Tuesday, May 1, 2012

V is for Very-Big-Decisions

The deed is done.

It was such a big decision.

We realize for him it was way more giant, infinitely more giant. The fact that we want this to be a forever relationship with James means it was a big decision for us too. It feels surreal. We're having waves of...strange feelings.

We love him (most of us)...and as of today...we will never have children with him.

This weekend we stayed at his cousins house. Friday night, while we slept soundly (tried), she kept him up until 5:30am drinking trying to talk him out of it.

Last night she plied us with alcohol following a dinner we, and James, cooked for her and her family. As family members dropped off to go to bed, bellies full of good food and wine, it was down to her, James, and us.

Eventually the conversation turned to today's event. The big decision. James' vasectomy.

We wrote a bit more about it three weeks ago in To Baby, Or Not To Baby...There Is No Question (http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/to-baby-or-not-to-babythere-is-no.html) we won't rehash the details.

Sitting across from a woman in her 50's, who has had four healthy, happy, seemingly well-adjusted children, now all adults, it's easy to see where she is coming from.

She talks about how great children are, says that we would make great parents (though she has only known us for four days) and what a great thing it is.

We try to give her reasons without disclosing so much. It's funny, reasons are only reasons if people agree...if they don't reasons just look like excuses.

James cites our bad childhood, we cite mental illness that runs in the family. The words of what we live with do not cross our lips.

She had given us so much wine, and we became sensitive about her insistence in trying to change ours and James' mind about the following days (today) operation. Tears form and we lower our head so she can't see them. James comes to our side of the table and rubs our back...lets her know it'd be better if the subject was dropped.

As she is also quite inebriated she agrees, but then begins to talk about it again.

We retire to the bedroom and James stays with her for awhile. Later he comes back to say she asked him if he knew how happy having children can be. He simply responded with "But I'm already happy."

We go to the bedroom, take out our contacts, sit on the edge of the bed and with Twitter in our hands, ball our eyes out and do the only thing we know to do. Tweet about it. Reach out. Vent. With snot running down our face, sobbing, giant tears rolling down our cheeks, drunk.

Eventually he comes to bed, he says we fell asleep crying.

His cousin took her mother to a doctor appointment this morning and we were a bit hungover so chose not to say goodbye. She was apologetic to James about the previous night.

This afternoon, mere weeks after going to the doctor to talk about a vasectomy we find ourselves sitting in chairs outside of the room where one of the biggest decisions some people make comes to a head.

James went to put some cream on his..."junk"...to numb the area they would be making an incision and we exchanged a DM with a friend. With a small tear in our eye, we write how we know it's the responsible thing to do. But we are human. And there is always the "what if".

Over the past days we've made sure to let James know he can back out at any time. That this is an amazing sacrifice he is making for us, and we understand that. We know he is doing it for us, because he loves us. We are sure that had he fallen in love with any other woman, a healthy one, he would have had children if she desired.

We feel guilty. We're not really sure why. It has nothing to do with the future of our relationship. We are secure in that completely.

As we held his hand, whispering words of encouragement (he is needle shy, and especially around that area) as they pulled out each vas deferens through a tiny quarter inch hole in his scrotum, and cauterized them with a small laser, as sweat beaded on his forehead and the threat of tears reached his eyes...we just kept hoping we are making the right decision. (they let us watch, it was pretty neat)

The doctor keeps James talking, you can tell she likes her work. She actually does seminars teaching doctors this new procedure called a "No Scalpel Vasectomy" that they are using on him, she mentions the cost of raising a baby to the age of 18 has recently reached £218,000 in the UK (about $200,000 in the USA). Quick calculations show that as an adult (14 years) we've not come anywhere close to making that much money, so not close it's laughable - we don't have that kind of income capability (though James does, but that's not really the point). More things that wouldn't be fair if we (our system) had children.

We made the right decision, from a mental health perspective, from a financial perspective, from an ethical perspective. This is not us trying to convince ourselves, this is us reiterating the valid reasons for being baby free...for life.

So, now we sit for a couple of days in a hotel while James waits to hear on some contracts for work, crossing our fingers.

He's doing quite well. No ice needed, he's taking some over the counter Ibuprofen and aside from a funny walk...all seems well. Sixteen weeks from now he'll bring in a...specimen...to make sure the sterility is complete...and we can go off of the birth control pill (which we've been on for 16 years*)

At the end of all of this we wonder what drives people to think they can/should try to influence people's decisions about reproduction. This woman, while she has known James his whole life, knows nothing of us, or our relationship with him. And though she has known him his whole life, it doesn't mean she really knows him.

People know what the right decision is for them, based on their life experiences. So frequently people forget that. Trusting people to make decisions on their own is why we are pro-choice. We would never choose abortion as a personal decision...but we also have no right to make that decision for anybody else.

We really can't blame his cousin though, we and James would have the most beautiful children, and smart...but man, they would be totally fucked up.

Just another frank day.

~ et al
lucky day for James, the doctor has a seminar coming up and her digital photos of a vascetomy she had got deleted from her hard drive, so when she asked, James said she could take pictures during the procedure, and now his vasectomy pictures will be used in teaching seminars all over the UK. He also made a much needed £20.
*we're curious to find out if the change in hormones, by going off of our Ortho Cyclen (because the pill is a forced hormone regiment) will have an effect on our mental health. ADVENTURE!

[If you're interested in knowing more about the no scalpel (laser) method: http://www.vasectomy-clinic.co.uk/]

Interesting, things we learned today:
- The procedure has a 1 in 2000 fail rate (meaning if we end up getting pregnant after his clearance test, clearly we were meant to reproduce).
- It can be reversed but the success rate varies (while a vasectomy in the UK is free, covered under their NHS, a reversal is not, and can cost around £5000).

1 comment:

  1. It's a hard decision, but not one that was taken lightly, I'm glad you (and James) made it through it.

    I can't comment for everyone, but hormones, via birth control, (all different doses and kinds) pregnancy, or breast feeding make a HUGE difference on my mental health. I will never use hormonal birth control again, not at that price. I hope you notice an improvement as well!