The nose job: a modern fable

I took my newborn in for a nose job . . . and his pediatrician flipped out on me. Can you believe it?!

I told her that his nose looked different than my husband’s, and I’d like them to look the same. This should avoid any awkward questions when he’s older. The doc looked at me like I was insane and told me that was no reason to perform elective surgery on a neonate.

I told her that the girls would probably like him better when he started dating if he had a nose job. Again, baffled, the doctor told me that she could not, and would not, perform cosmetic surgery on a newborn for such a ridiculous reason.

I told her that I had heard a rumor that my son would be less likely to get rhinitis later in life if we removed a little of his schnozola. Starting to show a little concern for my parenting, she told me that there was no conclusive evidence to support elective surgery as a means of effectively preventing complications or infection in adulthood.

Impatiently, I told her that I just wanted to get this over with. After all, my son would probably decide later in life that he’d like a designer nose, so it was better to just have it done now while he was too little to remember, and probably couldn't feel it anyway. Looking at me like I was bonkers, she asked me what made me think that this perfectly formed little person wasn’t capable of feeling pain. Hadn’t he shrieked when he had a tiny pin-prick to draw blood from his heel? Of course he could feel pain!

I told her that I thought it would be easier for him to keep his nose clean if we just took a tiny bit off. I could see the doc making a mental note to call child protective services on my crazy ass, but she humored me and explained that it’s very easy to teach a child how to properly clean his nose.

I told her that I was afraid that years later, all of his friends at school might have a certain kind of nose, and that he would be ridiculed. The doctor told me that everyone’s nose is different, and that she would not be performing elective surgery on a newborn for such an asinine reason.

I told her that I heard that lots of people were having their newborns’ noses done. She didn’t even have an answer for this one . . . she was just so shocked that her jaw hung open!

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I told her that this was my baby, and I wanted this nose job done today! After all, how risky could it be?!?! The doc told me that performing surgery on a newborn is always risky, and should only be done when absolutely necessary for the well-being of the baby.

END OF DISCUSSION.

No nose job would be happening for my baby today.

Disappointed, I began to leave.

But then I remembered the other reason I had brought my baby into the pediatrician’s office that day.

“When can we have him circumcised?” I asked.

“We can fit him in today if you’d like!” replied the doc. “Your insurance doesn't cover it any longer because it's considered a cosmetic procedure, so you’ll have to pay the full $500 up front. Is that okay?”


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Mandi Woolery is a mom to three awesome kids, a former childbirth educator and doula, and is currently attending nursing school to become an RN.