On Friday morning Ethan woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:00. I haven’t night-nursed him in months, but I figured I would give it a shot – change his diaper in case #2 is what woke him up, nurse him, and lay him back down in hopes of him catching a few more z’s. The diaper was not soiled, but his belly was full and I laid him back down. I figured at least if he didn’t go back to sleep he would happily lay there for another hour or so until Braden got up, and since he already breastfed, Jay could get up with the boys for once – score one for mommy! I noted when I got up that I had two sore spots on my breast. Two very defined sore spots, one on the very top and one on the side almost under my arm pit. I groggily thought it was probably just clogged ducts and I’d start the rigmarole of massaging, hot packs, and pumping if I had too.
At about 6:30 Jay got up with the boys and 1 hour later I started tossing and turning. It was then that I knew it. This wasn’t just clogged ducts, I already had mastitis. I was texting with my sister Laura that I knew I had mastitis and that I would probably wait the weekend and hope I could nurse/pump through it and that I wouldn’t have to go on antibiotics again like I did last time. I’m glad I have Laura to talk to about anything and everything…she reminded me that at this stage, with Ethan almost being a year it would be much harder to try to nurse through it as he only nurses 2-3 times a day as it is, it’s not like it was when he was 8 weeks old. Plus I didn’t want to increase my supply at this point. Just in case I called the clinic and made an appointment for 10:30.
The more time had passed that morning the more sick I felt. Flu-like symptoms were coming on strong – aches, chills, sweats, headache, weakness. I thought I could drive myself the 45 minute drive to the hospital, but I was wrong. I made it about half way there, was praying the whole time “Jesus, please just get me to the doctor’s safely! And please, Lord, PLEASE! Don’t let me puke!” Well, not all our prayers can be answered and I ended up pulled over on the side of the road saying an unpleasant hello to the orange juice I forced myself to have earlier that morning. Note to self: don’t ever force yourself to eat/drink anything when you’re that sick.
I called Jay and asked him to please find me a ride to town. I called two friends but no one answered and thankfully the pastor’s wife was able to drive me to the clinic and I will forever be grateful to her. One more stop off the highway to get rid of more orange juice…and once again at the clinic, I finally saw the doctor. I told him what I thought was going on and he agreed. I was pale, shaky, had a fever, and my breast was bright red and burning hot to touch. He ordered some lab work, IV antibiotic, fluids, and per my request an anti-emetic to Dear-God-Please-Make-The-Puking-Stop-NOW!
Off we went to the hospital and luckily they weren’t busy and I got whisked back to a room almost immediately. Somehow I fell asleep on the stretcher but was soon woken up with queasiness and managed to squeeze out what little of the children’s-sized serving of orange juice I had previously forced myself to drink. (Never again!). And by the way, if we’re keeping track…that’s 4 times now, which is 4 times too many. At the exact moment I finished saying farewell to said OJ, the lab tech walked in to do my bloodwork. The nurse also came in and I politely begged her to PLEASE JUST START MY IV AND GIVE ME THE DRUGS SO I WILL STOP PUKING! So of course my normally beautiful veins decided to disappear and 3 IV starts later I was hooked up to my meds and just waited and prayed for them to start working.
I made it back home around 3 and dove right into bed. I just prayed that God would allow me to rest and to heal, as I had felt so restless all afternoon. Between the chills and sweats I did manage to get some rest and I got up to nurse Ethan before his bedtime and went straight back to bed myself. I got pretty decent rest from what I can recall and when the boys were up for the morning I got Jay to get up with them, I nursed Ethan and headed back to bed yet again. I haven’t spent so much time in bed…ever.
I needed to go back to the hospital for another IV antibiotic and reassessment. I felt human enough that I could safely drive myself. There was color in my cheeks and the doctor was happy with how improved I looked in just 24 hours. One more dose of IV and I was switched onto oral antibiotics for a week. I had a bit of a rough night with flu-like symptoms returning and the next morning I had a headache like no-other that I’d had, but I forced myself to get up and figured if I “acted normal” I just might convince my body that I did feel normal. I showered, Jay made me toast and I had a half a cup of coffee and I felt better and better as the day went on. I didn’t eat for a good 36 hours and forced myself to drink more water than I ever had in my life. I have never been this sick.
Ethan had a great nap on Sunday morning and woke up just in time to get ready and head to church. It was one of those “I needed to be in church” days. I’m a very emotional person, even more so when I’m tired and or sick…let alone both. I could barely make it through the service without tears welling up in my eyes. For some reason the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” kept repeating in my head when I was in ER on Friday afternoon. I don’t know why God placed that song in my head, but they sang it in church on Sunday and I couldn’t keep it together. I had tears streaming down my face, just so thankful for how merciful God is and that He cares for me so much that he would show me in this way. As the song says:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
I haven’t been as close with God as I should be, and I know this. If this is what it takes for Him to draw me nearer again…I’m at your mercy, Lord. I hear you, loud and clear. Mastitis is peanuts in the grand scheme of things and I know this. I wasn’t writhing in pain from a terrible accident or clinging to the toilet suffering from sever hyperemesis after chemo and radiation therapy for a cancer. But for me, it felt like “death”. Also, for the first time I could recall there was an accordion being played during service and my dear, sweet grandpa used to play accordion and it reminded me of him and made me cry some more. Seeing my dear friend Carrie raise her hands during singing to praise the Lord brought on more tears as I felt so loved and embraced by the Everlasting Arms that morning in church. Looking up at my husband holding our baby and realizing how so blessed I am that God chose me to be his wife. This amazing man who stepped up in a way a wife and mother can only pray for – and he did. He took charge and took care of our boys when I couldn’t. I cannot imagine being married to a man who couldn’t do this. He took care of me too. I just have to say too that our big boy Braden asked me many times if I was feeling better, he was very concerned and I’m so proud that he cared enough to ask how I was doing.