Chance Encounter?

Chance Encounter Daylilly

I remember vividly the day this man walked into my life. It was September 17, 2003 and I had just given birth to my son two days before. Over the course of that 24 hours, I began to realize that something was wrong with my new baby and that he wasn’t eating. He was starving, I could tell by the way he rooted for my breast and cried. For some reason, he wasn’t latching on. I knew I was about to be in trouble because my milk was beginning to come in and my breasts were swollen and painful. I tried relentlessly to get Justin to latch, but his tiny little mouth just wouldn’t form a seal. I cried and became anxious and begged the nurses to ask the doctor to find out what was wrong, afterall, I had never had any problems with my other two children latching on and I surely didn’t have any problems producing milk. In fact, I have often said I could’ve fed a third world nation with the amount I was producing. So, this was truly frustrating me and the baby and as much as I tried not to be upset so my milk wouldn’t be stressy, I couldn’t help but feel this fleeting sense of loss that I may never have the opportunity to nurse another child.

Through that first night and into the next day, the nurses also tried to bottle feed–something I had never done with my two girls and yet, whatever would help the little guy out and satiate his hunger was fine by me. I was also exhausted after a long natural childbirth and welcomed the break–something I had never allowed myself with the first two either. By the second morning, it was becoming clear that something wasn’t right. It just so happened that a particular physician was on call that morning on the OB floor and he was sent in to talk to me. I was holding Justin and trying to get him to suck on a tiny binky. I heard the door open up and as I looked up, I saw a very tall, distinguished, and kind looking man walk into the room. His dark suit made him look taller and I could tell with his handshake that he had the most gentle bedside manner and demeanor.

He proceeded to tell me that Justin was tongue tied. The little membrane that holds the tongue to the floor of your mouth so it won’t fall back in your throat was actually much longer than most babies. His was mounted to the back of his bottom gum line. It was preventing Justin from thrusting his tongue out to draw the nipple into his mouth. It was also preventing him from making the motion with his tongue that helped draw the milk out. Without a small surgery called a frenotomy. It was a fairly routine and ismple procedure where he would make a snip in the membrane and it would allow for improved tongue movement. This had several advantages–breastfeeding, eating as he got older, and most importantly, speech. Being tongue tied would impede the necessary movements the tongue needs to make in order to produce certain sounds.

Of course, I agreed, but felt sick to my stomach that within the first 48 hours of his birth, he had been circumcised (a procedure I watched and almost passed out in) and now this. There was something about this doctor, however, that put me at ease. He was quiet and soft spoken and empathetic to my worry about it hurting. He assured me it would not be bad and that I should immediately nurse my baby afterword. He promised it would do the trick. I believed in him and ya know what? He was right. Never had a problem after that and Justin was a hearty eater. He made up for lost time and spent the next week literally hanging off me. As the doctor left that day, he gave me his card. His name was like two first names and I told myself I would never forget it. I noticed he was a plastic surgeon. I remember thinking two things after thanking him and watching him leave, “Well, if anyone was going to be cutting on my baby, I’m glad it was a plastic surgeon because they will be meticulous about it.” The second thing I thought was, “hhhmmm, I should hang on to this card, never know when I might need that boob job”! ­čÖé

I said it jokingly, but secretly wondered if someday I would have the guts to really have one–afterall the affects of time, gravity and nursing three children had and would continue to prove my point that I was beginning to look like the poster child for National Geographic. Little did I know that my words–my very UN-SPECIFIC words would come back 5 1/2 years later to haunt me.

What do you think–chance encounter or a sign?

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I AM…

It has been 4 weeks yesterday since my mastectomy. I have been too unbelievably angry at the world to bring myself to write anything. I didn’t want it to sound like I was in dire need of a straight jacket. I am going to attempt, for my own sanity, to recount the events leading up to my surgery, that horrific day itself, and the weeks since. It will take me some time…bear with me. For now, if you are wondering…

I am…

Infuriated–at the world, specific people that are now part of my medical team, my oldest daughter, and at times God.

Depressed–at my life, what this is doing to my children, how I look, what sacrifices I’ve had to make lately–personally, professionally, and also with my educational goals.

Exhausted–which makes me more angry. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not one to sit still much. I’m always on the go, always doing something, always pushing myself, always chasing after my kids or someone else’s, and now I am ready for bed at 6pm. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I DON’T LIKE THIS!

STRESSED OUT!–at this medical waiting game, not sure if I’m going to make it out of this, not knowing where my oldest daughter is, getting behind in my classes, getting behind in housework, that I’m impeding my own recovery by being stressed out which starts the whole cycle all over again.

Thankful–that I have wonderful friends that have been carrying me through this–#1 is God, all the dinners that were brought over, all the cards I’ve received–could I ask those of you sending them, though, to address a few to my children? I really think they are in need of encouragement, also. I’m thankful that my family has been so helpful in schlepping me to appointments, helping out in the daycare, letting me vent, and loving me even though they know I am angry–and not holding it against me. SPECIFICALLY, for my husband who has been helping me so much–I can’t imagine what is going through his head as he helps me get undressed or dressed or into the shower. My daughter, Jordan, who has been my on-call nursemaid and makes sure to tuck me in on the couch each night, bring me ice cream, and snuggle up with me to watch movies or just a ton of reality TV, and for my little boy who has made sure that I sleep with his wooby and lovey each night “because then I won’t miss his big love in the middle of the night”.

This has changed me. Maybe it will be for the good someday. Right now, I can honestly say, I am more cynical, pessimistic, hurt, sad, and angry. I am good at keeping all that bottled up while around the kids, but when the doors shut each evening, my mind is my own again and as it races all night long with fear and anxiety leaving me more exhausted from lack of sleep, I have come to realize that sometimes it is more comfortable to stay in that spot–stuck in the muck–then come back up for air. We all need air to survive, so, I am making this attempt with this post to revive myself. If I come to terms with what has happened to me, if I see it in print, if I hear the words narrated in my mind, if I can somehow make sense of it, process it, organize it, compartmentalize it…then maybe I can deal with it.

Maybe…

Started Tracking on 12-1-09

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