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Glue Ear and Grommets

“Oh she still is walking yet?”

“She still doesn’t say many words?”

“It’s just a phase”

“She’s sick AGAIN?!”

“Constant ear infections are totally normal”

“Are you feeding her the right foods? Is she getting enough vegetables?”

“Leaking ears is normal in young kids don’t stress so much”

This is just some of the things I had to listen to during the first 18 months of Harpers life.  It came from other mothers, friends and unfortunately 4 different doctors. There were so many times I would just cry because I thought it was my fault that Harper was always sick, not walking and hardly talking yet. I blamed myself because she was super clingy and easily aggravated.

I thought I was failing miserably as a mother because my 16 month old wasn’t like the other kids. 

By the age of 1, Harper had a total of 9-10 ear infections, and 8 lots of antibiotics. As a first time mum this was scary because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing wrong. Spent months changing her diet, formula and I even stopped her head from getting wet. I spent hours trying new exercises to help her walk. Nothing worked.

I knew deep down in the pit of my stomach there was more to this. 

Harper wasn’t interested in the television at all. “Thats great means she’s clever and wants to learn in other ways”, “Thats not a bad thing’, “They shouldn’t watch tv at this age anyways”. These are the things I was told, and I knew yes its good she would rather play with me BUT I knew deep down it was because she wasn’t hearing it correctly.

I wasn’t able to leave Harpers sight or she was scream and cry . “Its cause she’s loves her mummy”, “aw thats so cute”, “maybe she’s teething”. I felt like these tantrums she was having was different from your average toddler. 

Months passed and I found out I was pregnant with Willow, I was tired lethargic and sick from that first trimester, and obviously emotional. I cried a lot thinking how on earth am I going to have another kid when my first is always sick and so behind on everything. So I started researching possible causes as to way these things were happening (or rather not happening with Harper). 

It wasn’t long before I came across something called ‘Glue Ear” and all the symptoms and side effects were exactly what H was going through!  I decided enough was enough and that I wasn’t leaving the doctors until I was referred to a Specialist. As per usual the doctor would tell me it was all normal and Harper will develop in her own time, blah, blah. 

“I’m sorry but Im not leaving until you refer me to an ENT” 

And that was that, I booked into our ENT. Luckily we got in within a month which is rare as ENT’s are always heavily booked. We arrived and soon as the ENT looked into her ears he said without hesitation “yep glue ear and I suspect her adenoids are enlarged and will need to be removed”. I had mixed emotions; a huge relief I finally knew what was going on and sadness that my poor baby girl has to have surgery. 

By this time we were expecting our second born (Willow) in the next couple of months so the ENT booked Harper’s surgery in (I would be 38 weeks pregnant when she goes in for surgery). We were hoping that this would fit in just before Willow arrived. Of course naturally Willow decided to come at 37 weeks (due to placenta abruption- read birth story here). I just managed to get home from hospital the day before Harpers surgery.

Because Willow was born at only 2.5kgs we made the painful decision that I would have to stay home with Willow and breastfeed while Ryan took Harper in for surgery.  Willow wasn’t even a week old and I was suffering from severe PND,  I spent that whole day crying my eyes out. I felt  like the absolute worst mother on the entire planet because I  had to be home with our nearly premature baby and not be at hospital with Harper for her first operation (and H was only 20 months old). 

After her operation the ENT said Harper had some of biggest adenoids he’s seen in a child her age. NO wonder harper snored so loudly at night!

The aftercare from surgery was surprisingly not too bad. Harper came home drowsy and a bit emotional but wasn’t in any pain. The ENT just gave instructions that she had to wear ear plugs in water for the next 6 or so months until he checks them again. We basically just give panadol as needed. The next day she was pretty much back to her old self.

The weeks that followed i was in disbelief how quickly her speech developed and her behaviour changed. Within a couple of months she started saying new words every single week! From originally saying 3 words not very clearly to then being able to say 20 new words! I was in shock and so happy!

I am so glad I stuck to my guns because now Harper is doing so well. She still gets the occasional ear infection but nothing like she used to! I actually heard from many mums that they had the same experience with their kids, but not knowing what it was their children would reach kindergarten and be so behind and then realise they needed grommets the whole time! 

All I can say is trust your gut instinct because you know your child best!

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This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Always trust your instincts and fight for what you think is right. From the age of 1 our middle son had re occurring tonsilitis, each time we would be given antibiotics and sent on our way. For 2 years our doctor kept telling us that surgery wasn’t necessary and then it got real bad, he had it 26 times in one year and one of those bouts caused him to be rushed into hospital with Sepsis. It’s then we finally got taken seriously and referred to ENT for removal. As you say yourself you know your child best

  2. Our son has had grommets and adenoids out last week and recovered really quickly too but vivid nightmares every night and crazy tantrums in the day it’s like his behaviour is worse. Did you experience any of this???

  3. This almost mirrors our experience, but it wasn’t until our son kept failing hearing test after hearing test that I pushed the doctor for us to get into an ENT, I got a call from the specialist that evening to organise our sons initial consult and surgery for a fortnight later. He was almost 3 and a half when he had grommets in and adenoids removed, same story adenoids were very enlarged for his age and size, and both ears very full.
    Our son is now in grade 1 and his speech is finally improving and we haven’t had too go back in for more grommets phew….

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