“living with regret from vasectomy”

(Please see A Reversal of Heart for more of our vasectomy reversal experience.  Updates to our scenario will be posted under the Baby-Making category 🙂)

I love WordPress.  One of the cool things it does for you is keep track of how people find your blog through search engines.

A few times, I have gotten hits to my blog from someone typing into a search engine something along the lines of “living with regret from vasectomy.”  Oh, how my heart aches for the persons googling this topic.

I believe that many, many people live with regret from the vasectomy decision.  You see, when you get a vasectomy, you hear from the doctors and websites that there are only a very few reasons a man would regret his vasectomy.  Those include such things as getting re-married due to divorce or widowhood or having one of your children die.  In fact, many of the questionnaires ask you to make sure you are in a “stable relationship” before having the vasectomy done.

We had answers for these questions.  For one, we weren’t going to be divorced — our relationship was plenty stable, thank you very much.  And if I died, I wanted Ron to marry a woman who could love my kids as her own and not feel that she had to have her own biological progeny (don’t we all hear such scary stories of step parents?).*  If one of my children died, I would hardly think of “replacing” him, as if he were a goldfish or something!**  (We also felt that we would not find the room in our home and hearts for an adopted child if we kept popping out homemade ones, and that getting the snipping done would be guaranteed motivation to follow through with adoption.)***

Well, I have come to think the vasectomy information sites are sorely lacking another reason or two that people consider reversal.  I joined a yahoo group called VasReversal to find out information about reversal doctors and such, and only a very small number of the guys and gals on that list were in a re-marriage situation, and none of them had children that died.  Most of them simply decided they wanted more children, and that the vasectomy had been a rash decision.  A good portion of them felt that they needed the reversal to “make things right with God” (many of these folks were satisfied that they did what they could to undo the vasectomy, whether or not they end up having more children).  Several others had the original vasectomy done in a moment of crisis — dealing with a major childhood illness in one of their children or even being overwhelmed by September 11th (not wanting to bring any more children into the evils of this world) — and somehow the parents have come to think more optomistically about life.  A few of the parents made the vasectomy decision in a time of financial crisis, and have since found themselves more financially stable.

My own discoveries shocked me — I had no idea how common were these reasons for people to seek vasecomy reversal.  I really expected the group to consist mostly of folks in a re-marriage situation, that I would be the oddball.  Instead, I found myself in good company.

If you are looking into having a vasectomy done, I would recommend a few things:

Wait at least FOUR YEARS after your youngest is born (definitely don’t be dummies like us and get it done while your wife is pregnant!).  Wait until you are pushing the age where babies don’t come naturally (after 40, at least), so you can feel like you are just speeding up Mother Nature a bit instead of cutting her off at the pass.  Consider why you do not want any more children in light of scripture.  Make sure you research all the possible side effects (or click here for a few stories from the UK).  Read a few stories of others who have gone through vasectomy-reversals to make certain you won’t find yourself in their saga.  Remember that you have many other birth control options, and strongly consider any and all possible reasons why permanent birth control may not be the answer for you.

I was talking recently with a cousin who sincerely regrets her cute little ankle tattoos she had done 13 years ago.  She said, “I don’t have any clothes in my closet from 13 years ago!  Why did I think I still like the same sun on my ankle after 13 years?”  A lot can change in 13 years — or 1 year or 3 years — you may end up regretting something that sounds like a good idea today.

Vasectomies are permanent.  You may change your mind, and it just may be under circumstances the doctor didn’t warn you about — circumstances much less sinister and much more likely.  I just don’t have much advice for those who are “living with regret from vasectomy.”  Vasectomy reversals are possible, and we have certainly felt much better after getting the vasectomy reversed.  But they are expensive, and there is a good chance you will not be able to conceive even with reversal.  What I hope for is the chance to dissuade a few folk who are wavering on the vasectomy fence.   You know what They say, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Please take your time to think and pray before making this dramatic decision.

And, you know, the truth is, I actually don’t even know if we would be in the position we find ourselves in today of wanting more children had we NOT had the vasectomy in the first place (and thus I can thank God for what I now see as a bad decision — for this decision led us to change of mind that has already brought blessings in our way of thinking).  Perhaps it is as my brother-in-law might say, “Sometimes You Have to Kill Uriah.”

*I have since changed my mind on this issue!  I have read so many incredible stories of godly step parents, mostly from our history studies (folks died at younger ages in the pioneer days and the smart thing to do was to find a new spouse to help with the kids and farm.  Think of Abraham Lincoln, or the fictional story Sarah, Plain and Tall).  I know if I die that Ron isn’t going to marry some knob who won’t love my boys!  I can trust God to lead Ron to a lovely wife who will adore my boys just as Abraham Lincoln’s step mom adored him.  For some reason, I now have more faith in God to take care of my children. I can’t imagine not wanting Ron to have the chance at receiving more blessings — even if I am not around to share them.

**I have changed my mind on this one too.  I wouldn’t want to “replace” my child, but as my friend Allison said, I could see missing the hustle and bustle of children, and the chance to influence the next generation in such a direct way — and I may want to replace THAT.

***I still have a hope for adoption in our future.  My husband is still interested in this, but doesn’t feel that this is the right time.

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22 thoughts on ““living with regret from vasectomy”

  1. Wouldn’t have helped anyway, Dad, sad to say. My sister-in-law tried to warn us, but did we listen? No 🙂
    Besides, EVERYBODY was doing it…we knew lots of Christians we respected who went through the procedure and we just sort of went with the crowd. I guess that’s why I want to talk now about our regret — so people know it isn’t necessarily THE WAY to go, nor is it an easy no-brainer decision. Hopefully our regret will dissuade someone else from getting a vasectomy without serious consideration.
    Love to you!
    Deb

  2. Jim got his vasectomy when Christa was pregnant with their fourth child. He was 37 or 38. She younger.

    Does that break two of your rules? (Pregnancy and age.)

    “Four is enough,” he said.

    I asked Dale, father of two twenty-something women at the time, “Are you a grandfather, yet?”

    “I hope not, considering neither of my daughters is married.”

    Okay, “none is enough,” in that case.

  3. Debbie,
    This is unrelated to this post but I wanted to comment on a book that you recommended and that Kathleen (soon to be married!) and I are reading simultaneously. “Created to be His Helpmeet”. I admit I was a little apprehensive about the book because of some of your comments on a post long ago, but really wanted to be open to God speaking to me through this book. It was all fairly simple and nothing that I would argue with until I reached Chapter 5.

  4. Oops hit the wrong button! Anyway I feel that the authors attitude and anger that comes across in that chapter really discredits for me much of what she had to say in the previous chapters. Her response to the letter from the women who asked her to consider some teaching about women in “leadership” in the church was mean and unloving and on the verge of wicked. How can I trust her opinion on such a sensitive subject when she uses no scripture to support or even explain her opposition to the argument. Any comment? By the way I disagree that women should not “serve” in lcertain leadership positions in the church as long as they have the blessing and support of their husband.

  5. Hey, there, Mona.
    Yeah, I had some issues with Debi Pearl’s attitude — at least the attitude I perceived from that book. I do agree with lots of her stuff, overall, but she definitely comes across as harsh, and also hard to pin down (I had trouble understanding exactly what she meant in lots of places). I have heard from people who “know” her that she is not harsh at all. I still like the book because it is so different than what we hear in marriage books — and, like I said, I agree with a lot of what she had to say.
    Emily and I were just commenting that reading the book feels more like you are sitting down with a friend, rather than reading an authoritative book. This helped me get past some of the author’s rough spots (we all have rough spots, and when I thought of her as an older gal-friend sharing, it was easier to listen — rather than seeing her as biblical authority, ya know?)
    Anyway, here is a very good and balanced review of Created to be His HelpMeet at http://www.spunkyhomeschool.com If you look on the right sidebar, scroll down to the area titled “Created to be His Helpmeet.” There are like 6 parts to her review — I really recommend this review.
    Oh, and I’ll have to find my book and read chapter 5 so I know exactly what you are talking about.
    By the way, how stinkin’ cute are you reading a wife-book with your almost-married daughter!!!! I LOVE it! You guys are ‘da bomb!
    Oh, and I bet you would really like that LOVE AND RESPECT book that we gave Kathleen, it is pretty darn balanced.
    Later, gator! Thanks for writing 🙂 We are so looking forward to the wedding and the party afterward!! YIPPEE!!

  6. Dave,

    The book we gave Kathleen for a bridal shower gift is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich. Check out http://www.loveandrespect.com. Neat book, focusing on the 2 biggies — women need to feel loved, men need to feel respected.

    Oh, and your friends didn’t break any rules. These are merely my newfounded suggestions — who is going to listen to me, anyway? 🙂

    And, anyway, your friends are smarter than we were on the big V — we were both 28, and pregant with our third. So, there ya go.

  7. Deb,

    I know I am way behind on reading this entry, but I appreciate your opinion so much. Thanks for including my thoughts as well.

    I also really appreciated the review of “Created to be His Help Meet” in addition to the book itself. I guess I take everything I read with a grain of salt–dissecting the good from the not-so-good, and I don’t really believe anyone to be a so-called “expert” on anything. Long-story-short, I took away a great many more blessings from Debi Pearl than issues to raise, since many of those issues did not resonate with me. I honestly believe the Lord used her book and especially the Scripture quoted within it, to speak to me where I needed to hear it. I am also learning that the Lord may have different things to speak to each of us as we need to hear them. I tend to “chatter” as much (if not more) than the next lady, and recently, the Lord has been ever-so-gently encouraging me to not say a word. He just doesn’t always need me to open my mouth and share what’s on my heart or mind. This has been the case in both my marriage and the Church. The amazing thing is how God honors this obedience as well. And what a faith-builder! To know that I don’t need to “speak out” for Him to accomplish His work. I sit joyfully next to my dear husband and pray as I watch the Lord raise him to the place of leadership He created him to hold.

  8. Hey, I found your blog when searching for “Women should not have children after 35. Thirty-five children are enough.” (BTW, do you know who said that?) I was glad to read at the end of your post that you had changed your mind about step-parents. I really wasn’t sure what you meant about hoping your husband wouldn’t want to marry someone who wanted her own kids. Unfortunately my husband’s first wife did not share his belief in the foreverness of marriage. Even though I love my step-kids as my own, that didn’t keep me from wanting more. It would be very sad if we’d missed out on our youngest 4 kids for any reason.

  9. agree,
    i so agree my husband got a vasectomy over 2 years ago
    what a mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How did i think that i could make a decision like that i was letting the world rule me and my thinking, since then i have accepted jesus into my heart and i have the light to guide me and i so regret such a decision i pray we my husband will reverse it, i pray it will reconnect itself because it can slim but hey anything can happen, oh lord i hope it does.
    p.s. if your thinking of doing this
    please dont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. This is a great post. I’ve known people as well who have regretted making permanent decisions about their reproduction. It looks as though you’re not Catholic but I’d still recommend Theology of the Body by John Paul II … actually I’d recommend Theology of the Body: Explained by Christopher West. It’s fantastically readable and gives solid reasons for why we shouldn’t separate sex from it’s procreational aspect (which is not to say that we should just keep having kids until we drop either). There are ways to work with your body and your spouse to keep the sanctity of the marriage act and still not have 14 kids!

    Thank you for this post. I’m sure it will help many!

  11. Good post Deb. Oh, and I happen to know another step-mother who was a big blessing to her step-children (even if they all didn’t see it all the time!). 🙂

  12. Hee Hee, Maggie, I know who you are thinking about. 🙂
    I’ve definitely matured in my thinking about a lot of things. Too bad I’m so vocal along the way regarding what I think: it means I have to “eat crow” every so often!
    But step parents can DEFINITELY be amazing and used by God in enormous ways — like your step-mama!

  13. I wish I had read this months ago 😦 My husband and I got preganant (surprise) with our fourth child last winter…he was born the last day of September. While we were pregnant…so many family and friends continued to question our ‘doneness’ in respect to having children. It was hard to ignore. My OB suggested waiting until after my 6 week follow up before discussing any birth control and that’s what we decided to wait until then to really have any kind of discussion. So time came and went, of course always quicker than we’d liked. We discussed IUD (not something we were religiously inclined to once explained thouroughly) then Mirena which is similar but has not chance of fertiliazation. Both of those options, being preventative, are not covered under insurance. Oddly tubal ligation (which I had said was not ever going to be on the table). Being sterile was something we’d never considered. So we left my 6 week checkup…still with condoms as our plan…knowing full well that’s how our 4th surprised us. That made intiamcy….well…kinda nerve-racking. After about a month of people continuing to make comments and suggestions…it seemd as though everyone kept bringing up vasectomy. Now at first, we really kept saying…”That’s not for us. We’ve never considered that.” I even remember telling my mother, “That’s not what we want.” A few weeks later my husband came from work and says,”The weirdest thing happened to me today. Justin (a guy he works with …mind you not a close friend) told me he and his wife are pregnant with their 4th and he already ran out and got snipped.” Now he went on to tell me that Justin had no probelms and was so happy…the whole “best decision ever” speech. So somehow….now we’re talking about vasectomy.
    This lead to a consult that took place 2 weeks later….which was so uncomfortable that I felt sick the entire time. One thing I have always hated in life is going to buy a car….the experience is awful….you generally get a sales pitch that sells you somthing you REALLY don’t want, but are somehow convinced it’s perfect. That’s what going to the consult was. A sales pitch of all the glory….yes we were told it is a permanent procedure with a bunch of bells and whistles to distract us….I was also holding my 3 month old thinking of how thin our budget was at the time thinking…”Oh Lord, another baby could really be rough!” So before we knew we walked out of the consult with an appointment for the very next week. I mean thinking about the speed of things….it was like they wanted to make sure we didn’t change our minds. It the week of Christmas, so we never really had much time to talk about it and before we knew it…the day had come. I dropped him off and drove away sobbing….couldn’t breath or speak. It was so very hard! He kept looking at me as if he wanted to say something, but didn’t. Unfortunately we were both thinking the same thing…..”What are we doing?” but we were in a trance. The trance that people had unknowingly put us in ….we felt obligated to become sterile for everyone else except us. He went through with it…he said he couldn’t move that he wanted to get up and run out, but he felt paralyzed. The doctor tried conversing him about sports while he cut apart my husband. It was like another day at the office…not even once considering what he was going to do to our family and marriage. My husband has pain just about everyday and some days it’s worse than others. We used to work out together and he could play, pick-up and rough-house with the kids. He’s so guarded and hesitant now because of how much pain it will cause him afterwards. This was never anything we were told in our ‘sales pitch’ and it’s no wonder why. Since the procedure, we’ve read so many things that wasn’t explained that we feel like we were completely misled. What’s worse is that there seems to be a secret society of men living with the same issues/experinces and are ashamed of what’s happened to them. We’ve experienced nothing but…”that’s normal, some surely mentioned that when you were in the office or the best one….it’ll go away with time.” Are you kidding me? There was never pain before but now you’re telling me that I could live with this for months or in some cases years. Whatever happened to quality of life? My husband went from being an optimistic, fun-loving dad to a hesitant suffering man. It’s horrible! His doctor just keeps saying he cares and wants to help, but suggests medicating and of course the constant slap in the face of “I told you this was permanent.” The truth is, we are good with four kids. We don’t plan to have more, but we are 33 and 35 and I think what you said about age/mindset plays a big factor. I know that these are all things that should have been brought to light before hand. We only heard from people that were ‘happy’ with their choice….little did we know how important it would be to hear the other side, but most of those people are hiding like we are. So ashamed of what’s happened to us, not able to talk to anyone, neither of our families know that we did this, no friends, we deny it because it hurts so much. I love my husband and I’ve contemplated walking away from our 11 year marriage becuase it hurts to see him….because he is in pain and because he went through with it. We’re both at fault in some way for not talking it through, but we also feel that the Urologist is a HUGE factor in our self-destruction. I know there aren’t doctors that actually are sorry for what they’ve done, but this doctor should be. We told him from the very beginning that we were just felling out the options and that neither one of us considered the desire to be sterile. We told him that we just weighing what options were out there. Then that man and staff pitched their ‘procedure’ which had completely ruined our marriage. We’re trying to be friends and sort throug it…I mean we have 4 kids. We know we love eachother….but the healing seems to take astep forward and then 3 steps back. The lovely doctor was so kind to let us know that the procedure ‘worked’ and that was just a major blow to any progress we had tried to make. My husband wamts/needs the reversal for his own piece of mind. He wants the pain to end and to be able to exercise and play with the kids again. He feels that it’ll be the first step in healing our marriage. Then there’s me….consumed with how much money it costs and how much strain that will put on our marriage. I mean money is one of the leading causes of a troubled marriage. I can’t imagine adding anothe 7-10 grand will help our already strapped budget. How do I support him in all of this? Does it ever get better? I am beginning to think that life isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

  14. Jen,

    We also had regrets about our decision to have a vaectomy. We are both believers and also have 4 wonderful children. My vasectomy was 4 years ago and 2 years ago God confirmed in each of our hearts that we had “played God” and made a poor decision. Children are a blessing from God! And it is a good thing to have a quiver full!

    It took us quite awhile, basically reasoning through not playing God again by having a reversal. But we did finally come to the decision that a reversal was the right thing to do. I had my vasectomy reversal just 11 days ago. Of course we don’t yet know if the surgery has been a success. But we are both at peace, regardless of whether or not we become pregnant. And the healing process is going very well!

    I highly recommend Dr. David Wilson. He is located about 10 hours from us, but it was well worth the trip. He is a believer and even prayed with us before the surgey. His price is very reasonable as well. At $1700, the cost is much less than the $7 to $10 grand you mentioned in your post. His website is: http://www.microvasreversal.com.

    We will be praying for you and your family as you go through this trial. God is in control!

  15. My husband had a vasectomy a year ago. We have a 3 and a half year old and a 20 month old. I regret it. I talked to my husband and he doesn’t mind having more children, but “doesn’t want to go through that again” and the fact that it cost $5,000, if we go back to the Dr. that did the vasectomy. I did come across this website http://blessedarrows.org/doctors.htm of Christian doctors who do reversal as a ministry for a reasonable price. I’m praying that God gives my husband a change of heart.

  16. Hey Amber, this is Andy…the same Andy that posted back in May of 2011. I am happy to report that God has blessed us with another daughter! She was born just a month ago. We are so thankful for our little miracle from God! He truly is a God of second chances.

    I still highly recommend Dr. Wilson, but I’m sure there are others in the list that you found at http://blessedarrows.org/doctors.htm.

    My wife and I will be praying along with you that your husband will have a change of heart. Our story is a bit different in that the Holy Spirit convicted both of us at the same time…but it did take me awhile to come to the point of actually taking action and making an appointment with Dr. Wilson (partially because I didn’t want to “go through that again”…just like your husband). My advice to you is to do exactly what my wife did…pray for your husband.

    It really is hard to describe the joy that comes from putting God first in this area of a man’s life. But I just want to assure you and your husband that the price (financial, physical, and otherwise) is well worth it! I am watching my son hold my baby daughter right now…priceless!

  17. Andy,
    Congratulations on the arrival of your blessed addition! I see hope in your comment. I received it just an hour after giving my husband a letter I had written to him earlier in the day about what was on my heart. I asked him not to respond to me, but rather go to God and pray about it.
    Dr. Wilson is actually the Dr. that I looked into when I found the website just days ago. I have a plan all ready if and when my husband comes to me. It will cost about $3000, including airfare and hotel stay, which is amazing compared to the nearly $5000 it would cost with our original Dr. that is local.
    Thank you so much for your and your wife’s prayers. I think he would do it because he doesn’t mind having more children. It’s just getting past the thought of the surgery/recovery. How was it for you?
    I pray that he can. It would be so wonderful to see our children now holding their new sibling. What a sweet picture!
    -Amber
    I will keep you updated!

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