It’s been twelve years since my last visit to Cedar Point (or any amusement park for that matter), but I can’t say that I’ve stopped riding roller coasters. . .Life has a way of providing all of the thrill associated with them and then some. The current roller coaster is the “I’ve got 4 children 5 and under” one, but I recently got of the “postpartum” one, at least I think I got off of that one. While I never want to ride that particular postpartum coaster again, I know that it could have been worse. I think I can even be grateful.
During my pregnancy I was a little annoyed at the rapid breast growth that was taking place, particularly on one side. It was inconvenient and somewhat uncomfortable, but I didn’t really think too much of it until the end of the pregnancy. I assumed that once I started nursing it might work itself out. However, I started to realize even in the hospital that this wasn’t working out. I was only getting bigger and more sore. I mentioned this to my doctor and he took a look at it and had my exact initial response-FEED the baby! A few days after coming home from the hospital I started feeling achy and feverish. So, I went to urgent care. The nurse directed us to the ER. Diagnosis: Mastitis. After a few days of religious massaging, pumping, compresses, I knew this wasn’t mastitis. Thinking it was a clogged duct, I was very happy to finally be referred to a surgeon. I did not get the news that I’d hoped for. This was a massive tumor! My doctor was pretty confident that it was benign, and I am so thankful that he was right!!! However, it was caused by pregnancy and nursing hormones. The only thing to do: stop breastfeeding.
These words are nothing like the words “You’ll never be able to have another child.” Yet, giving up breastfeeding was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. It was so difficult that I often found myself forgetting to be thankful that this bowling ball was benign and that all of us were otherwise healthy. I didn’t have to wonder how I was going to take care of the kids while undergoing cancer treatments. I didn’t have to send my Kindergartener to school. She was able to stay home so that we could have the joy (and challenge) of learning and growing together. It took time (hence no blog posts for 6 months!) and a lot of love, prayers, and support from others to help me get beyond the sadness I felt at the loss. I’ve even had a number of women donate milk. That’s been very healing, and I’ll never be able to thank those women enough! I don’t know why the Lord allowed this to happen even though sometimes I speculate. Maybe intimacy with her Daddy will for some reason be even more influential for her. He did feed her the first bottle. As sorrowful as that moment was, it was also joyful. For the first time, he understood the beauty of being able to feed her. He has continued to enjoy bottle feeding (although, perhaps not the cleaning/sterilizing of them). This has been a very great gift to him, and he even refers to her feedings as “nursing”.
The tumor is finally at a stage in which the surgeon can remove it. I am relieved. Even though it’s not out yet, just knowing that it soon will be has brought a little closure. There is no guarantee that this will not happen again, but my doctor seems to think that removing the tumor instead of letting it completely shrink might help. Emotionally, I’m handling it much better now, and I’m so grateful to have a happy, healthy baby. My sweet children often pray that the next time Mommy has a baby in her belly she will be able to feed the baby her milk. I pray for that too.