Friday, October 22, 2010

Boobs. Boobs! Boooooooobs.

Time for the inevitable post about my boobs. I was waiting until they were good and fucked up until I wrote this post. Consider this your warning: I'm not holding back. Teenage boys, stop reading here. Boobs will be forever ruined for you if you continue.

OK, so people always told me that breastfeeding was hard, but OH MY GOD, IT IS HARD! Pre-nursing days, I had this vision of breastfeeding in my comfy brown easy chair, Boppy around my waist, in a cute nursing top, and sweetly bonding with my little baby. I guess it sort of started out that way what with my poo covered Boppy and milk stained nursing tops. If only I wasn't wincing in pain and shouting obscenities every time my little baby latched. But we were still, yeah...

Let me back the hospital, Calvin seemed to be a natural with breastfeeding. He latched right away and ate vigorously, and we received praise from our nurses and lactation consultants. After having a natural childbirth and apparently being a breastfeeding All-Star, I felt great and so proud and like I could conquer anything. Then IT happened. The invasion of Grand Canyon deep cracks and hot air balloon blisters. My beautiful life-giving boobies turned into repulsive pus-leaking blobs. And then there's the pain. Oh my. I'm pretty tough when it comes to pain, but this pain was way worse than anything I'd ever experienced. Worse than the miles and miles we had to run for field hockey. Worse than the all the times my sister pinched me and drew blood (I love you, Katy). Worse than...dare I say...natural childbirth. OK, maybe that's stretching it a bit. But it sucked. And every time Calvin sucked, I grew more and more frustrated with breastfeeding.

After two weeks of fighting through the pain, I reached out to seek a lactation consultant's help. Darcy came to the house, took one look at my nipples, and dropped dead on my bedroom floor. I think her response was, "You've been breastfeeding on THOSE?"

"Yes." Ouch.

Darcy was awesome. She watched Calvin nurse, and helped us come up with a plan of action. She also diagnosed Calvin with a long tongue. (It's OK to laugh. My baby has a long tongue. Watch out ladies.) She seemed to think that his tongue was causing the damage to my nipples. Sadly, my repulsive pus-leaking blobs were infected, so I started on an antibiotic and began to pump full-time while I healed.

So, here I am. Keri the cow. Pumping, pumping, pumping at least eight times per day. We've been feeding Calvin breastmilk from the bottle, and he's eating like a champ.

Are my nipples healing? By George, they aren't! The blasted pump has caused thrush, and now I'm starting another round of meds to take care of that.

Needless to say, this has been a real mess. I've been super stressed, but I'm trying to breathe through it and take it day by day. My original goal was to breastfeed for Calvin's first year of life, but I've revised that plan to three months. Go ahead and judge you Boulder hippies, you. I'm still hopeful that all this will clear and breastfeeding will end up being easy and enjoyable, but if not, that is OK too. I keep reminding myself of how blessed I am to have had such an awesome pregnancy and labor and now to have a beautiful baby who is getting fat and thriving even without the comfy easy chair, the Boppy, and a cute nursing top. And in moments like this, where I feel so lucky and in love, I bond with my baby and realize that this too shall pass.

1 comment:

  1. It's so good of you to share this, because the best thing a breastfeeding mom can get at this stage is support and community. I had such a hard time right from the start. I remember how painful it is, from latching to engorgement and the emotional guilt that this is all supposed to be natural. I saw (and paid) a lactation consultant three times. I too pumped exclusively for long enough that I had to start over again with painful latching. In the end, what helped the most was knowing that I wasn't alone and just talking to other non-judgmental moms. I wish you luck, and let me know if you ever need to talk.