the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Where am I?

Surprisingly, only a few dozen people have written to chastise me about the state of my masthead, most of them quick to say hey you, blogger who blogs on her Internet blog, don’t you know what month it is? Let’s just for a moment consider that I haven’t once had more than two consecutive hours of sleep in the last three weeks. Dude, I have no idea what year it is. I’m lucky to remember my name most days and have more than once said, “Yes, dear?” when Jon called out for Chuck.

I’m aiming to have something new up in the next few days, I promise, if only because there was this one guy who was REALLY SERIOUS about what a bad example I’m setting for the kids by having that unlit cigarette hanging out of my mouth, especially SINCE I WAS PREGNANT AND ALL, and was I aware of the potentially awful things that cigarette smoke could do to an unborn baby? Hmmm… I’m pretty sure the angels in heaven forgot to turn on the portion of his brain that recognizes sarcasm, or maybe this guy just needs a quick one up the pooper.

Things got even more complicated around here at about 4AM Saturday morning when I woke up to feed Marlo and my left breast felt like someone had sliced it open and shoved in a handful of broken glass. I thought I’d try to ignore it, and oh, moan in silence? Bite my lip until I was drowning in a puddle of blood? What was I thinking, YOU CANNOT IGNORE THAT KIND OF PAIN. So I tapped a sleeping Jon on the shoulder and whispered, “Honey, can you take the baby, I think I’m dying.”

I immediately headed for the kitchen where we keep the Advil, and I don’t even remember how I made it the fifty or so feet from the bed to the medicine cabinet, but there I am taking a couple of pills and next thing you know I can barely stand up. And I guess while reaching for the countertop to steady myself I knocked over the glass of water I used to take the pills and it went crashing into a thousand pieces on the floor. Somehow I make it back to the bedroom when suddenly I’m overcome with the need to puke, and Jon is all, what was that crash? And I’m all, what crash? And he’s all, THE CRASH THAT SOUNDED LIKE A CAR FLEW THROUGH OUR FRONT DOOR. And I’m all, why are you moving your mouth and talking to me, can’t you see I need to vomit?

Several Google searches later and I realize I have mastitis. If you want to know more about this condition just go click that link, but if you’re looking for the condensed definition it’s basically inflammation and infection of the breast tissue that can be caused by a clogged milk duct or bacteria that has somehow made its way in through the nipple. Sounds fun, I know, it’s been nothing but giggles, balloons, and pony rides over here, except for the twelve hours I spent in bed yesterday with chills, aches, and a 102 degree fever. My doc called in a prescription for antibiotics, and they finally kicked in last night, and the relief I felt was not unlike what I imagine Marlo feels when she wakes up from a nap, sees the outline of my boob and is all SHUT UP, ANOTHER BUFFET?!

So I’m eating yogurt with probiotics to try and avoid the possibility of thrush, and I’m continuing to rest to make sure my body can adequately fight the infection. That last part is proving to be the most frustrating aspect of this because all I want to do is get up and organize my now completely disheveled life, starting with maybe, you know, updating the bad example that is my current masthead. For the kids. Who read this website after playing Barbies and singing along to the High School Musical soundtrack. Hi, guys! I think Zac Efron is totally doable, too!! LOLZ!!

  • brandon's mom

    2009/07/07 at 2:08 pm

    i get that all the time. you gotta make sure to keep switching side for feedings. if you start to get too full on one side, then the duct can get blocked. other than that, someone else mentioned that you can also pump to clear it out. once it gets all drained out, you’ll start to feel much better. takes a day or two. btw, the milk can appear yellow/brown-ish, but apparently it’s still safe to drink? i prefer to toss it. 🙂

  • UtahMom

    2009/07/07 at 2:10 pm

    I feel your pain! There are many things you can do as others have suggested — warm moist towel wraps, warm shower massages, changing Marlo’s nursing position, YOUR nursing position, completely express both breasts several times each day — are all excellent methods to relieve the pain.

    Contact LeLeche League. They’re the best for natural ideas. I’m surprised your doctor didn’t refer you.

  • Jennifer :)

    2009/07/07 at 2:21 pm

    Breast Infection SUCKS!

    THANKS for everything you and John do for our family. I wish every reader had a small clue of how amazing you and John are.

    Your example of charity stands alone.


    A very thankful Gwamma and Gwampa 🙂

  • No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane

    2009/07/07 at 2:25 pm

    Haters have something to say about everything and yet they don’t “care” about any of it because they are so much more informed and enlightened. Blah Blah Blah. Why so much concern for your masthead? If it bothers you, stop looking at it, for peets sake.

    I love that you can’t take 5 minutes to enjoy your child and this new chapter in your life without someone barking up your tree about it. Ridiculous.

    Take time. Enjoy. Soak it up and everyone else can relax.

  • j.cro

    2009/07/07 at 2:29 pm

    I have the perfect suggestion for your next masthead – how about some kind of medical drawing of mastitis?
    That ought to give all the complainers pause, yeah?

    I hope you’re feeling better.

  • Elena

    2009/07/07 at 2:30 pm

    Take care of yourself, I hope you’ll be 100% in no time at all. Poo on the heads of people whose knickers get in a bunch b/c of the masthead.

  • TinaNicole

    2009/07/07 at 2:34 pm

    Ooooh, sorry to hear about your mastitis. I breasted my daughter for 8 and a half months and never got mastitis… She did get thrush once, and past it on to my poor unsuspecting nipples… I’m sure thrushy nipples aren’t quite as bad as mastitis, but OMG IT BURNS. AND ITCHES. And you want to go around topless because the material of your bra/shirt chafes! Hopefuly this will be your first and last case of mastitis!

  • badsara

    2009/07/07 at 2:40 pm

    lady, you get this popular and someone is ALWAYS going to have a problem with SOMETHING.

    besides, i smoked, drank and ate as many donettes as i could get my swollen hands on thro two pregnancies, and now both of our kiddos are stone cold geniuses. i would have written a reply earlier, but i was having a tea party with the dean of MIT who desparately wants our four year old to go to his big dumb “college”. POOP, on that, POOP, i say, who needs college when the kiddos can just share my donettes, cigs and beer?

    by the way, i understand that the tears of they with no sense of humor is a perfect cure for whatever ails ye.

    good luck!

  • Angela

    2009/07/07 at 2:45 pm

    Mastitis is a bitch. When I had it, my doctor told me to just massage it with a warm cloth in the bath and it would resolve itself. Two weeks later (in the haze of post-partum depression, while my husband was in Japan and my first born was three weeks old) I had to have “emergency” surgery to remove the breast abscess that had developed as a result of antibiotics being prescribed too late. It was SO AWFUL! I’m so glad to hear that you are getting better because trust me, after having surgery (where they leave the wound OPEN by the way), breastfeeding is horrific.

  • Debra

    2009/07/07 at 2:45 pm

    My husband said that the masthead is the best thing about this site. He’s never read any of your articles though, he just sees that face full of sunshine when I leave the page up. WE LOVE IT!

  • Christine

    2009/07/07 at 2:47 pm

    The next masthead should be the ass of Chuck and the words: you know who you are. Maybe an arrow.

  • Laura

    2009/07/07 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know anything about mastitis (so appropriate it has the T-I-T word in it) but I do know that guy is a douche. Hope you’re feeling much better!

  • sheameister

    2009/07/07 at 2:52 pm

    Erghh… total oversupplier here. I’ve had mastitis 5 times (in two kids) and a plugged duct maybe once or twice every week for the entire one year and 7 months I’ve spent nursing (I’m on month 7 of kid #2 now and counting the MINUTES until the kid can go on cow juice). I feel for you and your poor sore tata. Rest up (ha! with a newborn! rrrrrrright…) and feel better.

  • Annie Lou

    2009/07/07 at 3:11 pm

    Ahhhh, F#*@ ’em if they can’t take a joke…and who the hell is ZE?

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/07 at 3:15 pm

    Your masthead is rad. Dont bother changing it you have bigger things to deal with. and youll always have fools like that bugging you about things that dont actually matter. I hope you feel better soon!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/07 at 3:24 pm

    cabbage works
    I unfortunately got mastitis a few times….make sure you cut off the spine
    and DO NOT put over nipple area

    tuck into your nursing bra and it’s like a miracle
    mind you it kinda stinks but hey…anything to make you feel better and if you add all the other stinks
    really not to bad!

  • dica

    2009/07/07 at 3:28 pm

    Excellent Post. obrigado

  • Claire Lindstrom

    2009/07/07 at 3:29 pm

    Don’t know if you’ve heard of this lady before, but I thought you might appreciate this.

  • Candy Stick Lane

    2009/07/07 at 3:37 pm

    I LOVE THE FRIGGIN MASTHEAD! WTF?! I say change the month and leave it up – its awesome! That guy is total Nard!?

  • gina

    2009/07/07 at 3:43 pm

    Well my goodness don’t you have plenty of time between 2:05 am and 2:07 am to get that masthead changed ? I say that you take a pic of whatever you are doing right this second and post that. That will teach them to complain.
    Congrats on the new baby ! Enjoy cuddling her BEFORE she learns to run away or talk back.

  • JBird

    2009/07/07 at 3:43 pm

    I love June’s masthead. I love it most of all because I always get good laughs out of people that take offense to those kinds of things (I could have told you the moment you put it up that you’d have a few douchebags complaining about it because of it’s implications). What makes this life worth living is the ability to NOT take it so seriously. You appear to have that mastered. That’s why I visit this site every day! Such a nice little retreat from all of the inhuman seriousness that has afflicted too many people.

    Best of luck with your booby infection, enjoy those little girls.


  • Chels

    2009/07/07 at 3:44 pm

    I will make you a masthead! seriously if you ever need ANY help, you’re not alone!

  • chels

    2009/07/07 at 3:47 pm

    P.S. I forgot to mention I LOVE your masthead!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/07 at 4:08 pm

    Next book: Bathroom Tiles, Bumper Pads, Mastheads and Cabbage Leaves.

  • Sarah

    2009/07/07 at 4:14 pm

    Oh Heather! That is terrible that you got mastitis. You know I thought that having a second child would be much easier than it is. I mean the first was a walk in the park right? How can the second one be harder? My second also had to sleep on me. I never had time to do anything at all! I was lucky to take a shower or go pee by myself. Hang in there. Know that you’re not alone. Go drugs go!

  • Jailbird

    2009/07/07 at 4:21 pm

    I had it with my 3rd daughter. I still refuse to put her in the will.

  • christina564

    2009/07/07 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve read your blog for some time now, and while I don’t know you I want to say….Take care of yourself, take care of your children, and don’t fret over silly things that don’t matter. If you never change the masthead, big whoop!

    Take care of what is important.

    Bless you and your chicks!

  • lyn

    2009/07/07 at 5:16 pm

    oh heather! i had to chuckle because i also had mastitis, on both sides, but didn’t really realize i was sick at first because i was so thirsty and cold. we lived in chicago and it was winter, so the cold wasn’t so strange, but after i sucked down a gigantic glass of water, i promptly puked it up–projectile style–all over my 3-week old on my boob, all over myself, and all over the living room. luckily, my husband came in as it was happening and was able to help clean us all up. it was a rough week, even with the antibiotics. good luck, and my sympathetic and empathetic thoughts are with you!!

  • Kathleen @ ForgingAhead

    2009/07/07 at 5:33 pm

    Glad you are healing…that sounds beyond the pale.

    I love your masthead.

  • J. Bo

    2009/07/07 at 6:06 pm

    Oh, honey, honey, HONEY…

    Take the time you need, for pity’s sake! Sure, we miss you out here on the Internet, but we know you’ll be back when you can.

    AND THEN YOU’D BETTER MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME, MISSY! I mean, what are your personal life, health and family compared to your obligation to all of US, hmm? I mean, REALLY…

  • Margie

    2009/07/07 at 6:19 pm

    Take care of yourself Heather. You are lucky to have a hubby like Jon.

  • Parent Coach Susan

    2009/07/07 at 6:33 pm

    Number 1..I had mastitis with my first child and that was 24 years ago and I can still feel the pain..ouch!

    Number 2..After 6 months of breastfeeding and walking around in a fog I noticed that I had toenails. I had totally forgotten to cut them.

    Number 3. Baby’s toenails were always perfect.

    Number 4. That is what true love is…loving your baby so much you forget you have toenails!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/07 at 6:55 pm

    I had a dream about you the other night… I don’t want to sound creepy, but your whole family was actually in the dream. As was my husband… we were all hanging out, talking, having dinner. It was weird… Anyway, I just thought you’d want to know that your blog makes me want to have babies (yours are so cute) and take awesome pictures (mostly of the babies), please show more! Oh, and I love your design style as well as the masthead. Congratulations on your success – managing family and an awesome job!

  • Laura

    2009/07/07 at 7:14 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear about your left hooter. That is unfortunate. As I have never had children, I cannot claim to know what that was like, and I’m going to just take your word for it.

    Fuck that guy with mastheaditis. What a dick.

  • Rachel

    2009/07/07 at 7:15 pm

    I just wanted to mention that you JUST made me want to cut my ovaries out with butter knife… I was doing fine and dandy with the biological clock drumming in my ears, and then you’re description of stitches in the ladyparts and mastitis went and ruined it all!

    Seriously… If we want our teens to avoid sex, just have them read an HONEST portrayal of what the human body does as a result of aforementioned carnal act… Perfect. Teen pregnancies drop to ZERO! 🙂

    You’re AWESOME, Heather. I LOVE YOU! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AT BEING AN HONEST HUMAN BEING (that just pushed a human out of her vagina and is getting over rock-hard burning and infected nipples)… You rock.

    captcha: riddling 1970

    ???? K.

  • lb

    2009/07/07 at 7:20 pm

    Mastitis is terrible. You just feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. I had it a couple of times with baby #1, and a couple of times with baby #3, and sooooo many times with baby #2. Not sure what it was about his latch or what, but it was definitely HIS FAULT. It surely does knock you on your ass though, that’s for sure. I hope you can take it easy until you are feeling 100% again. And be on the alert in the future for the smallest sign of a blocked duct. Often if you jump on it right away and are really agressive with all the heat/massage/nursing/etc, you can turn it back before you hit the full blown mastitis. Not always, but sometimes anyway.

  • Pamela

    2009/07/07 at 7:41 pm

    Jezus 307/308! I bet it is the same ugly troll who posted that Leta is ugly and oh all that shit. Oh my god. person. whoever you are, why do you come here and post that horrid shit! Go to hell asshole. No compassion whatsoever for the problems Heather is experiencing. What an ass. Go away you horrid fucking troll. And the rest of us, btw, totally don’t agree, and wish you would just drop dead.

    Heather, we feel for you and I’m so glad Jon is there for you. Glass shards in the boobie? How horrid! I hope you get well soon. Love Marlo, she’s adorable. Hope you can get more sleep soon. We love you and your family.

  • Omaha Reader

    2009/07/07 at 7:49 pm

    Does being a tool take much preparation, Anonymous #273?

    Your new baby girl is darling! I hope you’re healing quickly and well. Mastitis stinks, but a hazard of the job. I’d love to see a photo of Leta with Marlo!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/07 at 7:56 pm

    Oh I feel your pain Heather– or have felt it to be more exact. And your description was SPOT ON… it’s what I imagine hell might be like.

    When my babe was 9 months old I got the flu– not just the ‘I feel kind of yucky’ flu but the actual ‘knock-you-on-your-ass-I-don’t-think-I-can-live-another-moment’ flu. Influenza A, my friends. And then to top it all off throw in a side of mastitis. Antibiotics worked wonders.

    Hope you are feeling better!

  • Kodi

    2009/07/07 at 8:02 pm

    That was my first thought…does the guy actually think kids are reading your blog? Does HE actually read your blog to understand that you basically operate in sarcasm(which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way)? Oh my.

    And for just having a baby, mastitis or no mastitis, you officially get a free pass for not having a new masthead up until August in my book. Even September. There are more important things in life.

  • Cory

    2009/07/07 at 8:03 pm

    I love you. I’m 36 weeks pregnant with my first and damn am I looking foreward to having the baby home now! Thanks for sharing all the “joys” of new motherhood. Lord knows my mother didn’t warn me about any of this!

  • jnt

    2009/07/07 at 8:14 pm

    I totally feel your pain! Hang in there.

    After my third child via c-section, I came down with a bladder infection. I am allergic to a penicillan and the alternative med meant that I had to pump and dump my breast milk for 14 days which I couldn’t even fathom after struggling with the latching on, bleeding nipples and all. So they gave me a different antibiotic that gave a 10% contridiction (I think that’s the term)and you guessed it, I came down with an even worse condition than the mere rash I get with penicillan…I got a friggin absces (spelling?)on my labia. Yes, my LABIA!

    I had to haul my c-section ass into an epson (spelling again!) salt bath 3 times a day to get rid it! Aweful, aweful, aweful!

    So I hear yeah Heather with this postpartum conditions but just think, you could have issues with your labia! LOL!

    Love your writing and so glad I found you on the web!

  • Kate

    2009/07/07 at 8:30 pm

    You make me LMAO! Thanks!

  • Ann Marie

    2009/07/07 at 8:42 pm

    With my 2nd son I had mastitis so many times I lost count (it had to be at least ten times). So I feel your pain, literally. The things that seemed to help the most are hot showers (I know, like you have so much time to shower with a newborn, but it does help), nursing on the infected side first, advil or tylenol every 4 to 6 hrs, and massaging the sore area. I know it hurts like a mofo, but the massaging is the most helpful to break up the plugged ducts. The last few times I had it, I found that if I massaged the area everytime I nursed it really did the trick. I hope you feel better soon!

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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