Monday, January 23, 2012

The Vasectomy: The end of an era and the birth of large baby

A vasectomy is something my husband swore he would never do.

For years, we couldn’t even say the word in our house because he would become so visibly uncomfortable. It was strange to see him so scared because, in general, he is a pretty tough guy. Sure, his favorite movies are Patch Adams and Mr. Holland Opus, but other than that, he really makes me feel safe. If there was an earthquake and an intersection fell on me, he would lift it off. If an intruder came into our home, he would kill them with his bare hands. If a tsunami washed our family out to sea, he would become a whale and let us ride all the way to shore on his back.

But this vasectomy thing had him all worked up.

Believe me, I understand that having someone cut your privates is not fun. The 42 stitches I had after my son was born don’t exactly provide me with warm memories. But the truth is, we were done having kids, and I had done my part. Someone needed to make sure it couldn’t happen anymore and that someone needed to be my husband. In a last ditch effort, I told a little white lie. “Honey, if you get this done, we will have SO much more sex because I won’t worry about getting pregnant anymore.” Maybe that statement, or the fact that our deductible was going up finally pushed him over the edge. Nobody will ever really know what happened...but once he agreed, I moved quickly.

The truth is we both knew it was time. A few months ago it became very clear to us that we were in the honeymoon phase of parenting. Both our kids can use a toilet, pour a bowl of cereal and sleep in a regular bed. They speak English, they go to school and they think we are great. Right now they are old enough to know we like to sleep in on the weekends, but young enough not to know anything about sex or drugs. These are the glory days for the Chittick family.

So, we said a prayer for his Vas Deferens, said goodbye to our days as a fertile couple, and made the appointment.

On Friday morning, I met my husband at home about 2 hours before the procedure. I arrived home to find my husband outside sitting on a stool. He was scared, sweating, and shaving his privates.

Me: Are you okay?

Husband: Not at all.

Me: Can I help?

Husband: There is nothing anyone can do.

Me: What are you most worried about?

Husband: My balls.

Me: It will go quickly.

Husband: I don’t want to do this.

Me: I know.

Husband: I am really scared.

Me: I know. Now that’s enough.

I was struggling to have compassion. He was going in for a thirty-minute outpatient procedure but was acting as if they were removing a limb. It took everything in my power not to remind him that during both my childbirth experiences I was certain that I was going to die. With each child, I was poked, prodded and pulled so much that I still struggle to talk about it. Each child was vacuumed out and on both miraculous occasions, I tore all the way through. I had so many people with their hands in my business that at one point, when the Janitor came in to clean my room, I fully expected him to lay down his mop, put on a glove, and check to see if I was dilated.

I wanted to care that he was scared and nervous, but for some reason, it just wasn’t happening.

His anxiety about this was very high ( the charts). During his consultation, the urologist insisted that he take a Valium prior to the procedure. The problem is, my husband doesn’t take drugs. They make him nervous. He doesn’t smoke pot, he has never done mushrooms, and often claims that Sudafed and Mucinex make him hallucinate (shoot me). When we got in the car, he carefully swallowed the pill and looked at me with a serious expression, “How long until I feel it? Oh God, my heart is racing.” I tried to get him to relax, to talk about normal things, but nothing was working.

Eventually the drug started to take effect, but the result was less than ideal. He seemed very far away and still extremely anxious. At one point, as we pulled into the parking garage, he began whispering to himself like a crazy homeless person, “You can do this! Don’t be afraid! You are strong! You got this one!” It was uncomfortable to witness, but I did my best to be supportive.

During his surgery, I sat in the waiting room. I wish I could say I hurt because he was hurting, or that his pain was my pain, but that would be a lie. While he was under the knife, I found myself reveling in the silence and peace of the empty waiting room. It has been so long since I had been alone in a room, with nothing to do and no one around me. It felt like a mini vacation! I read a bunch of magazines from 2010, caught up on some emails, and ate a Snickers candy bar. To be honest, I had a lovely time.

Barely thirty minutes later, the doctor came out, said that all went well, and my husband should be out soon. As I looked up, there was my sweet husband, slowly walking towards me. He looked horrible. He was white, shaky, and appeared to have aged ten years. This is the conversation we had next:

While reading the dialogue below: Please picture a big, blonde man with a low deep voice that speaks very slowly while sweating profusely from his forehead

Me: How did it go?

Husband: It was horrible. The worst thing I have ever gone through.

Me: Oh honey, it only lasted ten minutes and now you are done.

Husband: I wanted to die, I felt so violated. I prayed for it to be over the whole time.

Me: Don’t you think that is a little dramatic?

Husband: Not at all, you have no idea. There was smoke coming from my balls.

Me: Honey, I had two kids. They were 8lbs each and left me with 42 stitches. But you are right; the smoke thing would be strange.

Husband: I am so glad it is over. It was awful. Oh, I was so scared!

Me: (giving husband side hug while thinking to myself “What a baby!”) I am so proud of you.

Then the doctor came out and explained the procedure and what we needed to do next.

Husband: So doc, you cut into my balls and snipped the thingy that the sperm travel in?

Urologist: Yes, I made an incision into your testicles and cut the vas deferens.

Me: So his balls are going to be swollen for a while and there is no way we can do it for at least a month, right?

Urologist: Yes, his gonads will be slightly enlarged for a period of time and it would be best to abstain from intercourse until he heals.

Me: So I don’t have to do it for a while?

Husband: He didn’t say that.

Urologist: (visibly uncomfortable) That’s something that you two can work out later.

Me: But really we should give that area a break, right?

Urologist: (more visibly uncomfortable) Again, it is up to you all how you want to move forward.

Husband: How soon can we do it again?

Eventually the doctor realized this conversation was going nowhere and quickly excused himself.

Today, for the third day in a row, I woke up next to a very large man with a bag of frozen peas on his privates. I have done my best to take care of him but, I am pretty sure I won’t be winning any awards. I am trying to understand that what he experienced was traumatic, but on some level, I am just not buying it. After having my kids, I know I didn’t come home and spend the entire weekend watching football, drinking beers and laying on the couch with my friends. If I remember correctly, I was woken up every two hours by a small newborn who would gnaw at my breast, scream in my ear and poop all over me. When my husband says he can’t stand up and would I mind bringing him his breakfast in bed, it takes all I have not to lunge at his throat.

In the end, I am grateful he decided to go through with this and provide me with the assurance that the days of breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and hemorrhoids are over. Yet I still dream that one-day, just for a day, he could know what it is like to be a woman. And then maybe, just maybe, he will understand.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dear Facebook...we need to talk

Dear Facebook,

It’s a new year and I think its time to start off with some new resolutions. Over the past few years, you have changed a little bit and honestly, you have made some people get a little weird. You started out as this great avenue to help people connect with friends, family members and old boyfriends. But as time went on, you have lost sight of your original goal and its time to get back to the basics. We can no longer sit back and witness people making fools of themselves. It is time we addressed the people who say to much, post too often, and unknowingly make themselves look like idiots.

In honor of new beginnings and being better people, lets set a few guidelines for 2012:

1. If you look good in a bikini, we are SO happy for you! Weight Watchers worked, you laid off the McDonalds, or you simply have good genes. That is awesome and we are glad you loved your trip to Cabo…that place you stayed in really looked beautiful. All we ask is that you go easy on the bikini photos, and please don’t make them your profile picture. We all want our ex-boyfriends to see us looking skinny, tan and happy. Let’s be honest, that is the main reason we post those pictures in the first place. Just go easy on the semi nude photos or you start to look a little desperate.

2. We are so happy you had a nice meal. Everyone deserves a good steak once in a while. And your dessert looks great too, even though we have all seen a nice piece of cheesecake or tall glass of cold beer. Go ahead, put the phone down, take a bite, and enjoy the people you are eating with. If you are eating alone, and that’s why you keep taking pictures of food, we feel your loneliness and are sending you a big hug. I promise, it is going to be okay.

3. Ladies, we know you love your husbands. That is why we assume you married them in the first place. Here’s an idea…if you love them so much, go ahead and close your computer, log out of Facebook, and do something to them you haven’t done since before you were married. On the other hand, if you only say gushy and overly sweet things about your husband to cover the fact that you two hate each other or don’t want to admit that your marriage is barely hanging on, we understand. The reality is that we know the truth about your relationship and it is clear to many people it is probably not going to work. Remember, a lot of us were at your wedding and thought it was a bad idea in the first place.

4. Everyone has questions in life. “Where do I find a painter?” and “What’s a good song to jog to?” and “Does anyone have a good Dentist?” We know that there are times we all need some help, but let’s go ahead and bring back the idea of community. Go outside, knock on a neighbor’s door, or call a friend. I know it’s not as fun or easy as getting 42 comments on your wall in response to your question about “Is an iphone or Blackberry better?”…but you’ll survive. The next time you are out on a walk, stop a stranger and say “Hey, where’s the best place to get Mexican food around here?” It will be great because you might make a new friend and we won’t be bored with your unending questions about where to get a new washer and dryer. See, everybody wins…

5. Cryptic statements are never good. When you post something that says, “Waiting and waiting…will tell you all more soon!”, it makes us very concerned. Then, after we realized you didn’t sound very sad in your post, we automatically think you are pregnant. All this does is cause a lot of people to say things like, “OMG are you Pregnant?” or “WTF! Call me soon! I think I know what this means!” Save the guessing game and just tell us what is going on. If you have some good news, let the world know. If you are waiting for a new job, tell us and we’ll send prayers. If you posted that lame comment so you could get a thousand comments on your wall, we forgive you. Just next time, instead of a weird, strange message, simply say “Hey I have nothing to say but need some love…can 20 of you comment on my wall to make me feel special and popular?” It is a lot less annoying and makes us like you more.

6. Most people have pretty busy lives. Between work and family, nobody has a lot of time to spare. If your status update has to do with carpooling, grocery shopping, or getting ready for holiday parties, no problem. But if you make those things sound like the reason you are stressed, overwhelmed, or busy… we can’t help but hate you. We don’t want to be judgmental, but if your biggest problem is the fact that you can’t find 600 thread count sheets at Pottery Barn, we really don’t give a damn.

7. Most of us need a good motivational or spiritual quote each day. Sometimes reading an inspirational saying can change our whole day. Jesus, Buddha, and a lot of other smart people have said some pretty amazing things in the past and we love when you share them. Just be careful…too many spiritual quotes in one week and we start to get suspicious. How can someone so filled with wisdom have so much time to post on Facebook? Shouldn’t they be out raising a foster baby or working at a soup kitchen for the homeless? If, on the otherhand, the quotes are posted in order for you to remind yourself not to be the angry, uptight, and stressed out person you tend to be…that’s another story. Every now and then, mix up the spiritual quotes with the honest mean and rude things you really want to say.

8. It is never, ever, ever appropriate to post the following status update…“Off to bed, what a great day!” First, people don’t really care when you go to bed. Second, don’t let people know that last thing you did before you went to sleep was look at the Christmas album of your 8th grade boyfriend…it doesn’t look good. Enough said.

9. Here’s a rule of thumb, if your baby isn’t born yet, don’t post pictures of it on Facebook. Sonogram pictures are strange and unattractive, and the truth is most people don’t even know what they are looking at. We don’t want to see a picture of an alien with a circle around his privates with a comment that says, “Looks like he has his father’s genes’ already!” That is creepy. Just hold out…Let the first time we see your child be moments after he has shot out from between your legs and is all swaddled and cozy in your arms. It makes for a better first impression.

10. The MOST important rule of all: Women keep up with old boyfriends on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if we dated them, had a crush on them, wanted to marry them, or simply hooked up with them at a bar…no matter what the story is, we are going to stalk your profile page often. Because we get tired of looking at the same photos of you over and over again, it would be nice if you could do us all a favor and update your pictures regularly. If you want to go the extra mile, hit the “like” button on one of our bikini pictures from Cabo…it would really make our day.