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A Navel Mistake and a Navel Victory

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It was a sunny day in downtown St. John's. I had been out for coffee with a friend when I spontaneously decided "I'd like to get my navel pierced," or belly-button as I then called it. St. John's is not a large city, and I knew of only one place, a hair salon, that performed the procedure with the proper needle method, rather than those awful stud guns.

Down the street I strolled, calm yet excited. I wasn't nervous or worried about possible pain, just anxious to get it done and over with as soon as possible, before my impulse subsided. I walked in the shop, marched right up to the reception desk and told them what I wanted. Then came the disappointment. "Our piercer isn't in today, can you come back tomorrow?" I really wanted it done then and there, but I reluctantly agreed to an appointment the following day.

The anxiety really began to set in that night. I could hardly sleep with thoughts of the approaching puncture in my mind. My appointment was for 1 in the afternoon. Finally the time came, and I found myself once again, back in the hair salon, ready and waiting.

The piercer came to take me downstairs into his piercing room. I sat in the chair, was reclined back and told to relax. "Can I see the needle and jewelry?" I asked. I wanted to choose my own ring. His answer was that there is a standard ring everyone has to start with. I wasn't pleased, but at the time I thought "Hey, this guy's a professional. He must know what he's talking about." He gave me a waiver to sign, then began the procedure.

He put the forceps on me without any warning and I jumped. "Relax, I'm not piercing yet," he said, "Just checking for placement." No problem, I thought. I didn't know much about piercing back then, but I checked to make sure the needle was in a package, and that he wore gloves. He told me to take a deep breath in, counted to three and pushed the needle through. Not bad at all! I was done, and was allowed to stand up and look at my new piercing. It was a little red, and there had been some bleeding, but I was impressed. I was told to clean it with antibacterial soap and epsom salts twice a day, and ushered out.

The piercing seemed to be healing fine for the first few weeks. I noticed that the placement was crooked, but that didn't bother me too much. The weeks turned into months, and it wasn't getting any better. I was following aftercare procedure exactly as I was told, and just couldn't understand why my navel was still so sore after 6 months. There seemed to be less and less flesh holding the ring in, and that skin was turning into a dark brown scar which looks awful on my pale skin.

I was stubborn and convinced myself it would heal. I refused to take the ring out, after paying a whopping $70 for it. Another six months passed, and finally there was another piercer in my city. I went to see her one day, mostly out of curiosity. I asked the piercer if she'd mind taking a look at my navel to see if it was healing ok. When I showed her, she immediately replied "I'm sorry to tell you this, but the piercing is migrating out and it's in your best interest to remove it before it comes out completely." I was devastated. She offered to remove the jewelry for me (I couldn't get the bead out myself) and said that it may be able to be re-pierced after it had healed. "Why did this happen?" was my question. The piercer explained that if navel piercings are improperly placed that the body can force them out. (those weren't her exact words, but that's the gist of it anyway!)

About a month later I made the decision once again to have my navel pierced. I called Laurie and made an appointment. She told me to drop by about an hour in advance so she could sterilize my jewelry from my previous attempt. She put it in a cold sterilizing solution, rinsed it, then put it in a bag and into the autoclave. An hour later, we were ready to roll.

Laurie was very gentle and her soothing tone kept me calm. This time I was nervous because of what happened before. The piercing did hurt a little this time because of the scar that had formed, but it still wasn't unbearable.

It's now three months after my second attempt at a navel piercing, and it's healed beautifully! I've just changed my jewelry to a barbell with jewels on both ends to better conceal the scar from my first piercing.

To anyone in St. John's, NF, I'd recommend Laurie who now works at Next Wave Tattoo.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 1999
in Navel Piercing

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