Title courtesy of the talented Aunt TiTi
Lest you worry that "TMI Ali" retired to greener pastures...SHE'S BAAACK!
I make no apologies for my candor, remember? And this motherhood thing can be a lonely place if you don't reach out offer up the truth. Anyway, with all the smut there is on TV and the Internet, my content is relatively benign. Further, I still have a really hard time with how embarrassed our society is, as a whole, with breastfeeding and the accompanying realities. We need to offer up support and encouragement to mothers who decide to take on the challenge. And let's be honest Moms--it can be trying, no? Especially for full time working Moms.
I'm not a great public nurser, more so this go around because my second child does breast acrobatics and nursing sessions tend to be a full body contact sport--for both players--but I don't like how restricted I am made to feel in regards to talking about it.
If people can talk a blue streak about a tooth abscess or ingrown beard hair...then gosh darnit, I am going to talk about clogged ducts.
Another joy of breastfeeding no one tells you about.
Some may escape the dreaded "caked breast," but for others (especially those who pump), it's an inevitable. And there is no way to describe the discomfort of a clogged duct--it actually makes me want to crawl out of my skin. It conjures up words like "fibrosity" (another word I made up), "nodular," "ropey," "skin puckering," and "crustles." Okay, so the last word is Eric's. And made up. It is the most irrelevant and inaccurate word for clogged/plugged ducts, but he likes to use it to make an already experience even more painful.
Eric: "Did you get the crustles out?"
Ali: "Ew. Stop. That isn't even an accurate description of one aspect of my situation."
Eric: "Why don't you take a hot shower. It'll help the crustles move."
Ali: "Eric...I'm serious. Stop."
Hot showers. Hand massage. Wet diaper soaked in warm water adhered to my chest (oh yeah, that's totally a legit solution. Google it.). Pumping. Massage while pumping. Nursing only on the affected side. Massaging while nursing. Dangle nursing (Google it.). Squeezing.
Tried it. Tried it. Tried it. Tried it...no relief. I think I even created some sort of mammary Reiki last night. And there was one moment that I did a combined mediation/pep talk to my ducts.
I woke up this morning, day 2 1/2 of my misery, and I thought the duct was about to brush my esophagus. The clog had gotten bigger and badder, and there was some sort of duct tectonics in the works so that I had a "hemi-cleavage." I elegantly called it "shelf boob." Maybe that is what it feels like to have one of those implants?
Would it be obvious at work? It kinda felt like when you have a huge zit on your face and you just know everyone who comes in contact with you wants to take you to the bathroom and force you to pop it because it is making them uncomfortable, too.
I felt so...so...ASYMMETRICAL.
What if it never went away? I've never had one this long before. What if it kept growing and growing until it burst in one big explosion of sour milk? Oh, the images I concocted, and resultant panic I endured. I ordered hundreds of capsules of lecithin online and swore off saturated fats per the suggestion of other seasoned moms. (Might as well start that breatharian diet again. Unfortunately, I really don't have any weight to spare right now...)
Shoot. It's Tuesday night. Eric conducts his adult running group and then is heading off to Emory to run a race. Bedtime as a single parent is h.a.r.d. and I knew that I wouldn't have time to take my right breast into a time out (or in our house, the "quiet pillow") and work out her issues.
I was balancing one bottom cheek on Miles's reading chair so I could adequately rock Felix while holding a book open with my other hand to read to Miles. It wasn't a pretty sight, and poor Miles never really gets his good 20 minute read in on Tuesday nights. Felix fell asleep, so in Mommy of the Year style, I plopped him right on the floor on his tummy, turned off the lights, picked Miles up, rocked him 11 times (yeah, I am weird like that), we whispered back and forth "I love you too" 3 times, and I set him in his crib to sleep.
My shirt was soaked on one side. Did Miles pee through his pj's? He has not done that since he was an infant!
24lbs of toddler smashed up against my chest DISLODGED THE CLOG!
Sweet, sweet relief.
I swooped Felix up, sat in the reading chair, got him to nurse the rest of the expired milk out (okay, not expired, but I kinda feel like it probably wasn't the freshest!), looked up to the sky and thanked God for physics/gravity/impact, or whatever force changed the course of my night.
I spent the next hour, until 8:15pm, going back into Miles's room to tell him to go to sleep. But tonight, I didn't care. I was almost tempted to let the child stay up, try soda for the first time, eat ice cream and watch Thomas videos on youtube all night.
That kid saved my breast.