I had a vasectomy. It happened but two days ago. One of the reasons I co-founded this project was to get real with Dads out there. Upon launching, I pictured a day when we connected with Dads who may or may not be privy to certain experiences, may or may not feel certain uncertainties, and very likely experience anxiety about all the unknowns that fatherhood brings.
Welp, today is one of those days.
I’ll start with the obvious: proceed at your own discretion. There are a lot of people I know that frequent the First Time Father Project and its Facebook community, on Twitter, and of course, the Gram. To all of you, please proceed with caution. I take no responsibility over the awkwardness you feel when around me in the near and long-term futures. I say that to say shit’s about to get real…
Below, you’ll see a cliff’s notes version of the vasectomy experience, a deeper list of five things to know about the vasectomy experience, and my general commentary on the whole thing.
So, as my doctor said less than 48 hours ago: lean back, relax, and I’ll talk you through the whole thing (Whether you leave your pants and underpants on or off is totally up to you).
If you’re short on time, don’t care too much to read the rest, or otherwise would rather not feel super awkward around me the next time we meet, I offer you the clean, PG-rated, “too long; didn’t read” version.
All in all, the vasectomy procedure was no big deal. I was relatively nervous going in, but did my best Tom-Brady-in-the-4th-quarter-with-no-timeouts-and-less-than-two-minutes-to-play impression and simply did my job.
The pain was short-lived and mostly relegated to the needle providing the numbing medication. The discomfort was little-to-none. I’ve followed closely the doc’s recovery recommendations with the hopes of getting back to normal day-to-day in a day or two.
If you’re a Dad out there with a vasectomy on the horizon, it’s not a big deal and you’ll be good to go in a few days. Real talk.
5 Things to Know
As previously mentioned, I wanted to provide a bit of a buffer between the PG and R-rated versions of this vasectomy post. This is essentially filler copy as to give the faint-at-hearts one more chance to click the little “x” at the top of the page.
I should also make clear that this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive representation of what to expect. There are many fine details I’m leaving out and you can read one of the many clinical overviews of the vasectomy procedure for more information. This is just my general reaction to help lend some real life experience from a normal Dad to other normal Dads who are anxious about their upcoming procedure or have been avoiding it because they haven’t yet found a resource like this.
Anyways, I hope you like it. Sorry about the swears.
Without further adieu…
It’s ok to be anxious
I wouldn’t say I was scared, but I was anxious. In all honesty, who wouldn’t be? On the 0–10 scale of manliness, I’m probably a 2.5 (only because I have a beard), so I’m sure the tougher guys out there would look at a procedure like this and chuckle before downing a shot of Wild Turkey and making the incision themselves — but I’m ok with the level of anxiety I had prior to the event.
After all, a dude was literally about to cut my scrotum and alter my insides. Forgive me for being “weak,” but that isn’t necessarily my idea of a good time.
There’s also the minor detail of the procedure taking away your ability to procreate. I was, along with my wife, 100 percent on board with this as I’m sure you are and so many other men and women have been. Still, that doesn’t mean it prevents your mind from wandering, wondering, and adding to those growing levels of anxiety.
In all honesty, I’d say that my anxiety was 90 percent physical and 10 percent emotional. This was an OK split in my mind as, despite that 10 percent, I was 100 percent confident in the reason for undergoing this procedure.
All that said, if you’re scheduled for your vasectomy and feel uneasy about it, you’re not alone and I’d argue that you’re perfectly normal. The whole thing sucks, but it doesn’t suck that bad. The whole thing is a hassle, but it’s not the worst thing in the world.
If you’re experiencing anxiety, I’d recommend being true to yourself and trying to find the source of your anxiety. If it’s uneasiness about the physical nature of the procedure, fear not. You’ll be fine.
If the bulk of your anxiety is tied to the fact that the procedure will take you and your genes off the procreation market, you should re-evaluate your decision.
It was the weirdest 15 minutes of my life
This was my biggest takeaway immediately following the procedure and it still holds true. If I had to classify my vasectomy, I would do so as “fucking weird, dude.”
The pain was short-lived but the weirdness was everlasting.
It started with the 30 minutes of “ice” they threw at me before the procedure. No, I’m not talking about the ice or frozen peas you’ve likely heard so much about (we’ll get to that soon). Rather, I’m referring to the 30 minutes of alone time they gave me in the room before the doctor showed up. Chances are, he was just backed up with patients (Fridays are busy days for docs that perform vasectomies). But, it all felt like they were trying to “ice” me in the way an NFL coach calls a timeout right before a kicker is about to attempt a game-winning field goal. If I was unsure about undergoing the procedure, those 30 minutes most certainly would have been enough to get the hell out of there.
As soon as the doc got in the room, though, shit got weird fast.
He wasted absolutely no time in having me drop my drawers and hop up on the table. I took a bit of comfort in him saying that he’d talk me through the whole thing, but quickly learned that I didn’t want to hear this fucking guy’s voice. I wanted this thing done and I wanted it done yesterday.
When he said, “OK, I’ll start by washing the scrotum,” I almost lost it. There I was — a 6-foot-3, 205-pound, educated family man proud of my accomplishments in life but humble enough to know I still have work to do to achieve my personal goals — laying on a table as a doctor washed and sanitized my nut sack.
It. Was. Uncomfortable.
From there, he proceeded to “look for the tube,” for what seemed like a god damn eternity. I had my eyes closed, picturing my happy place, so for all I know, he could’ve been playing Candy Crush with one hand while he felt around with the other one for whatever it was he was looking for. All I know is that was some weird shit.
Then, once the pain medication was provided via needle (this hurt like hell, more on this below), it was like we were two dudes just kicking it:
Doc: “So, how about this weather?”
Me: “Yeah. Cold as … [I almost said balls]… hell.”
Me, thinking that talking could make it go by faster: “So, have you had this procedure?” [Why would I ask that?]
Doc: “No, I actually separated from my wife recently, so I need to leave the option of more children.”
Me, internally: “Well, that was awkward.”
There was a whole bunch of other small talk, but you get the idea. Of course, none of that without context is weird. But, put into the context of the fact that he was performing a vasectomy while having the conversation, it was weird enough for me to remember.
Then, when it’s all said and done, you’re just sitting there with your frank and beans hanging out all awkward, holding a gauze pad to your recently-severed scrotum getting some follow-up tips and instructions from the dude who wonders about weather and recently separated from his wife. FML.
Feels like you got kicked in the nuts
Friends keep asking me how I’m feeling. It feels like a low-rent version of getting kicked in the nuts.You know that feeling…it’s indescribable, so I won’t even try. It appears, though, that all that “feeling around for the tubes,” and general soreness and swelling is quite similar to a kick in the junk.
So, there’s that.
A needle in your scrotum hurts like a motherfucker
Here’s the one you’ve probably been waiting for. The one about pain.
I can honestly say the only portion of the entire process that hurt was when the doc finally found the tube he was looking for and shot it with numbing medication. He told me it was going to hurt, and damn it did. It hurt in the normal sense — a sharp pain — and is probably worse in my mind than it was in reality.
For any procedure I go through that requires numbing medication, I always seem to require more than the “normal” dose. This makes the entire thing last slightly longer than it needs to. With any luck, you won’t experience that problem.
I also HATE needles. That fact, and the fact that the pain caused from one was in this “special” region turned my anxiety level to an eleven. All was good though soon enough. I stopped feeling anything and he reported in a minute or so that, “we were well under way.”
At this point, I felt no pain whatsoever. I was home free and feeling good.
Then, it was time for the other side.
WTF? He has to do it again?
Yup. I wasn’t home free. I was feeling good.
The anxiety came again. He searched for the other tube. It all happened again — but it was quicker this time. The needle still hurt like a bitch, but all seemed to be easier the second time around.
Once the other side was numb, it was only another two or three minutes before he helped me sit up, told me to hold the gauze on my sack, and was telling me to have a good weekend. I received one stitch, and despite many horror stories both online and in-person, there was no cauterization or puff of smoke.
Rest up or pay the price
I heard horror stories of others not taking it easy following their procedures and paying the price. The trick is not listening to your body, because following the procedure you’ll feel fine.There’s numbing medication still in you and there’s likely at least a small percentage of you seeking to prove how tough of a guy you are.
Don’t be an idiot. Sit on the couch, ice your sack (frozen peas and ziploc bags of literal snow are the best), watch movies, catch up on work, or just be — for a few days.
What Happens Next?
If you’re considering a vasectomy, you’ve surely done your homework and know that the job isn’t necessarily complete the day of. In three months, I have to, ahem, produce a specimen and return it to them in a cup they so nicely provided. That, ahem, specimen will be compared against another, ahem, specimen that I provide for them a month after that.
Needless to say, the awkwardness isn’t yet over and you may not have read the last on this topic from me.
If you’re on the fence because of fear of the unknown, definitely do it. Get it done. It’s not bad at all and you’ll be done in no time. I’ve been fortunate to have very little complications (thus far) and can say with confidence your worries are overkill.
Pain is not a concern — honestly. I know that’s hard to grasp because of the nature of the procedure, but there really isn’t much pain involved in the way they do it nowadays. The only concern is whether or not you’re truly ready to take your brand of sperm off the exchange. If that is something you are prepared for, then go get snipped, men!