Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Case of Mastitis

Mastitis and Breast Abscess.  Two things a breastfeeding/pumping mom never wants to hear or experience.  And this momma had both.

It all started on Friday, February 27th.  I started to feel a lump in my right breast.  As the day progressed it got red and hot to the touch.  I just left it be and started my weekend of breastfeeding. 

See we rented a scale from our local lactation place at the hospital for the weekend.  We wanted to see how much milk the girls were getting with each breastfeeding session and see if we wanted to continue down the road of breastfeeding or pumping.  The girls got various amounts of breast milk that weekend.  Sometimes they got enough (around 80 mils) and other times they barely got any in a 20 minute session (around 24 mils).  Those times where they barely got any milk, I would have to pump and supplement feed them.  This was a long process and not to mention, my breast hurt every time I pumped or they fed.

By Saturday night, I couldn't bare it anymore, so I took to good ole google and looked up my symptoms.  Most said mastitis, clogged milk duct or abscess.  They recommended to keep pumping and breastfeeding, but also massage.  The massaging killed me.  It made my breast hurt more than it did before the massage.  I started taking ibuprofen and just dealing with it.

Monday rolls around and we have to take the scale back to the lactation connection.  I asked them to take a look at my breast, but there wasn't a nurse there.  One girl took a look and said go to my OB ASAP.  Then a nurse came in and she told me I have mastitis and I need antibiotics from my OB.  So I called them, they filled a prescription and off I went.

I took the antibiotics as directed and continued to pump.  I was so over the breastfeeding because the girls needed supplementing every time.  By Wednesday, I was starting to feel better and I felt the lump getting smaller.  Good news.  But by Thursday night, it seemed worse.

This whole time I was taking ibuprofen, pumping and just dealing with it.  Friday, March 6th, I got my hair done and it was amazing.  I had a few hours away from the girls while my mom watched them and I got to do something for myself.  But on the drive home, I could barely stand the seatbelt on my breast.  When I got home, I asked my mom what she thought.  She said go to the doctor, and so I did.

But I had to see a midwife as my doctor had already left the office.  She said I had a very bad case of mastitis and I needed to go to the ER.  I contemplated going or not because I hate going to the hospital and it couldn't be that bad.  But in the end I went.  And after being seen by the nurse (after check in) she told me it was really bad, to move my car to valet and they would move me to first for triage.  Cue tears, calls to my mom and dad and panic.

I didn't want to bug my husband who was golfing until I knew more.  Well it turns out I had a major breast abscess and they were considering surgery.  So I called my husband, left him messages and waited.  My dad showed up to keep me company and support me.  We kept my mom in the loop since she was watching the girls.  Finally my husband called and we told him the news and that I would keep him posted.  Well he left golf after hole 9 (I still feel bad that he had to leave) even before my dad and I could tell him to stay and finish since I had my dad there.

They did some blood work, put in an ivy, gave me awesome pain meds and we waited for an ultrasound.  My husband showed up and we waited while tons of doctors checked my abscess out.  Finally we went to pre-op for an ultrasound.  But the surgeon checked out my abscess and said he didn't even need an ultrasound to see how bad and deep the infection was really bad.  Like the worst case he had ever seen and he deals with breast stuff all.the.time.

So I had surgery.  And I had to be put under since it was that bad.  Normally, a local anesthetic is given and you are awake, but he said this would be way too painful.  So I had a thirty minute surgery to cut open my abscess and clean out the pus and infection.  Plus an irrigation of the wound.  So crazy and finally out of pain.

I was pretty bummed to hear that I would be staying overnight since I needed a heavy course of antibiotics and they wanted to monitor me.  I went over 24 hours without seeing my babies.  Heartbreaking, but knowing my mom took care of them all day (until 10 pm) and then my husband was with them made it better.

I have been recovering since then.  My husband has to change my bandages twice a day because I have an open wound on my chest.  See you can't stitch it up as it needs to drain and heal from the inside out.  And you can't put a drain in it either because it breeds infection.  So I have an open wound covered in bandages.  The first dressing change at the hospital was the worst.  My pain killers hadn't kicked in yet and as a result there was screams, whimpers and moans.  So painful and gross.  But as the days go on, it gets better.  And I know to take pain killers before changing the dressing.  The open air and the tender broken nerves are too much to handle without pain killers.

But the good news is, it is healing.  I had my post-op check up last Wednesday and things were looking good.  And today I have another post-op appointment.  Hopefully it closes soon.  It definitely has gotten shallow and smaller, but still open.

Lesson learned.  Go to the doctor early on and get it fixed sooner.  I was part of the 1% who get an abscess from mastitis, so it doesn't happen that often, but mastitis does.

And that is why I have barely been on here.  I have been on pain killers, trying to recover and helping my mother-in-law and husband take care of our babies.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone as it is quite painful.  I even considered stopping pumping all together, but I want to go as long as I can.  So I grin and bare it.  Plus it is a lot less painful now than when I had the abscess.  At least the wound is on the side of my breast and not by the nipple.  But I can tell you it has really affected my milk supply.  It went way down!  I am trying to get it back up, and continuing to pump every 3 hours.  I am also trying mothers milk tea, oatmeal and beer.  Let's hope it gets back up to normal before we go through our entire freezer stash of milk.  We are down a bin and a half.  So sad to see it go that fast.

For more information on mastitis, click here.  And for additional information on breast abscesses, click here.


  1. OMG I only wish you had went tot eh doc when it was hot to the touch!!!! ahhh i hate when we make decisions like that! but I am super glad that you are okay and your such a damn champ for still pumping!!! I had to stop BF when my baby was 6 weeks. I could have still pumped BUT i chose not to. YOUR THE BOMB DOT COM momma!! hahaha

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I try to be strong and still pump. It's hard and awful being hooked up to a machine so many times a day, but worth it for the girls. That's what I keep telling myself. But I know I will have to supplement sometime because I don't produce enough milk as is right now.