By Katie Macon
I'm a mother of a son who received an unwarranted genital reduction surgery. He was born healthy. But a doctor removed a sophisticated integral part of his penis (the prepuce) in the absence of a need.
There was no "consent" on either his part or mine.
During early labor a nurse solicited circumcision. My exact response to her was, "I don't think it is a good idea." She was silent.
Our birth was traumatic for both my son and I. After his delivery I was drugged. I was given Vicodin and my body could not tolerate it. The nurse gave me Demerol without allowing my body metabolize the Vicodin. Soon, I was 'seeing angels' - this is how far gone I was.
Not long after birth, as I was still making attempts to recover from a very difficult birth, a nurse brought my son back to me. She took off his diaper and said, "There you go!" I was simply horrified. "What did you do?! Cut off his penis?!" It was so raw and bloody. "Oh, that is normal," she replied without a pause.
My son's entire body was purple and swollen because he suffered circumcision-induced hypoxia. This means he was deprived of adequate oxygen supply - the result of screaming so hard for so long during the agonizing torture performed upon his sensitive newborn body. I am certain that even the 12+/- minutes of genital cutting via Plastibell surgery feels like an eternity for a newborn (not to mention the weeks of healing post-surgery). The exact time it takes for prepuce amputation varies greatly depending upon the doctor (or resident) performing a circumcision, as well as the surgical complications that arise during the procedure (hemorrhage, for example).
After his entrance into the world, and before circumcision, my son was a breastfeeding champ from minute one. However, after he was brought back to me bloody and blue, we had problems breastfeeding from them on.
My little baby boy would scream each time he urinated on his open fresh wound. He would cry out in agony as I changed his diaper and tried, as gently as I could, to remove feces from his raw, bloody penis.
This is no way to welcome a child into the world.
We switched doctors. I expressed how upset I was to our new physician and he said, "You know, circumcision is not medically necessary." My son's surgery wasn't necessary! From that point on, I could not stop researching the benefits of an intact penis.
I searched through my son's records for a "piece of paper" that gave anyone "permission" to amputate a healthy organ from his body. When I discovered there wasn't one I called the office of the doctor who performed the surgery. This doctor would not speak with me and had her nurse hang up on me. I called again and asked specifically why Dr. Anna Kowalska had done this to my son and why she did not inform my husband or I of any details pertaining to this medically unnecessary (and harmful) surgery. She replied, "We have a policy that states: 'Do not say anything unless the parents ask.'"
"But most parents have not been to medical school," I said, "And it is a doctor's responsibility to fully inform parents of ALL aspects of a medical procedure - especially surgery that removes an organ from their baby." She hung up on me again.
At the time, had the MGM Bill been in effect, my son would have been unquestionably granted his right to genital integrity and this would never have happened to him.
Instead, today he has meatal stenosis. This is a condition that effects 10%+ of circumcised boys and only circumcised boys. Meatal stenosis is the narrowing of the urethra. If left untreated, the urethra would fuse making urination impossible. This occurs because the urethra is not protected by the prepuce (foreskin) as it is meant to be. The glans (where the urethra is located) is designed to be an internal organ - not an external one. On an infant, the sphincter of the prepuce closes tightly after urination is complete, and only opens to void urine, protecting the meatus from any foreign pathogens in the process.
Because of what happened to my son I could never again attempt to deliver another baby in the hospital. My sweet boy was not protected. I have since delivered four more children in the safety of my own home. Each of my home birthed sons is intact. They have never - not once - had any problems with their complete genitalia.
Please, I urge you to concur with and support the MGM Bill. Boys deserve to be respected from birth, and their genital integrity must be protected without question.