Friday, June 4, 2010

My Lady Lumps

File this under "stuff you probably don't want to know about my breasts."

Remember the breastfeeding woes post a week or so ago? Well my friends, its gotten worse.

12 days ago I discovered a lump. I consulted my breastfeeding books and google and decided it was probably a clogged milk duct. It was on the same side I was having problems with the deep cracking. My skin is slightly red there and hot to the touch. It quickly grew to about the size of a lemon. NOTHING I do will make it go away.

I've tried everything all the breastfeeding books/discussion boards suggest: nursing on that side first and trying to position the baby's chin towards the lump. I also nurse in all sorts of positions, including kneeling over the baby. I've been doing hot showers and baths, a heating pad, drinking tons of water, getting lots of rest, massaging the lump after applying heat and while breastfeeding (this is very painful), and applying the heating pad then pumping after nursing. I haven't worn a bra or any tight clothes in days and don't sleep on my stomach. I've also been taking Lecithin (1350mg 4x daily) and one capsule of Evening Primrose Oil/day.

It seemed like it was getting worse instead of better and then I developed another small lump on the top of the same breast.

After about a week I broke down and sent my midwife, Tiffany, an email. Even though it was 10pm on a weekend night she called me back in about 5 minutes (yet another reason I love her) and gave me 20 questions. She mostly was asking me about how I felt or if I'd had a fever because it was crazy that it had been going on so long and hadn't turned into mastitis yet. I assured her that I felt great, minus the huge lump. She had me start taking Phytolacca, a homeopathic med. every 3 hrs.

I took it for 5 days and still no improvement. Usually it only takes 2 doses. Also she had me start taking echinecea and goldenseal every 2 hours to ward off a possible infection, drink 100oz of water a day, take 4000mg vit C, and sleep as much as possible. After 5 days of no changes, she recommended making an apt with a lactation consultant for a thorough evaluation. She had a feeling that the way he was latching was causing the problem and/or the reason it wouldn't resolve. By this time my milk supply on that side was seriously diminished but I had enough on the other side to make up for it.

I called the lactation consultant's the next day and at first they didn't think they could get me in for at least a week, until they heard how big the lump was and how long I'd had it. After that they told me to come in at 9am the next morning (which was Thursday). They too couldn't believe it hadn't become infected and that I sounded so "perky."

They instructed me to come with the baby hungry and ready to feed, and my breasts ready to nurse. The last part confused me because, aren't they always ready?

The next morning (yesterday) we headed down there. They weighed Marshall naked (10.3 lbs!) and then with his clothes on. Then she looked at Marshall's mouth and determined that he has a slight tongue tie. Nothing severe enough to be clipped, but enough to make him a bad latcher. She had me take my temp to see if I had a fever, and was surprised that it was only 98.3. After that she looked at my lady lump as I affectionately like to call it. She said it looked like mastitis but could possible be an abscess. She also said my nipples were hammered and I must have an amazing pain tolerance. Then she told me I was a good mama for putting up with all the pain/issues for 5 weeks and that most people would have thrown in the towel. That made me feel really good:) She also told Jerad that she hoped he got me lots and lots of flowers for Mother's Day because I deserved them.

After examining me, she had me feed Marshall to evaluate how that was going. Me and the baby were both doing a few things wrong. I wasn't snugging him up close enough and instead was letting him lay on his back as if I was feeding him a bottle. I also was bringing myself to the baby instead of getting myself comfortable and pulling him to me which was killing my back. I didn't tell her about the position I had devised of sitting in the office chair cross legged with a rolled towel propped under one knee so I could balance the baby while leaning way forward to feed him while checking my email.... anyways, he also wasn't taking enough of the breast in his mouth, hence why I've had all the nipple issues and pain. She showed me how to get a good latch, and then pointed out that after a few minutes he would slide back down to the nipple and showed me how to fix it. It was phenomenal nursing without pain!

She weighed him after the feeding and he had taken in 3 ounces which was right on track.

She also tried massaging out the lump. It didn't work. She said that even though I wasn't exhibiting symptoms, I probably had mastitis. She wanted me to start taking antibiotics since I had been taking natural remedies for so long without any improvement. She called Tiffany who agreed. She sent me home with a hospital grade pump and some Blessed Thistle. My instructions were to take the Blessed Thistle right before feeding, and apply a warm compress to the lump. I was to start feeding him on the "good side" then after let down, switch him to the other. After we were all done I was supposed to use the pump on the bad side. Also I needed to take the antibiotics every 6 hrs, and take a warm bath and hand express a few times a day. And of course I was supposed to make sure he was latching correctly and not being lazy. Then she wanted to see me the next day (today).

For the most part I was able to follow all of the instructions. Its hard to keep relatching him when its so much easier to just let him do it wrong and put up with the pain. I've just gotten used to it feeling that way and he gets so mad when I keep pulling him off and readjusting. Plus, its one thing to be in her office on the comfy couch with a nursing stool under my feet, the pillows propped up perfectly and her there to help as opposed to dealing with a screaming hungry baby in the middle of the night. Anyways, we're working on it.

At first my appointment was at 11am but she decided to move it to 4pm so that the antibiotics would have a little more time to work. This afternoon I loaded up Marshall and made the trek to SLO solo. I fed Marshall and this time he ate 4.2 ounces. HELLO little piggy! She thought the lump looked worse and that my skin felt hotter to the touch and said it was definitely mastitis. She measured it and it was 9cm by 7cm. She wasn't happy since I am taking double the dose of antibiotics that she usually prescribes. So, she put me on strict bedrest over the weekend and said that if my symptoms get any worse, I'm to go to the ER. Not cool. She just couldn't get over the fact that I feel so good since I've probably had mastitis for about 10 days now.

In that 10 days I've walked around the Atascadero Lake, gone to my nieces' birthday party, gone to the Strawberry Festival, plus grocery shopping and multiple errands. I guess I do feel a little extra tired, but I just figured it was from waking up to feed the baby all night. I think having such crazy severe migraines for so many years gave me a high pain tolerance. I would pass out from the pain it was so bad. Bedrest always sucks, especially for someone like me, but it is going to be extra hard because I don't feel like I should be confined to laying down. She wants Jerad to take care of the baby as much as possible as well as pamper me. Well, that can't happen because he is working on finishing up a few side jobs this weekend and I'm going to be home alone. I had all sorts of fun plans like walking down to the baby fair at the park with Marshall, guess that won't happen now:(

Anyways that's where I'm at now. I go back Monday so cross your fingers for improvement! It hasn't been fun, but he's worth it.

1 comment:

Paige said...

Got your email... I can't believe what you have been dealing with. I am SOO proud of you for sticking it out. I hope to hear a (quick?) update soon... I have been praying for you! I hope that "lady lump" is gone soon!