Soon there after we read in a Dave Barry column a funny bit he wrote about snowboarding tricks, where he explained that "slinging the hot bunny is when the snowboarder, while hanging in midair, get his or her nipples pierced." From then on "slinging the hot bunny" was always part of our lexicon.
So last week I remembered all this while I took a sterile needle to my left nipple. No tequila shots were involved, although I think I could have used one. It wasn't my idea; the lactation consultant suggested it after looking at and identifying the "bleb" on my left nipple. Bleb. It sounds like something I'd make up to be funny in this post. But no. Bleb is for real; a sort of plugged nipple pore, which is polite for: nipple pimple.
The bleb, had been coming and going for three weeks, accompanied by a plugged duct. Since I have had, oh, seven or eight of them now since The Boy was born, I know how to dial life back so I don't also end up accompanied by mastitis. As you know, I thought my mastitis might have been caused by lifting weights. Perhaps jog bras. Throw in a bad latch and a thousand other theories and I still can't pinpoint the cause. But this wasn't going away so I finally called the nurse midwife, certain she would have an answer, or better a solution.
"Are you getting enough sleep?" she asked.
"NO!" I answered like a surly teenager.
"Are you working?"
This, a loaded question to a part-time, work from home, mom of four. Technically my plan was to lay off all freelance work for the rest of the year, but I keep taking what seem to be small, innocuous assignments (but are less so when you factor in the care and feeding of the children).
"Can you take naps?"
Was she seriously asking me that question?
"What I have to say is not very popular," she continued. "Your activity level is more than your breastfeeding body can handle."
I expected that statement to raise my ire. Thing is, she didn't know I was also running 15 miles a week and dealing with a few stress inducing situations that are intrinsically good (like getting two children ready for Kindergarten), but require time, attention, energy.
So as frustrating as it is that my body refuses to take on all that I personally demand from it, plus being responsible for feeding another human being, I know she's right. I'm a bit disappointed in my body, I have to admit (hello, I've done an ironman triathlon!) because I know other women who can do it all. How come they can do it and I can't? And while I sound just like my 4-year-old, I'll add: That's not fair!
Something has to change. Give up breastfeeding. Nope. Give up running/workouts? Nope. But I need to give myself two things to help them better coexist: more calories and more rest.
As fun as the "eat more calories" edict sounds, this isn't an extra handful of Oreos. Shucks. But I don't exactly have more time to eat, either. I'm turning to more calorie-dense foods and I'm increasing the fat in my diet. Scandalous! I've switched from skim to 2 percent milk. I'm eating whole yogurt (and man is that good). More nuts. Avacodoes. Cheese. Bring it. (I recently read two good articles in Experience Life magazine about low-fat dairy and cholesterol, for those of you squeamish about fat.) If you have other options to add to my menu, please suggest!
The rest part is still tricky, but I'm motivated to fit down time in so I can have the active up time I want and is required by my kids. So, I'm reverting back to the prescription my midwife gave me after The Boy was born: take a 15-minute bath daily. Like yoga, meditation, and daily naps it sounds good. Sounds easy. Never is. I did interrupt the writing of this post to take a bath. I wanted to clean up the kitchen. I wanted to start folding the laundry. I wanted to clean the bath tub before drawing a grown up bath. I did none of those things (save swipe out the most offending layer of dirt) and made myself get in. A four-year-old joined me and I ended up playing mermaids with her for 10 of those 15 minutes. Still.
I don't know if my plan will work. I know I have been plugged-duct and bleb free for the last five days, so maybe, maybe I'm on to something. I hope so. I'm a little old to be slinging the hot bunny.