Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To Snip or Not to Snip?

24 hours after being home from Alex's circumcision surgery, I thought I'd expound a little more on our experience and thoughts. I share this not to be overly morbid, but I know from experience that a circumcision is a big decision for many adoptive families.

To snip or not to snip... that is the question.

When I first started back with my first adoption for Tatiana, if you remember SHE was going to be a HE. Once I made the decision to adopt, I wanted my child home yesterday. The wait for girls is typically longer than for boys, so sure -- I'd sign up for a son. During what seemed like my endless wait through paperwork and then for a referral (looking back, it was no where NEAR endless, but it's always worse in the thick of things), I remember reading that little boys are not circumcised in Russia and that families must choose when they get home if they want to proceed down this road or not. I remember reading the posts of my friends who were adopting little boys, their decisions and then surgery days.

Obviously the path to my first adoption changed quickly, and I could put this decision out of my head. For the time. Then along came Alex. When I started proceeding with adoption #2, the thought jumped back into my head, briefly. It wasn't until our first night together at the hotel that it became REAL. Whoa!! Nelly!! Decision time.

I talked with friends on both sides of this debate. I also spoke with some friends who are nurses. In the end, while everyone had great opinions and - honestly, it was my medical friends who helped the decision for me. They weren't telling me what to do by ANY means. Decision made.

First, we had to get a referral for a Pediatric Urologist from Alex's doctor. UGH. I hate the red tape of the medical world. Imagine my surprise that the closest one was over an hour away. Double UGH. We met with Dr R back in June. More surprises were in store when I heard that the wait for surgery was 6 to 8 weeks! Triple UGH. But, scheduled we did - and the date was set for yesterday, August 23rd. And to make it even more interesting, we had 2 hospital choices -- and yes, also over an hour away. If you're keeping count... that's a fourth UGH. Sometimes, it's a pain living in the sticks.

Lots of my parental friends, adoptive or not, have faced surgeries for their kids. And I always hear it's harder on mom and dad than it is the child. This is quite possibly true!

The challenge started with our surgery time. I had requested MULTIPLE times not to be first in the morning since we were facing a drive. Well, they heard me loud and clear because they didn't schedule Alex until after 1pm! They told us to arrive at 1pm -- so that means surgery was scheduled for AFTER that. Great, right? Well... in theory. However, try explaining to a 23 month old child that he can't eat ALL morning or lunch. After midnight the night before, no food. Because of the late hour of surgery, I woke him up @ 11:15 and gave him some Greek yogurt, strawberries and a bottle of Pediasure. His tummy was FULL! He was also allowed to have clear liquids until 9am, so when he woke up he had a small glass of apple juice. Tatiana was whisked off to daycare so she could eat without torturing her brother, and I put him in his crib in the guise of a "nap" so I could sneak off and have some toast and yogurt of my own.

We found the hospital with no issues - in fact we were early. They brought us in pretty quickly and all of a sudden Alex was in his gown and admitted. The Anesthesiologist came in and asked a bunch of questions and it seemed like he'd be taken any minute. And then the waiting started... after she left, we saw no one for a hour and a half! (another huge UGH) The little guy's procedure before Alex with the Urologist went MUCH longer than expected. Got it. But please, people, for the sake of a mama's sanity, COMMUNICATE! It was hard to keep a very hungry 23 month old entertained in a pre-op room for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Honestly, Alex was a total trooper and the hardest thing I had to deal with was keeping him relatively quiet from his giggling!

Finally, it was go time. Because of all the hurry up and wait, I really had no time to get nervous. Suddenly my little boy was being wheeled away. He started to pout and cry, but a very sweet nurse got him babbling about something (literally, since he has so few words!) and he was distracted enough.

Between finding a place for mama to get something to eat, updating some family and friends, and catching up on the news of an east coast earth quake (what? really?), the hour passed by pretty quickly and soon Dr R was out to provide an update. By the time I finally got let in to see Alex, I was the lone waiting room occupant.

He was wheeled back in and basically looked like he was still waking up from a nap. One of the nurses called Alex a "her". Really? HE looks nothing like a girl, and aside from being surprised, I have issues with caretakers in a hospital who don't know their patients gender (especially when the patient just had surgery on his obviously male genitals!!). Alex was a little groggy and just wanted to snuggle. He fussed now and then, but was mostly just tired and hungry. Around 4:15 the poor boy finally got some snacks and milk. The pharmacy brought up his prescription and started calling out for "Thomas Repp" (Alex's middle name) and I swear in all my tiredness etc. I literally looked around for my dad (Alex's middle name is after my dad).
We were on the road near 6pm and headed for home. Gramma Darlin brought sister home and I had to send Alex packing for bed soon after that because the little stinker wouldn't settle down! He was SO excited to see sister and Gramma that he got VERY wound up! I guess he felt just fine!

Dr R had explained that he had (sorry for the men reading this...) an injection in his penis before they woke up him up to help fend off the pain. It would last about 8 hours - and sure enough, around 1am Alex woke up with some tears. He had a dosage of some medicine and brought to mama's bed. When he woke up this AM, no more tears -- he's been all smiles, all day. The tape bandage was supposed to fall off in the first tub soaking, but when I took off his diaper to get ready for the bath tonight -- it had already fallen off in his diaper. Huge relief for mama! I didn't want to have to pull that off!!

So all in all, a relatively painless couple days. A bunch of stress for not much of a deal. For those of you who have this choice to make in the future -- I hope this helped out.


Stacy, Pat and Aidan said...

As I already wrote to you about, ours was not nearly this easy. But, I am still VERY glad we did it! Joy helped me out so much with ideas on how to help Aidan. She was awesome. Our little man will have nothing to worry about in that department in years to come! Glad yours went so well long wait and hungriness aside!

Sarah said...

Oh Amy, those long waits in a tiny little room with no info are terrible! Glad the rest went well.

Jill said...

I loathe waiting and waiting and waiting with no communication. It's not like you could go anywhere, either. UGH! But, so glad he's back to normal! :D

Sherry said...


Thanks so much for your posts on this "delicate" subject! As PAPs waiting for a boy referral, this is one of our decisions still to make. Since we're close to you, would you recommend the surgeon that did it? Sounds like your hospital experience was fair so I'm wondering if it's Saginaw (where we live). If you don't mind sharing, you can email me at our blog is the same just a .com thanks much!

Laura said...

Saw the update on FB but just wanted to drop you a line to say how relieved I am that all went well. Sounds like wee Alex is a trooper...and so is mom!


Hunter and Michael said...

I am so glad you were able to do it for Alex. I know for us it is 2000k out of pocket even with "microsoft" amazing type insurance so we have opted to wait it out.

It is a difficult decision for sure! So many opinions, for here in Washington there was a new health statistic taken and it stated that 48% of boys are now uncircumsized in this state. We are okay with it now, however figure when he is ready or we are, we may do it.

So glad you guys made it through mentally and physically!
- Hunter