A journey too short
Hello there, first time mother here. Hoping that leaving my story here will ease a burden off my shoulders. Breastfeeding came relatively easy to me. Baby was latching properly, I had a good milk supply and I was highly motivated. The harder parts came from my LO rejecting my breast sometimes or a really bad letdown which ultimately covered my room floor with milk droplets and constantly having to pump out to prevent my clothes from getting wet. (Which is not that bad tbh) I was 21 days postpartum when I had my first mastitis. It was the CB period and Dr. Google had already told me that I had mastitis. I was afraid to get a fever and my hubby had just returned to work. I was texting him to let him know that I wasn't feeling well. My baby is exclusively breastfed and we didn't even buy any formula because of my milk supply. My hubby was irritated thinking I was seeking attention from him. (Him finally working while I had to take care of baby by myself). I grew agitated explaining to him that I had mastitis. I was desperately feeding from the affected breast and doing a lot of got compress. I finally had a high fever of 39deg the next day and my hubby had to persuade me to go to a GP ( I wanted to see my gynae instead but it was a Friday night so the next available time was Tuesday). GP advised me to take antibiotics and pump and dump. Eventually. I lost about 2L plus worth of breastmilk as he said the drug in my system will affect my baby. I saw a LC the following week to clear up any clogged ducts and felt ultimately better. Fast forward to a little over a month post partum and I had a second episode of mastitis. By now I had seen my gynae for my 1 mth pp check and mentioned that I might be having mastitis based on early symptoms. He checked and told me that it wasn't mastitis yet and prescribed me antibiotics still and another drug to constrict the milk ducts. After being diagnosed mastitis the second time by a GP, I sought advice from my gynae again and said the pain was getting worse despite the fever going away. He then prescribed me a stronger dose which actually became worse. It was a Saturday and I had developed an abcess on my areola. It was big, red and burning! My gynae advised me to see a breast surgeon to cut the abcess immediately. I showered, did a last minute effort to express out in the shower (painfully) and fed my LO with the affected breast. Guess what, there were no breast surgeons available after noon on a Saturday (govt or private) . None. My hubby asked me to tahan till Monday. By now I was already sweating from the pain and managed to find one (a plastic surgeon who was able to do the procedure on that very day). I was so relieved. I rushed down to his clinic scared I might be late and did a consult. He told me that he was able to do an incision and debridement to clean the affected tissue inside and fit a vacuum machine over to suck out any blood and pus for a faster recovery. My pain level at this point was at a level 9/10. And I was very sensitive to any small touches much less wearing clothes at this point. I still remember my hubby had to pay 1.6k and he gave me the angry look as if I had financially bankrupt him at this point. (we were saving for renovation and despite me putting in the same amount as him every month). My hubby can't really take stress and usually vents at me. Sometimes, I try to make things better , but usually I argue back and we won't discuss the issue further. That day, I was hungry , tired , mentally and physically exhausted. So I just kept quiet while they put me in a wheelchair to get to the hospital. I still vaguely rmb my surgeon showing me the video where he made the first incision. (I was still high on GA) The amount of blood, pus and milk just gushed out everywhere. He told me that I had a 8x6x10cm cavitity in my breast now. Adding it was the size of an orange. It was pretty overwhelming. He told me that a bigger decision was whether I wanted to continue breastfeeding or not. And I chose not to, afraid that I might get mastitis again or prolonging my recovery. At 5 weeks , after taking the drug to stop lactation, my menses came in. My heart ached as the realisation of not being able to bf my baby dawned on me . My baby had to be cared for by my sister and her family during my recovery as my hubby was an essential worker. I was warded for a day and after which my hubby picked me up first, then our baby. I had to carry the vacuum machine everywhere I went. I was still recovering from surgery so I can't pick up my baby. And it broke my heart to a million pieces. When he cried all I can do was to wake up my hubby to defrost my breast milk which I was pumping so hard for his infantcare in a month's time. Pretty soon I was stubbornly trying to push myself to do things as my hubby had to return back to work. The worse part during this time was on the unaffected breast, I was still having a lot of letdown. And despite having my menses , I was still lactating. I had to take the drug a second time together with many cabbage leaves therapy to eventually stop it. I had to go to my surgeon's clinic twice for the changing of dressing and I saw my nipple being stuck on the sponge . It was being ripped when they tried to take the sponge out. I was inconsolable. I broke down and wailed. I asked God, why me? Why did I have to go through this? Why must I have this when other women have beautiful stories? The nurses had to rub my back and hold me together to help me through the lowest point of my life. My hubby walked out of the clinic. And I know he didn't want me to see him crying as well. Deep down he really couldn't see me hurt. I'm not a soft hearted person or someone who cries easily. But this entire period of my life just humbled me in the worst way possible. Going back to the hospital again to stitch up the cavity, I saw many 'breastfeeding friendly hospital policy' poster. And I teared up again in the lift, holding my vacuum machine. I bawled my eyes out again seeing an informal video on breastfeeding on the TV while waiting for my day op. The nurse came in to do a 'admission interview' and casually asked if I was still breastfeeding , I said no. And she asked how old my baby was. I told her that my LO was only 7weeks and she empathetically said, 'ohhh poor thing' with tears in my eyes I said that I wasn't blessed with a longer breastfeeding journey. Now while recovering from the entire nightmare of my life, I am silently crying. Silently wishing why I couldn't have provided my baby with my milk for a bit longer. Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for sharing my pain.