Posted in All, My Story

The Meds

So I’m kicking the meds.

I haaaate being on meds. I’ve tried my fair share in my lifelong struggle with depression. I was off of them for 6 or 8 years and did my best to find my own way through the muck. And honestly, it kinda worked. I don’t think I’ve posted my story yet, I’ve been working on my history so one can catch a glimpse into the history of this crazy broad whose blog they’re reading. But long story short, I traveled after a bad breakup and found myself. Came here to find my man and my kids – which worked, obviously. Then once I had the kids, my mental health took a U-turn and went back to the shit swamp it crawled out of.

The kids were in the NICU for 6 weeks. By week 3 I had my doctor monitoring my state to see if I needed drugs. By week 5 we determined that I did. My issue was that I fucking hate being on brain meds. I think there is a time and a place for most things, there are some people who experience some incredible changes on medication. Personally, it just makes me feel out of touch with myself and unable to enjoy things like I usually do so I end up in this really slow bipolar state. I’m an excitable person. I like to be excited. I also find some pretty low lows.

So doc and Dave both think the meds are a good idea. I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea but the kids are coming out of the hospital soon. Do I really need them? Won’t everything be ok once they’re home? I’m just stressed out cuz they’re in the hospital!

Nope.

I’m really glad I started the citalopram when I did. The kids got out a week later, and that first two to four weeks were the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced. Our time in the NICU became more of a crash course than anything. I’m really glad we had certain routines established cuz holy crap. There’s no way to really explain it until you do it, so if you’re a mom you know what I mean. And I hate being the person who says that, I hate doomsday mom stories. But this is just how it goes. I will forever be grateful to my mother-in-law and her husband for how much they’ve done for us and the kids. They’re amazing.

Anyways, I had the citalopram. It saved me from bottoming out. It did its job, and I survived that first year. But lately I’ve just been feeling off. Really it’s been since I quit pumping in October. I’ve noticed a lot of changes, really. I had a really bad bottom out after I put down the pump, full on breakdown. It was not great but I got through it. Since then I do not feel like myself. I am paranoid, quick to react.. I can’t control the spirals anymore. I feel disconnected and uncomfortable all the time. It’s different. My hormones shifted after I stopped the milk flow and I can’t get used to the drugs. And honestly, if it’s just me and not the drugs, I’d rather go back to trying to fix it on my own. Lots of walking and being outside, eating well, drinking lots of water, singing, and just generally being happy Court. I have to get used to being happy Mama Court now, but I can do it.

So I’m on day 5 of a two week taper off the meds. I spent the last two days in the throes of a migraine. Today sucks but not nearly as bad, I just feel sore and the headache kind of phases in an out. Hopefully it’ll be gone by tomorrow! I’m guessing it has something to do with fading out the meds but we’ll see. I feel pretty fucking low today though, folks. Dave is my amazing rock who keeps me sane in everything, understands I’m just going bananas and takes great care of me, and it’s nice to be surrounded with family. But my mood is pretty heavy. I knew it was gonna suck coming off the meds, that’s why I’m doing it before I have to go back to work. I need some time to fix up!

I’ll try to keep up with this journey a bit, but as I always say – two babies is a lot of babies! Peace out, MadMoms.

Posted in All, Musings

That time I quit quitting

Well friends, it probably goes without saying but… My tits hurt.

I was gonna stop pumping. But then that mom guilt came over me again. If I have milk to give them, why not give them the milk? They caught up in size real fast, and they’re learning like crazy. What if that’s all cuz of the milk? It feels like I’d be robbing them to stop giving it to them. Dave keeps telling me that they’ll be fine on formula, and I know that.. But that’s not really the point. Plenty of women want to give their babies breast milk and can’t. I’m fortunate enough to have an abundant supply. I feel like I owe it to the babies to keep pumping. And all of those moms. Especially my dear friend Lauren, who died trying to give her baby breast milk. (Fucking Domperidone…)

Anyways… For the last week I have been in tremendous pain. There was a couple days where pumping kinda hurt, and my nipples were getting a bit chapped. I figured that was just a temporary thing, and that my tits would be back up to pumping shape in no time. I went from doing two 25 to 30 minute pumps a day to sometimes pumping just once a day for 20ish minutes. It didn’t seem like it was that big of a difference but.. Gat damn! So I started pumping for the 25 to 30 minutes again, twice a day, and as I said the nips were getting a bit sore. I ignored this sign, and about five days ago I pulled my pump cups off to reveal a horrific sight. My left nipple had a few medium-sized blebs on it but my right nipple literally looked like it had a small raspberry on the end. I almost had a panic attack! I didn’t know how the fuck to deal with it, but I knew I had to do it soon because I had to pump again in the evening.

Disclaimer: If you’re squeamish – Skip the next paragraph.

So I put some epsom salts and warm water in a shot glass and soaked my poor nip in that for 20 or so minutes. Then I had to pop it. It was mostly milk and pus, with a bit of blood (much less than I thought.) I attacked the blebs on my other nipple as well, which was much less dramatic.

All week has been.. Uncomfortable to say the least. I still have to do my pumps but fuuuuck is it ever sore. What I should have been doing is more frequent pumps instead of longer pumps, especially after I destroyed my poor nipples. But I guess I’m stubborn. And since the raspberry showed up I’ve been scared to pump, so I just keep doing two a day. I put polysporin on my poor udders once I’m done. Luckily my tits themselves hurt less, and it’s mostly just the nipples. Hopefully it’ll be only a couple more days before pumping is back to normal.

For anyone reading this and thinking “what the fuck! Is this going to happen to me?!” Probably not. Unless you’re a dumbass, like me. Remember that old joke, “a man goes to the doctor and says, ‘it hurts when I go like this.’ So the doctor says, ‘so stop doing that.’ “ I have been defying doctors orders. It hurts, but I’m doing it anyways. According to my midwife, I was also pumping too long (for a long time, but that kind of evolved when I went from pumping eight times a day when the babies were first born to eventually pumping 30 minutes, twice a day.) I think the lesson here is basically to do what feels right, and don’t push it. I somehow was able to still get over a litre a day while pumping only twice. I’d gone down to 400mL to 700mL when I was slowing down, depending how many times I’d pumped that day. I’m now slowly getting back up above 800mL in the last couple days.

So yeah. Listen to your nipples. Or your heart, or whatever.

Posted in All, Musings

Big Pumpin’

So I’ve been trying to ween off pumping, and apparently going far too fast. I’ve got this big ol’ blocked duct under my areola. I think there might be some other little ones around cuz DAMN Lahey hurts. (My tits are named Lahey and Randy.) It sucks too cuz the block is right under where the pump horn sits so it’s hard to massage out without losing suction and getting a titty fart.

I’m guessing people know what I’m talking about. Pumpers, at least.

I think the important discussion here is, I finally agreed to stop pumping. It seems a weird time to do so, we’ve just gotten them sleep trained and they’re still not really into solid food. (This week we’re gonna try some stuff other than rice cereal. I’d heard the grain cereals were the way to go, but since I fed them that stuff I’m hearing literally everything else. Tomorrow we’re gonna try mashed banana and titty milk.) Plus with the sleep training, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of my mental health back. So why the cut?

Cuz I’m selfish. I want my tits back. I want my time back. And it still makes me really anxious while I’m pumping, especially when I pump at night for some reason. It’s like the last remaining source of intense anxiety I have left. And it’s weird, because I hadn’t really gotten pumping anxiety for a while. It kinda came back with the sleep training so I figure I was so anxious and mentally unwell that I just didn’t notice the anxiety when it came. Like it was just a pebble in a rock slide or something. Then once I started feeling better sleeping properly again, the pumping anxiety became more intense in contrast.

I get anxious when I think about not pumping anymore too. I’d always been of the mind that you should give babies breast milk until they’re about two, at least that’s what I learned in high school Biology. Not that I’d planned to have a toddler hanging off my chest…. But basically my plan was to breastfeed until 6 or 8 months, get them onto a bottle by a year and then bottle/sippy cup feed them until 2. Of course, this was before kids. Once I had the twins and we realized breastfeeding was a pipe dream cuz of the bottle feeds in the NICU. But the plan was still to pump until 18 months or 2 years, then came the question of whether it was causing or worsening my postpartum issues. I was really resistant to stopping, cuz I want my kids to have the best start especially cuz they were premature. They’ve caught up tremendously! They’re doing amazing. They haven’t looked premature since they were like 3 months old, and they learn insanely fast. Knowing that they’re pretty well caught up, I’m a little more comfortable with not breastfeeding anymore.

So I figure, I’ll very slowly stop. I’m guessing I have that (those) blockage(s) because I’ve slowed down too fast. I went from 25 to 30 minutes to 20 minutes in like a week. I was still getting similar volume though, so that’s interesting. As I wrote the first half of this post I did a full 30 minutes (31 actually) to get rid of the blocks, and it seemed to work but I guess I’ll find out as the day goes on. My tit doesn’t hurt as much as it did when I started writing this so it’s a win either way!

Anyways, the NEW plan is basically to cut two or three minutes off each week. So it’ll take me 12 to 15 weeks to really cut’er down, and that gives me tons of time to get the kids eating all kinds of tasty food. Plus my crazy milky flow doesn’t get all stopped up and cause me the pains. I had the beginnings of mastitis once a few months ago and it was fucking brutal. I thought I had COVID I felt so bad. I was in intense body pain, felt like I was gonna throw up and couldn’t really eat, I was so tired – and this was before sleep training so for me to have said I was way more tired at that point? I figure you get the idea. (At this point it’s also probably important for me to note that I’m a notorious hypochondriac…) Needless to say I didn’t have the COVID. Not long after I made the appointment to get the test it dawned on me that I might be getting mastitis, cuz my tits really hurt too. So I did a major pump, lots of massaging and I went for quite a while. I felt way better almost immediately.  Still got the test cuz… You never know!!! What if it’s cancer?!?! Google said it was!!

So yeah. I’ll keep y’all posted on my progress I’m sure. Maybe I’ll chicken out of quitting cuz my mood has been great, and I really do want to give them the good stuff as long as I can. I’ve mentioned that I’m a recovering conspiracy theorist, and you don’t really need to be a conspiracy theorist to not trust Nestle or large food production companies. I don’t really want my kids on formula, and I’m lucky enough to have a strong milk supply. I never had to take meds for that or rely entirely on formula and I’m grateful for that. I lost one of my dearest friends to Domperidone (actually that’s who we named Birdy after.) Scary shit! She left behind a seven month old baby – my babies are just over seven months now. Just… Didn’t wake up one morning. Her husband found her slumped over the edge of the bed like she was trying to turn on the lamp or something. She and many other women accidentally gave their lives to feed their babies breast milk. It makes me feel a little guilty that I’m just calling it quits because I feel like it. And I get the whole “you have to do what’s best for you and your family” but this seems like something I won’t know is a mistake until long after. Or maybe it’ll be fine and I’m worrying for nothing. I dunno. Life is bonkers.

For now I’ll keep pumping, less and less until I’m out of milk. And of course, worry on and off the whole time that I’m not doing the right thing. But hey, I guess that’s why I have a blog. To talk this shit out with myself in a public forum!

Thanks for listening. And now to post this without reading it, just like almost all of my posts.