Little Mya Whittington had been crying and pulling at the skin under her left ear for weeks. Her parents chalked the fussy behavior up to teething. When the left side of her neck began to swell, they figured the seven-month-old had a swollen gland, and decided not to take her to the emergency room. But the next day, the Kansas parents knew something was very wrong. "It had doubled in size and there was a pimple-looking thing on the end of it," says Mya's dad, Aaron Whittington. "We're looking at it and going, 'There's no way this is a swollen gland.'" He and Mya's mom, Emma, rushed their baby to the hospital. Once there, the couple noticed a "half-inch string" protruding from the baby's neck.
"It's a feather," the pediatricians said, after pulling the two-inch specimen from Mya's neck. But how did it get there? Doctors suspect she either swallowed it or inhaled it from a down pillow and "the body, just being crazy, just started to reject it and force it out the side of her neck," Aaron Whittington says.
Now nervous parents, please don't start chucking all your feather-filled bedding in the trash, says Mary Fischer at The Stir. "I doubt babies swallow or inhale feathers very often, so there is really no cause for panic." Mya will not need surgery, and is expected to recover completely on her own. But still, "they pulled a feather out of my child," dad tells CNN. "How crazy is that?"