Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby earrings

I'm having some major second thoughts about my decision to give Cupcake earrings, and I feel like a terrible mother about it.

She got earrings when she was almost 3 months old. At the time I was freaking out that we had waited too long.  I come from a country where baby girls get their ears pierced in the hospital, within days of birth, and the idea of waiting 3 months filled me with dread.

Nevertheless, after her tetanus shot, we made our appointment, and our doctor's office pierced her ears. It was a pretty easy procedure, that didn't seem to hurt cupcake too much.  Sure, she cried after the first piercing, but it seemed to come from frustration at being  strapped down more than anything else. She cried for a few minutes (they felt like hours), and then promptly forgot about it.  In fact, that evening was the first time we heard her laugh.

Our pediatrician told us to rotate them and clean them, and that after a month we could take them out and replace them with our own earrings. We ended up keeping them for almost 3 months, as we were both too nervous to deal with holes in her ears.

Finally, we got some courage and replaced the earrings.  It was stressful, but she seemed pain free, which was our main concern.  The new earrings were a gift from Cupcake's great-grandmother, and they were special gold baby earrings with a special back to protect from scratches.   Everything was gravy.

Then yesterday I found one earring on Cupcake's play mat.  Apparently, she took it off, not really sure when.  And I looked and looked, and I couldn't find the back (did she swallow it?).  No problem, I thought, we'll just put back the original earrings from the pediatrician's office and go about our way.   Except that then last night we were running errands and we got home past Cupcake's bedtime, so we had to put her down quickly and didn't get a chance to try to put the earring back.  

We tried again this evening, and it won't go in.   It goes in one side, but doesn't seem to come out the other. We've realized that the doctor's earrings are much thicker than ours, so her ear might have healed thinner during the last 3 months.  I don't know, at some point early in the procedure I had a total panic meltdown.

I feel like a selfish mother for putting holes in my baby's ears. And I tell myself that this is cultural, that I had earrings as a baby and it's perfectly normal, but we live in the states, and the constant scrutiny of people noticing her ears are pierced is getting to me.  I try to tell myself that it's better to do it when they're young, as there is less chance of infection, but then  why won't the earring go in her ear?   I'm so scared it's gonna have to be re-opened, that it's gonna be infected, that it will cause her pain.  I can't bear to have her cry over something so stupid.

I feel like a terrible mother because we might have been able to get the earring in  the hole if I hadn't freaked out. This was a two person job: one holds the baby down while the other puts the earring, and I couldn't do either. I ended up hyperventilating in the bathroom while Nate tried valiantly to fix the problem, but ultimately couldn't.   Why can't I handle it? What's wrong with me? Why am I failing when I'm needed?  I'm gonna call the pediatrician tomorrow and see if she has any advice.


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