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4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby lulilly617 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:49 pm

Hi everyone. I wanted to document our son's otoplasty journey as a way to really provide insight into this process for other parents. Our son was born with prominent ears, and as he grew older they would protrude more. He was born with out an antihelical fold and so his ears stuck way out at the top 1/3 of the ear. They were flat and as bad as this sounds, it looked like wings on the sides of his head. He also had what I believe was cupping of the ear. It was really cemented in my head that something would need to be done at some point when we had our Easter pictures done last year. His brother doesn't have the same ears, and they were both straight on in the picture, and as a mom who loves her children unconditionally, I could not look past his ears. They basically took over his face, that's all you could focus on. And i see those ears every day! I felt that it just cut him short, as he is a very handsome boy and then to have ears so noticable and promanent; his ears were something that I paired with him, while also taking away from him. I could only imagine what it would be like when he got into school and kids become mean. He is very wise for his age and picks up on things, he is quiet yet unstirred by others and pretty secure with leadership qualities, but I was afraid mean kids would steal that from him. I imagined building him up so he could withstand the mean verbal blows to his ego if I decided against surgery, because I myself am pretty confident and unshakable, but again I thought--if we can treat the ear problem when he is young before he is affected by teasing, why not save him from that horrible experience. I knew he would be teased about many things as kids will always find something, so why not take off this huge target? I love to stand out and be different/unique (now), but I remember from late elementary to high school all I desperately needed for my mental/emotional anguish was to fit in. And that's coming from someone who had no abnormalities. I loved his ears, they were him and who he was and everyone would comment how cute he was/ ears were. I don't think he had an issue with his ears, but I could tell when people would say anything about his ears he would just become quiet. I never was offended, but I hated that the ear comment always came with my child. I want him to be acknowledged for just being him. With that, my son started to grow a scary cyst behind his ear. It was blue in color and it was during this time the ENT doctor asked about Jayden's ears and let us know that he was missing a fold and mentioned a doctor that he felt qualified for the job. He had to have surgery twice to remove it, and I was fine because I was scared it was cancer (thank god it was not). So it wasn't hard to get past the idea of having my son get put under if we decided to do otoplasty. We did some research and looked at blogs about other parents having this done for their child. EVERYONE it seemed said they would do it if it helped their child in life, and even the older people commented that they were so happy their parents did that for them. I ran across tons of before and after pictures of children where you say wow, that helped that child so much!!I never saw anything about how parents dealt with it post surgery, or how it was for their little one, or if they had any issues post op. You can read generic risks and possible complications but it really doesn't give you the full picture. What we had come to know was that most cosmetic surgeons can do this surgery, and it's pretty safe with low risk of any issues. We went with a local plastic surgeon that we were referred to, and other people in the medial industry said he was good. He had explained he had done them, but it wasn't a procedure that is frequently asked for. I didn't understand the different techniques for certain corrections. So as this is a long read I will jump to: my son had his surgery two days ago. Let me tell you, for me, this was a terribly hard journey so far. I was questioning my decision the week before and after talking with friends, family, husband, and anyone else who plays a role in our life--they added to the fact that im doing whats best for him and his future, and they would do the same. So his surgery lasted almost three hours. One hour longer than he had stated, I was a nervous wreck-basketcase. I was letting someone change my little boy, for the idea of making his life easier. But this whole ordeal has been the hardest on me. I was so happy to have him back post surgery. When we got home he wore a bandage around his head, and he threw up the majority of the rest of the day due to the anesthesia. I decided against the prescribed Norco for my son, as the risk for childhood fast metabolism resulting in morphine over dose scared me to death. I opted to alternate between Tylenol and ibuprofen to control the pain. Which he had a huge problem with the first night. He could barely sleep he was so uncomfortable. I felt so guilty. The first day his head was re-wrapped and I got to see his ears still fresh and bruised and it was still a HUGE difference. For a minute I was pleased. Then I was devastated. What have I put my boy through, what have I done? I of course before i had showed him what his ears would look like by looking in the mirror and folding them back, and they looked nothing like that. I am telling myself it is because they are still bruised and really red and swollen. One side is more swollen than the other, which I read is normal. But the first day after coming home I could not sleep. Mostly from being horrified with myself, but also because he slept in our bed and kept waking up and was uncomfortable. I was so unsure of what I had chosen. I just wanted his ears to be great and that be it, and move on. This is definitely a process --a life changing process for myself. And for my son obviously. He was grumpy and didn't want to be held/touched/ kissed. He seemed not himself, and that pulled on my heart strings that I have done damage to him and did something wrong. I know it is too early to jump to that, but I am so insecure at this time. I tried to make this as normal for him as possible, to not have him feel this is a bad thing. The first day after I took his brother to our daycare to just was with him. He was withdrawn, but I think mostly from being uncomfortable. I changed his dressing and offered to let him look in the mirror with a positive optimistic attitude. I tried to keep very upbeat like this was just a piece of cake and nothing was wrong, but it was hard with me being so shameful about this. I felt so shameful because I thought what if I just made the situation worse than what it would have been?? What if I just screwed my child up?! What if I did more harm than good, especially if the results were not ideal?! When he looked into the mirror I could tell he was trying to take in the difference. I then got out my phone and took fun pictures and made funny faces and even made a video of us. His old goofy self came out and that made me feel better, but I could tell he was concerned. Like I said, for a 4 yr old he is very aware of himself and has a feel for the difference that took place. This day was horrible for me, but for him I hope I made it seem normal. We went out to lunch and I had him wear a beanie type hat over his bandages. We visited his g-ma and g-pa and he was not happy they were talking about his surgery, he just wanted to not acknowledge what we had went through. He still waved and talked to people and I felt good to make things normal for us. I was still deeply affected and went back and forth between accepting/happy and shameful/guilty. It was so bad my stomach was in knots and I could not eat whatsoever. I'm an eater, and I have not had any appetite as my stomach is in knots, so I haven't eaten since two days ago. I of course at home while he played searched forums again for other parents who may have had issues/concerns or same emotional type grief during this process. One forum on the baby center site a mom talked very light hearted about her 6yr old son surgery and it was best decision ever. Explained her son had some pain and was grumpy but weeks after everything was great. I hope I am able to say that soon. I couldn't even look at his old pictures without cringing. That was my child, and I had let someone change him...but I would answer myself by saying this will benefit him. He is still my perfect baby. I had night mares both nights that woke me up and had overwhelming sense of guilt so i stayed up all night researching and obsessing. I called a couple friends and close family to cry and talk about what I was feeling. I felt as though I had let someone mutilate my child. That is a horrible thing for a mother to feel. We had family stop over and with him being in pain and tired from the ordeal he was withdrawn from interacting. Which again made me feel horrible. Differently than the night before, he slept through the night only asking for pain meds as he woke. He was pretty normal the second day (today). Except he is terribly afraid of bumping his ears, and not wanting me to touch his head wrap. He's so scared. He played and fought with his brother though like normal, and I asked if he wanted to go to school or stay with me and he wanted to stay home. But after thinking about it, I don't want him to think anything is wrong and I want him to feel normal so I decided he would go to school. His teachers were notified of the restrictions (hat on and no bumping hurt ears), and that child perked right up upon entering the building. He was my son again and I was so relieved for a little while. I still took my other son to daycare so I could process this ordeal by myself at home. I've had to keep even keel in front of my kids, and I needed to mourn the loss of my sons old ears to move on and accept this process, so I came home and just cried. And I prayed and I prayed. I picked the boys up, and my son was completely himself. Except his ears now itch terribly, and in the car he stated something that made me feel horrible. He complained his ears itched and "itching was turning his ears into his brothers". I don't know if I should take that as he feels I am trying to make him into his brother and I don't accept him, or if it was just a kid statement with no deep damage or meaning behind it. He is pretty much himself today, and I am able to talk him into letting me change his bandages by letting him help me. Taking part of the care I think allowed him to accept this is happening too, and let him have some control over the situation. I made sure to tell him it wont be like this for long, only a few more days and he'll feel good again. He is coming around today to the hugs and kisses and is starting to allow affection, but still protects his head/ears. I called the doctor to see if I could talk to him about some issues I still have with the one ear. The fold of the one ear still concerns me. It looks very unnatural, and very very different from the other side. From the front view he looks pretty good. There is some difference as they say is normal, but when I see that one ear from the side it doesn't look right. Like the bend of the antihelix (width) is too broad and does not actually complete a full curve. There is a bend and then its almost straight to the edge of the ear, and the other has a bend and then it has a nice opposite curve to the edge of the ear. The nurse told me he wanted to keep the two week appointment as it takes some time for the swelling to go down to see truly what they outcome may be. I honestly think he needs to have it restitched to pull the curve more naturally, before it heals permanently. They say it takes 6 months to know the outcome, and a full year to heal and see the final position. As he goes around the house with his bandages off ( I let them breathe once during the day and use Bactrim ointment and some anti-itch antiseptic spray to relieve the itching and redress it before bedtime) I never wanted this to turn into a cosmetic- fix my son-issue. But now we've had the surgery, I'm horribly worried about getting that other ear as close to being similar to the other as possible. I don't want my son to now get teased because of an abnormal looking one ear. I hope if anything needs to be tended to, it can be done with out being put under again. I hope its just basically administering laughing gas and adding a stitch or two. I haven't really connected and let it sink in that he may have to have adjustments, especially since when I get on the phone he fearfully asks me who I am talking to. He doesn't want to go through this again. I toggle with that, and the idea that I let this be, and continue to build his esteem up so when the mean kid era hits he will shake it off. And if he at some point wants a revision we can entertain that when or if it comes up. We are going on night three and he is comfortably sleeping in his own bed tonight. Life is slowly getting back to normal. These last two nights/three days have felt like a whole week. This has been much harder than I thought it would be. I am mourning his old ears, as I am pretty strongly a person who values differences and accepting things as they are, but it took me 30 years to be happy with myself and that's without having very noticeable differences. I hope this book I wrote helped someone who is going through this, or looking to have this done for their child. I hope to update his progress as It continues. I also apologize for the grammar errors as I'm exhausted and writing this early in the night.
lulilly617
 
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Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:06 pm



Re: 4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby admiral_awesome777 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:09 pm

Hows the kiddo now. Hope he's doing well. You're a great mom!
Don't ever doubt that!
admiral_awesome777
 
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:27 pm



Re: 4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby lulilly617 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:24 pm

Thank you so much! I appreciate you saying that. I forgot that I had never updated my post, but it has been 2.5 months since his procedure. It continued to be very challenging to be honest. At his two week appointment I had started to calm down when the swelling had begun to decrease, and his ears started to look better. I still went between satisfied and happy, to guilty and full of shame when I looked at his old pictures. I was in love with his ears, and being his mom I did not want anything to have to change. But I know deep in my heart that though this has been so tough for me, that it was for the best for him, and I am willing to hurt over this as I (and most any mothers) would do anything to make the best life for their child. I just had to keep reminding myself that he was the same child as before, and as the swelling and pain subsided he got back to normal again. Except he hated wearing the head band at night. His ears itched badly for a good two weeks after too, which just was a constant reminder that it was done, and again would make me feel bad. About 1 month after it seemed normal, until he would take off his shirt too hastily and pull on his sore ears and he would cry. Again another normal part of this process, but still sad for mom! He began to accept it more, and become more comfortable with it. He would express his frustration of how his ears were still hurting, and still itching, and he would remind me not to snuggle too close to him because of his ears ( another heartbreak). I did still care for his ears by using ointment or cleaning the incision site and I feel like it helped him feel more in control of the situation if I asked him to help, which was a nice way of helping him cope. Even though he is only four, kids are affected by changes too. Before I was worried about the one ear, and it had started to form a nice antihelical fold after 3-4 weeks, but as they started to relax I notice that the one sticks out more at the top. However there is asymmetry of ears in the general population we just don't notice it. So I had to work on not scrutinizing over them. The dr. mentioned one ear was different from the other to start with, and had more realistate to work with. So from the front view at his eye level they are almost exact. It is just on other angles if you really look you can see the difference. My issue is I felt like my child deserves the best new ears he can get, which is hard to compare to what I originally thought was perfect from birth by motherly love. I have a before and after picture, and just like the pictures online if you do a google search, he looks a lot more older and it compliments his features. Overall it has been a journey and it has been hard! If he gets older and one, has issues with his ears, or two, gets teased, I will try hard to instill in him self confidence because it is not about being perfect. On the other hand if he would feel strongly about having a revision of some sort I will support him. What I also have realized, and got through my head is: his prominent ears were severe enough that I believe I did the right thing in correcting them. I look forward to the day that he comes to me and tells me he is grateful that I did this for him, because I desperately need that reassurance from him, and with that I miss giving him kisses and feeling his prominent ears against my face <3.
lulilly617
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:06 pm



Re: 4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby vincejames » Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:51 am

thanks so much for this. very useful read!
vincejames
 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:49 am



Re: 4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby JLR08 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:40 am

Went through a VERY similar experience with my daughter. We are 6 months post op now and there is not a day that goes by that I do not regret doing this. I wish I would have read this prior to surgery, it may have made me reconsider as we were on the fence, but like you, my research only revealed the positives.
I am hopeful that one day I will be able to forgive myself but for now I just feel ashamed and sad especially when I look at her old photos. Thankfully there were no major complications and maybe we might have prevented some bullying or teasing but I guess we will never know. We were just trying to help her feel confident in this world where appearances seem to matter so much. Girls can be so mean to each other, but in hindsight I wish we would have focused on boosting her self esteem and resiliency another way instead of changing the beautiful ears she was born with. That's just another mother's perspective.
Please update how you are doing now.
JLR08
 
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Re: 4yr old son otoplasty journey--parents read!

Postby alex1979 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:40 am

We booked our beautiful 11 year old daughter in for an otoplasty six months ago. We were assured by the nurses, the surgeon and others that it was a great thing to do with minimal post-op pain and after a week or so there will be no disruption to life and they would look fantastic. She had very prominent ears but was also very confident about herself and she was not bothered by them at all. A couple of people had called her "monkey ears" but she wasn't overly upset about that. It was me that was more concerned that she would get teased at high school and also become self conscious about them and that it would end up being a big problem in the future for her. To me she was always beautiful but her ears were so big, in all photos it was all my eye was drawn to and it was all I could see often when I looked at her - these two huge ears sticking out. We left the decision up to her and talked about the pro's and cons. She decided to get the procedure done but she would never have known such a procedure existed if we hadn't told her about it! It was extremely hard after the operation and she had immense pain (the painkillers didn't do much) and they were unbearably itchy for her. I immediately regretted it when I watched her wake up from her general anaesthetic. When the bandages came off 7 days later, her ears were black and blue and the stitches looked HORRIBLE. It was like she had been massacred. It was horrifying to all of us. Six months on and she still has a lot of pain with them and is so scared to play ball sports as balls have hit her ears during a sports game and they are unbearably painful when that happens. She can't hug people as they hug her ears and it hurts a lot. She played sport recently and had to wear a coloured bib for her team - it was so tight she couldn't get it on or off without really hurting her ears and she almost cried. She is very conscious about them and even if someone goes near her face or tickles her she will flinch and pull away. It has changed her life and not for the better. I wish we had not done the procedure and I hate myself for it. It has really almost ruined the past six months of her life. No one told us she could have pain for six months after op. They all made it sound so straight forward. Not at ALL true. Please think VERY carefully - are your child's ears ruining her life? If not, leave them be! Natural and beautiful and pain-less. Kids shouldn't have to go through this trauma. Now she is losing her hair and I am sure it is from the trauma of the otoplasty and the surgery. We made a big mistake and I can't forgive myself. Hope this helps others...
alex1979
 
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:27 am




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