Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Pediatrician vs. The OB

Tomorrow is September 28th, and I thought this day would never come. Thomas will be six months old, and that alone brings up bittersweet feelings. However, tomorrow is also the day of his circumcision. Why is he getting it done now at six months and not six months ago? Good question. My pediatrician said he was able to get it done. However, when the OB looked at it, he decided not to do it. He told us, after he numbed Thomas leaving an ugly bruise, that he had a wandering raffe (a crooked line, not a crooked pee-pee). This could be indicative of hypospadias, a more serious condition. When I told the pediatrician what the OB said, she disagreed but said that since the OB is the one performing the surgery, it was ultimately his call. So then to end any chance of us having the circumcision done before we left the hospital, the OB called in the Urologist (and by Urologist, I mean an Urologist Resident student). He said there may or may not be something wrong with him and that we would know more in six months. WTF?? I was petrified. Not to mention this Almost Urologist had a super thick Eastern European accent that I needed subtitles to understand him (which come to think of it, I was on so many meds for my C-section, I don’t think I could’ve read that fast, but anyway . . .) And to make it worse, the OB flat out said that he doesn’t like doing circumcisions and didn’t want to take any chances. I interpreted that comment as there probably wasn’t anything wrong, but because he hates this part of his job, he saw an out and took it.

At Thomas’s newborn check-up, the Pediatrician explained that there is some political game between the Pediatrician and OB. One time she hounded down an OB when he refused to perform a circumcision and told him there was nothing wrong and needed to do it. The nationally known Urologist that will be performing Thomas’s surgery said he thinks there is little chance of hypospadias, too.

I feel we were caught in the cross fires of this Pediatrician and OB. Now my little baby boy needs to go under anesthesia, and have more complicated post -surgery care since he is older and more mobile. To put it plainly, this sucks!

Have you ever been an innocent victim of political bullshit?


Joel said...

Hey MotS,

I realize this is fairly last minute, but I was hoping to encourage you to cancel the circumcision altogether.

Being a male who has not undergone the procedure, I feel compelled to share with you... the part they cut off.. its a really great part! It contains thousands upon thousands of nerve endings similar to those found in the fingertips and lips! I can attest to the fact that it is indeed VERY sensitive. It also plays a role in protection, keeping the urethra from developing scarring (occurs to 1 in 10 circumcised men, and unheard of otherwise). It also plays a sexual role (which i wont go into but think built-in lube).

My point is this.. your son is healthy, and so is his foreskin. Its a sensitive, functional part of his genitals.

You don't need to do it! Please.. reconsider!

And, if you're thinking the cleanliness thing is valid - let me assure you.. teaching a boy to play with his penis in the shower is simple.. its the easiest form of hygiene there is.

Caroline said...


Hi there. I realize you don't know me personally, but I see your blog is public, and after reading your story, I feel compelled to pose a few questions to you:

1. Is circumcision necessary to your son's health? It doesn't sound like it is, by what you've described.

2. If it's not necessary, is there any harm in letting him keep his foreskin for now so that he can decide what he wants to do when he's older?

I'm not trying to be dramatic- but I do know that many men feel that an important choice was taken away from them when their parents had them circumcised.

Also, circumcision is just not the norm it used to be- less than 52% are circumcised as of 2006, and less than 20% on the west coast. If you or your husband are worried about "locker room" issues, it truly will not be an issue by the time your son is school age.

Lastly, if for any reason, you want to have him circumcised to "look like dad," please take a moment to watch this video by Penn Gillette of Penn and Teller. While this is an understandable and natural feeling for men to have (especially circumcised men), is it really a good reason to perform unnecessary surgery on your child? And does the child actually benefit from "looking like dad", or just dad? This is nothing against Thomas' dad, who I'm sure is a great dad :).

warning: adult language!
"Penn Says: Matching Penises?"

also, if you want more specific medical reasons to leave your son's foreskin intact, see this video by nationally syndicated radio host, Dr. Dean Edell

Take care,

Gregor said...

"Have you ever been an innocent victim of political bullshit?"

Yes, somebody chopped off a big piece of my penis without ever considering me.

Circumcision of an infant is a hurtful amputation that is not in the child's best interest and lasts a lifetime. Perhaps, the OB realizes the truth such that he knows that he should not be doing any unnecessary surgery.

Have you asked the OB why he dislikes needlessly cutting babies?

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I couldn't help but see this blog and see your post. I have a son who is almost 5 years old and we chose not to circumcise him. My husband in particular finds it the most cruel, senseless and medically unnecessary act on the planet (and he was circumcised...his brothers who were born after him were not). As Ph.D. scientists ourselves, with many medical practitioners in our family and friend base, we still can't believe how commonplace circumcision is in this country (the U.S.). We don't routinely circumcise baby girls in this country, so we shouldn't routinely circumcise baby boys.

If it's not too late, I would consider just leaving your little boy intact. The foreskin has many benefits. It isn't a birth defect. :)

DrMomma said...

I would venture to guess there is more going on between the OB and the Pediatrician than first meets the eye. Most doctors today are very opposed to infant circumcision as it violates all aspects of the code "First, Do No Harm"

The prepuce organ that would be amputated from your son is a vital component to his overall health, his immune function (it produces its own antibodies), and his future sexuality. Please look into all the important functions and purposes of the prepuce (foreskin) before you let someone chop it off your son.

Dr. Fleiss and Dr. Hodges have studied this topic for 30+ years. Dr. Fleiss is also a top pediatrician in Los Angeles and Dr. Hodges teaches at Yale. They have written an excellent book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision". I would encourage you to check out the excerpt here that they wrote on the functions of the foreskin:

and if you want to read the whole book - it is fabulous!

At 6 months of age your son's prepuce is still securely adhered to the glans (head) of his penis. The glans is meant to be an INTERNAL organ (just like the eye balls) for life. The prepuce protects it in a way nothing else can. It provides a full sexual experience (for both a man and his partner) like nothing else can. It is no wonder that SO many men (circumcised against their will at birth) are speaking up, suing hospitals and doctors who cut them at birth, and striving to educate parents before it is repeated.

There are many reasons that NOT ONE medical or health organization in the entire world recommends circumcision.

I was fortunate to study this topic extensively in graduate school and have been able to teach on the subject for the past 7 years. As frightening as it is, MOST doctors do not have remotely adequate training on the prepuce organ or circumcision and therefore are unable to fully inform parents of what is at stake (and what is being lost) as a result of this surgery.

You may find that it was a huge BLESSING that your son was spared and remains INTACT from birth. He is whole and perfect and healthier as a result. He is exactly as nature intended him to be. Men and women both have a prepuce organ ('foreskin' in men 'hood' in women) and we would NEVER cut it off baby girls. Please look into it a bit and consider keeping your son intact. I have never met a parent who was not fully thankful that they kept their baby whole.

You asked at the end of your post if we'd ever been the victim of political bullshit -- SO many people are these days!! Penn & Teller recently aired an episode of their hugely popular show "Bullshit" on this EXACT matter. Check out their videos:

Like others here have mentioned - 'it's a foreskin - not a birth defect' and if men and women were meant to have a prepuce...we'd all be born with one... maybe that's why we are. ;)

Don't let unknowledgable doctors profit off your son's loss just for the heck of it. Too many boys are chopped up for NO medical reason. And rarely is there one.

Wish you and your little man the very best!

Notes From the Grove said...

Wow, all these comments were very interesting to read AND educational. I was simply going to suggest getting a 2nd opinion, but these people all seem to know more than me, lol! Whatever you choose, I wish you the best!

LuLu and Moxley's Mom said...

Hi. Just a note of encouragement: my friend's little boy had to wait until he was around your son's age and all went well. Hoping everything goes okay. I know nothing about the procedure or how I would handle the decision since I have girls but wishing you the best.

Laura said...

Just a kind voice here to offer you support. Hugs to you. A blog is just a "slice" of your real life. Comments are just opinions. You know what will work the best for you and your family. Best wishes tomorrow. (ps - there is just something about having children that brings a whole lot of other people's baloney into your life. Sounds like you were caught in the middle.)

Mommy on the Spot said...

Wow! If I knew the topic of circumscion would illict this many responses, I would have tagged all my posts with it! Just kidding! Anyway, thanks for all the information. I appreciate it.

Notes from the Grove, Lulu and Moxley's Mom, and Laura, thanks so much for your nice words of encouragment. I reall appreciate it!!

Joel said...

I realize this is perhaps TOO personal..

..but were we able to convince you?

Kendra said...

I hope the procedure went well. I know I'm showing up late but I'm checking out your blog for the first time and liking what I see!

I also have two boys (and a girl) and had C-sections with all of them. So I can also relate to the post-C-section meds messing with you! That must have been awful, feeling like you were in the middle of an argument between professionals. I certainly have opinions of my own when it comes to my kids, but I also rely on my OB and pediatrician to help me sort out information when I'm unclear. I would be really upset if I felt like they weren't helping me gain perspective so much as they were tossing their own agendas at me.

I hope that everything went well and that he's feeling good now--and you are too!