(Note: This isn’t meant to change any one’s mind. I think this issue is personal. I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. This is just to say what happened in our family and why we decided what we did. )
We really believed Evan would be a girl. The Husband was sure. My mom was sure. Heck, even my dad dreamed of a baby girl. But somewhere in the third trimester, The Husband thought it would be prudent if we discussed circumcision. Don’t you hate when your husband is right?
I had a lot of information under my belt. I knew the religious, social, and cultural reasons for circumcision. I even had to research the historical beginnings for several papers. (In case you’re wondering, it began in ancient Egypt for boys at 12 to prove they bled into manhood like girls bled into womanhood.) I even listened for several, several, several hours to a guy I knew who was against the whole thing. He personally felt that because of his that his sex wasn’t nearly as good, but I’ll guarantee you that it didn’t ruin his sex life one bit. In my sexpert research, many claimed that an uncircumcised man enjoyed sex better and so did his partner. Unfortunately any girls I knew who could give me a personal account used condoms, which defeated the point.
The Husband had his own experiences. He knew a guy who wasn’t circumcised. After being married for a couple years, his wife made him get a circumcision because she thought his penis was gross. It’s a painful procedure that lays a guy up longer than a vasectomy. The sick part was his wife still divorced him less than a year after the procedure.
But I agreed that we should research it all. We dove into it. I taught The Husband how to search for qualified research. For every article we found that supported circumcision, we found another against it. Every time we decided we wouldn’t do it, we found evidence to change our mind.
The Husband: Well, read this one.
Me: Hmm. Yeah, but read this one.
The Husband: Hmmm.
Me: Would you be worried if he didn’t look like you?
The Husband: No, not all. But what if girls don’t want to get near him because of it?
Me: Do we want him around girls that would take issue with his penis?
The Husband: No. You’re right we don’t.
Me: This article says the foreskin is important for lubrication.
The Husband: And this article says that circumcised men have a slightly lower chance of STDS.
Me: This sucks.
The Husband: Yes. It does.
By the next OB/GYN appointment, we were both confused and still wondering what to do.
The Doc: So, any questions?
The Husband: Actually, we have one.
The Doc: (light up since we’re probably the only first time parents without questions) Yes?
The Husband: Fae and I have been debating circumcision, but everything we find just negates everything else. We can’t see the difference. What’s your opinion?
The Doc: Hmmm. (He took a minute.) It’s all a personal choice. I don’t want to sway you. But if you’re unsure, then the medical evidence does support that a male with a circumcised penis has a slightly less chance of getting an STD. It’s so slight that if you didn’t want your son circumcised, I wouldn’t worry about it. But if you wanted the extra evidence to make a decision, that’s the medical stance.
The Husband and I: Thank you.
As we left in the car, The Husband and I agreed that a slight less chance of STD was better than none. Of course, my mom weighed in, saying she got my brothers circumcised because she didn’t know how she was going to teach and be sure a ten-year-old’s penis was clean.
So when Evan was born and in the hospital, I got to know the staff and rooms very well. Including nursing in the circumcision room, which is scary with all its boards and straps. I asked the nurses, who assured me that the babies were given pain medication, that the straps were tight but not uncomfortable, that the procedure was quick and nearly painless after the meds. I was reassured. Except Evan didn’t get his done in the hospital because of his meds. I had to take him to the doctor’s office a few days after they took out his IV.
My mom and I arrived at the OB/GYN with Evan on a Friday for an appointment right before lunch. I helped get Evan ready, and then they shooed me out of the room to wait with my mom. A few minutes later the nurse came back with a screaming Evan. A screaming, hurt Evan. What did I do? I let them hurt my baby! I grabbed Evan from the nurse’s arms and started crying too. My mom started crying because I was crying.
The nurse: Didn’t you give him any pain medication?
That woman is only alive today because I had Evan in my arms. My mom and I shot her nasty looks.
My Mom: Well, it would have been nice if someone told a first time mom what she was suppose to do.
The nurse wisely and quickly left the room. I cried and cried.
My Mom: Fae, you have to stop crying. Evan won’t stop until you do. We’ll go to the drug store, and I’ll run get him some Tylenol, and you can nurse him. He’ll feel better with a full stomach. It’ll be fine. It’s over.
I nodded and eventually was able to compose myself. We left, got the pain medication, and fed Evan in the parking lot. My mom bought us a bag of chocolates because we needed it.
By the end of the weekend, I was sure I ruined Evan’s penis. Monday I called in a panic because it was still bleeding a little. The doctor insisted I came in and retaught me how to clean Evan up and assured me I was doing everything right.
Fast forward to Sean. You would think I would have been against circumcision for the rest of my boys, right? I honestly had forgotten all about Evan’s ordeal when Sean was born and I was asked what I wanted. All I remembered was Evan had his for a medical reason, and it still worked for me. They whisked Sean away and returned him 15 minutes later, a little fussy and wanting to eat. Done.
The funny thing is Evan has a partial circ, and Sean has a full one. And I’m sure I can prove that guy in college wrong about the pain and “flashbacks” that he was sure happened to many men. Evan’s experience was traumatic, but the kid tugs on his penis all the time. I can’t let him go nude or his hands are on his penis. I don’t think he’ll have a hard time at all with the enjoyment of his penis.
So with this one, we’ll probably cut again.
For parents who are about to make this decision, I encourage you to make an informed decision, whichever way that takes you. Anyone want to add why they did or did not?