Monday, June 21, 2010

Mastitis: It Sucks!

If you've ever had Mastitis, I'm sorry. I would never wish this upon anyone - it's awful!!

This past weekend I had my first (and hopefully only) bout with the nasty infection. I feel one hundred times better, but still not 100%. Mastitis is a breast infection, caused by the spread of bacteria into my milk ducts either because my milk wasn't entirely drained each session or from a bacteria that entered my breast while I was pumping. Either way, I hope that bacteria never finds me AGAIN!!

Last week was kind of a rough week. On Wednesday and Thursday, Rylan was particularly fussy both days, and wasn't sleeping just a ton. These 2 days were rather stressful for me, unfortunately. On Friday, I got up early and headed to a Father's Day breakfast with my dad's side of the family, and had a short shopping stint with my mom and dad afterwards, before heading home for the rest of the day. I felt fine all day - maybe just a bit tired from getting up earlier than normal to make breakfast on time. Rusty had a softball game Friday night, which I skipped out on, to stay at home and take it easy.

At about 1:15 or so early Saturday AM, we woke up for a feeding. I woke up feeling a little funny - the backs of my arms were sore and I had a really hard time making fists, or doing much else with my arms/hands, besides just generically moving them. It was almost as if my muscles were diluted. I commented to Rusty how weird it felt, but that was that. At nearly 3a, Rylan still hadn't gone to sleep and was getting all the more fussy, so I got up and fed him a little more. By now, my whole body had been overwhelmed with the sore feeling that started in my arms. My back stiffened up and my neck was KILLING me.

Rylan was still a little fussy, but I couldn't stand the soreness and aches any longer. I grabbed his swing, and plopped him in it right next to my side of the bed, and I crawled back into bed. This is when the chills started. At first I didn't think a ton of it. I assumed everything was a mixture of exhaustion and fatigue from the prior week finally catching up with me, so just tried to relax it all away. The chills, though, started getting worse, along with the aches and pains. After laying there for about 30 minutes, I finally woke Rusty up and asked him to get a thermometer. Yep... I had a low fever at 99.2*. I'd briefly remembered reading about breast infections and how they felt flu like when they were severe enough, so I had Rusty break out the books to re-read and see what else they said.

Rusty got me some Tylenol to help break the fever and dull the aches. He also finished taking care of Rylan and finally got him back to sleep. Several hours later, I woke up to find that my fever finally broke. I was laying in a bed of my own sweat (literally!!). **PS - I HIGHLY recommend getting a water proof mattress cover for all pregnant women/new moms. I can't count the times it's already saved our mattress between me being hot/sweaty during the end of my pregnancy, baby spit up, and now this.** I was so relieved (and hot). I fell back asleep and woke up an hour or two later only to find I had even worse chills than I did earlier that morning. The aches and pains had dulled a bit, thankfully. I quickly took my temperature to find it had gone up to 101.2*. WHAT?!

At this point, I felt certain that I had a breast infection. The only missing ingredient, though, was that I didn't have one specific spot in either breast that fit the rest of the symptoms for Mastitis. I had generic soreness in both, but that didn't seem quite right. I read a little bit more online about home remedies to try. I popped some more Tylenol, along with hot compresses and more sleep. The Tylenol temporarily worked each time, but then when I'd wake up again about 4 hours later, the chills were increasingly worse.

At about 1p, we reached the breaking point and finally called my OB/GYN. I woke up with a fever of 102.8* and felt like I was near death. Side note - I was really frustrated because no where did any of the readings say what doctor I should call. I didn't know if breast infections fell into my GYN's bucket or someone else's. I just decided to call her anyway... So I called. Since it was the weekend, I got rolled over to the after hours service. Within a few minutes, the nurse practioner at the office called me back and confirmed it sounded like a breast infection. She called in a prescription for me right away and said it would take about 24 hours for me to finally start feeling better. In the meantime, she recommended I stick with the Tylenol to help break the fever and to battle the aches and pains.

Rusty picked up my prescription and some soup for me a little while later. By Saturday evening, I was feeling quite a bit better, but still not great. With each passing hour as the antibiotics pumped through my system, I felt better and better.

It took until Sunday evening/Monday for me to finally "find" where the infection is. The rest of the symptoms that the books all talk about manifested. It's amazing to me how quickly my immune system responded to the infection, before I even could tell where it was.

Going back to early Saturday morning, Rusty was an absolute lifesaver all weekend long. He so selflessly helped Rylan and me out all weekend without complaining once. I stayed in bed almost the entire day Saturday, unless I got up to use the restroom or pump. He was so sweet and stayed in there with me most of the day taking care of Rylan and making sure I had everything I needed at every moment. This all overlapped to Sunday, his first Father's Day. I felt so awful that he had to spend HIS first Father's Day taking care of me. That's not the way it was supposed to be... At least it leaves plenty of room for improvement for next year!!

Take it from me - Mastitis sucks and you NEVER want to get it. If you ever think you have it, I really would recommend calling your GYN right away. Better safe than sorry!!!


Happy First Father's Day!

One of the hardest lessons I'm learning about being a new parent is that nothing goes by my schedule or plan anymore. Boy is that tough for me sometimes... I guess it's the analistic mindset I've been hard wired with, but for me, most everything is at least planned well enough so that there is some general idea of what's going on - even if the plan is there's no plan at all. I can't help it.

Well, this Father's Day weekend was no different!! On Friday evening, I asked Rusty if I could have a "Mommy's Morning Out" on Saturday morning just to get out of the house for a few hours by myself. I was going to use this for some "me" time but I also had a few things I wanted to do to help make Rusty's first Father's Day more special and memorable. I know it's going to be special and memorable because it was the first one, but still...

Because of some unforeseen circumstances, THAT didn't happen. Instead of the weekend being all about Rusty, it ended up being mostly about me and what I needed. Believe me when I say that this is NOT what I wanted. All it did was make me further realize how lucky Rylan and I are to have Rusty in our lives. Granted, without Rusty in my life, Rylan wouldn't be here, but still. Rusty is such an amazing husband, and is already a wonderful father. I can't wait to see how much he flourishes in the years to come - I already know he was made to be a daddy. :)

Below is a wonderful picture of Rusty and Rylan on Rusty's first (albeit lame...) Father's Day. Happy (late) Father's Day to all of you wonderful fathers out there! I hope it was a wonderful day/weekend!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby Rylan is Born

So I'm officially 3 weeks late... sue me! Spending hours at the computer uploading pictures and updating the blog hasn't been high on my priority list, unfortunately. I finally had took the time this after noon.

While we have hundreds of more pictures, from the past 2 weeks, I just wanted to start from the beginning, and just the first 5 days of my baby boy's life are accounted for here.

On the morning of Tuesday, May 18, 2010, Rusty and I woke up, knowing that our lives would forever change that day. I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 for admission that morning. When my alarm when off, I made the comment to Rusty that it was the alarm to the beginning of the rest of our lives. How true that was. My external version wasn't scheduled until 9:30, so we had a little bit of time after admission. During those first few hours, I was on monitors, started getting my drugs, etc. Ask Rusty - I was surprisingly calm all morning. I actually even slept well the night before.

They started my IV right away since I was to get my epidural before anything started. Of course they had problems with my veins rolling over (go figure...) so I had to be stuck a few times before the nurse got it in correctly. After this little "issue" getting the IV going is when the nerves set in - and believe me that they set in. The anesthesiologist was next up. This was my official cue to freak out. I did. I cried and just internally panicked. It was so easy. It wasn't bad at all - getting my IV was worse. The worst part for me is that I had nothing going on to justify any of this happening yet. I wasn't in labor, I had no pain, and I hadn't had any contractions. I was just getting poked all over for no reason.

After the IV and epidural were both in and running, I got 3 shots of what I remember to be Demerol. (I could be completely wrong, and I have no idea how to spell it.) Whatever it is, it's a medicine used on arthritis patients to help relax the muscles. In this case, it was used to help relax my uterus to hopefully make the version work better. The first two shots were in my arms, and they hurt. They were "smart" on the 3rd one and gave it to me in my leg since I couldn't feel anything below my chest. Woo hoo!

My doc didn't have high hopes that my version would work. I remember looking down at her and the other doc while the were doing it. I could feel my body moving and that is about all. To see the strain on their faces only indicated they were trying to push a stalled out car out from the middle of the road. I even looked over at Rusty once and his mouth was hanging wide open, in shock of how hard they were working on my stomach. After a few minutes, my doc threw in the towel and said, "Let's go have a baby." Rusty threw on his scrubs and they began wheeling me away to the OR.

Once in the OR, it was all very Hollywood-ish. It was a bright white and silver room with metal things all over the place and a big operating table right in the middle. They wheeled my bed right up beside the table and even used one of those board things to transport from one to the other. Once on the table, I kept wondering what the commotion was about. Come to find out, one of my legs kept falling off of the Op table. I couldn't feel a thing, and had no idea. Looking back now, it was pretty funny. Apparently they couldn't get it on the table and strapped in fast enough before it would fall again.

To my surprise, Rusty watched the entire process. I couldn't watch his face, because I knew that if he saw something bad or gross, and his face showed it, I'd freak out and start panicking. I watch the nurse that was holding my other hand the whole time.

Here are the things I most vividly remember from my C-Section:
1.) When we were in there, right before the procedure started, the song that was on the radio was "Hurt So Good." How ironic. I even pointed this out to everyone else and we all just laughed.
2.) My doc's voice was the most soothing sound in the room. She talked during the whole procedure about what was going on. I wasn't listening at all, but just hearing her upbeat, happy tone the whole time let me know it was all ok.
3.) The most awful smell filled the room throughout the procedure. I asked what it was, to which my doc said, "I don't think you want to know!" and to which I replied, "OK!" Rusty later told me what it was. OH. MY.
4.) When my doc started saying the baby was coming out, I looked to Rusty to see his expression, since everything was "numb" for me and I couldn't see a thing. His face was my window to the baby. This is when I cried happy tears for the first time. I'll never forget the love/excitement/joy written all over Rusty's face the first time he saw Rylan.

When they were putting me back together, my doc pointed out my mal-shaped uterus to Rusty. This is a big part of the reason Rylan didn't turn. Instead of being completely round, my uterus was flat on top, making it more like a triangle, and preventing our little baby from turning like he needed. The disturbing part is that she literally pulled my uterus out of my tummy and held it up for Rusty to see before jamming it back inside where it belonged. AWESOME.

The rest of Tuesday and into Wednesday were all a blur. To be honest, I don't remember much from these 2 days. The recovery was a lot rougher than I expected it to be upfront. I didn't get feeling back in my legs until the next day because my epidural was in for 24 hours as pain management. That was just odd. Also, my stomach was incredibly sore from the version, since they were working so hard on it. Never having had surgery or anything like that before, I didn't know what to expect from the c-section recovery. It was tough, but manageable. There were times I was in a lot of pain, but it was nothing the pain medicine didn't help with. 3 weeks later, I still have random soreness, but nothing terrible at all.

We had so many wonderful visitors while in the hospital... thank you to each and everyone of you that came out - it was wonderful to see and visit with you all (even if I barely remember it!!!).

Thursday through Saturday were rough days for us in the hospital. On Thursday morning, our pediatrician filled us in on some concerns they had for Rylan. And all day long this kind of news just kept pouring in. It was terrible. On top of dealing with all of the emotions and stress from the birth alone, I couldn't handle this. I cried so many times on Thursday. I can't even count them. This day brought Rusty and I so much closer, as we leaned on each other for everything that day. Thursday night was our celebration steak and lobster dinner. That was the worst celebration dinner we've ever had. It was hard to enjoy the evening when they had taken Rylan away from us for special testing and monitoring due to the previously expressed concerns.

In the end, everything is "ok" and all of the testing and monitoring was a precaution. I know that I wouldn't have had it any other way, looking back, but it was so difficult to deal with in the hospital. We're happy to say that Rylan is doing wonderful, and all of the concerning issues have nearly worked themselves out, thank goodness. Most of it was attributed to how he was in my uterus - he was just jammed so tightly in there and had no room to move, which made his adjustment into the new world a little more difficult than anyone expected it to be.

On Saturday, we finally got to go home!!! I was so sick of the hospital room! It was wonderful to be back in the comfort and privacy of our own home, but I will admit I missed the 3 meals a day, cooked, delivered bedside, and cleaned up all by someone that wasn't me. :)

To see pictures from the hospital and our trip home, click here. Enjoy!!