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!!

  • Jenn

    2009/07/06 at 1:58 pm

    Oh for Pete’s sake…. really with the masthead people? The woman pushed a HUMAN OUT OF HER CHINA and has since had said human suctioned to her boob for a few weeks….. we’re lucky there have been pictures or any updates whatsoever. You know in the non cyber space work world, there is such a thing as MATERNITY LEAVE where new moms get to rest and adjust to parenting a newborn. IMAGINE!

    Sorry about the mastitis Heather – add that to the list of renegade details of pregnancy and childbirth that I was not quite aware of. Yowzers… hope your boobs are on the mend soon! Oh, and I knew it was July, what with the firework celebration and all, but the fact that your masthead wasn’t changed at the stroke of midnight on July 1st did not for once cross my mind. I love your mastheads, but I usually forget that they get changed monthly and then I just get pleasantly surprised when a new one goes up! Ignore the haters!

  • Kristy

    2009/07/06 at 1:58 pm

    Probiotics will save you from the yeast – you need the super power ones (ask at the health food store – Bio K is a great brand).

    Mastitis sucks butt. Take care of yourself mama.

  • Erica

    2009/07/06 at 1:58 pm

    Take care of yourself. Mastitis sucks, big time. I’ve been there.

  • Nikki

    2009/07/06 at 2:00 pm

    been there, done that…almost performed a self-mastectomy!!!

    hurts like a SONOFABITCH!!!

    good news for marlo…she gets to eat to her little hearts desire as it helps with the inflammation!!!

  • Meredith R

    2009/07/06 at 2:00 pm

    leave the masthead – it’s freakin’ hilarious! my mom almost peed her pants when i showed it to her! i’m pretty sure she looked like that when it was “ok” to smoke while pregnant – read: 1964…

    loving your blog. Oprah introduced me to you last Friday when I watched “what every mother should know before motherhood.” I’m 4 months pregnant and my mother-in-law called me to tell me to watch it. YIKES!

  • Cheryl Arkison

    2009/07/06 at 2:01 pm

    That is the best description of mastitis I’ve ever heard. When it hit me the first (and only time) my Hubby was out of town and I literally crawled around the house with the baby for fear of dropping her if I passed out.

    My three tips are the probiotic supplements – yoghurt isn’t enough, walking around topless so the girls get lots of air in between feeding, and, despite he extreme pain, continue nursing. Old school thoughts say not to nurse, but continuing to do so – through the pain – is supposed to help clear the ducts.

  • Nina

    2009/07/06 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, Heather, I am so so sorry. I had a breast infection with my second baby, too, and I have never felt so crappy. I started hallucinating with the fever and as fun as that sounds, I thought I was going to die. Feel better soon!

  • Kye

    2009/07/06 at 2:02 pm

    Ugh! That sounds absolutely terrible. I saw your tweet on it from this weekend and Wiki’d it (never heard of it before). Isn’t it wonderful, all the additional things that go along with childbirth that you aren’t made aware of?
    I think you’re a trooper… make sure to take a little time to yourself and rest up as much as you can.
    Screw changing the masthead and take care of the mastitis this month. 😛

  • Ang

    2009/07/06 at 2:02 pm

    Doode, sorry to hear about this.

    A girlfriend of mine called me last year a week after she had her baby, and said, you gotta take me to the ER. I feel like I have over-dosed on ACID and my poor baby feeders feel like they are going to burst. Poor thing had double mastitis.

    Good luck, hope you feel better soon.

  • R.Wallis @ TrueBeauty

    2009/07/06 at 2:03 pm

    What….you’re NOT supposed to smoke when you’re pregnant?????? There’s not much else to do down here in Arkansas…Case in point for our “barefoot and pregnant” rap. Sadly, your masthead should be our state emblem! Instead of the diamond state we shall now be called the B&P State…Barefoot & Pregnant. Disgusting really…..but true.

    On a lighter note, glad to hear your boobs are better!

  • Yolanda

    2009/07/06 at 2:03 pm

    An infected, aching boob and stitches on your c00chie? I think you can ignore the masthead and develop a serious oxycontin addiction right now. You’d have all my sympathies. Here’s to feeling yourself again, soon.

  • Chris

    2009/07/06 at 2:03 pm

    In case nobody else has already told you — if the plugged duct is on top, (which it usually is,) nurse Marlo upside down so her lower jaw, which does the milking, can work near it — will unplug quicker — hot compresses before nursing too! On the plugged area of the breast – not Marlo!

  • michelle

    2009/07/06 at 2:03 pm

    LOLZ! I think the only thing that would have made your current masthead better is if you were also swigging a bottle of JD. Remember that next time.

    I have to admit, I eagerly await the new mastheads, but seriously, what kind of f*ckwit writes a stranger to complain that it still says June?

  • Cherise

    2009/07/06 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Heather!

    I feel your pain! I ended up with a yeast infection in my breast along with a clogged duct. The best part was the arguing with my insurance company for over a WEEK to cover my medications. Apparently, they didn’t think that women really get yeast infections there and why would I need Diflucan anyways? It took me yelling on the phone with a lady from the insurance who assured me she understood because she was also a mother. I questioned her emphany with “Really?!? You’ve had a yeast infection in your boob? I don’t believe you, because if you had you would have already approved my freaking medication!” I got it later that afternoon. After it gets unclogged you will feel a lot better. Lots of warm showers help.

    I don’t care for your masthead, but I would NEVER complain to a woman that just had a baby. Technically, you should receive atleast 12 weeks of not having to check in with your work, so I am happy with any updates.

    The community that you have created really loves you Heather, and we all just want to support you in this exciting, but sleep deprived time!

  • Leesavee

    2009/07/06 at 2:05 pm

    Wow, yet another reason I’m glad I’m adopting!

    Heather, feel better soon. And anyone who is all uptight and bitchy about your masthead needs to find a hobby…a hobby other than bothering you with that kind of nonsense.

    People, she DID just give birth and all.

  • highlyirritable

    2009/07/06 at 2:05 pm

    Frankly, I don’t think your masthead went far enough last month.

    In my experience, the ninth month of pregnancy would have been far more accurately represented had the mother-to-be been holding a nine month old diaper clad tot on her hip, chuggin’ a Bud (NOT “lite”) and wearing blue eyeshadow. To the brow.

  • Lauren

    2009/07/06 at 2:05 pm

    Yes, please make sure never to be late on masthead updates again, it’s the ONLY way in the WHOLE WORLD to tell what month it is.

    Sheeeeesh. I didn’t even know what the eff a masthead was before reading this. Wow.

  • SLC homesteader

    2009/07/06 at 2:07 pm

    man, that brings back memories… I got mastitis when my baby was 5 days old. The chills and aches were unbelievable, no amount of blankets could make me feel better. I took Tylenol which lasted for exactly 3.5 hours and it’s not recommended to take it more often than once every 4 hrs. So I had to spend a good 45 minutes dying between each Tylenol cycle. I spent almost 24 hrs like that. Good news? Never got mastitis again. Yeah, probiotics and staying away from sugar for a while would be a good idea to avoid thrush. Hope you are doing better!

  • Belly Girl

    2009/07/06 at 2:08 pm

    I remember when my child thought he was a vampire for a moment and sliced my nipple open with his tooth – I thought THAT was painful. But this sounds like a whole other dimension.

    Oh oh oh ow ow ow. I didn’t realize it had effects other than the pain on your boob. And you are supposed to KEEP nursing on that side? YIKES! How in the hell do you avoid it????

  • Staci Z

    2009/07/06 at 2:09 pm

    Hope you made it to the Advil on the floor before Chuck did!

  • Valerie

    2009/07/06 at 2:11 pm

    I have to admit, I don’t read all the other comments. So I hope I don’t double up on the advice already posted.

    Create a weak water and baking soda mix (1 tsp soda to 1 cup water) for Marlo’s mouth, and a weak vinegar mix (1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water) to rub on your nipples. Swab as much of Marlo’s mouth as she will let you, including cheek, tongue, and gums. Swab your nipples down after each feed. Create a new batch of solutions each day.

    Just so you know I’m not totally full of it, I learned this from my midwife after getting mastitis with my firstborn and we never had to deal with thrush.

    Good luck.

  • Lesley

    2009/07/06 at 2:11 pm

    Leave the masthead up a couple of months to make the crazies even more crazy, then post an image of an infected boob smoking a cigarette, just to, you know, fuck with their…er…I was going to say minds but a person has to have a brain to have a mind.

    You just know these are the same people who want Sarah Palin to be President.

    Take care of yourself and don’t worry about the masthead. PLEASE.

  • Annette

    2009/07/06 at 2:12 pm

    it’s all a bunch of BS. sometimes i enjoy your blog, but mostly i just drive by to see what the latest fantastic news/dilemma/big deal is and when it might just go up in smoke or there might be yet another ain’t i wonderful story to tell. but congrats on the baby.

  • Belly Girl

    2009/07/06 at 2:12 pm

    #112 – I need more explanation – nurse Marlo “upside down”…like, should Heather do a handstand, or should she hold her baby by her feet while she feeds. The mental picture is just not happening. Am I missing something totally obvious here?

  • lgaki

    2009/07/06 at 2:13 pm

    I will miss that masthead. Could you bring it back out for special occasions, like Good Friday and Mother’s Day?

  • Jo

    2009/07/06 at 2:13 pm

    OOOOO…I feel your pain. Literally. Not at this moment (THANK GOD) but I’ve been there. I’m glad the meds are helping and recommend a probiotic straight up…none of that yogurt nonsense. I’ve heard it is not quite as effective.

    I take this one:

    I also had to take antibiotics for a sinus infection and none of that icky yeast got me while I was on the meds and the thrush stayed away too.

    Good luck!!

  • LisaJane

    2009/07/06 at 2:14 pm

    Sorry to say I laughed and laughed at this post. In between saying Ahhhh…poor Heather. Hope all is well now. Your girls are adorable.

  • Trish

    2009/07/06 at 2:14 pm

    Sorry about your boob! But I’m glad you’re on the mend.

    I wish mastitis on the masthead nazi!

  • JCN

    2009/07/06 at 2:14 pm

    I love reading your blog. I am a mother of two (4 yr old daughter and 2 yr old boy) and expecting another boy in a few months. I think you totally “get it” with being a mom and not afraid to tell everyone it is not always rainbows and butterflies. It can suck sometimes, but in the end so worth it.

  • Rachelle

    2009/07/06 at 2:15 pm

    Mastitis sucks… hang in there and I hope you feel better soon!

  • Dana

    2009/07/06 at 2:15 pm

    Fuck the haters. Not literally…

    Unsatisfied, boring, lame people always feel the need to hate on something. Well I hate them! Does that make me unsatisfied, boring, and lame? Maybe.

    In any case, good luck with the boob. Good luck with this insane time. You’ll get to your happy place again even if it means buying opium illegally on ze internet.

  • Sarah @

    2009/07/06 at 2:15 pm

    Did the guy point out the donettes too? And the hairdo?

    I’m pretty sure nobody who uses donettes, cigarettes, and their hair to create a humorous image can possibly be a reasonable parent. That’s on Page One of that parenting manual they give you at the hospital. Right under the headline “On Being Sanctimonious.” Or something like that.

    I hope you feel better soon and that the mastitis clears up!!

  • Paulla

    2009/07/06 at 2:17 pm

    Wow – you’ve got to be kidding me. Ignore the masthead! Don’t let the evil naysayers bother you. Just enjoy that baby (as best you can, on so little sleep) and get better. Nothing else matters – especially the masthead – which *I* happen to think is hilarious. 🙂

  • Jocelyn Stott

    2009/07/06 at 2:17 pm

    Oh my goodness! I have not had children yet, but I am sooo sorry that you have had to go through that and my sympathies. As if you didn’t have enough to do. Good luck on getting better and take care of yourself!!!

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/06 at 2:17 pm

    a suggestion to avoid the dreaded yeast infection get a bottle of acidophilus over the counter instead of yogurt same stuff but packs a better punch. I take one pill with every does of anitbiotics.

  • Anonymous

    2009/07/06 at 2:18 pm

    I love you heather. in a totally sane way. did your nay saying complainer notice the ciggy is unlit? last i heard, unlit cigarettes don’t damage anyone, unborn or not. sheesh!

  • deb

    2009/07/06 at 2:19 pm

    Hope you’re feeling better soon. I would so do Zac Efron too.

  • Not So Glamorous Housewife

    2009/07/06 at 2:19 pm

    I just like to assume everyone has had mastitis at this point. When my husband explained to my father in law, the farmer, that I had mastitis he answered with “like the cows? I’ve only heard of cows getting that.” If I weren’t on the floor with a fever…let me see how did the doctor put it…oh yes “You don’t see too many adults with a fever that high and getting around like you are”. I would have personally gone through the line and set fire to the man on the other side. I’m glad you are feeling better. We cows need to stick together.

  • Rebecca

    2009/07/06 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve never had children but left boob just did a sympathy twinge reading that. Get better soon!

  • E-Lo

    2009/07/06 at 2:21 pm

    Seriously, screw that dude, I love the white trash baby mama masthead – it’s one of the best ones EVER!

    And also, very sorry to hear about the mastitis – but I’m glad you’re feeling better and Marlo once again has access to the buffet. Keep those boobs healthy!

  • Norman

    2009/07/06 at 2:21 pm

    Maybe meditating on the idea of doing Mr. Efron would be an effective painkiller itself. In combination with advil it might lead to welcome levels of euphoria. But leave out of the fantasy the part about the stitched up lady-business.

  • Sandy

    2009/07/06 at 2:21 pm

    I was the idiot on Twitter who told you I’ve had mastitis and thrush three times in the four months since my son was born.


    But seriously. TAKE GSE! That’s Grapefruit Seed Extract.


    GrapeFRUIT seed extract.

    It is the number one thing you can take to prevent thrush. Because if you like mastitis, you’ll like the part about thrush where you feel like cutting off your breasts, putting hot pokers in your eyes, and selling your baby on the black market.

    I wish the La Leche League awarded medals of honor for breastfeeding (as well as large cash stipends).

  • d3 voiceworks

    2009/07/06 at 2:22 pm

    i spent may 10 with my 10-week old boy and mastitis. mother’s day. w00t.
    glad you’re better already!

  • Long Story Longer

    2009/07/06 at 2:23 pm

    That Zac Ephron comment kicks ass. Good luck, Heather. I’m really sorry about all the boob pain! I’m sending all the good vibes my terrible Karma will allow.

  • Deborah

    2009/07/06 at 2:24 pm

    Feel better soon and don’t worry about us. As others have stated, we’re not going anywhere!

  • Hayley

    2009/07/06 at 2:25 pm

    I love this masthead. Just change the month on it and call it good- we’ll chalk it up to you’re a little busy, I dunno, BEING A MOM TO A NEWBORN. You can change it when Marlo turns 5.

    Just got over mastitis. IT SUCKS.

  • Joy

    2009/07/06 at 2:25 pm

    I think you should do a MASTITISHEAD. That’ll teach those whingers.

  • Kelly

    2009/07/06 at 2:26 pm

    More than 100 comments and no reference at all to your “mastheaditis.” Had to remedy that little portmanteau oversight.

  • Laura

    2009/07/06 at 2:26 pm

    I feel your pain. Actually, I felt your pain. Mastitis sucks…I had it the first week of nursing. Triple Nipple Cream (available from your doctor), antibiotics, Soothies, wet diapers (frozen in the freezer and applied to boobies) all helped me. But wait! There’s more! After antibiotics, I had a drug rash complication for added effect, but don’t worry. I was (am) a rare case. Hang in there!

  • Christina

    2009/07/06 at 2:26 pm

    WOW. Thanks for introducing me to the fabulous world of mastitis, something all the women in my family failed to mention in their descriptions of motherhood. I hope your boobie (and therefore you) get to feeling better soon!

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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