Saturday, December 10, 2005

Well, it's been quite a day so far.
We finished our last baby class, "Babies, Baths & Bundles" (we are newborn graduates, now I just have to finish the final exam...yikes). It was a really good class. Other than changing diapers (how hard is that really?) & sponge baths, we got some great information on circumcision.

I didn't realize how much of a controversial topic circumcision was. Some people actually refer to it as genital mutilation now. I turned to Bill for his input, seeing as though he understands what life is like as a guy & the relationship with his "member". Whithout hesitation, he said that Logan would be getting it done. I understood that it is not medically necessary, that someone who is not circumcised has to pay a little more attention to hygene & that it really boils down to religious & societal beliefs. However, I did not understand that once you've made that decision, you have more...which procedure would we choose?

In class we learned about the two most common techniques, the Gomco clamp & the newer Plastibell. The Gomco technique clamps the foreskin & the Dr. proceeds to cut. The baby is then covered in gauze & heels with a pretty big scab. It takes some carefull attention in cleaning to make sure the site doesn't get infected. The Plastibell seems to be a little less invasive. The clamp part is pretty much the same (with a plastic "bell" on the tip rather than a metal clamp) , but a plastic ring is left on the baby while it heals. The ring falls off shortly, like the umbilical cord. There's not much to do in the way of care other than making sure it stays clean & watching for infection, no gauze or ointments are needed.

Once I started looking into which option would be the best, I came across videos & many articles that warned against circumcision. The videos were the most disturbing granted, they were unmedicated babies, while our hospital uses pain medication. Then it really got me we need to do this? There is no medical benefit, we aren't religious, are we being pressured by society into thinking that this is good? Because of the lack of medical necesity, European insurance won't cover the procedure. Most people aren't really willing to pay out of pocket, so circumcision rates have drasticaly decreased. It's considered "cosmetic". If I thought about it in terms of "cosmetic surgery", it seemed crazy to follow through. Now I was really changing my mind.

I tried to have a discussion about what I found with Bill, but he wouldn't hear about it.
"This is non-negotiable, I'm putting my foot down".
"Why?", I asked.
"Because I don't want him to be one of the only boys in the locker room that isn't".
Finding some reliable statistics on this is difficult. In class the nurse said about 9 out of 10 babies in Colorado are. Some of the sites I've come across have said about 60% are, but dropping dramaticaly. Still, we don't live in Europe & it sounds like an "American" way.

I guess I have to trust my husbands opinion that the physical pain as a newborn won't even compare to the emotional pain of being ostricised by peers & potential partners in the future. Nobody ever told me that making an informed educated decision about circumcision would be this difficult.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a medical student who has participated in circumcisions I opted not to circumcise my son. Luckily, my husband cared less about what the neighbors were doing and more about what was right for our son. Many, many wrongs do not make a right.
We were absolutely fortunate to have a perfect little person handed to us when he was born. It would have weighed on me for the rest of my life if the very first decision that I made was to alter that perfection because others are doing so. I plan to raise my son in such a way that he is confident that he is "normal" and that any differences he perceives in the locker room are because others opted to change what occurred naturally.