Good morning mastitis!

I woke up at 5 am yesterday morning in so much pain. My right boob was red, sore and hot and I knew straight away it was the dreaded mastitis. I remember first learning about mastitis as a vet student in farm animal lectures (those poor moo cows). It looked like it hurt a lot, now I know it surely does. My 5 month old, Ivy, has been breastfed since birth. She has been teething over the last few weeks, resulting in regular comfort feeds during the night. Yesterday morning was the first time in weeks that Ivy slept for several consecutive hours. I had to wake her up to feed her so I could get some relief.

The little trouble maker

I checked on the NHS website and followed the advice- massaging, expressing and allowing the baby to feed off the sore side frequently. A few hours later and I felt so much worse- it was like having the flu, a migraine and a sore boob all at once. I called NHS 24 and as I had a temperature of 39.1, I was put through to the Covid-19 screening line. The NHS are quite rightly being very thorough and cautious just now, but the nurse agreed with me that it was likely the mastitis causing the fever. I was told a doctor would call me back within 4 hours and that they couldn’t send me anywhere as I had a few possible coronavirus symptoms (headache, shivers, fever)- I was dreading this wait as I honestly felt so unwell.

The doctor called me 10 minutes later! She arranged a prescription for antibiotics to be sent to the nearest open pharmacy (on a Sunday) for me and was so lovely. An hour later and I had my medicine (thanks Dad!) A few hours later and I was already feeling better.

It amazes that even in these most remarkable of times, the NHS are still working flat out to help everyone that needs it. We are so fortunate to live in a country where health care is available to all, free at the point of access. This is the second time I’ve been unwell this year (sinusitis isn’t fun either), my husband had surgery a few months ago and Ivy was in hospital over Christmas with meningitis and sepsis (she is all good now). I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to watch your family suffer with illness and then also have medical bills hanging over your head.

If you have any of the symptoms of mastitis then seek medical advise early, it can get nasty quickly and in extreme cases, can lead to sepsis. If you’re reading this and you or a family member work for the NHS, thank you so much, you are so appreciated. Stay safe.

Covid-19- Life in Lockdown

This is surreal. Unbelievable. And totally exhausting. I don’t need to go into much detail about the coronavirus as we’re all in the same boat- we’re around 10 days into lockdown now and it is taking it’s toll already. Highlight of the week is going to the supermarket and getting some ‘me’ time. This sounds so selfish but being stuck in our 2 bed flat with my husband (who is working from home), my two girls (aged 2.5 years and 4.5 months) and our large, bouncy lurcher is hard-going. I’m on maternity leave so I don’t have my job to distract me from being mummy. What I would give to meet my mum pals at a soft play right now and have a good old natter!

My elder daugher E is due to start nursery in August (hopefully?!) so she’s never really had any formal teaching routine before. Trying to get her interested in homeschooling was never going to happen as she’s fiercely independent with the attention span of a puppy (albeit an adorable one). Why are toddlers so hard to entertain! We have some semblance of a schedule each day, which is mainly dictated by the baby and when she wants fed (then I’m out of action for at least 45 mins). Get dressed, have breakfast, attempt yoga (Cosmic Kids on YouTube for the win), watch movie, help with chores, lunch, go for walk, arts and crafts, dinner, bath and bed….(HAH!) I’m lucky if I get halfway through one thing without being dragged in another direction.

But we’re getting through it, one day at a time…

The baby is teething at the moment and has been banshee shrieking periodically over the last few days. A lovely soundtrack for all the shit happening right now. Seriously though it’s such a shame, poor baby. She’s one tough cookie that’s for sure. Meningitis and sepsis at 6 weeks of age couldn’t stop her, so 2 tiny wee teeth aren’t going to get the better of her (especially with the help of Bonjela and Calpol).

My husband works in banking and was already set-up to be able to work from home so that’s great, but we don’t have an office and he works from a desk in our living room. While I’m looking after the kids in there. And the dog. Yeah, it feels like we’re tripping over each other a lot right now. We were due to move into our new build house in May/June by that’s all being delayed for obvious reasons but I want our extra bedrooms and garden now *exasperated sign*. I’m still on maternity leave and I miss being a vet and not ‘just’ mum all the time. I really feel for my colleagues who are still working and seeing emergencies at the moment. It is tough.

Forgive my cabin feveresque ranty post, it’s been cathartic. I hope you are well and keeping safe in these unprecedented and odd times. I keep reminding myself that it won’t be forever and we’ll be able to see our loved ones again soon. I know that I’m incredibly lucky compared to some- I have a job to go back to after mat leave, I have my beautiful supportive family and wonderful friends. And I’m healthy. There are many people out there who don’t have any of these things, and I hope they can get the help they need to get through these scary times.

I’d like to take a moment to big up our amazing NHS. We’re had our fair share of it’s benefits over the last year. There was the excellent care from my midwife Catriona throughout my pregnancy with baby Ivy, the Birth Centre midwife and student midwife who delivered her, the A&E staff who saw to my husband when he had an emergency GI issue and lost a lot of blood, and the paediatric A&E department who diagnosed Ivy with meningitis and sepsis and saved her life. I’ll be forever indebted to the NHS and the people who work for it are real life heroes. Thank you, for everything you all do, especially in these most frightening times.

Stay safe, stay home, help our NHS x