For the past 5 days I have been battling bloody mastitis. And believe it or not, it’s my first ever bout. My virgin run, if you will...
I place the blame on sheer exhaustion and stress, after a long month of my husband going back and forth to Brisbane for work, often spending at least 5 nights away at a time. It was almost like my body knew he was finally home to stay (and take the children!!), as it literally hit me like a train about an hour after he walked in the front door.
I tried to manage it conservatively. Encouraging my toddler to feed off that side regularly (ha! He hardly needs encouragement to feed!), hand expressing, massaging, warm packs / cold packs, anti-inflammatories... etc etc etc.
But after 36 hours of feeling like death warmed up, I reached for the antibiotics.
Over the next 3 days I went up and down between feeling fine (whoo hoo!) and feeling like crap as my temperature would spike again and I’d end up shivering and wrapped in hubby’s dressing gown in our balmy 27 degree bedroom. Meanwhile the wedge-shaped lump in my left breast stayed sore and hard.
So, of course, this morning I started to panic. What if it’s a pus-filled abscess?! What if it bursts and I end up septic and in ICU?!?
A call to dad reassured me - don’t rush to emergency, just call your lovely GP instead. And calm the hell down lady! ... (haha nooo, he would never dare!)
She quickly organised me an ultrasound which I got to attend with BOTH children in tow...
I walked in the door holding the hand of a 4 year old who was skipping along singing: “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!” And a grizzly, sad 1 year old who had just been woken up from his 3 minute car nap.
I’m pretty sure it was no mistake they took me straight through.
Thankfully, not only was it not an abscess (just a lot of inflamed tissue), but Hurricane Hugh didn’t completely destroy the place either.
In fact, he played with my car keys the whole time while my daughter trotted around the room talking to herself taking photos of me (hence the fabulous picture) and her brother.
So I now know, first-hand, how completely shit mastitis is. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and I hope that with an adjusted dose of antibiotics I’ll be rid of it soon.
I can only be thankful that I managed to dodge it in the early weeks and months, when women are far more prone to it than they are while breastfeeding a toddler.
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
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