Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Great Breast Wars Part Deux

I thank everyone for their breastfeeding suggestions. My friend, Shelley, read my post and called me immediately to offer support, which helped greatly. I've been so frustrated and obsessed with my breasts this past week, I've barely spoken to anyone except the family who are camped out at my house. She also went through the trauma of engorgement two years ago, so she had some good advice.


Last night, I finally fell apart big time. I was on the fourth day of my breasts feeling like rocks. I was pumping every hour and a half yesterday, so I couldn't even get a nap. I didn't hold my daughter until the evening to feed her (well, I can barely get her out of my family's arms anyway...) Nothing was working. Around 8pm, I pumped for forty-five minutes and got an ounce. Tears came. And my mom means well, but she began demanding that I call the lactation consultant, the doctor, the nurse, the hospital, anyone. The last thing I could bear at this point was getting on the phone and calling a complete stranger to talk about my boobs. My mom and I ended up arguing loudly, with her trying to force the phone into my hand.

I ended up sobbing in the bathroom, exhausted and in pain. I just felt like a failure as a mother. And yes, I realize that I was irrational and hormonal. My husband finally pulled me over to the bed and just held me for awhile. I just cried and let him. I finally told God that I admitted defeat. I didn't know what to do.

My mom came in and told me that she'd been calling around and the hospital told me to come back in so they could check me out. I'm still slightly pissed at her for going over my head, but it was probably for the best in the end. Feeling humiliated, covered in formula, and tear-stained, Jason took me to the hospital.

The nurses checked me in, and I could tell that they thought I was crazy (hell, even I thought I was crazy for being there). But they had me put on a gown, poked at my boobs, and acknowledged that, although I was very engorged, I didn't have mastitis. My doctor's partner got on the phone with me (mine was out of town) and he was very consoling and kind. He gave me some tips, assured me that I was doing all the right things, told me that I wasn't a failure and told me to give it a few more days. He also told me that if I wanted to quit, there was no loss of honor in that. I told him I didn't. Then we left.

Remembering one bit of advice from Shelley, we ran by Target and bought an Avent hand pump. I don't know if it was the new pump, or the bit of reassurance from the doctor, or that I just needed to relax long enough for my milk to come in, but things started flowing today. I think I finally let down. Relief!

I guess the thing with this motherhood thing is that you have to set small goals for yourself and not beat yourself up too bad. For instance, last Wednesday, my goal was pooping for the first time after giving birth. That was my major life goal at that point. Right now, I just want to keep my daughter fed and keep my milk flowing.


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