Botched Circumcisions - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-11-2010, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just within the last week or two, I've heard TWO stories from friends about their boys or sons of their friends having to have additional surgery due to "botched circumcisions."

One boy, who was five, had to be "re-circumcised" when scar tissue compressed the glans of his penis. Another boy, who is three, actually had his urethra close due to scar tissue from the circumcision and had to have the urethra widened and his penis straightened because the circumcision also caused some problems with curvature of the penis.

I have to admit, it was hard to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to say, "Why did you choose to circumcise your son when his penis was normal at birth?" but I figured that this would only be hurtful to the mother, as it's not like they can un-do what's already been done, so I kept my mouth closed.

I wonder how common botched circumcisions really are? How sad that this unnecessary medical procedure then subjects boys to additional surgery??? I feel so fortunate that I heard about the problems of circumcision well before I ever became pregnant and that I was able to avoid this unnecessary procedure for my son. I hope to see this procedure become less and less common. It's so sad.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:21 PM
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My god, that sounds horrible. Poor kids. The really sad part is the parents probably won't attribute those problems to them being circ'd. They'll probably say something like, "Thank goodness he was circumcised, cause if he wasn't, this would have been 10 times worse" or something to that effect. Or they'll just blame the doctor for not doing it right.

It completely boggles my mind when a parent says they want to circumcise their boy so that he'll have less infections later on in life when the act of circumcision itself creates a wound around the glans, opening up the susceptibility of infections exponentially. Especially with constant exposure to urine and feces.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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I also know two families that had to recirc their sons - one at a few months old and the other at two years when he was already under for another surgery. Both were redone because the foreskin wasn't cut straight so part of it refused.

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Old 02-11-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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I know it happened to me. The original circ was "too loose" so it kept forming adhesions which the ped kept reseparating and also instructed my mother to reseparate. From what I was told it pretty much proved impossible and would reattach within a day's time (the body trying to heal itself is amazing!). So after much breaking of adhesions, and the resulting buildup of scar tissue around the glans, they finally talked my parents into a re-circ when I was six. Then they went overboard and basically denuded my penis of the remaining foreskin and most the penile shaft skin as well, leaving a very tight, "trapped" penis. Within six months of that I got the meatal stenosis and the same doctor that botched the re-circ cut me a new pee hole when the other almost completely closed up.

So yeah, I don't know how common it is, but it does happen. I don't really think it's important how often it happens because if it happens to you, or one of your children, it's one time too many.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So yeah, I don't know how common it is, but it does happen. I don't really think it's important how often it happens because if it happens to you, or one of your children, it's one time too many.
Very good point. One injured child is too many!

I don't know why this has been on my mind so much lately, as I have a four-year-old son I kept INTACT, but I guess my friend's stories just brought it back into my mind. It's so weird that so many people still do this without even questioning it at all. It's also so weird that so many fathers literally FIGHT to have this done to their children. I truly hope that this terrible procedure is outlawed in the near future.

I was just on an anti-circ website reading mothers' stories of observing their sons' circumcisions, and it was enough to make you sob and vomit at the same time.

I've made quite a few mistakes as a mother (haven't we all?), but I am glad that this is one thing I feel I got right!!!
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My god, that sounds horrible. Poor kids. The really sad part is the parents probably won't attribute those problems to them being circ'd. They'll probably say something like, "Thank goodness he was circumcised, cause if he wasn't, this would have been 10 times worse" or something to that effect. Or they'll just blame the doctor for not doing it right.

It completely boggles my mind when a parent says they want to circumcise their boy so that he'll have less infections later on in life when the act of circumcision itself creates a wound around the glans, opening up the susceptibility of infections exponentially. Especially with constant exposure to urine and feces.
Actually, my one friend said about her son's surgery, "Well, it was a problem with his circumcision that caused this to happen, so they had to fix it." I just wanted to say, "Why did you do that in the first place???" but I know that wouldn't help or change anything, and perhaps she was against it in the first place but her son's father really wanted it done. Who knows.

I was lucky that I was able to make the decision myself (I was a single mom when my son was born) and I didn't have any pressure from anyone about it. That must be really hard for moms who have male partners who are dead set on the idea that their son will be circumcised. It's weird because men are generally so protective of penises; it seems odd that they'd be FOR something that could permanently damage a penis, cause sexual dysfunction or lack of sensitivity, or a wide range of other problems. I get that they don't want their child to stand out from other kids, but is that really worth the risk?

One guy I dated was finishing chiropractic college, and the school required them to watch a video of a circumcision as part of their schooling. He said every single person said, "If I have a boy, I am NEVER doing that to him" after watching the video. He said people were physically sick and crying, and he said it was very upsetting to him. They should make more people watch a video of a circumcision. In fact, maybe it should be part of the parents' informed consent process!!! I bet far fewer people would choose that procedure if they knew what their child would really go through.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:19 PM
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It's weird because men are generally so protective of penises; it seems odd that they'd be FOR something that could permanently damage a penis, cause sexual dysfunction or lack of sensitivity, or a wide range of other problems. I get that they don't want their child to stand out from other kids, but is that really worth the risk?
I found an interesting article about the topic from a male's perspective that is quite enlightening and might explain the psychology behind why men choose to do this to their sons:

http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/v...ty_of_men.html
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:36 PM
 
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DH wasn't circ'd (his older bro was) because a week before his birth, his would-be-circ-doctor botched one of two twin boys - and that twin went home a girl. His mom found out from the news and had nothing to do with the issue at all afterwards.

Turns out, they tried to raise him as a girl, which obviously caused lots of gender identity and orientation problems later in life. He's 24 now. Poor child, poor man.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH wasn't circ'd (his older bro was) because a week before his birth, his would-be-circ-doctor botched one of two twin boys - and that twin went home a girl. His mom found out from the news and had nothing to do with the issue at all afterwards.

Turns out, they tried to raise him as a girl, which obviously caused lots of gender identity and orientation problems later in life. He's 24 now. Poor child, poor man.
There is a very famous story, similar to the one above, of David Reimer, who was born a boy, had his penis destroyed in a circumcision, so they decided to removed his testicles (!!!!), give him female hormones, and raise him as a girl. Read the full story here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/reimer/

After a very troubled life, poor Mr Reimer eventually committed suicide.

I know these instances are rare, but can you even imagine the horror of putting your son through what you thought was a "routine medical procedure" only to have his penis completely destroyed?
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I found an interesting article about the topic from a male's perspective that is quite enlightening and might explain the psychology behind why men choose to do this to their sons:

http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/v...ty_of_men.html
Wow, I just read that article (see link above), and it's GREAT! Any woman who is trying to convince her male partner not to circumcise their child should read that.

I guess I did assume, in a way, that some men would be uncomfortable about this topic because they don't want to admit that their penises would have been better off had they been left alone. It's a sensitive issue.

I guess in some ways it's like the elder women in African tribes who practice female genital mutilation on the younger women. It's not the men doing the mutilating; it's the women who had it done to them when they were young. You'd think that going through such a horrific experience would make them never want to put someone else through such a horrific experience, but they just get stuck in this mindset that "This is what needs to be done. This is the way we do things."

I hope we will get to a place where there are no unnecessary painful genital modification/mutilation procedures done to ANY of the world's children, here or overseas.

I am a college teacher, and the first time this topic (male circ) was brought up for me was when I was teaching a writing class. I was a new teacher, about 25 years old, and in a class discussion about culture, I brought up the topic of female genital mutilation (also sometimes called female circumcision) and this burly macho-looking guy in my class said, "Well, what about what they do to us in this country as baby boys? Isn't that the same thing? They cut us, and we have no say in it, no choice!" I was totally taken aback and had never thought about that before. I expected other men in the class to ignore this comment or look at him like he was some weirdo, as I've always heard men argue in favor of circumcision, but sure enough, several other burly, macho-looking men chimed in "Yeah! What about us! That's not right what they do to us!" It was really eye-opening for me and something I didn't expect. That was the first time I thought I should look into this topic further.

It's too bad we couldn't have more conversations like that in public places! Maybe this would raise more awareness of this issue.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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I would have asked her "If you could do it over again, would you still circ him?"

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Old 02-12-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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Botched circs are very common. I know, I represent the victims all across the country. I am on my 5th case of partial ablation of the glans, the round end of the penis. Recently a pediatrician agreed with me that probably one third of circed boys have had too much shaft skin removed! Meatal stenosis, the narrrowing of the urinary opening, occurs almost exclusively in circed boys, probably because of loss of blood supply to the end of the glans when the frenular artery and the drainage veins from the frenular area are severed, but perhaps due to constant irritation of the meatus in the diaper. Many "re-circs" are probably unnecessary and are done more for the parent than the child. Most circed boys will grow into any "extra" skin left. In fact "redoing" a loose circ probably results in tight erections as an adult.

If you bring the whole baby home you avoid these problems!
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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In re: the reality and incidence of botched circumcisions, here is an excerpt from a comment by DC pediatric urologist David Gibbons on an online circumcision discussion posted in October (I believe) at Men's Health Magazine entitled The Debate Over Circumcision: Should All Males Be Circumcised? in the comments section (http://www.menshealth.com/)

"In my practice, as a pediatric urologist, I manage the complications of neonatal circumcision. For example, in a two year period, I was referred >275 newborns and toddlers with complications of neonatal circumcision. None of these were 'revisions' because of appearance, which I do not do. 45% required corrective surgery (minor as well as major, especially for amputative injury), whereupon some could be treated locally without surgery. Complications of this unnecessary procedure are often not reported, but of 300 pediatric urologists in this country who have practices similar to mine...well, one can do the math, to understand the scope of this problem...."

Here are my rough calculations from his numbers: 275 kids for this one pediatric urologist over 2 years is 137 per year, times 300 pediatric urologists in the country with similar practices is 41,100 boys per year with serious enough circumcision complications to be seen by a pediatric urologist. Out of 1.2 million US circumcisions a year (roughly 60% of 2 million boys born a year), this is 3.4% being referred to pediatric urologists for circ complications. If 45% of these need some kind of corrective surgery, this would be 1.5% of all circumcisions per year needing some kind of corrective surgery. Sorry if my math is off, but certainly this is the same ballpark as the statement by the Canadian Pediatric Society of 1/100 needing some kind of repeat surgery.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:27 PM
 
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I know it happened to me. The original circ was "too loose" so it kept forming adhesions which the ped kept reseparating and also instructed my mother to reseparate. From what I was told it pretty much proved impossible and would reattach within a day's time (the body trying to heal itself is amazing!). So after much breaking of adhesions, and the resulting buildup of scar tissue around the glans, they finally talked my parents into a re-circ when I was six. Then they went overboard and basically denuded my penis of the remaining foreskin and most the penile shaft skin as well, leaving a very tight, "trapped" penis. Within six months of that I got the meatal stenosis and the same doctor that botched the re-circ cut me a new pee hole when the other almost completely closed up.

So yeah, I don't know how common it is, but it does happen. I don't really think it's important how often it happens because if it happens to you, or one of your children, it's one time too many.
That is awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I've seen some really bad botched circ jobs and it's really heartbreaking.

At my current facility, meatal stenosis is not listed as a possible complication. They only list the complications that might happen at the time of circ, not long term complications. I think that is a real shame. I know several people in real life who have sons who suffer from meatal stenosis. And every time I hear Hank Hill on King of the Hill talk about his "narrow urethra", I can't help but think this must be why. And yes, I know it's just a cartoon, but still.

I think complications are under reported to doctors and even if the parent or child tells the doctor, they don't normally go around talking about that issue at the park/dinner table, yk?

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Old 02-12-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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That is awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you.
Thanks, Katielady! I try not to dwell on it but if by sharing my story someone else's child might be spared the same fate, I feel like it's the small part I can play in ending this madness.

Night Nurse, the other thing is the sheer ignorance on this issue and the fact that most men are loathe to admit any problems with their penis. In various conversations with male friends over the years, I have found many have complications whether they realize it's from circ or not. When one admitted to needing to shave the shaft of his penis, he was truly amazed (and not a bit happy) that it was likely because of a tight circ. Another thought a large adhesion on the top of his glans was "normal" until he was 26 and came across some pics of circ complications on the internet! Another described a sort of pocket (skin bridge) that he had to squeeze the buildup out of during each shower (so much for the "cleaner", easier to maintain cut penis!). Yet another has what sounds like an adhesion the entire circumference over the ridge of his glans. Unlike the others, he was well aware it was from the circ. Yet, in a circ'ing culture where the brainwashing is so complete, his response was, "You'd think they could do it right." Of course my response was, "You'd think they'd learn not to do it at all!"

Considering it's not a subject that gets talked about alot in casal conversation, just knowing these many in real life makes me wonder how many more men there are who are too embarrassed to speak up.
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:54 AM
 
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[
It's too bad we couldn't have more conversations like that in public places! Maybe this would raise more awareness of this issue.
We can! Come to Washington DC and speak to the general public about this issue. Come raise awareness.

http://www.stopinfantcircumcision.org/2010SICshed.htm

It's amazing how refreshing it is to talk to the youth. They GET the message. They are such a great target audience because they are interested in anything having to do with sex. When someone will talk honestly and straight to them about the sexual ramifications of circumcision, they are interested. Once you have their interest, you can touch upon the bodily rights issues, the bodily integrity, the pain and it's effects upon the brain. All of this in an audience who are not parents yet, who might not have a great deal of sexual experience and might not have a strong desire to circumcise because its the social custom.

I am inspired after speaking to the young people. I am sad that the conversation even needs to happen, but refreshed to have such a great willing audience.

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Old 02-13-2010, 03:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Meatal stenosis, the narrrowing of the urinary opening, occurs almost exclusively in circed boys
I think this is what my friend's son had corrected, just last week. When he urinated, it went off to the side instead of going straight, and his penis was also curved. He just had to undergo general anesthesia to "correct" something that never needed correcting in the first place! My friend just acted like it was "routine"--just one of those things that happens sometimes, and no big deal. Now, post surgery, his urine is coming out in TWO streams, one to the right and one to the left.

It seems like most mothers I know who have circumcised their sons did so because of the father's pressure---not always, but often. It seems like there needs to be some concerted effort to educate men on this issue! I bet if all parents had to watch a circumcision video (like my BF did when he was in chiropractic school as part of their regular education), very few would choose to circ their kids.

It's very cool, Dave2GA, that you're working to fight this practice! I have sure read some horrific stories.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Considering it's not a subject that gets talked about alot in casual conversation, just knowing these many in real life makes me wonder how many more men there are who are too embarrassed to speak up.
This is why I was so shocked when a bunch of grown men brought up this subject in my college classroom. I thought that took some real bravery on their part!

As you said, I bet a lot of men don't realize that many of their sexual problems, which are of course embarrassing for any man, are likely due to being circumcised. So many circumcised men can't keep an erection with a condom on because they "can't feel anything," leading to lots of unsafe sex. What about the risk there?

Where I live, in Portland, Oregon, it's a pretty liberal/alternative town, so the subject comes up a lot. When I was pregnant, I was in this coffee shop and this hippie girl with dreadlocks approached me. She asked me if I knew if I was having a boy or a girl, and when I said, "A boy," she asked, "Are you keeping him intact?" At first I didn't know what she was talking about, and when I figured it out after a moment, I was a little embarrassed and taken aback that this stranger was asking about my son's genitals, but I said that yes, I was not going to circumcise. She just smiled and nodded and walked on. I feel pretty confident that my son will be in good company here and that a good chunk, if not the majority of his peers, will be normal and natural!

Even if this wasn't the case and he would somehow "stand out" amongst the crowd in the locker room, there is no way I would ever inflict such terrible pain on a baby or any living creature!
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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I see circ complications fairly frequently. Bleeding mostly. Pain and trouble feeding always.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I was one of those mothers. I was raised Jewish and never thought of not circumcising. Heck, I barely even knew what it meant except that you do it. My son's was botched (I've posted about it in the past) and he had to have a meatotomy a few years ago. I would never re-circ him. The day he was circ'd woke me up.

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Old 02-13-2010, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see circ complications fairly frequently. Bleeding mostly. Pain and trouble feeding always.
Do you work in the medical profession, I assume?
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was one of those mothers. I was raised Jewish and never thought of not circumcising. Heck, I barely even knew what it meant except that you do it. My son's was botched (I've posted about it in the past) and he had to have a meatotomy a few years ago. I would never re-circ him. The day he was circ'd woke me up.
Honestly, I think it's almost pure luck that I didn't circ, just because I was lucky enough to hear this information from multiple sources before I was ever pregnant. It was only after I had heard these stories (from men in my class who regretted having been circ'd, from my chiropractor BF who saw a circ video) that I even thought of not circumcising. To be honest, when the men in my class first compared female genital mutilation to male circumcision, I thought it was pretty ridiculous, even if I didn't say so at the time. It was only when I read about it later that I realized the comparison wasn't that far off at all.

Even though I am a very conscientious mother and one who tries to research everything, I really wonder if I would've explored this topic further had I not been lucky enough to randomly run across these stories. I am fortunate that I heard these stories BEFORE being pregnant and having my son, not after, as many of you mothers have. I really feel for mothers who made what they thought was the "right" decision for their sons at the time, but later have deep regret.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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Do you work in the medical profession, I assume?
Yes. I'm a NICU nurse. Fortunately, in a low circ'ing area. But it's still an issue I have to contend with at work.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes. I'm a NICU nurse. Fortunately, in a low circ'ing area. But it's still an issue I have to contend with at work.
Wow. That must be hard to deal with things that (I am assuming) you don't agree with at work, even if much of your work is rewarding and so essential for those tiny little ones!
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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HTo be honest, when the men in my class first compared female genital mutilation to male circumcision, I thought it was pretty ridiculous, even if I didn't say so at the time. It was only when I read about it later that I realized the comparison wasn't that far off at all.
To be honest, when my grade 12 sociology teacher made an offhanded comment in class that male circumcision was the equivalent of female genital mutilation, I wrote him an unsolicited letter which outlined the reasons that the two were not comparable. And he let it replace an assignment and gave me a good mark on it too. It is only now that I am older that I see the similarities.

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Old 02-14-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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How could any infant circumcision NOT be described as botched?

It starts out as an elective amputation with no diagnosis of defect or pathology.

By carrying out cosmetic surgery on an infant, doctors should realize they have the same odds of "success" (a result the patient would have chosen) as if they tried to do a nose job on an infant. Everything is still growing and hardly resembles the adult form, so they have no idea what the outcome will be, EVERY time.

-Ron
HIS body, HIS decision.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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Before I worked in L&D I was a postpartum/newborn nursery nurse. I cared for many circ's (before I became a conscientious objector) Some I knew would look funny as the child grew. Now that I have 2 intact penis' in my house ALL boys that are circ'd look funny. The worst thing I have seen is a baby that bled so bad he needed 6 stitches to re-attach the shaft skin to the base of the glans. It is typical to see bleeding at the frenulum but that actually bled minimally for this little boy. The other thing that freaks me out is that you never know, your baby could have a clotting problem. Wouldn't that suck if you discovered it on the circ board?

**Meghan***Wife, Mother, L&D RN... DS Logan 9/05 DS Riley 05/07, and DS #3 Cian is here!!! 7/25 x3
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Bisou;15065326]To be honest, when the men in my class first compared female genital mutilation to male circumcision, I thought it was pretty ridiculous, even if I didn't say so at the time. It was only when I read about it later that I realized the comparison wasn't that far off at all. /QUOTE]

Can I play with this idea a bit?

I think there is a generalized minimizing of all pain for boys and men. I think this really fuels the idea that circumcision is just a little snip and that its a right of passage and an expected and assumed thing.

We often minimize and ridicule the pain of boys/men....thus discounting their emotional and physical beings. It's a cultural.

I have two girls and a boy. I am more concerned about the social pressures that my boy will face more than those my girls will be challenged by.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I heard of a case of a botched circ on another board. The sad part was the baby already had health issues that were pretty serious and yet the mother wanted him circed. She had to take him back to a surgeon who specialized in fixing bad circs and found out that he fixed about 20 of them a week!

A boyfriend I had when I was younger had a crooked penis and had to have surgery to reopen his urethra. He was very self-concious about it. Sad.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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