Postpartum hormones: an exercise in irony.
August 21, 2009

After spending three of four straight nights red and feverish and shaking from chills, I called the doctor on Tuesday morning and requested that he call in a prescription for antibiotics.  For one reason or another, I seemed unable to shake that damned breast infection.

The nurse called me back a few hours later and said that the doctor would like to see me in person and could I come in?  And because living with mastitis for a week is HELL, I said yes, absolutely, and I left the house ten minutes later.

And when I left the house, I left my baby.

Now, I left her in the perfectly capable hands of her aunt, and I left her happily asleep, and I left her knowing that no harm would come to her.  But STILL, I left my baby.

Naturally, I spent the entire drive to the doctor’s office on the brink of tears.  So when I arrived, I was phenomenally proud of the fact that I’d managed to keep my eyes nice and dry.

That is, I managed to keep my eyes nice and dry until the nurse said: “Oh, but where’s your baby?”  THEN?  Then I started bawling.  MY BABY!  I LEFT MY BABY!  WAH!  MY BABY!  AH!  SHE’S WITH MY SISTER!  SNIFFLE!  MY BABY!  I NEED MY BABY!

My eyes turned red and my face puffed up and if I didn’t know better, I’d say that tears flowed out of every pore in my face.  The nurse did a remarkable job of not panicking, which is what I fully intend to do the next time I encounter an INSANE BLUBBERING IDIOT, postpartum or not, so kudos to her.  Instead, that nurse kept her cool.

“Would you like to call your sister?” she asked.  “We have a phone, you can just call and see how the baby’s doing.”

At which point I gave up crying full stop.  I looked at the nurse with disgust.  “I don’t need to call my sister,” I said horrified, “I’m not one of THOSE WOMEN.”

Except, in retrospect, I SUPPOSE I AM.

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  1. By Stephanie on August 21, 2009

    Hahahahah!!! The first time I left Jasper was with Sean, and I just went across the street the store. When I had mastitis, I went to get antibiotics immediately (you can still breastfeed while on them) and was so so so so happy I did. I also took Jasper, and was still a big crying mess because I didn’t feel well, didn’t know what was going on, and he was so teeny and I was scared of germs. So…I think we’re just big, crying messes.

  2. By on August 21, 2009

    Remember the tale about the stupid intern who asked “What makes you think you have mastitis?“ I left out the part where I made my husband and the baby sit in the parking lot of the ER waiting for me. I wouldn’t let him bring her in, because it is crawling with really sick people, and I didn’t want her to get sick. I however couldn’t let them go home (even though our house was 2 miles away) because I couldn’t be away from her. That is the logic of a new Mommy.

  3. By C @ Kid Things on August 21, 2009

    The first few months are always the hardest to leave. And then it gets easier. heh

  4. By gretchen from lifenut on August 21, 2009


    I remember running to the store when my oldest was about 3 weeks old. I felt naked and nervous without her and had the urge to tell people I had a baby at home—-they needed to know!

    I also had a strange heaviness that I was making a tremendous sacrifice at that moment, buying hamburger buns instead of being in her presence. It has to be some hormonal thing?

  5. By Celina on August 21, 2009

    Oh yes. The post-partum mind and body is one giant freakshow. My midwife told me after my third baby that it takes six weeks to recover from the birth, and another six weeks to recover from the hormonal insanity of pregnancy. She was right—by three months, the emotional and physical trauma subsided. So hang in there—you’ll feel like your old self yet (only better of course because now you’re a mom! YAY!).

  6. By Jasmine on August 21, 2009

    Haha! This too shall pass….but in the meantime, isn’t it bizzare how quickly you can cry!

  7. By sarah on August 21, 2009

    When I leave Lillienne with my sister, I always end up calling 3-4 times. It really does make me feel better. Even if I am out for an hour grocery shopping.

  8. By on August 21, 2009

    I’m one of those woman. About my dogs. Yeah, I know- I deserve to be mocked.

  9. By Dianna on August 21, 2009

    Good for you for not calling! I’m sure she was perfectly fine when you got home. Hope you’re feeling better though.

  10. By Bea on August 21, 2009

    I would have that this was to be expected?! After all, you were physically ATTACHED for 9 months, how could you not miss her? That, and she is incredibly,achingly cute. That alone would make me miss her.

  11. By Megan at FASS on August 21, 2009

    i am scheduled to give a reading at a wedding September 5th and am due just a week or so before.  That will be…..either impossible or torture.

  12. By tracey on August 21, 2009

    That totally made me laugh. How’d the appt go? Boobs still on fire? Hope things are getting better…

  13. By Veronica on August 21, 2009

    Oh love, mastitis is awful. AWFUL. (I keep typing awfuk. I suppose that works as well)

    I hope you’re feeling better now.

  14. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on August 21, 2009

    Tracey - the boobs are doing a little better.  The problem seems to stem from my allergy to penicillin.  I guess the antibiotics that are usually used for mastitis are all penicillin derivitives, so he prescribed a very strong non-penicillin antibiotic that is more commonly used for cervical infections.  So far, so good.  I’ve got another few days of pills, so we’ll see how I’m doing at the end of that!

  15. By on August 21, 2009

    I can’t remember ever leaving my first son, I was one of THOSE mothers. I think I finally left him with his daddy for 1 hour to run errands when he was 6 months old. I knew daddy could handle it and he was comfortable with him but I just couldn’t let go of it. So good for you for being able to. :)

    I PPD so I can absolutely feel for you with the hormone shift, just keep an eye on it and if you don’t feel like its getting better talk to your dr. It can be really scary to realize you are depressed and want to throw your screaming baby… :(

  16. By Joe @ IrrationalDad on August 21, 2009

    I love being a guy sometimes.

  17. By Mrs. Sitcom on August 23, 2009


  18. By MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt on August 23, 2009

    Usually my title is just catchy, but here you have case in point…those freakin hormones make a girl crazy.

  19. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on August 25, 2009

    I can’t help it, I’m smiling over here.  Not smiling at your worry or post-partum feelings of course, but smiling because I’m sure every new mom does exactly the same thing.  I have a friend who recently went on the first vacation away from her 18 month old and she was so worried about it but it turned out just fine.

  20. By Jinxy @ Jinxyisms on September 06, 2009

    I am so one of those women and proud of it.  In fact I’m so one of them that in 8.5 months the longest I’ve been away from my baby is to take a long (30-45 minutes max) and the farthest I’ve been from her is a couple miles while she hung out with Daddy.

    I’m not saying anything against women who leave their babies its just not me.

    I’m glad your boobs are doing better, mastitis sounds so bad.





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