Monday, February 6, 2012

Nine Weeks and Mastitis

Heads up this is a birthing and breastfeeding post.  You've been warned.  

The past few days have been pretty rough physically and emotionally for me.  Thursday late afternoon I noticed some tenderness in one of my breasts.  I chalked it up to a plugged duct and made a mental note to use warm compresses after the kids went to bed.  

By the time the kids went to bed I had quite a bit of pain.  I had no noticeable lumps or hard swollen spots...just a bright red sort of rash.  I was pretty sure I knew what that meant having experienced it in the past, but went ahead and did warm compresses and massage nonetheless.  So.  Utterly.  Painful.  

I went to bed with Tylenol and a headache...and a fever.  Sweet Pea had her two month check up first thing the next morning and we all have the same doctor so I at least knew I'd get checked out soon.  Each time I woke to nurse I started her on that side, but by morning it was excruciating.  

The doctor confirmed my suspicions and gave me a five day antibiotic.   I try to be REALLY careful about taking antibiotics as I think they are over prescribed and I also take very little medication in general, especially when I am pregnant or nursing.  However, I was at the "caught it before you have to be hospitalized with an IV" stage.  The drive home I started to get dizzy and sleepy.  

**Sweet Pea weighs in at 9 lbs 12 oz and is 22.25 inches**  That's all the nine week info I have.  No pictures.  Sorry.  

I was on round the clock Tylenol for pain and started the antibiotic.  Despite the medication I had a fever of 100.8 consistently and was miserable.  The whole room was spinning and I could hardly walk.  My entire body ached.  If you could feel toenails, they would have hurt.  

By Saturday morning I could get up and walk, but doing easy daily chores wiped me out and I still spent much of the day in bed.  Sweet Pea continued to nurse well and as often as she always does...but I noticed by Saturday evening her output was down to almost nothing.  Not good.

I don't know if it is the infection or the medication (which is making my stomach a mess) but my milk supply is pretty low.  Just what I needed.  I spent much of Sunday skin to skin and nursing every hour to two hours.  I don't care what kind of a latch your baby has, nursing that often makes you sore.  And the less milk I was making the less she was trying.  Just falling asleep.  So of course I pumped.  I think I'd rather clean the dog pen than pump (I pump every morning regardless).  I also started weighing all of her output.  

Today I am feeling much better-can even wear her in my Moby without it being too painful.  The antibiotic is still messing with my stomach/intestines (I am eating as much yogurt as I can stand.  I hate yogurt but I know the probiotics are important right now) but other than that I feel ok.  However, my supply still seems to be on the low end.  Sweet Pea's output is getting better, and I am still keeping track till she seems back to normal.  

I have to admit I am pretty mad about the whole thing.  It really isn't fair. Yep, this is me ranting...but seriously it doesn't seem fair.  

 This is where Sweet Pea was born.  No medicine.  Nothing to make her sleepy or inhibit nursing from the very beginning.  I highly recommend water birth for anyone who has had a healthy pregnancy and would be willing to try.  The labor is much easier. We got to the hospital Dec 4th about 3:30am.  There wasn't a room available in the birthing center (located inside of our regular hospital) so I hung out with #1 in the triage area on a birthing ball till 4:30.  Our nurse was Erika and she was so funny.  She kept telling me Erika was a good name for a little girl if that was what I had.  She offered me a "normal" L&D room to hang out in until a room had been cleared and cleaned, but I didn't see the point of dirtying up a room when I wasn't going to use it.

About 4:30 a room became available and by that time I knew I needed to get into a tub soon as labor was progressing quickly.  I had to wait in my room for about 15 minutes to be checked again and for the tub to fill.    Sweet Pea was born at 5:16 am.  I have fairly quick labors.
 Poor Sweet Pea, this is a horrid picture of her, but this is moments after she was out of the water.  From this point on she wan't bathed or measured beyond a quick weigh as my midwife delivered the placenta.  She was put skin to skin for the next hour to nurse.  After that she never left my side and wasn't even bathed until she was probably eight hours old.  Everything exactly how a lactation consultant would have it to be.  I have nursed her "on demand" (except I try not to make her demand, I try to be more attentive than that!) since the moment she was born.  

I've completely switched my diet for her.  I don't know what else to do.   I am now (I typed "not" on accident earlier.  I totally AM doing what I know I need to) drinking nasty tea and nursing or pumping every hour to two hours.  I am tired and I am cranky.

I'm not writing this totally to vent.  A little of the reason, but not totally.  People treat breastfeeding like it is the most natural and easy thing ever.  Well for some of us it isn't.  I have struggled with four babies.  If you are reading this and you struggle too you are NOT ALONE.  I wanted to give up this morning so bad.  #1, who used to think breastfeeding was very weird and totally did not support me with our first baby, is now my biggest cheerleader.  He talked me off the ledge and I'm still going this afternoon.

Here are some resources that help me:  Click on each to be re-directed to their websites.  Don't be afraid to seek help from a certified lactation consultant either.

Another great source is  .  I have to go now, someone is crying, again.  


Liz K said...

oh Jenney! Hang in there! You are doing what's best, as hard as it is!! And this one round of antibiotics isn't the end. She will be ok. I know how discouraging it can be...but hang in there...push through and in a couple of days things will be more back to normal.

CM said...

I'm so glad you're doing better! You are so right about pumping, I hate it! When I went back to work after each baby was born, I had to pump THREE TIMES during my 8 hour shift!!! Thank goodness I was in investigation and worked inside HQ. I have no clue what I would have done if I was in patrol at the time!

You and I are a lot alike when it comes to meds. I hate taking them but there are those rare occasions that they actually are necessary. Take care and take it slow, things will continue to get better! :-)

Deb said...

I'm so glad you didnt give up! I know it's a lot of work sometimes, but it's worth it! And antibiotics do mess up your supply... remember to drink drink drink along with your lots of nursing.
Have you ever swallowed garlic to fight infections? I wish I had known to do it when I had mastitis, but now I do it when I start a cold or anything coming on. It's amazing! But when you need antibiotics, you need them. And better to take them than to wind up in the hospital with stronger ones. I'm glad you are on the mend. And I hope this is last big issue with nursing for you. Praying for you! And I miss you!

Anonymous said...

Jenney, nursing is very natural but not necessarily easy. Praying the infection is cleared quickly. So glad #1 is encouraging, having that support sure does help!!!

Aunt Kim

Esther said...

Praying for you!

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling so sick. Praying for a very quick recovery. Also, KEEP AT IT!! My mom always said that shredded wheat helps. I ate it every morning for at least 3 or 4 week with Grayson while I was trying to get my supply up to keep up with him. It worked. I was able to feed him and pump. Don't forget to be drinking tons of water too. I'll be praying that you are able to get your supply back up too.

Rebecca said...

Oh my! I had such a hard time with my 1st baby b/c she wouldn't latch b/c she'd suck her tong instead. Jenny you are doing GREAT!! I too hated pumping but we do what we must. I think I have heard of some meds interfering with production?? I too feel the same way about meds. I'm stubborn and see there are times when they are the best choice. Hang in there, she'll be ok. God knows and loves you both! Will send some prayers for you ((hugs))

Laura said...

Feelings associated with breastfeeding can be so crazy. Some days I love it, some days I hate it. Your post about mastitis showed up at the same time that I was/am battling thrush. I pretty much hate it right now but your post reminded me that it could be worse. I'm praying for you - we mama's have to stick together! ;)Have you ever tried a good probiotic supplement to help with the antibiotic effects? They have been a huge help for me in the past.

Jenilee said...

oh, nursing what not easy for me at all either. I thought that it would be easy and natural before I had kids... I was wrong! keep going, keep at it... I'm glad you are doing better!