A Whole New Baby/Ear Tubes Surgery Update

Does your baby need ear tubes surgery? Learn what the procedure is like (from Mom's point of view) and how it helps your little one feel better long-term.

I wanted to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and wishes regarding O’s ear tubes surgery. We did it, and it’s done. O has his ear tubes. Here’s how it went down:

I fretted all Monday about how I was going to engineer getting O to Butler County Medical Center for his 7:45 a.m. appointment.

The Issues: I couldn’t feed him past 3 a.m., we had to be there an hour early (6:45 a.m.), and the medical center was about a 45-minute drive from my house. Visions of a screaming, hungry baby kept replaying in my head.

My Plan: Wake O around 2:30-3, feed him, and put him back to bed. Wake myself up around 5:15 or so, shower, get dressed, transfer O from crib to car seat and head off–hopefully never waking him and never hearing the hunger cries/screams.

It didn’t go down quite as I so carefully planned.

I woke O up at 3 to eat, and he fell back asleep. Good.

But then he woke up at 4, and wouldn’t go back down. Ruhroh.

At 4:30 I gave up trying to put him to sleep and took him downstairs. I showered and quickly got ready because the fussing had already begun. I put him in his car seat, got him out to the car, and got rolling at around 5:15. He fell asleep quickly, which was good, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for the next hour and a half. Drive around? Luckily, I solved my own problem when I took a 45-minute detour, aka, got myself lost. After a quick call to J. I got myself back on track and got the medical center just in time. We were quickly registered and taken back to pre-op.

I talked with the nurses and anesthesiologist, changed O into his gown, and played with him until it was time for him to go “back.” Trying to distract him from concentrating on his hunger and fatigue. Thank goodness the center had some mobiles strategically placed around the pre-op area. The boy loves himself some mobiles.

The nurse had earlier asked if I wanted to go back with him while he was put under, and I asked if I could make the decision later. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle seeing him go under, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave O alone, either. She said it was fine to decide later, but when the time came for him to leave, another nurse told me he was “too young” for me to accompany him. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but was partly relieved the decision had been made for me. I retreated to the waiting room.

No longer than it took me to read a really bad article in Self magazine about a breast reduction, and O was done. I rushed back to post-op where he was wailing his head off, grabbing at his ears, and looking utterly miserable. The nurse explained this was normal behavior–he was confused, upset, hurting, and most of all–hungry. He reached for me, and I took him in my arms.

Seeing no food or bottles in my hands, the nurse told me they had bottles, sippy cups, juice, formula, or water that I could feed him. I told her I’d nurse him. She seemed surprised, but quickly regained her composure. (Seriously, I thought I was in the majority as a nursing mom, but I think I might be in the minority, based on the reactions from people in the medical field throughout this ordeal. Or maybe it’s true and a lot of breastfed babies don’t get ear infections and consequently need tubes.) She beamed at me and told me that would be “great!”, but warned me he might not want to latch on because of the pressure. I didn’t think he’d have any problems, and I was right. O is definitely a boob man.

He nursed for awhile, but then popped off and started wailing. I was able to get him to latch again and Dr. Cotton came in to talk to me. He told me the surgery went well, but that O had “really bad ears,” and he had to remove a lot of infected fluid. He instructed me on how and when to administer O’s ear drops, and then another nurse came back to give me my discharge papers. O was still crying uncontrollably when he wasn’t nursing, so I opted to leave the center. I knew he was fine, just recovering from the anesthetic, and I was starting to feel bad for the other people in the area who were recovering from their respective surgeries. I figured he’d fall asleep in the car, and he did. (Ahh… the car.)

The rest of the day was spent lounging around, napping, and quietly playing. We took a three-hour nap together. I felt no guilt whatsoever, no pressure to get to the store to get much-needed milk, or make sure the laundry got done. Today was solely dedicated to taking care of O (and me).

Now, a few days later, I have a new baby–just like everyone said I would. He’s not as fussy, he’s smiling more, and a lot happier overall. He was always a happy baby, now he’s even happier. No more grabbing and clawing at his face and ears. No more screams of pain. His caregivers at daycare keep commenting on how much more at peace he is. It’s amazing.

As for that sleeping through the night thing? Not quite yet. But I’m not losing hope.

14 thoughts on “A Whole New Baby/Ear Tubes Surgery Update

  1. Brian A. Klems says:

    I can’t even imagine watching your own kid get put under. You probably made the right decision there. (ps-I chukled at the “boob man” line)


  2. 🙁 I’m so sad for O-boy! I am happy he’s feeling better though. I’m sorry my DNA caused this- at least he’s more at peace now!

  3. just4ofus says:

    Glad it went well and that life will be better 🙂

  4. YEAH! Congratulations to both of you!

  5. Glad O is doing better!

  6. Love my baby says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post. My 7 1/2 month old is having tubes put in tomorrow morning and I’m pretty nervous. The anesthesia worries me – he’s so little and precious. This post gave me some ideas of what to expect.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing! My daughter needs tubes too… it’s good to know someone else goes through the guilt and struggles of making the best decision for your little one.

  8. MStevenson says:

    My 7 WEEK old baby is going in for his ear tube surgery the middle of June. I’m not happy or excited about it. I’m super nervous. I don’t think I can handle watching him go under. I wish he didn’t have to have it, but if it makes him better. It’s just hard cause he’s never shown any normal ear infection type symptoms. He’s the happiest kid and only cries when he’s hungry, so we didn’t even know he had an ear infection until he didn’t pass three different hearing tests. I just made a post about it on my blog


    I hope it goes well, and I was glad to read this post and hear what someone else went through.


  9. joanna.rogers says:

    I could copy and paste and sign my name on the bottom. My story is exactly the same. My boob men is 10 months old and had it done today. I can already see the difference in his behavior. Hope he'll start to sleep better at night as well.

  10. my 7th month old has been having ear infection since 3 months. we have been in and out of the ear at least 3 times. every doctors appointment we have it checked. the appointment before last monday the nurse prac. said he was fine and then monday his doctor said it was completely inflamed. so he goes back on the 26th of august to see if there has been any progress with clearing of the infection. this is his 4th time on antibiotics. the doctor said if isn’t better he needs tubes. I am so scared for him. only because his little cousin on fathers side has them and she is always in and out of doctors because they hurt her or they need to be moved. I just hope and pray my little man does not have to go through that whole ordeal that his cousin goes through if he does have to get them. I will admit I am so nervous for this procedure. Just hearing the part that O woke up and was so miserable and crying like that will break my heart if Kamryn reacts the same. (if he does need to get them). I am glad to hear that O is happier now and it did make a difference in the long. that made me feel a little better. thanks for posting this. I needed to read it even though i did start crying when i read he was so miserable and wailing like that when he woke up.

  11. How old was O when he had the surgery?

  12. Claire R. says:

    My won is undergoing the surgery tomorrow. I’m wondering if it makes sense to give extra milk in a bottle, pumped from the day time. Also I’m wondering about waking him up to give him juice since he’s allowed to have some up to 2 hours before. But we are thinking maybe waking him up is a bad idea cause then maybe he’ll decide he wants to nurse and then we’ll be in a pickle.

  13. Our 15 mo old has ear tubes about a week ago. Although his infections seemed to go away the fluid refused to drain. Nothing past midnight for him so being he still nurses at night and morning that was “fun”. He did great despite my nerves. They grabbed him up and off before I could give him hugs …I did get the same reaction when I said I’d nurse him… I guess not a lot of mothers nursing at his age in for ear tubes ? within 30 min he was super hyper and singing but I guess the pain med wore off and he’s been fussy, only want mommy to hold me, nursing non stop with no more sleeping through the night since ? I’m hoping it’ll get better soon. He must be one of the few that is not like a new baby afterwards… at least in the good ways of more talking/eating/etc.

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