Sunday, June 17, 2012

Willing to Amputate

I have been breastfeeding Mila. I breastfed Aiden until he was 6 months old. I cannot figure out how I did that. It is such a painful experience. With Aiden I had some serious soreness that resulted I the use of a nipple shield. But after a week of using the shield I was always able to go bare back (sorry for lack of better term). With Mila, I always get raw after one day of feeding her. I can't go any longer without severe pain. I've decided I am just sensitive. I can't even face the shower head when I'm not breastfeeding, to give you an idea of my sensitivity level.

This time around, I have even started having problems with the nipple shield. In order to properly heal, I have had to take breaks using the pump. Sunday I got a clogged milk duct on the right side. Half a day of massaging and warm compresses and it was gone. Tuesday, I got one on the left side.

Wednesday, I woke up with aches, light sensitivity and a headache. All I could think was how I did not have time to be sick. I took some Ibuprofen and got on with my day. Several hours later I felt much worse. I took my temperature and it was at 99.6F. Not too elevated, but strange for me. I never get a fever. The more I thought about it, I put two and two together. Fever, aches, CLOGGED MILK DUCT. 2 + 2 = Mastitis.

By the time I called my doctor to ask their advice the boob in question was blotchy red. At first I thought it was from trying toad save the clogged duct, but it never went away. The nurse recommended I come in to see the PA. They didn't have any openings until the afternoon but I took it. Before we got on the road (of course this happens the one day a week I keep Aiden home from daycare) I checked my temperature. 102.9 degrees. I was miserable, had a small child and newborn in tow and was off to a doctor's appointment. The visit lasted 5 minutes before she prescribed antibiotics.

I took my first dose that evening at 5 pm. I did not start feeling we until 36 hours later. WORST TWO DAYA OF MY LIFE. I went back and forth between chills and sweats. I didn't have enough energy to open the apple juice for Aiden.

I am so grateful for friends and family. Ariel came over the first night and helped with the kids. She fed Mila and then entertained Aiden while I took a shower. She even came bearing gifts. (A new dress for me!) Then while I pumped, she put Aiden to bed. Travis worked late that night so he didn't get home until Aiden was going to sleep.

The next morning, my friend Linsey came by first thing to pick up Aiden for day are. She was gracious enough to bring him home at the end of the day as well. Aiden was ecstatic to get to watch a MOVIE on the ride to and from daycare(Alice in Wonderland).

The second day I actually breastfed Mila. Alexa said she would be more efficient at removing the clog and she was right. But it was horrible. Breastfeeding is painful for me, but add the aches of a fever and an infected breast and it is pure hell.

My verdict? I'm done with breastfeeding. It hurts, plain and simple. It hurts to breastfeed, so I pump. I don't have time to pump and take care of a newborn and a small child.

I feel horribly guilty about this decision. I feel like I'm short changing her from what her brother got. But I have to do this for my sanity. I have to wait until I'm done with my antibiotics and we're sure the infection and clog are gone, but I will begin the weaning process as soon as possible.

Props to the women who breastfeed. I'm sure not everyone has to endure the pain I do, but it takes perseverance to keep it up.


Anonymous said...

Oh Nikki! I'm so sorry you had to go through all that!!! And DON'T FEEL GUILTY! I hate when people say that to me, but seriously, you have already given Mila SOOOOO much! That colostrum -- the first 2-3 days you nurse is the most imortant stuff!!! WHO CARES that you nursed Aiden longer?!? You're still giving her the best care, and being the best mom you know how to be. The first few months... hell, the first years or so, are SO TOUGH, you need to think about what YOU can do to be the best mom. You can't be a good mom if you're sick or in pain. Stay tough, woman, and call me this week so we can set up another play date!

Sara's Satire said...

I agree with Not-so-perfect-parent...There is absolutely NOTHING to feel guilty about, and 2 years from now, you won't even think about it. I remember feeling guilty that I had to pump with Logan, and I breastfed Landry. It just hurt SOOO much to have Logan latch on, so I pumped. With Landry, I was so lucky - this isn't bragging, trust me, after trying it with Logan, I know for a fact that it was luck that nursing Landry was so easy - of course then I went through the battle to get her OFF the boobs! Anyway, there was a lot of guilt that Landry got something that Logan didn', I never think about it, in fact when I do think about it, I just remember how hard it was to get Landry to take a bottle.
I truly think that if you are in that much pain, you shouldn't do it. You are making a choice that in the long run will make you a better mommy. I know that when I am under the weather, my temper is quick to flare, my patience is short, and I am not being the best that I can be...I can't imagine being in pain every day, my kids and husband definitely wouldn't be getting me at my best. As with most things in life, you have to do what is best for you!

Alexa said...

Motherhood is tough enough without adding to the stress of it all. If it is stressful for you to BF, then you should look at the pro's and con's. If mommy is stressed, then that is the biggest con of all! Babies feed off their mother's emotions. Whatever you need to do to be happy for her, do it! Giving her formula won't hurt her! Don't let anyone judge you, especially yourself. You are a great mother and stopping won't hurt her, in fact it sounds like she will be happier if mommy is happier.

When others start to talk about 'well my kid doesn't watch TV, or my kid only reads books or my kid blah blah blah' I feel like I am being judged cause you know what, we are all doing the best we can for our kids. Don't let others' experiences influence you negatively. I do that a lot and I try to move that static out of my mind. You have done wonderful. Don't think that because your experience with Mila doesn't match your experience with Aiden that it is somehow unfair to her. TRUST ME when I say that you are going to have experiences with Mila that you will NEVER have with Aiden simply because you are both GIRLS! So, no worries. No judegements. Just support...we love you.

Jodie said...

Nikki - you've made the completely RIGHT decision. When it becomes painful and disrupts time you can spend with your kids, it's not worth it, no matter what. And luckily, you've realized this and made the decision quickly, so you won't waste time stressing over it, being in pain and missing time with your babies.

You are an awesome mom!!! And you will all be more happy now that you can enjoy feeding your precious girl.

Alexa said...

OH! Just one more piece of advice from someone who got Mastitis 3x during the 13 months I breastfed her. It was all from pumping in my case. Or, the lack of having her being the one emptying me. Go as slow as you can with the ween just to prevent another clog. This time you will probably see or feel the signs coming on again, so make sure you are emptying as much as you possibly can. Each subsequent time I got it, it was less severe, so that is good. But, I would just go as slow as possible with the ween just to make sure your body has time to stop making the milk slowly. When I weened Skylar I was super slow, but then again I was making milk for a one year old. It shouldn't be too hard to ween a month old since she doesn't drink as much.

Stay strong sister!

Nikki said...

I have already had another clog. But I nipped that in the bud. Alexa, I think you're right about the pump causing more clogs than when breastfeeding. I noticed the clogs are where the cup presses. I saw a quote this morning that said, "There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one." Trying to keep that in mind!!