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Thursday

Charlotte Needs Tubes


The happiest baby in the world has been fighting a recurrent ear infection for over five weeks now, has been on three different antibiotics (for 10 days each), and yesterday we got a referral to a local ENT to schedule her for tubes in her ears.

I immediately said "Oh s**t" to my pediatrician, well I mouthed the second word, and it was just completely involuntary. I'm not really a cusser unless I'm drinking red wine and feeling feisty. Which definitely happens from time to time. But not at 10:45am in a pediatric office with my two babies in earshot.

So, I feel like the cycle that I constantly hear about this is: parent is heartbroken and scared of upcoming anesthesia // procedure takes 5-10 minutes and is a walk in the park // child is instantly happier // parent wishes they'd done tubes sooner // parent tells all of his/her friends that tubes are the way to go // parent hopes that all subsequent children can get tubes at the sign of the first ear infection. Am I totally amiss here? 

I'm still in that heartbroken and scared phase, and of course I'm blaming it on myself. What if I would have used the snotsucker more? Did I use the humidifier enough? Did I do everything in my power to clear her ears? My pediatrician assured me it was nothing I could have prevented and just, you know, anatomy ... but I still feel a tinge of guilt and a ton of fear. 

I don't have a surgery date yet but would love to hear from reassuring readers who have been in my shoes. 

32 comments:

  1. My kids don't have tubes but both of them have had to have anesthesia for minor procedures when they were under 2. I feel you- it's extremely scary and I couldn't help sobbing when I watched my son "go under." However, in both instances, the kids were totally fine and the doctors and nurses taking care of our babies were amazing. They know their stuff and are so kind and understanding to parents. I will be sending so prayers your way!

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  2. My son (youngest child of three) had tubes (and adnoid removal at the same time) and everything you describe is exactly what happened...anxiety on my end and instant relief on his. It's definitely scary but Charlotte will be even happier than she is now!

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  3. I went through the very same emotions you're going through in the very same situation now. I promise you will come out so much better on the other side! It will be worth it!

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  4. You are right on everything . I am a nurse so I was so nervous and thought of everything that could go wrong. But it really was an easy procedure. My son was two when he got them and had never had an ear infection before. I had gone to the pediatrician because his speech was regressing and they found a lot of fluid behind one of his ears and suggested tubes. They were a lifesaver . The ENT doctor said basically he was hearing underwater is what it sounded like to him so we've been doing speech for the last two years but I am so thankful that we got the tubes. I can't imagine the pain they feel with ear infections. When they took him back into surgery I literally made it to the waiting room and sat down and five minutes later the doctor was out. It is that quick. Good luck and I hope you notice a big difference prayers for you. But you were definitely right to feel nervous (they are our babies )

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  5. You totally nailed everything. My first son needed tuned and my second one didn't. He was on antibiotics every month from 5 months on and got his tubes at 11 months. My husband is actually an anesthesiologist and I still had a little worry about him going under like any parent does but it is over in a blink. If they offer "happy" drugs to help her relax before, take them!!!! It actually helped me relax seeing my son so silly and out of it. They said is helps them not fight going to sleep as much. Anyway, he never had another ear infection and is now 7. Tubes are AMAZING! I wanted them for my second son but he didn't meet the criteria with the occasional infection. She will do great (and so will you)!

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  6. You are not amiss! Our oldest had tubes and it was the BEST medical decision we've ever made for him. Luckily for me, my sister is a CRNA so she gave me real talk about the anesthesia (the only thing I was worried about) and she said it's basically like twilight. She said the risks are crazy low. She also warned me that if I went back with him the kiddos often freak the F out for anesthesia because they aren't used to the mask. She was right; my son flipped out when they put the mask on him so I just held his hands and kept telling him it was okay and I loved him, but had I not been emotionally prepared for that I would have been quite jarred. Good luck! You will be so happy with the outcome.

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  7. yep, you have it spot on! 1000%. Both my kids had tubes and with my son (the first) we waited and waited. Finally around 2 he got them. With my daughter, we were begging the doctor to get them the first time she got an ear infection. we knew the cycle. He made us wait until she had had like 3 infections. Boo. Tubes are literally life-changing for everyone.

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  8. You definitely aren't alone in that boat! My 3 year old son just had the same procedure a few weeks ago. I was so nervous that I didn't sleep at all the night before. But I can say this, I am 100% positive that all of my worrying was for nothing. The doctor used a mild anesthesia that he breathed through a mask, and it smelled like cotton candy! The procedure took less than 10 minutes, and he was back with me happy and alert within 20-25 minutes. I am convinced that it was a great decision, and so far, fingers crossed, he's happy and healthy and feeling great! I'll be sure to keep you all in my prayers, and hope Baby C has as great of an experience as my son did!

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  9. All three of my kiddos had them. Easy, breezy, and quick! She will feel SO much better! Focus on that piece. It is a little nerve racking, but SO worth it! Mandy

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  10. We got them at 18m and still have them now at just over 3-they haven't fallen out yet. Two things- some kids dont come out of the anesthesia happy-some are pretty unhappy so be prepared for that. My little guy was very very sad for about two hours and then he fell asleep and was good to go!! The other thing-if a child gets an ear infection and has tubes the liquid that used to pool behind the ear drums will drain out. its like a runny nose from the ear-which is kinda gross-but better than it staying in. In the almost two years we have had tubes we have had a fe of those "drain from the ear" infections which are painless for my son and are treated with drops. We have had one actual ear infection that needed antibiotics. It has made a huge difference in all ways-his speech is now gangbusters:)

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  11. Some people are just more prone to ear infections...whether it's luck, anatomy,whatever. As an adult I've gotten tubes twice and I can attest to their effectiveness. Hope charlotte's procedure goes well!

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  12. Lawter got hers at 8 months and Tell just got his about a month ago at 10 months. We fall in to the camp of BIG FANS of ear tubes because having our babies on constant antibiotics (that weren't working anyways) was just plain awful. We've had great experiences, the procedure is a breeze and it's not like there's a recovery period- once it's done, it's done! Lawter had one more ear infection (so just needed the drops) maybe 2 months after her tubes but that's been almost 2 years ago now and she's been good ever since. Will keep little Charlotte's ears in our prayers, poor babe- it's got to be miserable!!

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  13. My brother (yes an adult) has had this done twice. Once when he was very young and then again this past December. There was a span of many many years in between. Both times he was instantly happier because he could hear.

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  14. Aw!! My 8 month old doesn't have tubes but he was born with a port wine stain on his arm so we started treatments monthly back in December, which he has to go under anesthesia for. The night before the first one I didn't sleep and was driving myself crazy. However we just finished his third one and I feel like a pro!! You'd be surprised how many babies are there going under anesthesia each time we have been. Although I know no matter what anyone says you will still worry - that's what we do!! Keep us posted so we can keep her in our prayers.

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  15. I felt the same way with our little but it was truly the best thing for her. She had ear infections for five months straight and the medicine was taking its toll. The worst part was the pre-surgery wait and the post-op where she was hysterical (apparently anesthesia can make some littles angry). The weeks following she was like a different baby: walking, talking, all around happier. She (and you) will do great!

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  16. My little brother had to have tubes, too! It was around the time when he should have been saying a few words but everything was coming out mumbo jumbo. Within a couple of weeks of tubes, he was saying words that made sense! Poor little guys ears were so stopped up - he heard everything mumbled. He has no recollection of the situation and I know my parents would do it again 100 times because it was totally worth it and he was in no pain!

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  17. My sweet 11 month old Fletcher is headed to the ENT next week for the exact same reason. It feels like he has had an ear infection since November! Hoping tubes will help, but so very anxious about the whole ordeal. SO nice to hear I'm not alone.

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  18. I don't know much about the procedure but you and your family will be in my prayers. <3

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  19. Ok April, my story is about as old as you are! My first born had 32 ear infections by the time he was 5. His first set of tubes was when he was just under 2. And it was the procedure you just described. When he was 11 he was sent to a miracle worker right there in Charlotte! Dr. Stephen Gold. Dr. Gold determined that what we thought for 11 years was an infection, was actually a cholesteotoma...a benign ameoba like, jelly like tumor that had engulfed his ear drum and literally deteriorated it. So...Dr Gold took a bit of bone from behind the ear and made a new ear drum!! Genious right? Matty could hear properly for the first time ever and is now 32 with no residual issues. So all of that to say...Dr. Gold is the bomb.com!! As much as you are scared...she will feel so much better, no more diarrhea and raw booties, you will sleep again and you'll wonder why you waited! PS. They gave Matt a little "coctail" orally and i rocked him to sleep. Then they took him...did the IV and surgery and in 20 mins he was back in my arms none the wiser. Great for him....I was a bawling wreck! ❤

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  20. Ok April, my story is about as old as you are! My first born had 32 ear infections by the time he was 5. His first set of tubes was when he was just under 2. And it was the procedure you just described. When he was 11 he was sent to a miracle worker right there in Charlotte! Dr. Stephen Gold. Dr. Gold determined that what we thought for 11 years was an infection, was actually a cholesteotoma...a benign ameoba like, jelly like tumor that had engulfed his ear drum and literally deteriorated it. So...Dr Gold took a bit of bone from behind the ear and made a new ear drum!! Genious right? Matty could hear properly for the first time ever and is now 32 with no residual issues. So all of that to say...Dr. Gold is the bomb.com!! As much as you are scared...she will feel so much better, no more diarrhea and raw booties, you will sleep again and you'll wonder why you waited! PS. They gave Matt a little "coctail" orally and i rocked him to sleep. Then they took him...did the IV and surgery and in 20 mins he was back in my arms none the wiser. Great for him....I was a bawling wreck! ❤

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  21. I'm a pediatric audiologist and always support ear tubes when necessary --- certainly from a medical standpoint so kids aren't constantly on antibiotics, but obviously from a hearing standpoint as well. Even if you don't think Charlotte has any trouble hearing, it's likely that she has at least a mild hearing loss when she has an active infection, and maybe even after until the sterile fluid clears all the way. And a baby who has a mild hearing loss, even intermittently, is going to be at greater risk for speech and language delays later on. We rely on our normal hearing to wire the brain during the first 3 years of life and any amount of fluctuating hearing loss can affect this! Your prediction is right --- it's a really quick and easy surgery and it's so much harder on parents than it is for babies and kids. Adults get ear tubes placed in the office with just a small drop of anesthetic on the eardrum --- it's that non invasive. Kids just don't sit as well and we certainly don't want to risk traumatizing them by having to hold them down to do that procedure in the office, which is why we sedate for it.
    Good luck!

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  22. My youngest had 2 sets of tubes and adnoid removal with the second set and it was like a freaking MIRACLE cure. 100% improvement and I swear she now still very rarely gets even a cold and she is 12!

    Scary for a few minutes, but you will see such a difference!

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  23. Please PLEASE don't blame yourself. There's nothing more that you could have done to help. As a mother with TWO babies that had tubes, I can assure you that you will be SO thankful that you did it. Everything you said above is SO true. Yes, it's terrifying to think of your babies going under anesthesia, but that's about the worst of it. The procedure is super quick, the babies wake up super fast, and once the anesthesia wears off you wouldn't even know anything different had happened that day. Both of our little babes had constant ear infections, but once they had the tubes, NO MORE. They are like little magical devices and you will be so thankful once it's done. I promise.

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  24. Do not worry! My son has had 6 sets of tubes and each set is as easy as the first. Best part is that when she does get an ear infection, you will know and be able to treat it with drops first. They can not get resistant to the drops like they can some oral antibiotics and they work great. First signs of an infection and we start the drops!

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  25. I've been just where you are now, but I'm here to tell you that tubes were a game changer for us. The process was just like you've heard. (The worst part is seeing your baby in a little hospital gown.) It's a quick and basically painless. No parent guilt please, we used all that stuff and were told that it was just anatomy too. Be strong!

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  26. My daughter got tubes when she was 9 months old and I echo pretty much everything above! Hardest part for me was not being able to feed her after midnight the night before (she was definitely a nurse to sleep baby). They did have me carry her into the OR and hold her while they have her the anesthesia gas, then about 5 minutes after I went back to the waiting room she was done. She was a little fussy after but was able to nurse right away and that helped a lot! A year later the tubes are still in place. She's had a couple ear infections (can tell because it drains out of her ear) which we could treat with ear drops instead of oral antibiotics--much easier to give and fewer side effects. Good luck!

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  27. Hey momma, you're doing great! We had tubes with our last little, and I was so worried. But, just as you said it ended up being so easy! And, we didn't have any issues after - he felt 100 times better and no more pain, infection and antibiotics cycle. All in all, it was a great experience and I'm so happy we were able to get him healthy. Will be praying for you and for sweet Charlotte!

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  28. My daughter, Madeline, was born with a cleft palate. Talk about freaking new parents out--the pediatricians told us she may have speech problems, problems nursing and even have hearing issues! Worse case scenarios, of course. Anyway, that whole first year was extremely stressful because of how much all the doctors freaked us out. Looking back, it was not that bad. It's a common problem actually, and when it was time for her corrective surgery at 10 months of age, she got ear tubes and still has them today at 19 months. I've heard from numerous parents that it's normal and we were surprised to find out how many children who don't even have issues at birth later get ear tubes. So if it were to happen again with another child, at least we'd know it's routine! But still, when something happens for the first time, parents worry. It's what we do! But Charlotte will be fine!

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  29. Sending best wishes to Charlotte! I know she is going to do great; it is just hard not to worry about your baby!

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  30. It's scary but seems like a very common procedure, I know lots of young ones that have had it done & it seems like it's more difficult on the parent than the child. Thinking of you, girlie.

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  31. Aww baby Charlotte! Honestly, getting tubes will be the best thing for her - especially this little. She won't remember it and she'll be feeling better in no time. Because we moved so much, they never suggested it for my sister - she had ear infections all the time and didn't get tubes until she was 12! I don't think my sister has had an ear infection since. I've heard it's harder, the older they get so don't feel bad about little Charlotte - it'll be a great thing for her :)

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  32. You are SPOT ON in your assessment. Totally recommend tubes, despite that one of Conner's fell out (how does that even happen?!?) shortly after it was placed in. He had it reinserted (anesthesia round two....sheeeeesh / yikes), and going on a year later and NO MORE EAR INFECTIONS! Now, the flu....that's another subject matter. :/

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