Mother and Son clay sculpture by Anne Gregerson
Image by Hawkinson Photography
Image by Hawkinson Photography
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.
Wow... I can't believe that was allowed to happen to your poor son. How traumatic for both of you. I am Australian so can't support the MGM Bill but you have my virtual support. We are lucky in Australia because you actively have to seek out circumcision rather than it being seen as the norm anymore. Once I was pregnant and knew I was having a boy, I did only a tiny bit of research before I realised I could never let that happen to a baby of mine. My husband is circumcised and wanted his son to be too but I managed to convince him otherwise. He is still a bit uncertain about our (my) decision so I will show him your post. Your story is so important. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
What a heartbreaking story. I think that a lawsuit is definitely needed in this case. This doctor did something that she didn't have permission to do. Either Katie Macon or her circumcised son, once he turns 18, need to bring a lawsuit against this doctor to teach her that she had no right to do this. Circumcise her financially. Let the press know about your lawsuit so the public can be warned about how she operates, so they can sterr clear of her.ReplyDelete
The mother's story is so heartbreaking. The pediatrician was working on my son while I was getting stitched up and I screamed out "He isn't going to circumcise him is he!?" I was unprepared but terrified they would do something without my consent.ReplyDelete
I can't imagine the pain the mother must have gone through, and the baby too, of course. :(
This mother's story is heartbreaking.ReplyDelete
My son was whisked away to the pediatrician after he was born and as I was delivering the placenta I screamed out "He isn't going to circumcise him, is he?" terrified they would do so without my consent.
I can't imagine the mother's pain, or the baby's, for that matter. :(
Sorry to say this because I generally do not believe that litigation is a good solution, but I hope this family sued the pants off the hospital and Dr Anna Kowalska! They HAVE to get the message that performing surgery on a child without any level of consent is completely unacceptable! Its bad enough that they can legally do so without the consent of the child himself! Hopefully not for much longer in MA anyway...ReplyDelete
Ugh!!! I too, believe a lawsuit is in order!ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, when I was pregnant with my first, my husband also wanted him to be circumcised so he would look like daddy. I didn't know anything about the procedure. I had a homebirth and we actually had a mohel come to our home to circumcise our son. My husband, who wanted the procedure, didn't show up for as he was suppose to. I had no idea what to expect and was absolutely horrified! I will NEVER forget what I allowed my son to undergo as an 8-day old infant!
Luckily, he is healthy and everything is ok physically. When I got pregnant with my second son, I responded to the circumcision question with "over my dead body," and meant exactly that.
These seem to be very clear grounds for a lawsuit. In Texas, for a child under twelve, the lawsuit must be filed before the boy turns fourteen.ReplyDelete
It generally is best to file as soon as possible while the evidence is still fresh.
One should seek out an attorney who is knowledgeable in personal injury and medical malpractice.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this painful story and fighting to protect our most innocent citizens.ReplyDelete
OHMIGOD. I am am absolutely stunned, and so so sorry this happened.ReplyDelete
I have an aching heart for you and your son...and think of your story often...ReplyDelete
You are a strong woman to retaliate against this ignorance and betrayal by being brave enough to share your story in hopes for this bill to pass to protect future boys. You are strong.. and you are brave...and probably one DAMN good mama!
This is a very sensitive story of mine. I know better now, and I've done better. And if I had known, this would never have happened. My answer would've been a firm (((NO!))) and I would have protected him better. Better yet, give birth to him at home! Let every testimony for the MGM Bill ring to the heavens. Please, when you can, read the testimony of these people:ReplyDelete
They all did so well and deserve to be heard.
Thank you for sharing. I wish more people could hear stories like this, as hard as they are. I believe it is the only way to stop ignorant decisions- which in my opinion is what it is especially being done among 1st time parents.ReplyDelete
This is absolutely tragic. I am so sorry you and your son had to go through this. I would be furious. I am definitely not a fan of our lawsuit-happy country, but this is certainly reasonable grounds for suit.ReplyDelete
I had some questions about your story, and was wondering if you might clear some things up.
First of all, when did you breastfeed before your son was circumcised? You said you were drugged after birth and while you were in a drug haze he was whisked off to be circumcised.
Secondly, where was his father? Did he consent to the circumcision? Did he sign papers? Or anyone else with you during the birth? It's hard to believe a hospital would circ without any paperwork.
I completely agree with you Ma'dam. If you are interested I run a large Foreskin Restoration community online and when your son gets a little older, I can give you or his father some pointers on helping your son get back some of what was so unfairly taken from him.ReplyDelete
I didn't allow my son to be circumcised at the hospital... I made for dang sure to follow him everywhere in the hospital so they wouldn't harm him. It's sad that we can't rust our medical staff.
What a horrible experience for you and your little boy, it brought tears to my eyes. I hope this bill is strongly supported in your country. I am Canadian, and here circumcisions are not covered by our health care system. You have to seek out a doctor who does them (a lot of them refuse to do it now) and pay out of pocket, so this would never happen at a hospital here. Not to mention that 70% of boys born now are not circumcised. I cannot imagine how I would have reacted if something like this had happened to me. I really hope you can get some compensation. They deserved to have their asses SUED.ReplyDelete
I feel furious reading this heart-wrenching story. How awful that a beautiful and miraculous moment was so violently intruded upon. Good on you for taking charge of your life after this experience and acting to protect your children.ReplyDelete
How could we have allowed the mal-treatment of mother and child during childbirth to become routine? More interventions = more profits, I suppose...
I just learned that here in Washington State circumcision is not done routinely in the hospitals nor is it covered under insurance. It's considered a cosmetic surgery and only done at specific facilities for cosmetic or religious reasons. Pretty awesome, eh?!ReplyDelete
This makes me want to scream, cry and vomit over the insanity of this. I am a mother of a newborn son, so I can very well imagine what this would be like. As a Christian, I don't generally believe in lawsuits, but if this happened to me and my son I would sue the doctor and the hospital until they had nothing left.ReplyDelete
We were blessed to birth all three of our boys in a hospital which was very specific about determining the parents' wishes before admission. But, if I had not already done the research ahead of time, I would have said "sure, why not" to circumcision without a second thought. Thank goodeness a friend had raised the question ahead of time.ReplyDelete
That was a heart breaking story. Circumcision should be illegal. It is genital mutilation. I am so grateful my husband put his ego aside and actually read about circumcision first. We had a home birth and fortunately my son is intact. It's just horrifying what the Dr's did to tht woman's poor infant.ReplyDelete
In the end, one of the major reasons that many parents want to circumcise their child is because they want their son to look like their father, who is circumcised. Does it matter if a father is circumcised, but his children aren't? This is one area where some research is needed. There are many situations where a father and son aren't both circumcised.ReplyDelete
to the last question - how many fathers are that insecure that they need to cut their sons penis so that he lacks like his father?ReplyDelete
how many adult sons sit around having 'matching penis' contests with their fathers?
how many adult men have penises that look like a newborn baby?
and no two circumcision wounds are the same... how much is cut off is entirely at the discretion of the cutter - so one cut penis will not resemble another (even if they are of the same blood line).
Penn & Teller did a great piece addressing this subject:
Melissa, please don't say that "everything is ok physically". He had part of his penis amputated, everything is not ok. It's making abstraction of what was done to him like it doesn't matter, but it does. I know you meant "besides that", but it's *not* something so unsignificant that it doesn't change the overall well-being of a boy, and that, for the rest of his life. It only works because we're desentisised to the horrible consequences of being amputated from the foreskin, but imagine if it had been his hand or arm, would you say that everything is ok?ReplyDelete
I am French and so happy that I never had to face this for my son for we don't circumcise our boys there for no reason. My daughter's son as born in the USA and she litterally had to argue with the nurse who couldn't understand why she refused to give her consent for the circumcision. Until the doctor admitted that there was absolutely no reason for it :(ReplyDelete
Wow... As a circumcised child, as soon as I figured out what it was, (Thank God my sister is all "Gender and genitalia", or I wouldn't have ever known what it was.) I was FURIOUS. I will NEVER forgive my parents. Because, unlike most children, I REMEMBER the pain. Somehow, I can remember back that far. I never stopped my research. (Thank GOD for Incognito Tabs.) And once I found out the downsides, I almost flipped a table from pure rage. I was all like "MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY?! WHAT!? MEMORY PROBLEMS?! PARENT BOND INTERRUPTION!?"ReplyDelete