I have to apologise to all those unfortunate people that were in my line of fire when I was breastfeeding. Frequently it was my hubby, on one memorable occasion my mother-in-law and even more unforgettable was the group of young men at a shopping centre eating their lunch.
You see I had an oversupply of milk combined with a let-down that had both my babies gagging and if left un-controlled could easily travel meters. Yup metres. We have the marks on the wall to prove it! It makes me grin now to remember it, but at the time it was the bane of my life. Endlessly leaky boobs. I single-handedly kept breast pad companies in business for the six months I breastfed each of my children. Out in public was probably the worst, I just had to hear a child, any small child would do, my boobs are not fussy, and off they’d go. Milk everywhere. But at night it was difficult too, I could only sleep on my back, and had to have several towels under the sheet and on top of the mattress protector.
Several of my friends have struggled with the heartbreak of no milk, and, ironically, my sister is dealing with it at the moment. I thank goodness that I was never in that situation. My friends joke that I could easily have been the local nursemaid and fed all the kids, and to be honest I wouldn’t have minded. Having too much milk was difficult and uncomfortable, but at the end of the day I had an abundance of milk for my babies, which was a blessing – albeit in disguise!
Because I was dealing with constantly engorged breasts and blocked ducts I overlooked a lump in my breast. I decided that I had a permanently blocked duct and thought no more about it, there’s no breast cancer in my family and I have to say the idea that it was something sinister simply didn’t occur to me. Until earlier this year, six months after weaning my youngest daughter, I mentioned to my husband that I still had the lump. He just stared at me. “You have a lump and you didn’t get it checked?” At that moment I realised how stupid I’d been.
An hour later I was sitting in the doctor’s office, and when I said that I’d been aware of the lump for nearly three years he just gave me the same shocked stare that my husband had. I had a mammogram and ultrasound the next day, and was instantly given the news that there was nothing to worry about. I have to say that I cried at that point.
I’d also like to say that mammogram DID NOT HURT. Just felt more like a pinch on my rib cage, wasn’t even really uncomfortable. I’d always been terrified of mammograms, all anyone could ever tell me was that they hurt. Well they don’t. Just to be sure they did a needle biopsy the following week – that also wasn’t even nearly as painful as I’d have thought and the following day the news came from specialist that I had the all clear. He rang me himself. “I have to tell two women today that they have breast cancer,” he said. “And I just wanted to call and give someone some good news.”
Caitlyn Nicholas; mum and author (http://www.caitlynnicholas.com/) Her latest release is Running Scared.
Thanks Caitlyn for your story about having an abundance of milk... so often do people talk about apparent insufficient milk supply that we sometimes forget that having too much milk can be a big problem also! I have some interesting leaking/squirting stories myself.
Would love to hear from anyone out there about their oversupply stories/issues... please comment!
*Also don't forget the second contest to win a copy of Breastfeeders Anonymous is still running! See post of a few days ago...