I Sat There Stunned

By Tigerlily (1999)

Today I went for my second prenatal appointment. In the waiting room there was a baby boy three weeks old. He nursed happily and fell asleep swaddled in his blanket. Soon a nurse came out and took the baby from the mother. She looked afraid which caught my attention. The mother started to stand and said, "Can I go with you?" And the grandmotherly plump old nurse replied, "Oh no dearie, you stay here! It's very quick, just zip zip and we'll be back" The young mother then quickly asked about "anesthesia" At this, my ears perked up - I knew what was coming. Then....the nurse replied cheerily and illogically, "Oh no dear, no anesthesia! That will just hurt him TWICE as much!" With that, she bustled off busily with the sleeping bundle.

Minutes ticked by. Suddenly a piercing wail filled the air, followed by many high pitched shrieks which continued for over five minutes. The baby was returned to the mother, who peered at him worriedly. By now, he was gasping for air, making a wheezing choking sound in between shrieks. He coughed up his still warm lunch of breastmilk all over his blanket. I heard him scream as she carried him all the way out to car, and also as they drove away (the window was down as it was a hot day). I sat there stunned. I had not said a word. Another mom caught my eye as she was paying her bill and shook her head and said, "Poor baby! I brought my son in to get him circumcised, and I just couldn't do it! I took him home and just left him alone" At this I said (a little too vehemently) "Good for YOU!" Emboldened by this she whispered sideways, "It's not necessary you know. People aren't doing it much anymore." I replied, "That's right. My husband is uncircumcised and I would never consider circ'ing my sons" Quickly she said, "My husband IS circ'ed, but he WISHES he wasn't!" She then paid her bill, smiled and left. I was encouraged to hear what she had said, but [was still] shaken by the experience.

Five minutes later I was getting my blood pressure taken. The nurse said worriedly, "Your blood pressure is 148/98!!!! That's very high!" The doctor said, "You need to come back in two weeks, I'm worried about that blood pressure" When I left the doctor's office, I went home for awhile then did some errands. At the drugstore, I stopped and took my blood pressure in the machine. It was back to normal - 110/70 Hmmm, I wonder why my blood pressure was so high? And more importantly, I wonder how high that BABY'S blood pressure was after his quick little "zip zip"???

Unfortunately my OB-GYN is a grandfatherly type, set in his ways, but an excellent doctor, apart from his old fashioned ideas. I can see that talking to him about anesthesia is probably a fruitless task, but I WILL bring it up at my next appointment. But I know this - I will NEVER witness a circumcision again, ESPECIALLY one without anesthesia. Ugh. What a horrible day.

Return to Mothers' Stories