My visit to Dr Urcuyo was comforting in that I came away reassured that I'm not about to expire from the mastitis. But his lack of interest/ability to help me means that I'm left to deal with the illness on my own. He's given me two choices – he can cure me by using drugs to stop my lactation, thus forcing me to wean Petra cold-turkey, or I can put up with the mastitis. Neither choice is at all appealing. What I need is help to wean Petra gently without making myself sicker, or ideally, help recovering. Unfortunately that's not available here.
We go to Vancouver in two weeks. I'm not sure that I can wait that long though. I'm tired and am finding the everlasting illness increasingly draining and stressful. Antibiotics have just suppressed the worst of the symptoms, not resolved them. Each time I finish a course, my fever goes back up. It would seem, therefore, that I'm going to stay in the state that I'm in for the foreseeable future. It's a big thing to ask of myself – pack up here, fly to Vancouver, pack up there, fly to New Zealand, and get settled while dealing with an infection and fever. Instead of organising our possessions and enjoying the visit to Vancouver and the arrival in New Zealand, I'll be focused on trying to resolve the mastitis.
And, I don't want to wean Petra abruptly while we're travelling because she'll already being going through enough upheaval without me withholding the breast as well. So if I don't do it now, I'm facing the possibility of feeling crappy for another couple of months at least while I go through a slow weaning.
These things have me asking myself whether it might be time to stop trying to fight the mastitis and just take the pill to stop my milk supply. Dr Urcuyo assures me that this would cure me. If I do it now, I'll feel better and Petra will have recovered from the shock of the abrupt weaning before we start travelling.
However, I can marshall compelling arguments for continuing to breastfeed as well. Petra's not ready to stop breastfeeding. She's eating solid food with more gusto now, but she doesn't drink from a bottle and turns her nose up at formula. We're practicing with formula in a bottle, but at the moment, a quick wean would involve basically starving her into submission.
Breastfeeding is not just about food either, something that the non-breastfeeders amongst us don't seem to recognise. It's also about solace, comfort, love, and security for Petra. If she's tired or unwell or overwhelmed or just in need of a snuggle a snack will soothe her. Forcibly weaning her would mean abruptly denying her those comforts. It seems such a violent wrenching thing to do that I have trouble even thinking about it. We'd work out other comforts of course, but I imagine that the transition will be very hard for all of us.
Because breastfeeding is so important to Petra, and to me as well, I want to be sure that I've done all I can to get better. I wonder if I should hold on until Vancouver just in case someone can put me back together or help me wean more gently. And I wonder whether I am really sick enough to justify doing something drastic like taking a pill to stop my lactation. I'm not dying after all, I don't have an abscess or a really high fever. I'm just mildly feverish and tired and stuck on antibiotics.
I'm going round and round without getting any closer to a decision. Time's passing all the while, so if I don't decide soon the decision will be made by default. I'll be going to Vancouver sick and probably staying that way until we get to Dunedin.