Pregnancy Diary: Week 20

Wow! 20 weeks! So that means that baby is now 18 weeks old and our pregnancy diary has been going for 15 weeks (remember pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last menstrual period – confusing, I know). So littlest is now about half the size of a standard school ruler: about 14 to 16cm – (crown to rump) and weighs about 255g.

...if baby is a girl, she will already have 2 million eggs in her ovaries!

Apparently baby can start to hear and recognize my voice and if baby is a girl, she will already have 2 million eggs in her ovaries. So I could potentially be carrying half of my grandchildren! And half of my little toddler was already around when I was in my mother's womb! That blows my mind!

Anyway, considering that our scan is coming up soon, I mentioned that I was going to do some research on circumcision, in case it's a boy. Well, it's been really interesting, and I thought I was going to be able to do a little pros-and-cons or for-and-against table, but honestly, I can't bring myself to do it.

Boy or girl, we have decided not to circumcise.

Boy or girl, we have decided not to circumcise. I weighed up the options and it seemed like a really easy decision in the end. Firstly, it has actually recently (late 2010) become illegal to circumcise infants in South Africa other than for religious reasons or unless it is recommended by a medical practitioner for medical reasons. (1) This is currently a little known fact, as I heard from a friend of mine who was contacting hospital directors just to warn them of legal implications if their doctors were still performing the surgery 'illegally'. Many of them were unaware of the new legislation and were grateful that she had contacted them. TIA!

...before six months of age circumcision is done with only local anaesthetic, which doesn't completely block the pain...

Of the most immediate matters is that before six months of age circumcision is done with only local anaesthetic, which doesn't completely block the pain. The infant is strapped into a restraining device and the foreskin is cut away from the glans. Because local anaesthetic can't completely block the pain (and general anaesthetic is too risky) this is incredibly painful and often disrupts breastfeeding (2) and causes behavioural disturbances for days after the procedure. It is quite different when performed on an older child or adult as the foreskin would have retracted, partially or completely, whereas for a newborn, separating the foreskin from the glans is similar to separating the fingernail from the nail bed.

Circumcision only really became popular amongst Western cultures in Victorian times where it was touted as the way to prevent masturbation.

Furthermore, I think I would like my son (if I have one) to have a choice about such an important procedure. Circumcision only really became popular amongst Western cultures in Victorian times where it was touted as the way to prevent masturbation.

...the form of circumcision done now would have been deadly in biblical times...

I know Christians sometimes say that if circumcision was required for the Hebrews then there must be some benefit to it, but without getting into a theological debate, suffice it to say that the form of circumcision done now would have been deadly in biblical times. Circumcision for the Hebrews involved making a small slit in the tip of the prepuce. A few drops of blood would be shed as a sign of the covenant. The Hebrew word used for this cut ('namal' or 'muwl') means 'to clip' or 'to blunt' and certainly does not relate to the words used for cutting off, amputating or removing (3).

So, based on the information above, and quite a lot more, our decision is made. If you'd like further information on the topic, check the links I've given above - they are very well referenced! Another excellent and very comprehensive site is this one:
The Case Against Circumcision by Paul M. Fleiss

Just one last thought, there has been some press about how circumcision reduces rates of female to male HIV transmission. Personally, I don't think that is a good enough reason to circumcise a baby, and secondly, I hope to find other ways to prevent my son from getting HIV. If you'd like some more information on the craziness of this particular snippet of information, look here.

I know that this may seem like a weird topic for a pregnancy diary, but these are the things I think about!

So, on a lighter note, I was thinking of some of the stuff we'll be needing for our second, basically our shopping list for the next few months, and it certainly bears very little resemblance to those baby lists you get in baby magazines. That could be because we already have much of what we need, but I think our first list wasn't that typical either...

Well, we have a pram, and I'm so glad we didn't buy it new, because those things are big and bulky and cost a fortune, and I don't think that I can justify the cost in South Africa where people generally drive everywhere. A good stroller seems much more efficient, and like many parents we got a stroller in the end anyway. We have a car seat that can take a child from newborn to five years, and a toddler seat for the toddler, so that takes care of that. We also have an antique bassinet and a camp cot for use when necessary, although I'm a big fan of co-sleeping.

I'm planning to breastfeed exclusively until at least six months, and then until littlest wants to stop, so not too much bottle paraphernalia will be necessary, and I am using my Mother Nature Bamboo Cloth Nappies on a full time basis, so that takes care of that!

Shopping / Wish List so far:

For the birth:

  • Old Towels and Sheets - We've only been married for 4 years, so the towels and sheets we got as wedding presents haven't yet reached the stage where we'd consider them old and tatty.
  • Soft Freezable Cold Packs - With my first the hospital had condoms filled with water that you placed between the pad and the perineum to control swelling after the birth, but I'm thinking something softer and more pliable may be more comfortable, and may stay cold for longer.
  • Linen Savers - Like HUGE sanitary pads for the bed.
  • Fragranced candles - I'm the kind of person who actually uses smelly candles, and my stock is currently low. These are great for ambience!
  • Various other miscellaneous bits I think we have lying around but we'll have to check and make sure.

Baby stuff:

  • Cash for some new nappies - I use Mother Nature Bamboo Cloth Nappies, and I love them! They have lasted really well, but I need a few extra!
  • Berry Elixir - The vital ingredient in Jungle Juice, the drink of choice for breastfeeding moms.
  • Dishwasher - This ain't called a WISH list for nothing!
  • Thermos cup – Because moms very seldom get to drink a hot cup of tea!
  • Svan high chair – We got one for the first, and she is still using it, and probably will use it for may years to come, so it might be a good idea to get one for the second. And it even looks good! Money well spent!
  • Feeding pillow - I was lent a pillow last time, so needing one for this time around!
  • Rocker / Glider / Recliner - For breastfeeding; something I did miss the first time around!
  • Family Portrait Voucher - This is always a lovely gift for a new mom!
  • Extra Window Shades for the car.

The reason I put the list up is not as some kind of veiled hint to get what I'd like, although I wouldn't refuse, but becuase this is my pregnancy diary after all, and these are the things one might include in a pregnancy diary. But I also thought that it might give people an idea of things that you really need, a list which is vastly different from the lists published by baby shops, for obvious reasons! By the way, if anyone does have any of these items floating around, in the interests of environmental sustainability second-hand goods are most welcome! (But second hand linen savers are not...)

I have mentioned before about the fact that I'd love to be a private midwife one day, and I've been trying to find a way to study without having to do the full nursing qualification first. There are direct entry midwifery courses in other countries, but unfortunately none here, so I'm thinking I should do a doula course in the meantime, and see how that goes!

I also mentioned about how I had been reading The Discipline Book by Dr William and Martha Sears. I really have enjoyed it because it really emphasises how each child is an individual and gives tips on how to meet each child where they're at. It really focuses on understanding why a child behaves the way they do before just assuming malicious intent behind every action. I really can't do the book justice in a paragraph so I'll be putting up a review sometime soon...

On next week's pregnancy diary:

  • Belly Pics!
  • Hamburger or Hotdog?
  • Who knows?

References:

1. Circumcision and Human Rights. Link to the site or go back to where you were.

2. The Effects of Circumcision on Breastfeeding on Peaceful Parenting. Link to the site (Recommended!) or go back to where you were.

3. Biblical Circumcision Information on Peaceful Parenting. Link to the site or go back to where you were.

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