Miss Part 1? Find it here.
The morning that would become that morning, I took the kids to school, ate breakfast, chatted with Husband. Then we went to run some errands together, since he didn't have work that day. I decided that since we were going out, and the piercing studio would be open soon, we might as well swing by and have a look.
"Just a look," I said. "I'm not committing to anything other than going there and looking."
"Sure," he said. But he knew. Oh, he knew. An agreement to a trip out there was as good as a yes from me. He was right, but I wasn't going to say it.
We finished our shopping, although I was having great waves of nausea. That's my anxiety kicking in. I knew I wanted to go and at least look, mentally I knew this was my choice and I was making it, but my heart and stomach seemed to have missed the memo and thought I was about to be eaten by a rather large and possibly rabid bear. Still, I made it through the store, Husband by my side, took a quick pit stop at home, and drove out to the piercing studio. It's a good thing that it's such a highly regarded place, since it also happens to be the only one anywhere near us. But, I had done my research and almost everyone had only good things to say. And I had only really committed to looking. At least, that's the only thing I had committed to out loud.
We arrived just after they opened. It was a long rectangular building typical of the older buildings in our area, but had been nicely kept up. The paint on the outside wasn't very old and the exterior walls were decorated with unique artwork. There were no windows facing their parking lot, and I assumed it was for the privacy of their patrons.
When we stepped in, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. Neat, clean, well-lit. Posh leather seats in one of their waiting areas, and sleek, modern raised tables and chairs in another, with more leather furniture lining the walls of the second.
A thin, friendly man with short hair and tattoos on his arms asked Husband and I what he could do for us. At that last moment, my resolve wavered even though I had been sure just seconds before. I forced out the words, "Thought about having my nipples pierced."
The smiling man didn't flinch, but he did tell us that even though he is one of the piercers and is capable, he prefers not to do female "genitalia." And of course, being a sex blogger, I immediately corrected him in my head. Nipples are not genitals, I thought. Going grammar/sex blogger police on him in my head made me feel a little less nervous, which was great, since I had been bouncing between nauseous, generally anxious, and feeling like I may pass out. I silently tried to remind myself of all the reasons I decided to give this a shot. The smile I gave the man was the smile I give when I'm very nervous and extremely uncomfortable.
"Our female piercer is running late," the man said. "I'll call her." He returned a few seconds later to say she would be there in 10 minutes. "And worst case scenario, I'll be able to help you," the man finished. I was really, really hoping that the other piercer would show up soon, not because I cared that the other was a man, but because the man clearly wasn't comfortable with it. I don't want a nervous person coming at me with a needle.
Husband and I wandered around the shop for a bit, browsed the jewelry, joked about the hipster mustache taped over a poster of an impossibly hot model. Finally, the female piercer arrived. She was small, maybe in her mid-twenties, with long hair and multiple ear piercings. She introduced herself and apologized that she had been held up. She laughed and smiled and called me hon. She seemed totally at ease with my request. I liked her immediately.
"Come on back to the room, and we'll see what kind of jewelry you can do," she said, leading us back to an enclosed interior room, and shut the door behind us. She gestured toward what I assume would be called a piercing table, which looks kind of like a doctor's exam table, and told me to sit and face her.
"Let me see your nipples so I know what size we need," she said. It didn't even occur to me to be self conscious. After two kids and a herd of medical staff gazing at my bits, this did not seem like an odd request. I undid my bra, pulled my shirt up, and sat as she pulled closed, sterile packages of jewelry from little plastic drawers, and held them up to me.
"You can do these, or these, but honestly, it's been my experience that for your nipples, you are going to want these." She held up a package with a pair of curved bars that had little balls on the end. They weren't perfectly straight, but neither was it a deep curve like horseshoes. Just a slight curve.
"They're a little long," she went on, "but you want that for the healing time. After they heal, you can change them out for something shorter."
She cleaned both nipple and areola, made a mark with a a dark colored liquid on the end of a toothpick as guides for the needles, and held up a mirror for me to check the placement.
"You're going to feel just the clamps now," she said, picking up a metal pair from her tray. She latched it onto my nipple. "You can close your eyes or look away, or whatever you feel comfortable with." She was short, so I looked up over her head at the wall.
I felt the cold, mildly irritating pinch of the clamps, then the small prick, almost an itchiness, as she lined up the needle with the holes, followed by a sharp, deep pain as she pushed the needle through. I gripped the table, breathing deep, trying to keep my body from curling forward.
"You're done, you're done, you're done," she said. By the time I felt the intensity of the pain, the needle was already through. She left the needle in and cleaned up some blood.
She said something about people thinking blood is gross, but it not being any worse than your period. I had been nervously babbling all the way through, just talk, talk, talk. I blurted out, "My period is so heavy I have to use a silicone cup." Then I realized that her point had nothing to do with periods. "But...I guess you didn't need to know that. Sorry, I'm just so nervous."
She laughed and said I was doing fine.
She clamped my other nipple and positioned the needle. Again, slight itchiness as the point touched my skin, followed by a wave of pain. Although the second one didn't really hurt more, my body reacted a little more violently. When I felt the sharp pain, I did curl forward. My back rounded and my ankles crossed and tucked under the table, both out of pain and so I didn't kick her. She told me later, though, that she has been kicked in the past. But just like the first time, by the time I felt the most of the pain, it was over.
"You're done, you're done, you're done," she said again. She inserted the curved bars into the ends of the needles and pulled them through. That didn't hurt so much as was uncomfortable. She screwed the balls onto the ends, and set to work cleaning one of my nipples that was still bleeding. She assured me that there is often one that bleeds quite a bit. She had me hop of the table and take a look in the full length mirror. At this point I was just so glad it was over I didn't care how they looked. I remember looking at myself in the mirror, but not really registering what I was seeing. I wasn't sure yet if I was glad I did it.
I was still bleeding a little, so she gave me some gauze to tuck into my bra, all the while she was praising me and telling me how good I did. She tried to clean me up a little more, I got redressed, and we headed out of the room and to the front to get my aftercare instructions and pay. Steel jewelry, the actual piercing, plus H2Ocean aftercare spray and tip: $120.
I only vaguely remember leaving. I was distracted by a constant, deep pain in my breasts. It hurt to even breathe, but not in an unbearable way. More like a really, really annoying way. I happen to carry ibuprofen in my purse and took a couple as we made a few more stops. We picked up a few more shelf camis and a movie that I love. Then we grabbed lunch. We almost never eat fast food, but snagged some burgers and fries on our way.
When we got home, we ate and I just collapsed into my favorite chair. I was exhausted. The stress suddenly shed and I felt that all I wanted was sleep. I looked at the clock. Thirty minutes until I had to put on my good mommy hat, pick up the kids from school, and help with homework. No nap for me.
Part 3 still to come.