I Never Got Used to It

I have assisted with about 200 [circumcisions] and I have seen sleeping babies not wake up as I gently strapped them to the table. One even slept through the betadine and that is cold stuff. So it is not the restriction that is the problem. They take a metal probe-- similar to the one the dental hygienist scales teeth with-- and separate the foreskin from the glans. Babies scream so hard that they end up with their faces red and mouths wide open with no sound coming out. I had to hold their heads to the side because some vomit from the pain. I always had to get close to their faces and stroke their cheeks because they would stop breathing. The doc puts a bell over the foreskin and slides a sterile safety pin through a hole and then through the skin. He cuts with a blade for what seems like an eternity for this baby and deposits the skin on the sterile tray. The penis is RAW-- I often through it must feel like a 3rd degree burn with alcohol being poured over it. Consoling is impossible. They shake and their eyes are wide open with panic. Yes, I felt horrible every time. I never got used to it. Each procedure looked as barbaric as the next. [With] many, too much skin was taken off or too little (not worth that torture). I have seen infections, too: the risk of any invasive procedure-- even with sterlie fields. I get calls from moms who had no problems with breastfeeding and suddenly have trouble. If it is a baby boy, I try to remember to ask when and if he was circumcised. Many of my consults are a result of trauma from the circs. The babies' state of homeostasis is so messed up from the stress that they are no longer able to suck. Every IBCLC (lactation consultant) that I know will tell you how circumcision is a major source of feeding problems in the days following.

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