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Friday, November 30, 2007

Circumcision

I thought I was one of the few who still had my boys circumcised. You hear so much bad press about it, I thought it was one more thing I was bucking the culture on.
  • I love the religious significance of it.
  • If God asks it of us, who am I to say 'no'.
  • A nurse friend of mine said she sees less infections in men & their wives for men who are circumcised.
  • I do want the boys to look like their dad and have similar experiences as he does -- since he's the one who will teach them what being a male is.
My pediatrician said that he doesn't know about the coasts, but here in mid-America, 85% of his clients have their boys circumcised. In spite of all my research & reasoning, I still feel anxious each time we have it done.
So, Wednesday we had our 2 1/2 week old baby circumcised. Our pediatrician went on vacation the week before, so we had to wait a bit. He said that few parents chose to watch, but I figure if we could make the choice in putting him through that, the least we could do is watch what he has to go through and be there with him. Dave's seen it before -- it was the first time I was upright enough to attend.

The nurse put a pressure bandage in his diaper to help with bleeding, even though he wasn't really bleeding much at all. The dressing was huge compared to his diaper. I'd been worried about cross-contamination with the yeast in his poop that was almost taken care of, but not completely. By the time Dave dropped the baby & I back home and went back to work, I changed his first diaper since the procedure. The pressure dressing had acted like a funnel and he had gotten poop all over the wound. I called the Dr. who said that if the bleeding had stopped, I needed to soak him, unwind the gauze and wash him with soap and water.

AAhhhhhhh!!!!! I don't even give baths to slippery infants without Dave, let alone scrub open wounds!!! I knew I couldn't do this alone and Dave couldn't come back home. I called my sister who came over at one o'clock that afternoon to help me do this horrible thing to my delicate baby. It took us 20 minutes and 2 water changes. The baby screamed more than he has in his life and was rigid and kicking and flailing. It was horrible. It was all Sara & I could do not to cry through it -- but that wouldn't have helped us get through it faster. Midway, I was shaking so much, we had to switch places and I held him down while she washed. Then we switched again and I finished up. He nursed and nursed afterwards. He's too young to even give him over-the-counter Tylenol without the Dr.'s prescription. It was one of the 2nd worst days of my adult life - serious anguish (the first was when I had to hold 8mo old Dd#2's ankle down that was broken so they could get an x-ray. The look in her eyes was like she couldn't believe that her mama would cause her that much pain. Horrible.)
Originally the Dr. thought that he'd sleep the day after the circ. After all that pain, he didn't sleep more than 10-20 minutes at a time and wake up crying for over 24 hours. My poor baby, and I had to be the one to do it to him....
That meant I didn't sleep, either. I've still got 1 plugged duct that has been plugged for over 2 weeks, now. I was getting 2 more. With lack of sleep, my milk supply diminished. The baby wanted to nurse all night long and all the next day. Finally at 3pm Thursday, he fell asleep for 2 hours -- which meant I slept for about an hour and a half. The more I rested and slept the evening, the more milk I was able to make and the more he slept.
I'm not unhappy about the decision to have him circumcised, but I am prayerful for his quick healing. This is our 3 week old baby -- sleeping ...like a baby.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:26 PM

    What a depressing story. Poor child. :(

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  2. Petrina9:38 PM

    It is so disturbing to read about a Catholic mother circumcising her sons, especially in light of the Church's teachings about "Respect for bodily integrity" and the New Testament passages that warn against circumcision.

    Father John Dietzen wrote in 2004, " Today, while nontherapeutic male circumcision remains common in some places, as a general practice it is forbidden in Catholic teaching for more basic reasons of respect for bodily integrity.The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against moral law" (N. 2297).

    Elective circumcision clearly violates that standard. It is an amputation and mutilation, and, to my knowledge, and as you note, no significant medical group in the world defends it as having any therapeutic value. In 1999 the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association stated that neonatal circumcision is nontherapeutic because no disease is present and no therapeutic treatment is required.

    Modern Catholic Church documents do not deal explicitly with the morality of elective circumcision. The above basic principles, however, clearly render it immoral. It violates the bodily integrity of infant male children and unnecessarily deprives them of a part of their body that can protect the glans of the penis during infancy and serve at least a sexual function for adults.


    For more information about what the Church has taught through the centuries about circumcision, see:
    http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/


    For a wealth of information about circumcision and the function of the foreskin, see:

    http://www.babyboy.info/birth_care.html

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  3. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Congrats on your homebirth! I'm so sorry that you and your son felt such pain when he was circumcised. I pray that any future sons you have will be spared this cultural horror. I am thankful that God replaced circumcision with Baptism to signify His Covenant, and I hope your faith will one day lead you to that conclusion as well. I wish you all the best with your nursing endeavours.

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