Log Cabin Chronicles
Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is editor and publisher of the Stanstead Journal.
Posted 01.05.01
Stanstead, Quebec


The doctor was 99 percent certain that snippy little procedure was bulletproof

Maybe I should start wearing tighter pants.

Certainly I have to do something to curb my reproductive abilities now that medical science has let me down. The only thing I can think of, short of abstinence, is switching from boxers to jockeys and suffocating the bejiggers out of those little sperms.

The current status of my family is me, wife, and three kids. Add to this two cats, a dog, and lots of neighbors' kids, and it's not surprising that Deb and I realized some time ago that our family was as full and as perfect as we wanted it to be.

That's why shortly after James was born five years ago, we decided that I should undergo a vasectomy. While I can't say I did so with glee, I felt none of the fear of emasculation that plagues many men when contemplating this relatively simple, only moderately uncomfortable procedure.

This anxiety has something to do with sharp knives...cutting...down there. And then there's the bit about getting intimate with a plastic cup. But instead of anxiety, I actually felt a certain pride in my willingness to take responsibility for birth control in my relationship and counted myself among the mere 20 percent or so of men my age who opt for this reasonable end to baby-making.

In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn't have felt so smug about being among a small percentage since it seems to be the long-shot odds that have done me in.

Yes, Deb is pregnant. Science has failed me. Either that or I have titanium tubes. Sometime next summer, our full house will become one kicking screaming body fuller.

A mere month ago, our lives were in turnaround. With James five, Kate six, and Emily nine, we were looking forward to our first winter without grappling a child upside-down by the ankle to negotiate him into a snowsuit. Bum-wiping was but a bad memory. We could do reasonably mature family things together like play board games, albeit more often Wigglin' Willie the Whale than Trivial Pursuit. James would be in school in less than a year.

Deb, too, was thinking of going back to school full-time. Yes, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Then with one little plus sign on a home pregnancy kit, the light in the tunnel went dark. Our train to Freedom City suddenly switched tracks and began barreling off full-steam ahead in a new and unexpected direction - destination: Perpetual Parentville.

Vasectomies, we have since learned, aren't perfect. There is still a less than one percent chance of pregnancy. What sometimes happens is the tubes grow back together.

Less than one percent. I'd have better odds winning the lottery. Why couldn't I have hit that jackpot? Instead, I have to be some kind of statistical freak, a medical miracle.

I know what you're thinking: If I had a vasectomy, how can I be sure the baby is mine? You and everyone else in our small town.

Of course, they don't say so to my face, but I can see the wheels turning behind their eyes when I break the news - after they finish laughing, of course. How I know for sure is quite simple: one stay-at-home mom plus a minimum of one child harassing her 24 hours a day multiplied by neighbors' kids... You do the math.

Plus, I know my wife. I love my wife. That's why the decision to have this fourth baby has not been so difficult. After the shock and the dismay and the anxiety, it was really only a matter of perception. I had gone through this before.

Back when we had two children and were talking about having a third, I resisted. Our family was ideal as it was, I argued - Deb, me, our two beautiful little girls, and sundry animals. Why would we want to mess with such perfection?

Now that we have our third, our golden boy, I again can't imagine our family any other way. There they were on the couch soon after we found out, Deb feeling nauseous, explaining to the three that the reason she felt so ill was because she was going to have a baby. When she went to kiss James, he drew away.

"Don't kiss me!" he said. "I'll catch what you have and I'll have a baby too!"

Perfect. But when our fourth is born, I'm sure the new family configuration will be my new standard for perfection. Of course, we'll need a bigger couch. As for future birth control? My reading on the subject since the happy news tells me that the only solution is to have a second vasectomy.

But even then, there are no guarantees.

A man in Britain had a vasectomy and his wife conceived. So he had a second vasectomy. She conceived again. He sued the hospital. And lost. As I said, it's not a perfect procedure. Not even tight jockey shorts are a guarantee.

The only perfection I dare to hope for now is the kind that will come in about eight months or so, the kind with ten perfect fingers, ten perfect toes, and a loud demanding perfect scream. He'll fit right in.