Two nights ago when I went to change out of work clothes before dinner I noticed that my right breast hurt and doing things with that arm was a bit off. I explored a bit and came to the conclusion that I somehow had a blocked duct. Now, I haven't pumped AT ALL in over three months and it has been a bit over four since I was exclusively breastfeeding, so this struck me as a bit odd. The OB had mentioned leaving my breasts entirely alone and being careful to avoid any sort of nipple stimulation, so I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I had a visibly hard area on my breast that was full of milk. Those of you who have breastfed probably know the big risk of this, mastitis. The normal treatment? Getting the milk worked out. But I wasn't supposed to interact with my nipples at all!
So, I called the on-call nurse who said to go ahead and hand express it as the risk of mastitis was worse than the stimulation. She also said to call my nurse in the morning and they might want to see me. I did and they did.
My OB remarked how weird it was, but her best theory was that my body had decided it was time to start producing milk. She said to NOT hand express any more as that was likely to encourage the production of more milk and instead to wear a very tight sports bra with cabbage on the breasts and replace the cabbage every three hours. Her goal is to get me to stop producing and dry up. As I'm just past ten weeks, this sounds like a wise idea. The only other aspect of the plan is that we will add Bactrim DS if I show any signs of mastitis.
Thus, I smell like cabbage. So far it doesn't seem to be working at getting my breast to stop producing the milk [TMI warning: I'm slow to completely stop lactating, so both breasts were capable of producing a couple drops, but the right one is currently capable of producing an across the room stream -- not what you are looking for in a non-breastfeeding mother with a history of a preterm delivery], but the cool of the cabbage does make the painful area feel a lot better.
That's the end of my ramble on my breasts, aren't you glad you now know more than you ever wanted? But I learned some other interesting information at this appointment.
I was taken to a room without an ultrasound and the medical assistant took my blood pressure. It was 120/65, more or less normal. Then, my OB came in and said that based on my blood pressure she was guessing that I didn't want her to look at the babies, but she was planning on it and only wouldn't if I asked her not to. I agreed that my blood pressure was lower because I had no expectation of seeing them and thus no need to prep myself for information on their possible demise, but said that I was fine with getting an ultrasound. They brought in the quickie machine then and while they didn't check it, I'm thinking my blood pressure went up.
I'm glad my OB did this experiment as it helped give her more evidence that I don't have hypertension and also because it helps me to know that the reaction should be within my control. It's physiological and fight or flight, but if I can get myself to not be as worried about protecting myself, perhaps I can keep it down. Going to try to play with that.
Both babies were beating their hearts like pros and while I didn't expect there to be much change from the ultrasound I'd had three days earlier, there was. They are now moving their limbs and bodies obviously! Was great to see.
It's a bit wacky that I've now had five ultrasounds of them at 10 weeks and change and have two more scheduled for a week and a half from now. I find it reassuring, in perhaps a morbid way, that if something bad does happen, I won't have to live on for a long period of time not knowing.
And I really do smell a bit like cabbage.