I was against circ from the beginning - I had a psych class in college and up until then I never thought about it, but we had a section of our texbook on Genital Mutilation and lo-and-behold, circ was discussed there. It changed my views forever.
When I was preg and found we were having a boy, we began to have the circ discussion - DH said Yes, I said No. His arguments were for cleanliness - my response was if this was a girl should we have her labia surgically removed because she wouldn't have folds to clean so she would be cleaner? Then he argued the kids in gym and the showers would tease him... My responses were A - do guys really check out other guys genitals when showering? and B - if we had a girl and she was 13 and hadn't really begun to develop and was getting teased for being flat chested, would we be giving her breast implants? My arguments made a dent, but didn't convince him.
When interviewing pediatricians, we discussed it. I liked him immediately - and still do. He had circ all 3 of his boys and said it wasn't a big deal and most of the kids he saw were still being circ. He suggested I let Dad make this one decision. Ultimately, that is what I did.
DS came back from surgery and I changed his diaper - and I looked at my previously perfect intact son who was now swollen and bleeding. I can't describe the sick-to-my-stomach feeling I had. When my husband came in from work, I made him change the first diaper that evening - the color completely drained from his face.
Here is where our story takes a truly negative turn. It's important to know that babies are born with swollen genitals - all babies - and mine was no exception. At 6 weeks, we began to be concerned. My DS penis didn't look "right." It didn't hang outside his body, it seemed to slip back in. We brought him to the ped and asked him and he said everything looked "OK."
A few weeks later I was watching a surgical show where the patient suffered from Hidden Penis. After the discussion, I went online and looked it up - I found a picture of a 2 year old boy and he looked exactly like my DS!
I began to do more research for our 3 mos appt and brought my concerns to the Dr. At that point I was at least reasonably well versed in what I thought we were dealing with. Because we had circ my DS, it was more likely he would suffer from adhesions (he has) and could have long lasting damage. Circ is contraindicated for the small percentage of boys with Hidden Penis. Hidden Penis is caused by a small fat pad that sits on top of the pubic bone, and that allows the shaft of the penis to shrink back into the fat pad and the skin that should be along the shaft just sags and covers up the (now exposed from circ) glans.
My ped did a very thorough exam and said that we would really need to wait till DS was about 3 to make a diagnosis, but it was possible. He also told me that he does see many boys that look like my DS that 'grow out of it' as they loose their baby fat.
Now DS is 16 mos old. He's had several adhesions and we've been told if we don't break them now, we run the risk of infection (which he's had already) and when he's a pre-teen and has his first erection the adhesions will break and bleed and swell and be sore. Gee... that's exactly what I want him to remember from his first erection - it's painful and I bleed! Honestly, I don't like either option - I hate pulling back on all the loose skin (skin that should be along the shaft of his penis) and so does DS, but I hate the idea that his first erection will be a painful experience!
I'm a member of La Leche League and I see so many of their beautiful, intact baby boys getting their diaper changed at meetings and every time I think, "Why did I let them do this to my son?" The circ certainly didn't cause the Hidden Penis, but it has caused complications.
Now we are in a waiting period. If over the next year and a half the extra fat pad over his pubic bone goes away, DS will be "normal" except for the scar from the circ. If it doesn't, then we're looking at finding a pediatric urologist and plastic surgeon to correct the Hidden Penis and we'll hope the circ didn't end up taking off too much skin to complicate the corrective surgery.
My first major decision as a mother was WWWWAAAAAAYYYYY wrong - and possibly harmed my son more than one would think. Of course since then, I've made much better decisions - exclusive breastfeeding, babywearing, attachment parenting, gentle discipline, home made baby food, nutritios food... but I dearly regret my... our decision to circ.
My husband has mixed feelings - but now that we're expecting #2 I told him hell would freeze over before this baby (if it's a boy) would be circ. It would literally have to be done over my dead body. My DH has no response. I don't know if he would still want it done, but he knows there is NO discussion on this topic.
It's taken most of the last year before I was really even able to tell our story - and some in my family still don't know it. When I know someone who is having a boy, I tell them. I don't tell them what to do - I tell them to educate themselves. Really look at both sides of the argument and see if they can find enough evidence based information FOR circumcision.
Thank you - for giving me a place to tell my story about our experience. I hope that some mom or dad-to-be will read it and, at the least, will really educate themselves BEFORE they make this truly life changing decision.