As part of Girliness' 10 year birthday, she got her ears pierced (I think I blogged about this, but I might have forgotten...she wanted her ears pierced and a haircut and lunch out with me for her 10th birthday present - awesome). This was over a month ago. As instructed by the woman who did her ear piercing, Girliness has been faithfully cleaning her ears thrice daily with the solution she was given at the shop. Nevertheless, yesterday the piercing in her left ear - formerly just a little more irritated-looking than her right - presented a pretty nasty infection. At about 10pm she came to me with the front part of the earing missing in her ear, because the amount of swelling had pulled it in too far. I have more than the average amount of ammunition to deal with such a situation. But OMG did it ever SUCK. Even with the lidocaine, pulling through the earing to drain and reposition was very difficult for her to get through. There was a bunch of thrashing and "mom my hand just DOES that I can't control it" going on. We had to take a couple of breaks (her excuse was that she wanted to look in the mirror, but it was that she couldn't handle it anymore). And I legitimately thought she'd hate me forever. After everything was drained and back in place and I'd hit her ear with enough antibiotic/sanitizing solutions to treat a small armada of girls with infected ear piercings (and made her take an oral antibiotic as well, although without so much overkill), she gave me a big and very sincere hug. She was eager to head off to bed, but a little shaky still, so a little rescue remedy and a warm sea salt compress for her ear, and she was out in 5 minutes.
I on the other hand am surprised by how much I absolutely totally completely hated this whole ordeal.
In the course of my midwifery education I have found that I am indeed capable of hurting people without feeling bad about it, usually because 1) I have their consent to do something necessary (or they would literally die if I didn't), 2) I know things will improve when it's over, and 3) I do my damnedest not to hurt anyone any more than I absolutely HAVE to.
It has always stressed me out, though. My body is really accustomed to stress hormones now and if I ever did get shaky and out-of-body because of them the way some people do, I don't now. My daughter thinks I dealt with her ear with utter calm and compassion. In truth I am not sure my stress level has EVER been this high, and I've seen some gnarly shit.
It really, really is different when it's your own kids. (Side note: I have SO much more compassion for the EMT dad that couldn't help our birth team out as his wife was hemorrhaging now.) And something nasty happens in your brain when you could just stop and it would still hurt, but not as much as THIS. I wanted badly to foist this off on someone else, but the alternatives weren't attractive (which pretty much sums up other circumstances in which I've hurt my children to provide necessary medical care).
Or maybe pregnancy has reduced my coping abilities to shit. After Girliness was safely and relatively comfortably abed, I proceeded to descend into a ball of horrified hormonal-ness, and contracted regularly for 2 hours until I finally got out of bed and ate a burrito and drank a glass of wine.
This morning, all is well with Girliness' ear. It isn't back to normal but it looks MUCH better and she says it doesn't hurt as much. Thank freaking goodness.
1) The antiseptic solution given at an ear piercing isn't sufficiently strong to prevent an infection, much less treat one. When I actually read the label I was shocked at how weak it was; barely enough to make sure there wasn't anything growing in the solution itself.
2) Pregnancy apparently reduces my coping skills to mush. Even moreso than I thought. I have no way of knowing for sure, but probably this wouldn't have been nearly so big a deal (still would have sucked) not pregnant.
3) My daughter loves and trusts me enough that she doesn't hold this incident against me.
In another thank-freaking-goodness aside, I had warned Girliness that this might happen before we ever got her ears pierced. I am SO glad I didn't talk her into it with promises of "it's so easy, no problems ever blah blah blah."
I continue to be horrified with people who pierce infants' ears.
2015 Thanksgiving Letter to the Family
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