why i am thankful today:
it is 74 degrees out (at least according to the messed up thermometer in my car...could be +/- 5 degrees).
it is spring.
my daughter is sleeping sweetly.
i haven't had a clogged milk duct in 7 days. this is a record for me. might not sound that big of a deal, but it is to me and my little family. if you're a guy you might want to stop reading this now...not even sure if guys read my blog but if you do...the rest of this most likely will be TMI for you.
I really don't know if the following story will matter that much to anyone...but even if it helps one present or future mama, it's worth telling. God gave me the past 4 months for many reasons...hoping one of the reasons is so I can help some other moms.
Before I had my sweet girl, I planned on breastfeeding. I didn't just plan on it. I was pumped about it (little did I know how PUMPED I would be one month after her birth hahahah you'll get it in a minute). My mom is a huge breastfeeding advocate and prenatal nutritionist so I have heard that the breast is the best my entire life. I wrote persuasive papers on the benefits of breastfeeding for my developmental psych classes in college. I honestly looked forward to it for years.
Reagan had trouble latching from the beginning. She fought it, and was very frustrated...so after about 6 sessions with lactation consultants in the hospital, we were given a nipple shield. It was my mother in law and I's savior as we both didn't sleep at all the first night. The shield worked great...so we used it. I was going to ween her at some point...they said I definitely should by 3 months...but I was enjoying the convenience of the shield (even though Reagan was able to occasionally latch without it) and recovering from a 4th degree tear...so I decided to wait. Dumb. But now I know.
When Reagan was 5 weeks old I got my first clogged milk duct. I got it out by drinking tons and tons of water. Then two days later I got another one. This one was feisty...it wouldn't unclog. Two days later I developed a terrible breastfeeding infection called mastitis. And now my story really begins. It would take way way too long to tell it all sentence by sentence so I will give you the condensed version in bullets...if you have any questions leave a comment and I will email you with details.
-2 weeks fighting mastitis
-1 week of antibiotics
-Still no progress
-Reinfected with another bout of mastitis
-New antibiotic for 10 days
-Reagan has a nursing strike (most likely due to the infection)
-Gave her a bottle and she took it. I cried. But I was crying a lot at this point haha.
-Developed an abscess
-Sent to a breast surgeon for surgery
-MIRACLE 1: no need for actual surgery
-New antibiotic for 3 weeks
-8 visits to the breast surgeon
-7 aspiration procedures
-Abscess gone and beginning to heal after 4 weeks of infection
-Pumping exclusively to avoid clogged ducts and promote healing to abscessed area.
-Reagan drinking breast milk from bottles full time.
-Then I started getting clogged ducts (what causes mastitis if they get infected)
-MIRACLE 2: successfully unclogged 30+clogged ducts over the past 2 months...many weeks I had at least one a day
-never another sign of mastitis
-not completely sure why i had so many clogged ducts (could be linked to too much yeast in body from all the antibiotics)
-Sadly, Reagan still can't latch on. trying occasionally.
-Pumping every 2-3 hours every day, once during the night when reagan wakes
-MIRACLE 3: Reagan is 4.5 months old and still exclusively drinks breastmilk, is completely healthy and happy.
-MIRACLE 4: I started pumping a little more often this week to up my milk supply...all of a sudden my clogged ducts are gone. So if you ever struggle with them...try pumping more! I was pumping ever 3 hours but that might have not been enough for my body. I tried EVERY other natural remedy out there. Too many things to list...go to kelly mom if you want to see every thing I tried.
-MIRACLE 5?!?!?: Reagan will latch on again. My daughter is amazing. I think she can do it.
So that's where I am today. The infection and abscess was physically very painful..almost worse then my natural drug free child birth...not joking. But the hardest part was that it was a mental battle for me. A battle to not lose it, give up, and freak out. A battle to not care that I was giving my daughter a bottle (sounds dumb but this was a pride thing for me). A battle to not compare myself to other mom's who have it "so easy" after they have a baby (even though it's never really so easy). A battle to not depend on myself...but depend on God. Because HE is who healed me and gave me every bit of grace to get through this.
So to every woman who wants to breastfeed or has...I respect you. Nobody tells you it's going to be hard. And hopefully, it wasn't or won't be for you. But even if it is. I think it's worth it.
God is so, so, good to me.
I would like to thank every person who has prayed for me especially my amazing Mom, my incredible Mother in law, and my sweet faithful Nana. These three have prayed for me more hours than they could count and encouraged me by phone or text every single day. Without them I would have given up.
And then there is JD...the greatest man on earth. He has never asked me to stop, or made me consider giving up my (our) dream to give Reagan breast milk. He is so humble and such a servant. He has sacrificed hours and hours of studying to care for me and our daughter. I can never thank him enough.