By Cassie Willcox, Tasmania, Australia
I decided to get a belly button ring only a few weeks ago at the ripe age of 25 â€“ it was a bit out of the blue but I decided to go for it after I saw my friend selling some funky body jewellery. Â I thought it would be great if I could wear one of those little bars with the dangly jewel covered apple hanging off itâ€¦ and thatâ€™s where it started! 🙂
â€œWhy canâ€™t I?â€ Â I thought. So I asked around some of my friends who have their belly buttons pierced, and found out about their experiences. Â One friend said it didnâ€™t hurt at all, another said that she needed 3 people to hold her down on the benchâ€¦ Â â€œInteresting!â€ Â I thought! Â However I wasnâ€™t deterredâ€¦ I had a salon recommended to me and I booked an appointment.
The place was very clean, and the people were friendly. Â After my friends warning about needing 3 people to hold her down, I was a bit concerned about the pain factor; so I wore a numbing patch for an hour before I went in which a nursing friend had â€˜borrowedâ€™ for me. Â I had to fill in a form of yes and no questions, such as â€˜has your piercer explained possible risks to you?â€™ which at this point she hadnâ€™tâ€¦ but I ticked yes anyway.
I was shown into a clean room with a bed to lie on, and the girl explained how the piercing was done. Â As far as the equipment went, everything was sealed and disposable. After lying down on the bed, the piercer marked the spot it would go through, clamped it, pierced it and screwed on the ball. I didnâ€™t know if it was because of the numbing patch, but I didnâ€™t feel any pain, just the movement of the clamp and the needle. Â She told me to clean it with Ear Care 3 times a day, or preferably a rock salt wash.
It was when I stood up that the interesting thing happenedâ€¦ Â The bottom part of the bar disappeared like it had never been there at all! 😯 What was wrong was that my belly button is quite deepâ€¦ it flattens out when I lay on my back, and pulls in when I stand up. Â So the piercing was too low for the bottom part of the bar to be seen, it disappeared horizontally into the depths of my navel. I was horrified! 😯
The piercer and I stared at each other in horrorâ€¦ apparently she hadnâ€™t been expecting it either. Â â€œWhat can I do?â€ I asked her. Â She replied that there was nothing which could be done because she didnâ€™t feel comfortable piercing any higher up than she had done, and that I would just have to wear a ring â€“ not a bar which I had hoped â€“ or find a really long pregnancy bar. Â I think I was in disappointed shock and didnâ€™t argue â€“ I paid my money and left the shop. 😕
I spent a sleepless night poking it, prodding it, and looking at it from every angleâ€¦ it just wasnâ€™t right, and I didnâ€™t feel I could be happy with it; not only because it looked funny, but because I didnâ€™t think I should be one of the few to not be able to wear any bar that I see in the shop and have to specially find.
So the next day I rang the salon and spoke to the girl again to tell her I wasnâ€™t happy with it, and ask again what could be done. Â She was very nice about the whole thing, and told me to come back down and talk to the senior piercer which I did. Â The senior piercer advised me that she could pierce higher up so it would look normal, which made me very happy! 🙂
As the first piercing and bar had only been in for about 18 hours, she took it out and said that it wouldnâ€™t leave a mark once it was healed, and made an appointment for 2 weeks time to allow the first piercing to disappear. Â I was so excited to have it done again that the 2 weeks seemed to take forever! Â Finally it came time for my appointment, and I was shown straight in â€“ no paperwork this time, just pick out a bar sealed in a sterile package and go inside.;-)
The piercer who did it the first time was there to watch how the other lady did it. Â The senior piercer marked my skin while I was standing up this time (so that my belly button was in its normal resting state!) ❗ and checked I was happy with the positioning â€“ which I was. Â I had no numbing patch this time so I had to be brave!
Then it was straight through with the needle, put the ball on the bar, and done again â€“ this time in the right spot. Â I did feel a little bit of soreness when they were putting the needle through the top of the piercing â€“ the skin was a bit thicker there. Â But honestly, I have felt more pain banging my knee on cupboards â€“ it was nothing to worry about. Â I nervously stood up and was relieved to see that it was completely visible this time! Â I left with a big smile after only 3 minutes. 😀
After doing a bit of reading, I have realised that many of the suggested guidelines for a recommended piercer were not met. Â Nothing about the process or risks was explained to me before I signed the form, and the explanation of aftercare was very basic. Iâ€™m not sure whether piercers usually mark the site and then get the person to stand up and have a look, or whether everybody is just marked while they are lying down â€“ if this is the case then perhaps it should be done differently to avoid my problem of the disappearing belly bar!
I expected at least a sheet of paper explaining how to make a salt bath, and how long to leave it to healâ€¦ which was only mentioned in passing. Â In fact, the second time I got two different answers to that one, the first lady said 3 months and the second lady said 6 weeks! Â But despite all this, I was generally happy with the service I received â€“ everything was clean, the people were nice, and didnâ€™t react badly when I rang up to complain.
It has now been 1 week since I was re-pierced. Â I am salt soaking it 2 â€“ 3 times a day, and although it is early days, I think it will be okay. Â There is no redness, bleeding or crust to speak of, and it isnâ€™t overly sore â€“ only if I accidently bump it. Â The more I read about aftercare, the more confused I getâ€¦ every website and everybody I talk to has different advice on what to clean it with and how often.
The one product everybody seems to agree on though is sea salt soaking. Â So hereâ€™s to my belly button piercing, and fingers crossed it doesnâ€™t get infected, because I donâ€™t think I would bother getting it done a third time! 🙂