Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I was surprised by how passionate some people are about this topic. I wanted to give those who are thinking about it, my take.

Samuel is circumcised. There were two reasons why we chose to do this:

1. Samuel's heritage is Jewish, on Richard's side, and it marks his entrance into the covenant with God. It's called a Bris.

2. My mother had all my brothers circumcised. Back then it was always recommended. I've heard there can be a lot of issues with cleaning and infections when the skin is left on. I also have a teacher friend who didn't have her son circumcised and for the first 8 years of his life he had a lot of "issues," so at 8 years of age she had him circumcised. By that time, it was major surgery. There are also more males that are circumcised then not and so for "social" reasons we decided it was best.

Since I have seen the procedure I wanted to walk you through what happened. I don't know all the medical terms, so this is a layman's explanation of what happened.

Samuel was born on a Monday, brought home on Wednesday and circumcised on Friday, so he was only 5 days old when it was done. Normally, they would do it in the hospital, but "K" thought I would like to be there to comfort Samuel, so she told the doctors not to do it. So, we scheduled it with our pediatrician.

It was a very quick procedure. What I'm going to explain only took about 10 minutes at the most. First the doctor walked us through what was going to happen. Many years ago, after they cut off the skin, gauze (that had to be changed everyday) was put on and it had to be wiped with Vaseline. These days they do it differently. The doctor had me help hold Samuel. I put him on the examining table, took off his clothes and held his hands. A little surgical cover was put over his body with the opening over his penis. Samuel started to cry when the nurse held his legs open and still. Very quickly the doctor gave him a shot of a local anesthetic (in the penis). Samuel did cry, but it was just like getting a vaccination shot. My husband was planning on watching, but after the shot was given he had to turn around (totally understandable).

The doctor then put a little, plastic, fitted cup over the end of the penis and very quickly sliced around the tip, cutting off the skin. There was a little blood, but a lot less then I expected. A piece of surgical string was put around the cap to hold it in place. There weren't any stitches. The doctor wiped off the area and the nurse let go of Samuel's legs and he instantly stopped crying. I then realised that he was more angry with the fact that the nurse had been holding his legs still.

I got him dressed and comforted him. The penis looked red for a couple days, but I didn't have to do any special cleaning, he was still able to go to the bathroom and he acted totally normal. It didn't seem to bother him at all. About five days later, one day after his belly button fell off, the penis cap fell off and it was totally fine. Then we were able to give him his first bath.

NOTE: There were a few comments on the last post that were ANONYMOUS and basically saying I would be a horrible mother to circumcise my child and that it was "mutilation." I don't mind comments, but don't be rude. I will reject those who can't play nice.


Anonymous said...

We did that with one child and not the other, won't name names though. The BOTH babies came intact, and we weren't allowed to make that decision.

Basically, the one we had circumcised we did so because of tradition, and recommendation. The other, we decided that he came that way, we'll leave him that way. We haven't had any problems. Hubby is, due to tradition and recommendation also, but his father and step father aren't. They did not weigh in on the matter. We just decided to leave well enough alone.

I do tend to wonder in a snotty way why parents do that to their children, I will admit when you posted that you had, I had a very minor freak out moment. Just a moment. But then remembered your hubby has Jewish roots, and the medical community is either or so, quickly became fine with it. But am totally fine with your kid, your choice.

My Goodness said...

We had our son circumcised...because we didn't want 'issues' and we didn't think he should look different...

Anywho...I wish we had been able to have the same procedure you described, but it wasn't available...and as a result, we had to have it 'redone' - 'repaired' when our son was 6 months old...but he is fine now.

You do what YOU see fit for your child...you are the momma...

BB said...

I always admire your strength, tracey. Good for you!

Rebekah said...

Mutilation? For Pete's sake. I wish our lovely "anonymous" commenters would stop being cowards and come out from hiding. I've had some pretty ugly things hurled at me over the last several weeks in regards to "stealing" Rebekah's baby. Some people need to just get a life and butt out of ours!

You're a great mom, don't let the bullies push you around!! :)

Anonymous said...

I have a few things to say about circumcision and why I feel it's wrong for Christians to do. I realize you've made your decision and I realize your son is fine, and I think that's great, but I did want to touch on a few issues.
My knowledge of this issue is this:
I'm a nurse (RN), my husband is circumcised, my young son is intact (uncircumcised), I'm Christian, I live in the US.
From what I understand about Jewish boys and bris is that yes, most Jewish boys are circumcised on the 8th day to satisfy a covenant with God. But some babies aren't circumcised and still considered Jewish because they are a Jew just by being born to a Jewish mother. I'm don't think a hospital circ satisfies the Jewish covenant. It doesn't seem like you're planning on raising your son as a Jew anyway. Here's the best info on a Christian perspective I can find and the passages helped confirm to me that circ was not needed or acceptable in the Christian faith (again, this is my take on the subject, I'm not judging you):
http://udonet.com/circumcision/christian.html - I didn't write it, it just has a lot of reasons that I agree with as a Christian.

As a nurse, I've seen many complications of babies after circumcision. Often these are complications that are minor enough that the doctor doesn't tell the parent, but serious enough the keep the baby in for a longer nursery room observation - like he bled too much, but not enough to warrant a transfusion, or the doctor took off too much skin but he won't tell the parents. Most babies go through a circumcision without a hitch, but not all do. I didn't want to risk any of that with a strong medical need.
If your doctor used the local anesthetic and waited long enough for it to work, you are lucky. Most do not (time is money, after all). At least the ones I've seen in a hospital setting rarely wait for it to take effect. But it sounds like your son was given the plasti-bell method, which to me, is worse than just having the foreskin cut off at once. I don't think parents think this method hurts, but it does. The plastic ring has to be put on tightly, otherwise the skin wouldn't die and fall off.
As far as people who "require" circumcisions at a later date if not done in infancy, I think most of that has to do with improper care by parents and poor education by doctors. Up until recently (and I mean a few years ago), doctors told parents to clean under the foreskin after ever diaper change, pull if back and clean w/ a q-tip, etc. Well, that was wrong information and contributed to MANY infections, so then they'd recommend circumcision. Imagine if doctors told mom's to clean INSIDE their baby girl's vagina with each diaper change and how much that would lead to infection. We're only supposed to clean what is seen on the outside, and the foreskin doesn't naturally retract till boys are older, often school aged.
I'm just really passionate about this recently as I have been a new mom and on the fence about the circ issue as well. My husband is circed and I worried about the difference and I wondered if my son would be the odd man out with his peers. Come to find out, the circ/non-circ rate is really about 50/50 in the US (depending on where you live). Intact boys account for about 40% of the boys where I live, but it's much higher where my sister lives (she's in Oregon and almost none of the boys she knows are circumcised, most are left intact). So...I felt pretty confident that any group of boys my son might grow up with would have a nice mix of boys both circed and intact. So that no longer worried me. Then, w/ my husband, he said he didn't care if his son matched, that he didn't know if his own dad was circed or not, and that I'd be the one doing the potty training with the son, so what did it matter? And when I talked to my pastor, researched passages I felt were relevant out of the New Testament, I just thought it wasn't something I should do. I figured I'd prayed 9 months for a healthy baby, for whatever one God sent me (meaning I would love a child with special needs/physical or emotional), and that God had known and created this baby in my womb. I just didn't feel I had the right to alter this healthy child's appearance in anyway.
Again, I'm not judging you, just throwing a different perspective in the mix. But to me as a Christian mom, I felt circumcising my child for aesthetic reason was like a slap in the face to our maker - like my own "design" of my son would be better than His design, so I just opted not to do it.
Thank you for reading my comment and I hope you do not take offense. I hope you'll allow my comment to stay because I really want parents to know that not all uncircumcised boys suffer from infections or need a circ later on. I also would want your readers to know that not all circumcised dads care if their sons match them or not.
The best advice I can give to a Christian parent is to pray, consult your Bible, and in the end, go with what your heart tells you. The most important thing about being a parent is love, not what your sons private parts look or don't look like.
Thank you!