Friday, February 11, 2011

A Short Family History... With Pictures!!!!

In this history I am going to focus on Carson and I and our kids. But along the way we had amazing support of awesome friends and faithful, loving family. Without whom our beautiful wedding wouldn't have been what it was, and without whom our family would not have the flavor that it does.
Thank you lovely people so much.

Carson and I were internet buddies for years. I think I was somewhere in the vicinity of 13 or 14 years old and Carson was 15 or 16 when we met in an online chat room.
Time passed, and time passed and yadda yadda.

Carson went on his mission to Utah in 2004, I was in Denver at the time. Shortly thereafter I also moved to Utah to meet someone's family.

About the time all that had boiled, simmered, and settled, and was about to be done with Carson was done with his mission. We met in person the last day of his mission and I knew before he did that we would end up married. Actually, I knew before we met in person. Sweet story for another time.

Time kept going and we were friends, I stayed in Utah and he went back to Canada (August 2006).

Near to Valentine's Day 2007 we had finally realized we wanted to marry each other. I took a trip up to meet Carson's family and he proposed.

<--- He had just proposed. I had an overnight flight "To make the most of our time." And we were both a little past tired.

<- Engaged us, visiting.

We visited back and forth a few times all the while planning the wedding and making plans for moving. We visited people in Colorado and Utah.

We were married in June of 2007 in the Vernal Utah Temple.
We had tons of family and friends there with us.
It was a beautiful day.
We had a reception the next day in Craig. It was AMAZING, and beautifully done.
On Father's day we headed out to make our trip up to Northern Alberta.

Along came baby #1 in short order. Eleanor Lois, named after my Grandmother Lois.
Though with her we waited for the gender until she was born.

I had her in the local hospital. Artificial rupture of membranes, epidural and episiotomy.
I was so glad when we got to take her home.
Then Ellie turned one.
And that summer we were expecting Baby #2.
Gideon Daniel was born in February of 2010 at home with Daddy and his Grandma Kim in attendance. I couldn't have asked for a better labor or birth. It was the highlight of 2010.

I was sad when we had to go to the hospital.
The ultrasounds had missed his case of Bladder exstrophy.
So when he was 2 weeks old he had a surgery, to repair it and a 4 week hospital stay.

We changed his name to Gabriel Carson. While he and I were in the hospital,
Ellie stayed in our hometown with her Grandparents Pratt while her daddy worked.
We came home! Well, actually that is a picture from before his surgery... But all the other's have other folks in them, and I know quite a few people who have specific preferences for face time on the internet. But the idea is about the same.
Ellie turned 2!
And Carson hit a moose!
But don't worry, he is OK. Though that picture is a "before the incident" picture too... But I promise, it applies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parenting "Decision" #32: Circumcision; A Response.

I am having a discussion on a comments section of a friend of a friend's blog, and it was getting too long for replies, so I chose to do a response here instead. Her blog is HERE.

When it comes to circumcision yes, there are a lot of studies that report lower incidences of UTI's in male babies who have been circumcised. There is also a great deal of commentary about how surgery as a neonate interferes with breastfeeding, which has been shown to improve the immune system of infants and children.

I could go on and on citing sources for my medical reasons against circumcision.
CIRP.ORG has done all of the articles, research and citing of journal articles that listing them would be sadly redundant.

We know that the major medical bodies throughout the world have reviewed the journal articles, the studies and declared unanimously that it is not medically necessary. This website has organized this information into one convenient place, including hyperlinks to the organization's websites.

For a couple of excerpts I give you the Canadian Pediatric Society's bottom line, "Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely (i.e.,in the absence of medical indication) performed."

As well as the American Academy of Pediatrics statement excerpt: "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child."

Though, their policy on Female Genital Mutilation is as follows,

"The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that pediatricians and pediatric surgical specialists should be aware that this practice has life-threatening health risks for children and women. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes all types of female genital cutting that pose risks of physical or psychological harm, counsels its members not to perform such procedures, recommends that its members actively seek to dissuade families from carrying out harmful forms of FGC, and urges its members to provide patients and their parents with compassionate education about the harms of FGC while remaining sensitive to the cultural and religious reasons that motivate parents to seek this procedure for their daughters."

Some of the reasons specific to this being called "life threatening", not including the deaths from infection and bleeding, is the more extreme practice of sewing closed the vaginal opening.

However, routine male circumcision is also life threatening, due to infection and bleeding there is approximately 117 neonate deaths each year in the United States associated to RIC (Routine Infant Circumcision.) According to the THYMOS Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010, 78-90.

Dr. Robert Baker said, “It would appear from statistics that at least 41 children are needlessly sacrificed to prevent one case of penile cancer. If we assume there to be about 1,325,000 newborn male circumcisions in the U.S., the annual cost to the consumers is around $54 million. And at least 229 of these newborns will die as a result of the operation.” - Published in the Nov. 1979 Sexual Medicine Today.

I would like to offer this line of logic.

A) The Major Medical Associations, Groups, Societies, do not recommend it as a routine, or medically necessary.

B) If it is not medically necessary, then we are doing it for social reasons. Weak medical/health reasons used to silence our cognitive dissonance on the subject.

C)If it is for social, or traditional reasons, how does that differ from Female Genital Cutting?

"The traditional custom of ritual cutting and alteration of the genitalia of female infants, children, and adolescents, referred to as female genital mutilation"

"The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes all types of female genital cutting that pose risks of physical or psychological harm, counsels its members not to perform such procedures, recommends that its members actively seek to dissuade families from carrying out harmful forms of FGC..."

Currently it is illegal to perform any Female Genital Cutting, as stated here. This is also a link to the mgmbill website.


(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Ultimately the differences are due only to anatomy. Routine Infant Male Circumcision is the social practice of surgically removing functional, healthy, purposeful tissue from an innocent, defenseless, non-consenting individual.

The purported health benefits that still convince parent's to do this to their children can be dealt with in less extreme and invasive manners so as to protect the bodily integrity of said child.

For an anatomy lesson please go to Their interest is not financial, or social, and their anatomy lesson is thorough in the support of the human body.

As for STD's, HIV, and other diseases associated with high risk sexual behavior, teach your son two things. One, safe sexual practices, and two, hygiene.

As for making it easier for a father to teach his son about how to care for his genitals, it can take as little as 30 seconds to learn all you need to know about care of the intact penis.

Care of the Intact Penis - 3 simple rules

1. Leave the foreskin alone!

2. Never permit anyone to retract the foreskin.

3. When the child can fully retract his own foreskin comfortably, he may begin to do so in the tub or shower.

For those intellectuals out there, this is a fact based editorial discussing our society, our scientists, and claims of medical benefits of RIC.

Parenting "Decision" #32: Circumcision; From one Latter-Day Saint's Perspective

I wrote parts of this when we found out the gender of our second child.

"We found out that we were having a boy a week ago during an ultrasound. Carson and I were so excited. Of course we were excited when we found out that we had another little one coming our way. Seeing him move made it that much more special. Knowing whether the layette was going to be pink or blue was special as well.

And at that point I started researching circumcision. The obvious next step was to find out how it was done. When I found that out, I wanted to know what the foreskin was and why it had to be removed. I know why the Jews had it removed. God told them to. As that law has been fulfilled with Christ, I needed to know why it was still being done."

Over the course of the past year and a half I have done a great deal of research on the subject as new arguments defending a parent's right to physically alter their child's genitals came up more and more. It has been one of those situations where I give an explanation, and they come up with another reason. The hardest questions to answer were from folks who share the same faith as I do. I have addressed other sides of it in two other blog entries and am focusing this one on my Latter-Day Saint, ie Mormon perspective.

My resources are, and Jewish Historical Research. Where applicable I will add hyperlinks to the website.

Line of thinking is as follows.

- Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone. Doctrine and Covenants Section 130 Verse 22.

- Adam was made in Heavenly Father's image, and Heavenly Father said that it was Good.

Moses Chapter 2 Verse 27 and 31.

- Heavenly Father commanded circumcision as a token of the Abrahamic covenant. Link Here. "Circumcision as a token of the covenant was done away with by Christ’s mission (Moro. 8:8; D&C 74:3–7)."

Now here is where I start to get some good objections when I say that if Heavenly Father doesn't command it, then we shouldn't do it. I say this because we are created by Him, in His image.

A) "We cut our hair."

B) "It could be one of those commandments that is still good to keep."

C) "It is a parent's choice."

D) "The Church doesn't have a policy on it."

E) "Christ was circumcised, so it must still be ok."

A) "We cut our hair." Or the Hygiene Argument as I like to call it.

As Latter-Day Saints our grooming is part of what sets us apart. L. Tom Perry stated in his talk "Let Him Do It With Simplicity," "Our dress and grooming send a message to others about who we are, and they also affect the way we act around others."

M. Russell Ballard even cited grooming when talking about modesty and teaching our daughters the Gospel by example, in his talk "Mothers and Daughters".

"They need to hear this—clearly and repeatedly—from your lips, and they need to see it modeled correctly and consistently in your own personal standards of dress, grooming, and modest living."

Under "Body, Sanctity of," there is a listing for references to this thought, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,"

We are expected to treat out bodies with respect and keep them clean and well groomed. We are counciled against piercings and tattoos but are counciled about raising our children to - "Teach them to respect their bodies." - President Hinckley

President Hinckley Quoted the church position in his talk, "Your Greatest Challenge Mother",

"We—the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve—have taken the position, and I quote, that “the Church discourages tattoos. It also discourages the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes, although it takes no position on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings.”

Now we know that we are made in God's image, grooming is important, and that our bodies are His temple.

Foreskin's don't grow back. They have nerve endings, blood supply, and a functional purpose. They do not need to be trimmed back monthly like a hair cut. Once it is cut, the tissue that is taken is gone for good.

We (as a society) are altering our son's bodies in a way Prophet's didn't consider before Heavenly Father commanded them to do so.

B) "It could be one of those commandments that is still good to keep." - The Ten Commandments Argument.

Now, this is an idea that isn't as straight forward as you might think.

There are two groups we are going to look at. The Jews that the Apostle Paul dealt with and the Nephites on the American continent.

The Bible Dictionary has an entry on circumcision here. As Latter-Day Saints we know that the Bible is true so long as it is translated correctly. So, looking at Paul's ministry can cause some, well, trickiness. Largely it is accepted that Paul preached against the practice of Circumcision as part of the Law of Moses.

In an Ensign article it talks about the Ministry of the early church. Here. Called, "A Crisis, A Council, and Inspired Leadership."

"But note this important fact: even though they were of Gentile lineage, they had all previously converted to Judaism, which means they were circumcised, ate only foods sanctioned by the law of Moses, offered sacrifice, and honored the Sabbath day in proper Jewish style. Religiously, they were Jews, and thus the Church membership remained exclusively of Jewish background."

The Bible Dictionary makes a very clear contrast with the Nephites on the American Continent,

"The Jewish part of the church membership, especially in Jerusalem, appears to have been very reluctant to cease from the rituals and ceremony of the law of Moses (Acts 21:17–25). This is a marked contrast to the Church among the Nephites, in which there seems to have been a cessation of the law immediately upon their awareness of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (3 Ne. 15:1–4; Moro. 8:8). See also Abraham, covenant of; Law of Moses; Proselytes." (emphasis added)

Paul is clear about Circumcision in relation to salvation, in First Corinthians Chapter 7 Verse 19 he says, "aCircumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God."

He repeats the idea in Galatians Chapter 5 Verse 6, "For in Jesus Christ neither acircumcision bavaileth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but cfaith which worketh by dlove.

C) "It is a parent's choice."

Of course it is a parent's choice. We make a lot of decisions for our children. We choose what to feed them, how to teach them, how to treat them. All in hopes of bringing up good citizens and disciples of Jesus Christ.

This is where opinion comes into play. Rather this question; As parent's given children to raise by Heavenly Father, to what degree do we have jurisdiction over the bodies they inhabit?

Apart form it being illegal in the United States, if you had the choice, would you circumcise your daughter?

If you took your son into the hospital and asked them to remove your son's earlobes because they didn't match your husband's would they do it?

Would you knowingly put your son into the hands of someone who would purposefully give your son an unwanted erection?

(The last one is something that the do in the coarse of a hospital based circumcision. )

Is it a parent's choice to beat, starve, molest, abuse, sell, generally mistreat their children?

Yes. But they will suffer the consequences from our society as these things are unacceptable to our society.

Just because you can do it, doesn't mean that you should.

D) "The Church doesn't have a policy on it."

The Church also doesn't have a policy on caffeine, Female Genital Mutilation, or what jobs are the most fitting to Latter-Day Saints.

Prophet Joseph Smith: “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.) We should not, according to the scriptures, need to be commanded in all things. (See D&C 58:26.)

- Elder Boyd K. Packer : Teach Them Correct Principles

In First Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 19-20 it states

"19What? know ye not that your abody is the btemple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your cown?

20For ye are abought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s."

This actually builds on parental choice. If the parent's body is not their own, then how can they own their child's?

We are given permission and commandments to do certain things with our children, raise them up to the Lord, care for them, house them, feed them, love them.

But unless Heavenly Father commands bodily alteration in a healthy human being, why are we doing it? Beyond that why are we doing it before the child can make a decision about his body for himself?

E) "Christ was circumcised, so it must still be ok." - The "It was good enough once" argument.

We don't do a lot of things that were done to Christ. Generally a poor arguement.

Add to that the type of circumcision that is done today was NOT done to Christ, but is actually fashioned after a more extreme form of circumcision brought about after Christ's death.

Now this is a long excerpt, but I found it important to put this here, rather than just set a link to it.

How an Abrahamic circumcision was performed, God's circumcision vs man's version.

"The following excerpts are from the book The Joy of Uncircumcising (copyright 2002, presented for educational purposes only, edited for length) by Dr. Jim Bigelow. I have no doubt that the writer is biased as can be discerned from the title of his book. But, is his information, as presented below, correct?


Milah is the first step, after prayers, of ritual circumcision. It consists of cutting off the protruding tip of the typical infant foreskin (4). Historically, this was to be done with a flint knife, certainly from the time of Joshua (5).

The History of Milah. The Scriptures state simply that God told Abraham to circumcise himself and all of his offspring and slaves who were eight days of age or older. And, “in the selfsame day,” Abraham did it (Gen. 17:23 KJV). The act which Abraham performed was, in fact, milah—the symbolic removal of the tip of the foreskin. This relatively simple form of circumcision was practiced by the Jews for approximately 2,000 years, throughout the whole of the Old (and, for that matter, the New) Testament era. No other feature was added to the rite until sometime around 140 A.D. (6).

The Results of Symbolic Circumcision. The physiological results of this form of circumcision are significant to our understanding of the history of foreskin restoration. As noted earlier, the foreskin and the glans are typically fused together at birth and are actually a single organ at that stage of development. Therefore, when the ancient circumciser cut off only the protruding tip of the typical infant foreskin with a single cut, a great deal of the natural foreskin would have been left intact. Such a penis would have continued to go through its natural developmental stages. That is, the remaining foreskin would have separated from the glans naturally over time. This process would have left the glans with many of its natural features— texture, sensitivity, etc. Such a penis would also have had a rather ample remnant of foreskin. And, since the frenulum would not have been directly or intentionally destroyed, the foreskin remnant would most likely have stayed in place and continued to cover a substantial portion of the glans, particularly when the penis was flaccid. It is, indeed, this very fact which allowed ‘renegade’ Jews for approximately 2,000 years to effect a rather simple and convincing foreskin restoration, or re-covering of the glans.


Periah is the second step or procedure in ritual circumcision. After cutting off the end of the infant foreskin, periah consists of tearing and stripping back the remaining inner lining of the foreskin off the glans and then, by the use of a sharpened fingernail, removing all such mucous tissue including the excising of the frenulum.

The History of Periah. Jewish historians differ as to exactly when this second step was introduced into ritual circumcision. Few historians, however, disagree as to why it was introduced: circumcision without it was simply too easily disguised!

We will discuss the various situations in which Jews sought to appear uncircumcised and the ancient social and economic benefits of being uncircumcised when we discuss the history of foreskin restoration in Chapter 7. It is enough to say here that the rabbis sought to put an end once and for all to Jews passing themselves off as uncircumcised males by elongating the remaining remnant of their foreskin. The rabbis’ solution was to so entirely obliterate the foreskin that any Jew so circumcised would not be able to disguise “the seal of the covenant.”

Dr. Kohler, in the JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA (1964), states that “the Rabbis, probably after the war of Bar Kokba, instituted the ‘periah’ (the laying bare of the glans), without which circumcision was declared to be of no value.” If his conclusion is correct, periah would have become universal in about 140 A.D. (8).

It is interesting to note, from an historical point of view, that by these calculations all biblical Jews—both Old and New Testament—would have been circumcised in the less radical, symbolic style of milah. This being the case, no biblical reference to circumcision ever refers to or indicates the more radical style of circumcision which is now practiced by modern-day Jews or by the American medical profession.

The Results of Radical Circumcision. We can be sure that the results of the new form of circumcision were relatively uniform. It was declared that if the remaining shaft skin was excessive (any fold of skin against the corona) or if there were any ‘shreds’ of the mucous tissue left, the child was to be recircumcised. The rabbis were taking no chances! (9).

Further, the loss of all mucous tissue results in severe receptor nerve loss which, in turn, results in a significant loss of sensual sensations. This overall dulling of sensation has led some Jewish historians to speculate that circumcision was intended to curb the sexual appetite (10). Such intentions may well have been in the minds of the later Jewish rabbis who instituted periah; however, such an explanation would not hold true for the earlier, simpler style of circumcision which Jews practiced for the first 2,000 years of the covenant."

Our bodies are made in Heavenly Father's image. Circumcision is not a commandment. Who are we to alter the state of healthy baby boys we have been blessed with?

Rather, who are we to say that His design is deficient, and we need to correct it?

Do you follow the Tradition of your Fathers, or do you allow your child to look and function like hid Heavenly Father?

Parenting "Decision" #32: Circumcision, the Ethics of it.

Over the past year I have had various conversations with friends and relatives on something considered a parenting decision.

While it is a decision that some parents make, that is about the only way it could be considered parenting.

Routine Male Circumcision is not a parenting issue it is an ethical one.

Is it more compelling to know the good things that a foreskin does? Is it more compelling to discuss honor, integrity, respect?

Are facts or feelings more of a motivator?

I have been told that it is a parent's right to make this decision for their child. That because it is a parenting choice, we can't get involved with others' decisions on the matter. Currently there is a law in place protecting baby girls from even a nick to the genitals, let alone cultural or religious circumcision. So then is it a matter off sexism? Are baby boys not worth protection as well?

What line is drawn between what a parent can do and can't do to their child. Socially it is unacceptable to starve, beat, neglect, abuse, abandon, molest, or psychologically harm a child, not to mention the illegality of many of those examples. It is for the protection of the mind and body of the child. It is repulsive to each of us that such acts can be done to those innocent and in our care.

We remove abnormalities such as extra toes, cancerous moles, and correct things such as bladders that are grown outside of the body, cleft pallets, and club feet. We try to return the child to what is considered a functioning and normal example of a human body. In what sense then, is it returning the child to normalcy to cut off a part of the body which was naturally and purposefully grown there?

I have talked to parents who say that they will do it, or did it to prevent a problem from 2 - 85 years down the road. Some will do it because they think that they are saving themselves trouble in care and cleaning. Others make the choice from pressure from spouses and doctors.

One example of the 85 year old went along the lines of once he was in a nursing home the man got numerous infections. Two answers to that are, the nurse wasn't doing a very good job of caring for him and two, by that point he had a life enjoying the benefits of having a foreskin. As an adult who wanted to avoid STDs, UTIs, or any other reason given to circumcise a baby, but that man had a lifetime to choose how his body functioned and looked.

After going over the whys and wherefores it does come down to that though, choice.

Should the parents really have the right to choose what parts of his body a baby boy gets to keep? When he becomes sexually active, doesn't he have the right to decide if it is worthwhile to keep or remove?

Part of the discussion is that parent's make choices all the time for babies, and children. Vaccinate, don't vaccinate; cheerios, or steel cut oats; homeschooling or public. But none of those choices takes away what the child came into the world with.

Of everything we have as humans nothing is more personal or OURS than our bodies and minds. Whether you believe in God or in Evolution, man (humans) comes into the world one way, and is the only creature on earth who seems to think that a normal and natural functioning part of the body is deficient and must be removed. But it isn't that man who decides. Someone takes him in his infancy and decides for him that he isn't perfect. His mother and father who love him find a part of him, that his Mother spent time growing and labored bringing into this world, as not good enough.

The cry from mothers should be, "I worked too hard for you to say that it isn't good enough. I made someone glorious and beautiful and his body is my gift to him. Let him choose what to do with it."

Do parents have the right to decide the function and appearance of the most personal part of the man their son will someday be? He is not able to give his consent, it is never asked of him how he wishes it to be.

There is a line drawn between parenting and ethics. If the governing bodies of pediatric medicine all over the world cannot, and do not recommend it routinely on its own merit, why are we performing this surgery on our babies.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Parenting Decision # 572: Vaccinations

Vaccines! A decision is made!
But first we have to get to that decision.

First off, I wasn't vaccinated as a child. I went through school and graduated from High School without ever receiving a Vaccination. You might think that this makes me biased. Well, maybe, but my husband was vaccinated. He received all the recommended vaccinations growing up.

We are Latter-Day Saints, which you might also think leads to bias because the church does so much work with providing vaccinations to third world countries. Well... Maybe.

What I want to do here is to help you find out what you need to know to make the vaccination decision for your family. I want to be able to offer you questions to think about and some different resources that you may not be familiar with.

It can be overwhelming to do the research yourself. Isn't it just easier to let someone else make the decision for you? But when you let someone else decide for you, you are giving up part of your agency.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has their "Immunization Schedule" here. This is a list of what shots are given and when for a lifetime. This is the standard Schedule.

What is IN these vaccinations?

Here is a facebook page dedicated to a full listing of what is in each shot. Here is another site with them listed more simply. Those are for US vaccinations. This is for Canadian.

Note: I couldn't for the life of me figure out what MRC-5 was until someone else pointed it out to me. Aborted Fetus tissue. This link discusses this issue, where MRC-5 and WI-38 are found in Vaccinations. It also gives additional links and resources.

This is all really just the beginning for you.

There is a woman named Tracy who has done an article that is so much more than what I am capable of. She posted it here.

Tidbits that we have picked up over the course of our research cover things like the blood brain barrier, (though the article deals with aspartame and MSG), delayed/selective vaccinations and alternative schedules.

"A Common Sense Guide to Determining if Vaccinations are Right for Your Child."

A discussion on which "scares you more" the diseases or the vaccinations.

A continued look at vaccinations, (<--- this blog is clearly against vaccinations, but really well written.) Information on what the diseases actually DO. <--- the CDC website. Dr. Tenpenny is a resource that we use as a family. She has Youtube videos that discuss the progression and life cycle of disease. She has a facebook page as well.

If you choose not to vaccinate be sure to know the symptoms of the disease and the treatment, whether you treat at home or at the hospital.

Finally, after all of this, I should tell you that we chose not to vaccinate. This is a decision that should be done with thorough research.
The default of the human body is to develop an immunity by fighting off disease.
We are permanently changing parts of this system, for good or for bad. When we make a decision that big for our children it is our responsibility to be able to discuss intelligently what we have done and why.

Oh, and of course, a footnote on autism... here.