Bells were jingling just a few feet away. Trying to play it cool, I just hummed something while wondering to myself where a guy goes to apply to get his dignity back.
Finally, the doctor arrived. Of course, thanks to modern medicine, I didn't feel any of the cutting. The tugging and squeezing, however, were another story. At one point, I thought the doctor was under the impression that he was rolling dice in Vegas. I kept expecting to hear him yell, "C'mon seven!" at any moment. A couple of times, my toes curled up so tight that they could have broken a drum stick in half.
Still, overall, the procedure went well and only took about ten minutes. No unusual side effects. On the up side, getting the Big V at least afforded me a built in excuse to lie on the couch all day Saturday watching college football. Sure I had to do it with a bag of ice on my balls, but hey, no scenario is perfect.
And so I've crossed over. Meredith and I have closed the door on having biological children. Any future kiddos will arrive via adoption. Yes, it was a big decision and one we didn't make lightly, but it was the right one for us. We've been blessed with beautiful children. But there's a whole world of kids out there who've already been born but are in desperate need of a loving family to claim them, love them, and call them their own. As we prepare for a soon-to-be-taken trip to Ethiopia, we realize that this isn't the end of our new parenting adventures. Nope, it's just a change in course.