Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Minor Setbacks...

I apologize that it's been two weeks since my post, a colicky baby is not conducive to blogging in a timely manner!!

Monday at noon came quickly, the rest of the week has felt like an eternity. I couldn't hold Addison Sunday night or Monday morning without breaking down in tears, fearful that I was terribly ill and had no idea, or that our beautiful breastfeeding relationship would be taken from us... I love nursing her, I love the way she eagerly seeks me out and the sighs of relief when she fills up her little tummy. I love that she can fall asleep on my breast ANYWHERE [and we've had it happen in a few exciting places thanks to the ERGO and MobyWrap... Whole Foods, Target, the doctor's office, you name it!]. I felt a strong mix of fear and irritation this week, the latter of which I did not anticipate. I'm not sure if it was my hormones and fear or just the nonsense I encountered...

EVERYONE at the Breast Intervention center was excessively perky [and adorned with pink ribbon flair] and kept asking how I was doing today and how I was feeling- I'm talking Disney World perky... don't bring your scalpel and hollow needles around my magic milk makers and act like we're about to go on the tea cups. The nurse who confirmed my appointment Friday left me less than confident in her abilities when she couldn't tell me how long I would have to interrupt nursing on my left side, after putting me on hold twice. The radiologist who I met for my ultrasound furthered my terror in her small talk... she applauded me for breastfeeding and said, "Two kids... never had it in me, couldn't do it." ... a) Yes, you COULD HAVE and b)Why must you tell me this?!   I likened this to the thought of leaving one's child with a stranger who hates kids... in any other situation [or if my bra was nearby rather than down the hallway, surely not an accident] I would have thought, RUN! But alas, I was topless so there I lay. She turned the ultrasound on and started looking puzzled and clicking around... my lump was measuring a full centimeter smaller than on Thursday. Cancer doesn't shrink! Let's call this party off! The radiologist said this drastic change assured her it was a galactocele and after a brief pause said that we should proceed anyway. Ugh! Are you sure? Wouldn't you prefer an early lunch? No such  luck. Halfway through the procedure, the doctor drew milk into the lidocaine syringe, further assurance that this was a milk duct, that was being numbed and chopped up...ugh again! I should note that one of the highlights of having this procedure while lactating is that under my little half-gown, I had to hold my breast pads in place while tilted on my side on the table with a wedge under my shoulder... talk about awkward and uncomfortable!  The entire procedure took less than half an hour, I was taped up with steri-strips, told to not shower for 24 hours but resume normal activities immediately and promised I'd hear results by Wednesday evening.

All I could think about was getting home to Addison, I just needed to hold her and I was sure she needed me.  This confidence was half correct... she needed me, but I couldn't hold her, for two days. The discharge directions should have read, "resume normal activities with the other side of your body, and good luck where we sliced and diced you."  I suppose that doesn't sound as friendly. My poor 7-week old baby hadn't a clue why a)I left her for two hours, again and b) why I wouldn't just hold her in my left arm and bounce her as we have been for the past month and a half. She had this painful upset look in her eyes that tore me apart, as if to say, "Mommy, don't you love me? I need to snuggle in that arm... please bounce me." My sister came to stay with me once we discovered that I couldn't hold Addison at all in my left arm and holding her in my right was awkward with the swelling. We were both miserable, and I was anxious. She sensed my anxiety this week and so did my healing breasts. We both cried as I pumped and dumped a precious 9 ounces from my left breast in the 24 hours after the procedure. We both cried when she was gassy because my already overactive letdown was confused by the extra 9 ounces I had to waste as I fed her only on one side. Talk about confusing new milk makers! Five days later, I had to get up at 4am because I was leaking all over and somewhat engorged.

The nurse had placed a band-aid over the steri-strip 'X' across my breast... When it came off after my shower on Tuesday, I had a lovely horseshoe-shaped red area on each side of the 'X'. It was also so puffy that if my arm was by my side, I was pressing into the incision site, ouch. I have always been sensitive to band-aids and the cheap hospital-issued band-aid was no exception, awesome.

Wednesday came and went, I stared at my cell phone all afternoon and into the evening. Addison sensed my anxiety and stress and was equally stressed... we collectively slept almost three hours that night. I felt as though my incision site was puffy, which didn't help when no call came from the radiologist. Thursday morning I had an early dermatologist appointment, I figured she could tell me if my incision looked okay, she looks at skin all day. Her assessment was that it might be infected, or it might be irritated by the steri-strips and that I should have the radiologist look at it- just who I wanted to see again, Miss Formulafeeder Idontreturncalls. The radiologist who conducted my biopsy wasn't in that office so I had an awkward male doctor poke around at my little puffy wound site... he decided it was the allergic reaction and sent me home after taking off the steri-strips.Within a matter of hours the puffiness went down but I still had a giant itchy circle around the biopsy.

Finally , Thursday afternoon I heard from the radiologist that the lump that changed in size in a matter of four days was in fact a galactocele and was neither cancerous or precancerous. Her recommendation was to follow up with the midwife who would decide if I should leave it alone, have a needle aspiration, or have it surgically removed- talk about a spectrum of possibilities! Thankfully, my fabulous midwives value breastfeeding and avoiding interfering with the breastfeeding relationship and happily offered to leave it alone unless it becomes uncomfortable. No more needles, no more tests, no more radiologists!

Pumping for an entire week my supply was substantially more than Addison needed and I nearly drowned my already gassy, colicky baby- poor sweet girl... this week we are finally back to where we were in our progress in dealing with my oversupply. I try not to complain about my oversupply because I worry about having enough milk for Addison when I return to work in *gulp* seven weeks. I pump a little each day so John can give her a bottle with her probiotic mixed in, and some days I freeze what I pump, our goal is no formula when I go back to work, hopefully we can make it happen!

Thank you blog readers for your prayers, thoughts, support and love. Thank you for the private messages and emails, it's pretty awesome to know people are thinking of you in such a scary, tough situation. <3


  1. First off... I'm happy that you're healthy, even if it meant going through that debacle to come to that conclusion!
    Second... you'll be able to avoid formula even when you go back to work. Breastfeeding gets easier with time (and routine)! Also, I just know you can do it. You are the queen of the self-fulfilling prophecy, after all :)

  2. You poor thing! I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. Although on the plus side, at least you know that you make plenty of milk for Addison! Hang in there, things get much calmer after you hit that 12 week mark. Hopefully Addison will not be as gassy and colicky too.

  3. I'm glad that you are ok-- I've been thinking of you these past 2 weeks and checking this blog regularly for updates.

  4. I just wanted to share something. I am 28 ha ha I wish no I'm 32. My 1st was given a formula mix because I had very sore cracked nipples which bled. No one told me about cotton bra's or conditioning my nipples til AFTER we had these problems. I was so very very afraid I would lose my milk. The hospital where I had her told me I HAD to nurse 8-10 times or I would lose milk. Also WIC consultant was equally negative in saying my milk would stop. But for an over milker like myself , it never happened.
    My 2 nd child , my boy was nursed with no formula or anything but me for 1st six months. Again we had plenty. Same with my 3rd, although with my baby girl, I did stop nursing quicker but that had nothing to do with my milk supply. Also my sister went back to work after the normal 8wks. She , like me was an excellent milker, her son had plenty to be fed. I was his sitter and she worker many 60 hour weeks and we never ran out of milk. The point of me telling you all this is if you already have enough to freeze, your going to be fine. You sound like your supply is well established, and as you enjoy your time together you just keep freezing. Maybe even as she grows and needs less or less frequent feedings maybe you keep the frequency and freeze those you don't need, just a thought. Either way from the sounds of it you'll have plenty. I nursed my 1 st to 1 y/o and it defiantly got way easier as we went, you are already past the tough stuff hang in there. So glad your health stuff worked out for the best even if it was tough for some days. God Bless