A Little Hitch in Our Giddy-Up

The house is unpacked, and for the most part, everything is put away. Time to relax. Yeah, I’m just kidding. There is no relaxing in the Due household. I don’t think there ever was before Carson, either, so I can’t blame it on him. Actually, I suppose I can blame last night on him, sort of.

Guess I need another caveat here…

WARNING: The following story involves the use of the words breast, mastitis, breastfeeding, and may be somewhat uninteresting or mildly disgusting to people who are unable to lactate.

I spent the majority of last night at the Fort Campbell emergency room. Before you go and get all worried, I’m fine now, but apparently mastitis is no joke.

It all started a couple of nights ago when I started feeling a burning sensation in two certain highly nerve dense areas on my breasts (if you can’t figure out what areas I’m talking about, you probably don’t need to know). After doing a little research in What to Expect (my handy little first year bible) and online, I was afraid it might be thrush, so I decided to stop nursing and pump until I could see a doctor on Monday. Well, my Sunday morning, I had clogged milk ducts in my left breast, and by the time I got those worked out, I had clogs on the right side. I tried everything: warm showers, warm compresses, massage, pumping…nothing worked. Everything I read or heard said that I should keep trying what I was trying, and they would clear up. So, I kept a couple of heat packs on my right side all day, massaged, and kept pumping. My sister-in-law told me she had clogged ducts and they were pretty painful, so I decided I’d just deal with it. I told Ryan to invite a couple of his friends over, and I fixed gumbo for us. It was a great dinner and a good night, except for the nagging pain and the great big hard lump on the right side of my breast. After dinner, Ryan and his friends took a truckload of his music equipment (glad to see that go–was taking up a bunch of space in my garage) and headed over to their place. Meanwhile, I did some more research, and was starting to think my clogged ducts were a little more serious than I had originally thought. I called my mom, and we decided I’d better go ahead and make a trip to the ER. I called Ryan and told him to come home so I could head to the hospital.

I had Ryan stay at home with Carson for two reasons: one, I didn’t want to bring my five-week old son to a germ-filled emergency room, and two, I knew after about fifteen minutes of waiting, Ryan would be driving me crazy ready to go. Plus, I had plenty of milk pumped and stored for Carson.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I knew I was in for a long wait. I grabbed one of the last two parking spots and geared up for an all-nighter. However, I really didn’t have to wait very long at all before the nurse called my name. For once in my life, I had a compassionate ER nurse. After inquiring about my symptoms, she asked, “is this your first time with mastitis?” Mastitis?? I have mastitis? “Yeah, I guess it is.” She said she’d had it twice with her kids, and it was almost worse than childbirth. I told her I didn’t know that it was that bad. My labor experience was pretty bad. When she left, I figured I’d be out with some antibiotics pretty quickly. After a few minutes’ wait, the doctor came in to see me, asked me what how he could help me (isn’t that your job?), and promptly said he’d be right back. After another twenty minutes’ wait, he returned with a female nurse (oh yeah, can’t examine a female without another female present). After he tortured me, he surprised me by saying, “I’m going to call for an OB consult.” What? Why? Is there something really wrong? After another long wait, he returned to tell me he was going to start me on IV antibiotics and order an ultrasound to check for an abscess. Wow. After another wait, a nurse came in and announced he was going to draw some blood and start my IV. Unfortunately he needed to draw blood from both arms in order to confirm results (is their lab that sketchy?). After sticking me three times (he had trouble with my right arm), I finally had an IV line in and was waiting somewhat patiently for my ultrasound. As I lay there, I could hear babies (or maybe the same one; hard to tell) crying from time to time, and it not only made me miss Carson terribly, but it also triggered my let-down reflex, soaking me, my gown, and the bed sheet in breast milk. Fun.

After the ultrasound, a round of antibiotics, and a good nap (for which I was thankful and surprised that I managed to sleep in a busy ER non-private room), the doctor finally came back to tell me that I did not have an abscess. Hallelujah. I was sent home on an antibiotic regimen, pain medication, and instructions to recheck with an OB in two days. By this time, it was around 1 am, and I had not heard from Ryan in some time. And, to add to my worry, he didn’t answer the phone when I called. It was at this time I began imagining terrible scenarios in which Ryan (who is a superbly sound sleeper) was soundly sleeping through Carson’s frantic hunger screams. By the time I got in the car headed home, I was darn near panicked and probably drove a little too fast to get home. To my relief, I walked in the front door to find Ryan semi-awake feeding a content Carson a bottle. Big sigh of relief.

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