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Postpartum Soundbites: Weeks 5 & 6 - Part 1 (Mastitis)

Can a mom catch a break? If you’ve been following my journey from the start, then you know that I left the hospital with a virus after giving birth, and then my daughter caught it and then my newborn son. Sickness plus emotional turmoil from a toddler, coupled with sleep deprivation is no bueno. We were finally on the up and up and then…I got mastitis!

If you don’t know what mastitis is, it’s a serious breast infection. It feels like you have the flu – I had a fever, terrible body aches, and severe chills. I was bundled up in a robe, under a blanket by our fireplace with the heat on, and I still felt freezing cold. Then I would break into an incredible sweat and have to throw everything off to cool down. And as a new mama, you can't just rest like you should when you have mastitis, you have to keep nursing as much as possible, pumping milk out of the infected breast if necessary, taking care of your baby and did I mention– toddler. Just the weight of my son’s eight-pound body felt so heavy on all my sore aching joints. The first two days were awful.

Luckily, I was able to send a picture of my infected breast to my midwife on a Saturday, and she ordered me an antibiotic right away. She said she’d usually send someone in my condition to the ER on a weekend to be evaluated and treated, but thank you technology– she knew right away that it was for sure mastitis just based on my symptoms and the picture I sent. The infected breast gets really red and streaky over the area of infection.

Thankfully, after a few days of antibiotics and rubbing out my clogged milk ducts with a bar of soup in the hot shower (ouch!) I was feeling much better. Taking the antibiotics sucked though. I had to take four pills a day, every six hours, and I couldn’t eat for two hours before or one hour after each one for ten days!! I was already up in the middle of the night with my son, so taking a pill at 4 a.m. wasn’t the worst part, but damn was I hungry! Nursing is like running on a treadmill while you’re sitting in a chair. You become ridiculously thirsty and ravenously hungry. Your body is working so hard it’s like a literal workout, back sweat and everything. I’m not complaining about shedding baby weight while sitting on my a– butt though. It’s the one silver lining God gave women after childbirth.

My mastitis started to resolve itself just in time for one of the biggest weekends of the year, my daughter’s birthday weekend. Yep, I’m that crazy mom who always throws two parties – one for all her kid friends and one for family. My son’s birthday is exactly five weeks before my daughter’s so this may be the last year that I succumb to such madness. Stay tuned for “Part 2” to see how I pulled it off with a baby stuck to me!

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