Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monster Boobs, Part 2

Sean Michael was born on May  14th, 2008.  I had a pretty normal pregnancy and a wonderful labor and birth experience. During pregnancy, I had decided that I did, in fact, want to breast feed Sean. I did a lot of research and found out that it is possible after a reduction. The issues that arise can often have to do with milk supply so I went into the experience fully knowing and understanding that it might not work. Like I said, the idea of breastfeeding always kind of wierded me out so I went into with an open mind.

The first attempt to breastfeed Sean was great. He latched on pretty well (with some coaching the first couple times) and he was doing great. I was sore but overall I was handling the feedings just fine. When we got home we anxiously waited and wondered to see if I did in fact have a milk supply. The first time I pumped and milk came out I was so excited. YES! I did have milk and I can breastfeed! Or….so I thought. Supply was an issue but we were able to supplement with formula and I was fine with that. The first time I gave him formula I had a little breakdown but what mom doesn’t have those moments during your post partum hormone rush. So, I pumped out what I could and added formula to it to make up the difference. I didn’t love pumping but it was the best way for me to handle adding the formula to each bottle. He was getting 75% breast milk and I was ok with that.

About 2 weeks went by with this system and we were going along nicely, my supply was slowly increasing which I was happy about. My Mom and Dad had just left the day before and I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever, chills, and severe breast pain. I had no idea what was going on so I called the Dr. around 5:30 am. She explained that I had mastitis and called in some antibiotics. I felt horrible. It was like the flu plus severe breast pain. I couldn’t pick up Sean, I could get out of bed, I was miserable. About 24 hours worth of medicine later and I was back to feeling myself again. Dan was scheduled to go back to work in a few days so I would be on my own for the first time. Unfortunately, I woke up the day that Dan was heading back to work with the same issue on the other side! What? I am already taking antibiotics, how can I possible have another infection on the other side? Ahh, so into the Dr.’s office we go. She examined me and gave me some stronger medicine. She said if it happened again I’d have to see a breast specialist. And it did, about 4 more times.

 I actually visited the breast surgeon's office of the surgeon doing my surgery in Nov. I had no idea that years ago I would be heading back to that very office for a very different reason. You are probably wondering why I didn’t stop sooner and I cannot even explain why I didn’t. It was irrational. I had a need to continue to feed my child so I went through it again and again and again. Finally, I couldn't handle it anymore and the Dr. flat out said, that if I didn’t stop I would continue to get infection after infection after infection. So, I weaned myself off of pumping and we switched to formula. I cried and cried, and cried some more. Why would my monster boobs fail me again?

Fast forward 3.5 years and my daughter Carter was born. I knew going into breastfeeding that my experience would probably be similar but the optimist in me gave it a shot anyway. My milk came in super fast and I was just nursing Carter and she was getting enough. I had a bigger supply this time! I was so happy! She ate a lot during the day but then went 5 hours at night. It was a small price to pay for some sleep! But oh wait, 3 days later I was back in the breast dr.’s office again with mastitis. I got it 3 more times before I actually quit. It came on a lot faster this time and the drugs I was given were simply not getting rid of it. It was about 2 weeks of non stop infections and new medicine. I was on the last oral antibiotic available and the next stop would be IV antibiotics. I realized that I had to stop. The dr. explained that during the reduction it seems some of the "tubing" connected to my nipple was severed. So I was making milk and it had no way to come out. So, it sat there and became infected. There was no other solution than to stop.  It was a sad moment when I nursed Carter for the last time. I still think about it and it makes me sad that I wasn’t table to provide for my child. Both of my kids did fine with formula and I know it was the right decision for my health, but a tough one nonetheless. Once I stopped I haven’t had single problem with infections since then.

I thought I was in the clear but 6 months later and my monster boobs are back. . . .to be continued.

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