Breastfeeding AKA Nipple Regeneration Part 2
While you're losing bits of your bitties, you are visited by Engorgement. Engorgement arrives 4-5 days after birth when the milk comes in. Engorgement is not all friendly like, "Hi, I'm here to help Nourish and Protect your baby from disease and famine." Engorgement is more like, "YO BITCH! It's ON."
Engorgement declares all systems GO. We have lift off. Goodbye normally soft boob. Hello Rock Hard silicone implants gone wronger than Tara Reid. My boobs stood up like they were ready to belt out, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm freeee." Lee Greenwood would salute them. I could not sleep, wear a seatbelt, or do my Tyra catwalk stomp when Engorgement was here.
Then came the period when I thought I had mastitis because it felt like fiery white hot acid was shooting from my nipples. And when I Googled “breast feeding agony,” the entry about mastitis said, “symptoms include a sensation of fiery white hot acid shooting from the nipples." BINGO. I was thisclose to constructing my own fenugreek seed poultice followed with a chaser of Oregon graperoot. Double double toil and trouble.
It was a two person job in the beginning too. I did not want to manhandle my baby, or touch her soft spot, or break off her arm, so The Good Doctor would help position her while I positioned myself. It was like jumping into double dutch, wait for it, wait for it, OK baby's mouth is open and you've braced yourself, JUMP IN!
When I was powering through the feedings that cycled through every 3 hours, The Good Doctor would often come in the room and asked if he could help, was there anything he could do, how's it going? I couldn’t even look at him. Sensing the danger, he would slowly back away and sit on the edge of the bed and send mental rays of support toward my boobs. But it was really nice that he was there. So dads, just be there while we're suffering. Even if we don't talk or look at you. Because we won't. You did this to us. YOU!
Since I could not control the pain or turn the dial so that it would go from 9.9 on the 1-10 scale down to a more manageable 4 or even 5, I carried a little book around with me everywhere.
A journal from the lovely Mills Peninsula Birth Center. To record each feeding time, which boob it happened on, how long it lasted. I of course, began filling it out all wrong, because there were boxes and pre-printed colons and I WAS OUT OF MY MIND with pain and distraction, so penmanship and organization and proper placement of times was not a BIG DEAL OK Good Doctor?!
So I would write in the book, mentally prepare myself, and then stare at the floor and count. Just breathe, and count, while Emmy had a 10 course Chinese wedding dinner. Every 3 hours.
But when day 9 rolled around, the SUN came out. Piranha baby went to town, and I blinked. Anticipating the excruciating pain. But it didn't come. I was like, this is a GD miracle. By golly, I HAVE reached The Promised Land.
THIS is what they told me about. They being Emmy's honorary Auntie Kate, who I molested for information because she had Ella 6 weeks earlier and she was my Guru of All Things Baby. When she told me the pain would eventually go away, when she she swore I would not have to religiously apply gobs of nipple butter after every single feeding, that I would be able to speak or hear or even watch TV while breastfeeding...I thought, "So this is what it's like when friends lie to friends about motherhood." Sorry Kate, for ever doubting you.
And now, 6 and a half months into it, with the goods to prove it, I have survived. The regeneration is complete.