Poor Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil. She is expecting a boy and is considering circumcision. When parents decide to circumcise, there is no doubt in my mind they make the decision out of love and concern for their child. Most are afraid their boy will one day be ridiculed or rejected if he is to remain intact.
I don’t think I had an opinion one way or the other before becoming an OB nurse. If anyone had asked me would I circumcise one day? I most likely would have answered "yes."
As a brand new nurse in an obstetrical unit, part of my responsibility was to assist doctors during circumcisions. The first time I witnessed it, I was in shock. I never recovered.
The thing that really puzzled me was the lack of pain control measures that were taken. If a parent requested it, a doctor might agree to put a topical anesthetic on the infant. Many refused to do so. Even those who agreed, seemed to do it just to appease the parents and did not wait the allotted time for the numbing to take effect. You see, circs are five minute procedures. If a doctor gets a break in his day, he makes a quick stop in the nursery, performs a circ or two and off he goes. No time to hang around waiting.
Make no mistake, this procedure is brutal. At birth, the foreskin is adhered to the head of the penis. Prying it loose is akin to sticking a knife under a fingernail and pulling it off. The babies are strapped onto a board with velcro and cry so hard once the clamping and cutting starts, they often wind up vomiting and pooping on the table from the stress.
Some say it is less painful to do this to an infant than to an adult. I question the logic here? Babies feel pain. Period. At least an adult would have the benefit of being properly anesthetized and could take a lot of percocet afterward. The fact that they don’t remember doesn’t make sense to me either? Any body worker will tell you that trauma is indeed stored in the body. Seems like a rude welcome to the world to me?
I believe every parent considering this procedure should be required to see a video of it and to know exactly what will be happening to their child. Only then can they make informed decisions.
I’m not even going to get into the ethics/cosmetic surgery question in this post and I am not attempting to shame anyone who had their boy circumcised without knowing any of this. You simply don't know until you know. You trust your doctor. Believe me, we've been there.
I just hope after reading this, expectant parents will hold their doctors accountable and insist on proper pain medication if they choose circumcision for their infants.
The following video is not an exaggeration. It is the exact procedure I witnessed over and over again at two different hospitals. If you are brave enough to watch, you will see what happens all over the country every day to our newborn sons. I don’t believe this baby received any pain meds. The doctor skirts around the question and I don’t see him applying any anesthetic here as he says he is? As you will see, circs are a looong five minutes.
Would a vet operate on an animal in this country without some form of anesthesia? I believe we owe our boys at least this much.
Thank you Lindsay for being brave enough to bring up this emotionally charged topic. I admire you for being informed, whatever you decide.