June 29, 2005

All About the Genital Slicing

Yesterday I spent a really surprising amount of time talking about people's genitals being cut up. No, we weren't discussing female genital mutilation in Africa, although I do like to torment the King on occasion by ranting about women's rights, or lack thereof, in certain areas of the world. No, we were talking about the slicing and dicing of my genitals. And those of my potential offspring (or "little passenger," as one of my pregnancy books so creepily calls it).

It all started with a long and fairly boring first official prenatal visit. (We didn't get an ultrasound or a Doppler, so there's no fun news about whether the "little passenger" is actually, you know, still alive in there. But let's assume the best, okay?). The nurse practitioner asked if we had any questions, and I immediately began a political rant about the wanton use of enemas and episiotomies in the United States. You see, I am absolutely terrified of episiotomies. The idea of someone slicing open my vagina with a pair of scissors horrifies me far more than the idea of labor itself.

The nurse managed to head me off at the pass (and calm my impending hyperventilation) by saying they don't give episiotomies or enemas to everyone. Then she cleverly distracted me by saying they do have whirlpool tubs for laboring in. Ooh. Jacuzzi.

The idea of the jacuzzi having diverted me from the whole vagina-slicing horror long enough to get out of the doctor's office, I then immediately began questioning the King about his feelings about circumcision, should we have a boy. He said yes, definitely. I said that the United States is the only first-world country that still practices circumcision regularly, and he said I had told him that before, but he'd never heard any proof of it. Then I said I really just want the kid to feel comfortable when he's a teenager around other guys, although I'm not thrilled about the idea of snipping bits off his genitalia. Or of having to clean blood off his little newborn penis, either, because that's just weird.

We never came to an agreement about circumcision. Any opinions? Personally, I decided it would be easiest just to hope for a girl.


Anonymous said...

I think men like their sons to look like them. That said, my Italian DH is uncircumcised so I imagine if we had a son he would do whatever I want, which is leave his little penis alone.

lisa said...

It was an easy no vote for us. I mean, even if we hadn't been against it from the start, the last thing we wanted to do was put the poor babe through another painful procedure (anesthetic, sure, but c'mon, freaking paper cuts hurt when they heal) after 12 days in the NICU.

Our neonatologist and ped both approved the decision, with one of them commenting, "That's good, he's so small!" I didn't want to ask if she meant the baby or his baby wee.

Oh, and the whole "look the same" argument- have YOU ever seen two that look the same, related or no? I'm no expert myself, but I've seen a few and they all look rather different regardless.

Epis- I didn't get one, but got a level 3 tear instead. With a preemie. Yay me. I healed pretty quickly, but if someone could assure me that an epi would save me from a level 4 tear I would be all over it. Otherwise, please leave me alone, thanks.

And hey, how's the house thing coming?

Kim said...

DP and I have discussed this one, but have yet to agree as well. Technically, I am of Jewish decent, making circumcision a covenant with G-d, although I'm not sure what snipping off bits of a boy's pieces has to do with his relationship to a higher power. That said, I'm inclined to lean toward the "no" circumcision camp, mostly because I think that it's not my penis. Sure, it's attached a boy that's in my charge for the next 18 or so years, but I wouldn't just randomly take out his appendix at birth because it's an unnecessary organ either. Yes, circumcision later in life hurts, but I can't believe the thought that it hurts MORE than as an infant -- the older child/young man is just able to verbalize his pain.
I vote no. Or girls. Whichever works. :)

Anonymous said...

On the episiotomie front I’ve let it be known that I’d rather tear than get cut. So if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen

In terms of the little one on the way, who is a boy, the Hubby and I have discussed circumcision and we’re are leaning towrds having it done. I know, I know I’ve read all the arguments on both sides and I don’t have a strong agrument as to why we’re going to do it. Who knows I just may change my mind at the last minute, but as of today ...

And for those out there who may feel the need to try and change my mind, plaease don’t. Frist of all this is Queenie’s blog and she asked so I answered. Second of all I’m a big girl who’s gone to college I know how to make up my own mind and do my homework, and like I said things may change. And thirdly I’m very much a, “to each their own” type of person so the rants of others often have the reverse affect on me.

For Queenie, whatever you and the King decide to do for your little one well more power to you, you have my respect.

BeckyB said...

Hi there...I just found your blog from a link on Peter's Cross Station, so I hope you don't mind if I post.

As for episiotomies, yeah, I'd avoid it if you can. I was given one with my first (in 1995) and proceeded to tear pretty good anyway. The doc had no ambition to try any perineal stretching...snipping was more convenient for him. I had a different doctor with my 2nd and 3rd and no mention of episiotomies was made. I had only small tears with them and felt 100x better afterwards. I also had epidurals with the last two which may have helped me slow down when I needed to, allowing for the stretch to occur.....who knows. I guess I just really don't believe an episiotomy will keep a woman from tearing, JMHO.

As for the circ, I have one son who is and one who isn't. DH is and I pretty much let him choose with our first. He said yes because, of course, it's what he's familiar with and he thought it would be easier to keep clean. Nine years later and I wasn't convinced it was the way to go when our second son (3rd child) was born. I wasn't really prepared as the U/S tech had said the baby was a girl, lol. Our doc asked and I said we weren't sure yet. He said he was fine with whatever decision we made. I told DH I really didn't want to and he was fine with it, too. Another doctor who checked on him said in our area, by the time he is in high school, it will be about 50/50 circ and not. My biggest concern was explaining to him why he doesn't look like Daddy and brother. But it wasn't a big enough concern for me to go ahead with it. When he asks I'll tell him doctors used to think it was healthier but now they know it's not necessary. My oldest (almost 10) has never mentioned the difference between him and his baby brother (almost one).

Good luck with your pregnancy and with the decisions you and DH will make!

goodsandwich said...

Don't do it, and try to decide before knowing the sex of your baby if you can. My husband really wanted to circ our son, and I was adamantly wildly against it -- but to make it work I had to go the tactful, gentle, and persuasive route (hard for me). Even in your area of the country, about 40% of baby boys keep their foreskins these days so for those few moments that another boy will ever see his penis when a teen, he'll be in good company. As for "looking like Daddy" -- during potty training, Daddy's will look a lot different from his for size and maturity reasons anyway, and the circ/foreskin discussion can be at a child's level pretty easily ("Doctors used to think baby boys shouldn't have foreskins, and now they've decided foreskins are OK").

Of course you *can* trot out all the nocirc.org info about sensitivity and maiming and so forth, but I can tell you from experience that does NOT work with every man.

Good luck and congrats!