I was nine months pregnant with my second baby, exhausted, and dealing with my toddler’s sixth ear infection in four months. Then, the best thing that could have ever happened to us happened… EAR TUBES.
The Initial Signs
Our oldest daughter Evelyn had a rough start when it came to ear infections. Around 6 months old she got her first infection. Honestly, we wouldn’t have even known she had one if it wasn’t for her wellness check. When we brought her in she had a slightly runny nose, but let’s be real, the kid had a runny nose 80% of the month because of daycare! Well, once that infection cleared up, she had another one within three months. Again, we didn’t think much of it because ear infections can happen and they weren’t really consistent.
The only other odd thing that was happening was the amount of wax that would come out of her ears. It was slightly runny and we were constantly cleaning excess ear wax out of her ears. Then, around her first birthday, it’s like her ears just gave up trying. I feel like we would let one ear infection clear up and be back at the doctors a few days later for a new one. We were EXHAUSTED.
After the sixth ear infection in a four month span, our pediatrician felt like tubes were in our very near future. Basically, once a pattern of ear infections is established, your pediatrician will most likely refer you to an ear, nose and throat doctor. However, you don’t have to wait on your pediatrician. If I could have done anything different, I probably would have sought out an ear specialist after the third or fourth infection. Trust you mom gut.
You also have to keep in mind that they will have to try a different antibiotic with each infection. (We even went on an antibiotic that turns their poop bright red! Talk about a mommy freak out!). There are only so many antibiotics before they run out of options!
So, they sent me to a specialist. They ended up doing a hearing test, looked in her ear with a camera, and asked me a million questions about antibiotics she had taken. So, another big piece of advice, keep note of antibiotics if you start to see a pattern! They did conclude she would be a great candidate for ear tubes. Generally, they will get you on the books as soon as possible for the procedure. However, I was due to have a baby the next week, so that the doctor took pity on me and literally fit us in the next day!
The procedure took place bright and they told us to bring her in some comfy pajamas. They also made a HUGE deal about not allowing liquids or food, so, this was a slight positive of having such an early appointment. I don’t think she had time to become starving and cranky. We were sent to a room for prep work where they took her basic vitals. They also gave us the tiniest little robe and grippy socks to put on.
We had also been prepped on the fact that one parent was allowed to go back for the anesthesia. Of course I was determined that would be me, however, I was in for a rude awakening. Apparently, if you are pregnant, you are not allowed to be around the anesthesia as a precaution. I definitely had to bottle up all the tears for the sake of Evelyn and conceded to her dad going back with her. I will never forget my husband carrying her off and my cherub like little toddler waving at me saying “bye mama!”. As soon as she turned the corned the sobbing began. That poor nurse probably that I was insane.
After they took her back, they moved me to the recovery room. My husband joined me minutes after I arrived. He did assure me that it was probably best that he handled that part of the procedure. He is not an emotional man, but he did say he got *slightly* teary eyed watching her little body go limp from the anesthesia. So, fair warning! The procedure probably lasted a total of 10 minutes.
Essentially, by the time all the nerves start to kick in, the procedure is over. The procedure itself is just making tiny slits in the eardrum and inserting little tubes. Ours were blue and your pediatrician will easily see them at future appointments!
The recovery was actually the hardest part for us. Evelyn didn’t have the best reaction to the anesthesia. When she started waking up, the hysterical crying began. For the life of us, we could NOT get her to calm down. She was literally sobbing and writhing in my arms. This made me feel like a horrible mom who couldn’t comfort my own child. However, we were told this was quite normal for some kids.
They did have us stay for around 45 minutes. They wanted to monitor her and make sure her vitals were okay. Around the 45 minute mark, we still had a crying toddler, but her vitals were perfect. They ended up advising us to leave because they felt the environment was causing a lot of the emotions. Sure enough, as soon as we got outside, the crying stopped.
The remainder of the recovery was extremely easy. When we got home, she took a nice long nap and woke up as if nothing ever happened. We were told she was even fine to go back to daycare the next day! Other than that, we just needed to use prescribed ear drops for a week and not submerge her head under water for a month.
Now, I will say I have heard other moms mention their child was required to wear ear plugs. We never did, but obviously just go off what your doctor tells you to do! Finally, ear tubes should eventually fall out. I was told it’s usually within 1-2 years. Ours have not fallen out yet, so we might be in the small percentage that actually needs to get them removed. (Another bridge to cross at a later time!) Also, prepare yourself for the possibility of having to get a second set if the infections start back up once the tubes fall out.
- Recognize the symptoms your kid gets when they have an ear infection. I pretty much could guarantee an infection when she got a runny nose and a low grade fever. (Sometimes no fever!)
- Don’t stress this procedure at all! It’s super fast and simple.
- Don’t try to “wait it out” for them to get older. Our child had so much relief after getting tubes. It has been 18 months and we haven’t had a single infection!