My mastectomy didn’t really feature in early pregnancy with the exception of not experiencing the tender boob phase and wondering what that was like. As it got nearer to the big day it did feature in more conversations with the midwife in relation to feeding and then my birth plan.
Bottle feeding is the only option for me and I am really pleased that it is much more acceptable in this day and age to bottle feed rather than breastfeed. Not once was I made to feel bad or judged about not breast feeding. As much as I am very realistic about my situation there have been times post birth that I have almost felt bad about not being able to breastfeed. Baby Louis has needed feeding and being the little wriggle bum that he is, managed to wriggle from cuddle time and make a B line for my boobs! As much as I tell him that there is nothing there for him, he doesn’t seem to take it on board. The perfect prep machine fixes the issue in no time! Amen to the Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine, 2minutes and we are ready to rock with a bottle! The nose dive for the boob does sometimes tug on the heart strings as it’s something I feel I should be able to provide. It doesn’t make me regret my decision as I remind myself of the long term reasons I had my surgery, to ensure I can be there for my children. The heart string tug was an unexpected one, especially as I have always been very rational. It hasn’t resulted in floods of tears or anything like that, just a thought and a feeling.
Another part of my pregnancy where my mastectomy featured was birth and writing my birth plan. Now, boobs in general certainly do not play a role in giving birth, safe to say the focus is all further south!! However, part of my birth plan was to keep a crop top at all times. With my surgery going through my chest muscles, when I tense the foobs can move. Mrs left foob seems to be the dominant one and can almost wave if I tense and release my muscles. Anyone who has been through labour or witnessed it can verify that there is lots of tensing involved! The last thing I wanted was Mrs left foob waving at the midwives putting them off. The reality is, they really wouldn’t care and actually in the swing of things, I wouldn’t either. However, it was one less thing to worry about or potentially be on my mind. The midwives and doctors were very respectful of this from the bed, ball, pool and also when we took a last minute trip to theatre to get little LJ out. My midwife told the doctor that my top was to stay on and a gown over the top. I really appreciated this. In the grand scheme of things, life was a little frightening at that moment in time and the comment and reassurance from the midwife really demonstrated how much care and attention they give to their patients at all times. Would it have been the end of the world if I needed to take my top off? No. The world and it’s wife had seen quite enough of me over the course of the day, seeing my foobies really wouldn’t have mattered but they respected my wishes and I was grateful for that. It helped with my comfort at the time.
Following the birth of little Louis, I was warned about the day 4 hormone crash. This apparently coincides with the time your boobs go boom ready for breast feeding. Obviously I would not experience the boob boom so I wondered if that would impact my hormones. Would I be more hormonal because they don’t have anywhere to go and no milk to make? I clearly have no medical knowledge to support this hypothesis but it was a thought. Safe to say, day 4 came and went... boring in regards to emotional breakdown. No hormonal surge that I was aware of. From experience, being boobless has no weighting on the hormone adjustment- but that might just be me.
Mastectomy and motherhood- it’s a feature but not a focus.
The focus is winging motherhood and pretending I know what I am doing!!