EDITED TO ADD: OK, so things have gotten MUCH better. I thought I should mention. The pain is almost entirely gone and we’re breastfeeding 75% of the time. I just thought I’d share the update. This is not a boast, however. I still went through Stupidville to get here. But now that I’m here, it’s OK. Things are OK.
About a week after I brought Elliot home, I started feeling sick. Chills came on with such intensity and at random times, I knew something was wrong. But I assumed it was hormonal and would eventually pass.
A few days went by and the aches set in. I ached all over my body. They took root deep within my body and radiated outward. I was having trouble walking. Was it my thyroid again? I took Advil around the clock so I could continue living a relatively normal life and caring for two kids.
The Advil worked, but as soon as it began to wear off, all the pain came rushing back again.
I still just figured it was a hormonal thing. I would work through it. It would get better.
Then Friday rolled around. I woke up at midnight after 3-hour power nap. I woke up covered in sweat, freezing. I moved from the bed to the couch where I would spend the next 5 hours. I didn’t know what was wrong so I began to google signs of mastitis.
Several people wrote back with mastitis stories and as I read through them, I became more and more sure that’s what I had.
People mentioned chills, fevers, aches, flu-like symptoms, intense breast pain, the red slap. People mentioned how they went from feeling OK to not fine within seconds.
Yes. All the above.
At 5 AM on Friday morning I woke up weeping. I was so sick I wanted my mommy. I could barely move. My entire body ached and I was freezing. I put the baby in his crib and crawled into our bedroom to wake up Toby.
“I’m so sick. I need your help. Something is very wrong.”
He got up and took over. I decided a hot shower was in order. Someone mentioned that heat would help my right breast, which was still in so much pain. That’s when I noticed the “Red Slap” people had mentioned. It was HUGE. It ran all the way from my right nipple out into my armpit. Even my lymph nodes were enlarged.
It would be hours before the doctor’s office opened, but I knew I had mastitis. And I knew I needed antibiotics immediately. Things were getting so much worse by the day. Not only did I feel like I had the flu, but my right breast was pumping out mucous with traces of blood and had been for over a week.
Fast forward to midday Friday. My doctor diagnosed me with mastitis and prescribed antibiotics. I have been on them since Friday and things have gotten MUCH better.
But still. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little pissed off. At what? Breastfeeding in general and why I seem to run into so many obstacles. I know it’s not supposed to be easy, but still. Dude. COME ON. Frustrated, I wrote the following.
I like breastfeeding, but this does feel stupid. I’m still going to try and make this work. I’m still feeding Elliot breastmilk, although, he’s frustrated by the slowness of my breast and much prefers the bottle. And I was warned that this might happen. But I pumped a lot while I was sick because my right breast hurt so bad. (Plus, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of feeding him bloody, mucousy breast milk. TMI? Sorry.) I fed him when I could on the left and pumped the rest of the time.
We do still feed via the breast, but he can’t be really hungry because he gets super frustrated and starts yelling. And that’s OK. I feed him pumped breastmilk and formula and give him the breast whenever possible. And I’m OK with that.
I promise, that no matter what happens, I will never, ever become one of those mothers who boasts about about “making it work” and “dealing with the pain”. Because, seriously? This just feels stupid to me.
But I’m going to give stupid a few more weeks. Because I’m kind of stupid.