February 4, 2010 - The "M" Word

There are so many reasons why any woman who is "pregnant, nursing or may become pregnant" should know all about the dreaded "M" word -at least it's very dreaded in my world. And no, it's not mother-in-law. But this bill that came in the mail the other day reminded me of another reason to know the ins-and-outs of Mastitis. Something I never, ever knew about it is that it can get so bad you must have surgery to fix it. Not just the numb-you-up kind of surgery in the doc's office. I'm talking about the show up to the hospital in the morning and get knocked completely out kind of surgery. Hence the very large hospital bill for all of my seven hours in the hospital. So not only is the price painful, but if you haven't heard, Mastitis is P-A-I-N-F-U-L!! And if you are committed to feeding your baby only breast milk, it can interrupt that process too. Check out my previous blogs on the process on January 8th, 14th and 15th.

But here's what I think needs to be said the most and what I wish I would have known. If you think you have a blocked duct, or worse that it has become Mastitis, call your doctor and after that DON'T let it go more than 24-48 hours if it doesn't get better. My doctor's office just kept telling me to take the antibiotics and do the massages for SEVEN days before finally getting me into the office. They didn't even put me on a stronger antibiotic until a lactation consultant told them that's what was needed. And if you're not clear, make sure someone explains just how to do the massages and warm compresses. (by the way, a diaper works great for the warm compresses.) I realize now I could have been doing a better job at all of that from the start if I had asked more questions or better yet, gotten in to see my doctor earlier and had things explained to me. Maybe I would not have gotten to the point of needing surgery.

More than a month later, I am still dealing with some lingering problems but luckily the pain is gone. I still must feed my daughter eight ounces of formula a day to supplement and that infuriates me because I never intended for her to have formula. But life happens, right? The best news is my daughter seems none worse for the wear. She took right to the formula and hasn't complained. :) And her daily dose of sunshine makes me able to bear anything I have to go through for her.

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