I thought after last week’s posts I’d want a break from this issue for a while. I did–I do–want a break, but I also want to share these words left by a woman named Rhonda in a comment at No Circ is WholeSon. With her permission I’m re-posting the majority of it here.
When the time came for the birth of our miracle, we were more than ready to have it over with (I include my husband because I’m nice, not because I think he had a CLUE what I was going through!). We felt as ready as we would ever be; we’d done all we could to prepare for his coming. Twenty-seven long, long, looooong, hours later, we welcomed our beautiful (as only parents could say), whole, 9lb baby boy. We got to spend an hour with him that way; whole; before he became a victim at the hands of a obstetrician who blatantly disregarded our wishes that our son NOT be circumcised!
When they removed him from atop my body, it was with the words “Time to get cleaned up, we’ll bring him to your room when we are finished.” I was exhausted, my husband was emotionally drained, so we just held hands looking at each other, smiling, knowing our lives had only just begun. Those smiles became tears shortly thereafter. Most of your readers know the sounds of birth; know the cries a newborn makes. I pray that few of them know the screams of a newborn being mutilated. I cannot say that we both knew for certain that the horrific sounds coming from the next room were our son, but in my mother’s heart, I knew; I just knew.
My husband left me, crying on the delivery bed, to get the charge nurse to locate our son. It was then, and only then, that we were told our son had been circumcised and the lack of anesthesia was obvious. The look of horror and disbelief on our faces told her all she needed to know. She left the room and returned with the SOB OB so we could ask (scream at) him what the hell he had done and WHY. He was smug, indignant, professed ignorance of our wish to leave our son whole. He lied right to our faces. Through my tears, I reminded him, word for word, of the conversations we had during the many months of checkups; reminded him of the one specifically about my husband not being circumcised, therefore my son would be the same!
I envisioned my husband’s hands around that Dr.’s throat. I give him credit for his physical restraint, but even more to the determination and single-mindedness he showed in the months following; doing everything from making a formal complaint to the hospital and the medical board and beyond. It’s amazing what you can find out AFTER something like this happens that is not quite so easy to find beforehand. As it turns out, we were not the first couple to fall victim to this Dr’s predilection toward circumcision, but we were determined to be the last. Before the year was out, this OB was no more. Granted, he had other issues in his ‘jacket’ that likely lead to the removal of his license, but we like to think of our son being the proverbial ‘last straw’!
We did volley questions from our son as he grew old enough to notice the difference between his father and himself. We gave him age appropriate answers and when he was ready, we told him what the Dr. had done and that his Dad worked very hard to make sure he never did it again.
Our second son was born 5 years later and his older brother was in the room. You can bet your last dime, big brother was right there making sure NO ONE hurt his little brother! And when the little guy started asking questions about why he was different than big brother? Guess who gave him the answer! Yup, as only a 5 year old could. Priceless.
I am happy to end this tale with this: That first miracle of ours is the proud father of a “fully intact” 2 year old son.
I’d like to think her story is the outlier–that this is not “normal” when it comes to circumcision, but I don’t believe that’s entirely the case. I think the assumption is still there that a baby boy will be circumcised. I think many baby boys make the same sounds of torture she heard from her baby. (There’s a reason I’ve told expecting mothers that if they’re considering circumcision to watch a video of it with sound and if they’re not to never ever watch one.) I think that while there are few doctors who would deliberately go against the parents’ wishes to leave their son intact, there are many who possess the same arrogance/ignorance. I’m reminded of a quote in an email from my kids’ pediatrician, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer: “Medical types are generally poor communicators, which is coupled with an insulting paternalistic urge to protect patients from ‘the hard truth’. Add to that, their inability/unwillingness to confront their own ignorance.”
The ignorance lives on, among those inside the health profession and out. This is why I feel the need to write one more post on routine infant circumcision–to enlighten the misinformed masses and bring the willfully ignorant to the ethically right side. It’s an uphill battle all the way.