Saturday, August 14, 2010

My aching boobs

The title of this post is very indicative of what it will be about, so if you're uncomfortable with that, you might want to stop reading here and now.

This unexpected hospitalization has brought about another unforeseen change: weaning Morgan. It was not my intention to do so at this point, even though she is "old enough" by social standards. (That's another rant for another day.) However, I will be discharged on Monday and I'll be doing home IV's for the next two weeks. Up to this point, I have been lucky enough that none of my medications have interfered with breastfeeding, unfortunately that is no longer the case. I've gathered as much information as possible, thought about it, weighed the options and ultimately I feel like this is what I have to do. Only you breastfeeding mama's will understand what I mean when I say that it is TOTALLY RIPPING ME APART INSIDE!

I know this is going to sound so ridiculous to some of you, but had I known the last time I nursed her would be THE LAST TIME, I would have taken a few extra minutes to really appreciate the moment. To let her play with my hair and explore my face with her free hand once more. To feel her skin on my skin and listen to her sigh with contentment. I have truly been mourning today. Mourning the passing of this stage with my daughter, mourning the loss of that chest-to-chest closeness, mourning the fact that I will no longer be able to provide her that stability.

Anyway, I suppose it's convenient to wean her while we are separated. I honestly think that it's the only way I could do it, because if we were at home and she looked at me and asked (signed) to nurse, I don't think I could deny her that. So my plan was to go cold turkey over the weekend. To wrap 'em up and let 'em dry out. In theory it sounds like a good plan, but I wasn't expecting the excruciating pain involved in this process. I mean, I'd heard it was uncomfortable, but I figured "Hey, I've given birth. I've severed my achilles tendon. How bad can it be?" And now I'm thinking "Just go ahead and sever that other tendon if it'll help take my mind off this pain!" Just hours ago, my breasts were beautiful, life sustaining vessels. But they're gone now and have been replaced with giant, granite-hard, agonizingly painful torpedoes.

If I were home, I'd totally have cabbage leaves in my bra. (Except they are so engorged that I can't wear a bra, so I guess the cabbage would just be in my shirt.) In fact, I've heard it provides such wonderful relief that I probably would have boobed my way through half a head of cabbage by now.  But for some reason, I haven't been able to talk my doctor into putting an order in for some boob-cabbage. The last time I was hospitalized, I regularly called my mom in tears--an emotional wreck, missing my baby, feeling so alone. This afternoon I called her in tears saying "Oh, my boooooobs....".

The good news is that I have a sweet little nurse (who I immediately fell in love with because she reminds me so much of my Japanese aunt) who has been very helpful. She gave me some suggestions, brought in a pump and some heat packs, and she even helped me wrap my chest in ace bandages. My boobs will remain on hooter lockdown for the next few days.  Earlier today, I was concerned because there was a slightly creepy CNA who stopped by my room with unusual frequency to take my vitals, and twice he came in my room to just sit and talk. I don't mean to be vain, but I really think he had a bit of a crush on me. I'm not a shy person, but I just felt like it would be a bit uncomfortable to ask him to help me wrap my engorged breasts. Luckily my nurse showed up before I became that desperate.

I pumped a few ounces out of each breast to ease some of the discomfort and when the CNA returned, the bottle was sitting out on my bed tray. I saw him eying it, but he didn't say anything so I finally said to him "That's my breast milk. I'm weaning my baby this weekend, so I'm in A LOT of pain. Do you know if I could find some cabbage in the cafeteria?"

Not only is he now questioning my sanity, I'm fairly certain he no longer has a crush on me.


  1. I was so...going to recommend cabbage to you on facebook. It is actually said to help in the dry up stage too!!! I would go walking around with cabbage leaves in my bra, in the first couple weeks of breastfeeding and the house had that nasty smell of cooked cabbage:)
    Praying for you!!!!


  2. So sorry about this painfull and emotionally draining phase.... Just remember every stage you must move on from will place you into yet another awesome adventure..... I just love your post, you are a great writer and funny as well... Sending you lots of prayers.... ***HUGS***

  3. I read this and cried! I am so sorry that you have to wean earlier than you BOTH wanted to, and not being able to do it gradually causing you such pain! :( I know I would be devastated if I had to wean Lucy before we were both ready. I hope you two get to enjoy many, many long cuddles and snuggles in the very near future to at least maintain your bonding time together. Thinking of you ladies, and many hugs to you! ((((HUGS))))


First of all, thanks for reading my blog. Whether you visit regularly or this happens to be your first time here, I'd love to hear from you!