On a particular March 14th in Honolulu back in the 1990's, my wife gave birth to our youngest son. He was a preemie, and weighed three pounds, fourteen ounces at birth. Look at the numbers: 3'14" on 3/14. My youngest son is “pi r squared”, and to this day is an — ahem — well-rounded individual (in experiences, not body fat).
But I wasn’t worried about him. What was freaking me out was the fact that just after giving birth (I was there, of course), my wife’s blood pressure dropped to 70/30. She had already had two miscarriages, and the moment I heard how low her BP had dropped, I decided I would get a vasectomy. As much as we both wanted more kids, I was not willing to risk her life in order to have another child.
Now if there’s one thing one could get most men to agree on, it would be their probable reply on being asked to consider a vasectomy. “What, you think I’m going to let some yahoo slice away at my nuts? Get the f**k away from me!” That’s largely what the numbers show, too, for only about one in ten American men get vasectomies (which is about half the rate in Canada and the U.K.). Compare this to women, about thirty percent of whom go through the much more complex, painful, and expensive procedure of tubal ligation.
My wife said she was willing to get her “tubes tied,” but I refused — I was in much better health than she was, and I’d learned that she’d have to be under general anesthesia and stay in the hospital up to three days, whereas a vasectomy was an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia. Oh, and 95% of vasectomies are reversible. Tubal ligations are not reversible, period.
Don’t get me wrong. Like all guys, I don’t want other people taking sharp instruments to my allegedly-brass balls. But I had to decide what was more important: her life and health, or my testosterone-driven pride. The decision was easy.