Friday, August 8, 2014

My Breastfeeding Story: Finally an Answer

I nursed Baby three days short of 17 months.  I'm going strong with Pillow, two months in and will do so for at least the next ten months, though I'm sure it will continue longer than that.  Of my accumulated 19 months of nursing, almost every single feeding session has been encountered with pain.
 
Until now.
 
 
 A very long story filled with pain, tears, desperation and resentment I was misdiagnosed with thrush for all of Baby's time nursing.  No doubt, I did have it at some point.  Very early on with Baby, I developed double mastitis and a staph infection.  I had to go on very aggressive antibiotics which caused the thrush.  Despite how many home remedies I tried, round after round of Gentian Violet and Diflucan, I could never clear myself of thrush so I just accepted it as status quo.
 
When the all too familiar pain of thrush came back with Pillow, approximately three weeks in, I turned to Dr. Google to see if there was anything I missed the first time around.  After various searches, I found this article and my life completely changed.
 
Basically, what I had been suffering from all along was not thrush.  It was Raynaud's-which I suffer from in other areas.  During the winter my toes and fingers will go ghost white with the loss of blood circulation.  It is extremely painful but I never once considered the fact that a nipple is technically an extremity; why couldn't it be impacted by blood circulation just as my toes?
 
The cruelest part of all of this is one of the main tips to deal with thrush is to always air dry your nipples and have as much open air exposure as possible.  This is the exact opposite for someone suffering from Raynaud's-the goal is to keep everything warm.  As soon as I changed my habits, the pain significantly decreased.  
 
With what I hope was my last consultation in regard to nursing, Raynaud's was officially diagnosed as the cause of my pain. I admit, I'm slightly angry that we didn't discover this sooner, all the time I spent in pain, all the tears I shed, it didn't have to happen.
 
Moving on and forward, I now have an answer.

In one way, I do feel some appreciation for what happened.  I know this sounds loony, but persevering through my nursing maladies helped shaped me as a mother.  I've learned how to be selfless for the greater good of my children.  I have developed the ability to be a self advocate. This experience taught me I am strong and accomplish what I stubbornly set my mind to. I gained friendships and comradery between myself and other mothers.  
 
 Breastfeeding truly has been a gift (and I recognize it truly is a gift because it isn't promised to all women who desire it) to me and I value the time I spend nursing my babies.  Pain or not, all of it has been worth every ounce.
 

7 comments:

  1. Oh I remember you telling me how bad it hurt. I am so sorry that you just found hopefully the cure or at least something that helps!

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