Because Sometimes More is More
August 11th, my son came into this world, whole. After a traumatic (for me) long labor and a birth, I got to see my little man in person.
Sunday night, however, he became unresponsive, pale, and breathing became so shallow, we feared he had died. On my chest, after eating, being burped, and falling asleep.
We rushed to the ER. Once there, they ‘had’ to catheterize him to get a clean urine sample, since he is uncircumcised. This procedure made him cry purple then seemingly calm down. I know this as shock.
What shocked me was the nurse telling me that I should be retracting his foreskin so I could clean under it. I don’t know why it shocked me, but it did. I told her, “Actually, no. You’re not. It damages the nerves in the foreskin, shaft, and glans.” she looked at me like I was the idiot.
Every time I spoke to a nurse or doctor about what was going on, they would put emphasis on the phrase “Because you didn’t have him circumcised…” After the 4th time of hearing this, I began to doubt most of what I had heard about keeping my son intact. (I am still resolved that I won’t voluntarily circumcise him.)
In the end, after a 4 day hospitalization, they still can’t tell me FOR SURE why he had that episode. there are three working theories: A UTI (which I was told he will get often since he is uncut); silent reflux; a medical anomaly that is serious, appears out of the blue and usually doesn’t happen. Of course, if I get him circ’d, it’ll ‘never happen again- caused by his foreskin, anyway’.
So that’s my story so far (and I know it’s not over- I am my son’s advocate for all causes), and I would like your advice for his care. I could have sworn I was told by the discharge nurse after his birth that all I have to do is wipe him thoroughly and change his diaper often as soon as i notice he’s peed or pooped. What did I do wrong?
I was asked to publish this as a way of signal-boosting this mother’s search for help, as I am not nearly knowledgable enough on this. Feel free to contact her directly.
If I was your dad, and was faced with the decision to cut off your little clitoral hood, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it even if I was promised the same secondary health benefits that are associated with circumcision, or if all the other parents were doing it, or if I had never seen a clitoral hood in my life, and thus didn’t yet know how to properly care for one.
I wouldn’t do it because I wouldn’t want to subject you to a painful and risky surgery if there was any way to avoid it—especially this early in your life. I wouldn’t do it because the primary role of your sexual organs is to provide you with sexual exploration and fulfillment—both alone or with a partner—and this function is way too precious to jeopardize. I wouldn’t do it because you deserve better than to have a prominent scar on your genitals for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t do it because even a seemingly minor genital alteration can have a dramatic impact on one’s sex life. I wouldn’t do it because it’s too important a decision to leave out of your hands.
I not only wouldn’t do it, I would do everything in my power to protect you from it. Even if your mother had the same thing done to her and thought it was harmless or even preferable, I would do my best to convince her that you deserve better. But I guess that’s just me.