Mastitis

Ugh. What a rotten couple of days we just had.

Tuesday morning I woke up with a deep, widespread pain in my left breast. I treated it like a plugged duct all day even though I couldn’t find the actual lump of a plug. Apply warm compresses, massage massage massage, take a hot shower and massage it in there, use a manual pump in the shower, use a cold compress after pumping, up your water intake, take lecithin, stop pumping to massage periodically during each pump session, apply heat while pumping, etc. The pain didn’t lessen all day, but otherwise I felt fine. Then at about 3:30pm while I was kangarooing Hope, BOOM. I feel like I’m at the onset of mastitis, I thought to myself. I had it once with Ella, so I know the symptoms. All of a sudden my hands were freezing and I started shivering, even though the rest of my skin felt plenty warm and I had a nice toasty baby tied to me in our beautiful borrowed wrap. I was suddenly so tired and feeling run down. I knew what this was immediately and called a nurse over to help me put Hope back in her isolette so I could get ready to go, which broke my heart because I was about an hour away from getting to let Hope do non-nutritive sucking for the second time ever. But I knew I needed to get home and take care of myself because mastitis hits like a truck.

My plan: pump one last time so they have enough milk to get through the night, pack up, leave. I was full of intentions of tucking myself straight into bed upon arrival home.

(LOL. You forget, dear feverishly deluded self, that you have a two-year-old at home. You shall not sleep).

Ella was up, mostly screaming, until almost 11pm.

I called my mom on my drive home and asked her to put a blanket in the dryer for me to wrap myself up in as soon as I got home; by this point I was walking to my car and shaking with how hard I was shivering. I called my midwife and relayed my symptoms, and she called in an antibiotic for me. God bless this woman for all her help and support since this all got crazy in January! (And for giving me her personal number since the office was closed! I am so thankful for her!)

By 7pm my whole body was achy, and this killer headache had set in that didn’t go away for over 24 hours. The headache was honestly the worst part of the next day of nasty mastitis. For those who aren’t familiar with mastitis, it’s a breast infection. To my knowledge, it is caused by a plugged duct that becomes infected because it isn’t resolved in a timely manner, but maybe there are other causes that I’m not aware of. Other than deep and terrible pain in one or both breasts, it’s accompanied by flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, aches, and apparently a massive headache.

I spent all of Wednesday in that pain-ridden feverish state and tried my best to help Ella understand why I couldn’t handle doing anything with or for her. Sitting up to pump every couple of hours was torturous. Staying lying down most of the day was torturous. Showering was the only relief for my head or my achy body, so the only times I got up were to sit in the shower and massage the infected area before each time I needed to pump.  Darn that hot water tank running out so quickly!

My mom brought me food and water and clean bottles and pump supplies all day and dosed me up with essential oils and hot teas intended to fight infection. Anything that was supposed to help, we tried.

My fever finally broke sometime during the night between Wednesday and Thursday, and I spent a pretty nice day at home Thursday resting and hanging out with Ella. As much as it was so hard to not be allowed to go see Hope (I had to be fever free and on antibiotics for at least 24 hours first), it was actually really good to just take it easy for a whole day. I know I needed that.

Now I’m back with my littlest babe, and my goodness she’s grown! Her cheeks look so chubby! She reached the weight threshold that the doctors require babies to pass in order to wear clothes (something to do with temperature regulation), and she looks so cute in her tiny onesie! I can’t wait to hold her (which is about to happen, so… bye!!)

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