Monday, March 17, 2008

Rites of Passage

After almost ten years as a mother I once again feel thoroughly initiated.

This weekend I suffered through a severe bout of mastitis -- fever up to 105 degrees, uncontrollable shaking, headache, body aches, chills. Oh, and my right breast had a lump the size of a ping-pong ball and was hot, red, angry, swollen and painful.

You know the last time I had mastitis? Either it wasn't very severe or it wasn't mastitis because it most certainly wasn't this.

So, last night I went to the doctor to get antibiotics. I would have gone on Saturday in hopes of getting relief sooner, but I was too sick to go to the doctor! If it hadn't been the weekend I probably would have just called my midwives office to have them phone in a prescription. Saturday was one of those days that I wished doctors still did house calls.

So, a visit to the Instacare at 8pm Sunday was my best solution at the moment. It was rather an amusing visit. The doctor who happened to treat me seemed very embarrassed. He took my word for it and trusted from my description of the symptoms that it was, indeed, mastitis. He had a very difficult time saying the word "breast". I had a very difficult time not laughing at him. Though I did have a good laugh on the way home.

I now have a prescription ready to go, but I'm not sure if I will fill it. This morning I feel much better and after hot compresses with mullein, garlic, peppermint and goldenseal the pain in my breast has subsided almost completely. The lump is now much, much smaller. The redness is going away. So, I think I'll watch and wait for a few more hours and fill the prescription if I don't see continued improvement.

These rites of passage are an interesting thing. And I find that I learn as much or more from the difficult ones as I do from the more positive ones. If nothing else, I am always so grateful for compassion I learn for others when I go through my own sets of difficulties, no matter how small they are.

I am sensing that there is another rite of passage coming quickly for Coco and I -- weaning. Now, to the staff at the instacare last night who looked at me cock-eyed when I told them I was still nursing my 14 month old, this may not seem like anything unusual. But to me, who believes that it is perfectly normal, even desirable, to breastfeed for the first two years it feels like premature weaning. I recognize that mine is the unconventional view -- that most mothers have weaned long before now without a backward glance -- but I've always allowed my children to self-wean and I think it has turned out nicely for us.

Still I am sensing it is time for us. For many reasons breastfeeding is no longer a mutually pleasant and positive thing. I'm feeling my way through this, but think it may be time to make the break. We shall see how it goes.


Duchess said...

I'm so sorry you got mastitis. I've had it several times and can't take antibiotics for it. It's terrible.

Isn't it both exciting and tragic that our little ones have to continue to get bigger. I'm sure you know better than I, but I all ready miss my tiny baby.
Good luck with the weaning, whenever you know it is the right time for you and Coco.

Emily said...

ooh that sounds incredibly unpleasant. i hope the mastitis gets all better REALLY soon for you.

lisa reed said...

Hope you are feeling better!! Ohhhh to rites of passages.