For the most part, this blog is an open book. I've shown you terrible dancing, I've posted a photo of my nose hair, and I'm sort of known for the fact that I had a baby in the toilet. But there's one thing that I haven't shared with anyone other than my husband, midwife, and my very best friend Bee.
Lucy is coming up on being six months old already (already?!) which means I've been keeping this secret for just as long. But before I continue, can we all take a second to pause and acknowledge the fact that the human body does some super weirdo stuff while gestating, birthing, and lactating.
Say it with me:
- Exhibit A: my feet and fingers have grown half a size with each pregnancy,
- Exhibit B: the shape of my eyeballs changed so I can't comfortably wear contacts anymore, and finally
- Exhibit C: the entire time I was carrying Caroline I could not detect spiciness in my food at all.
See? Super weird.
But the weirdest of the super weird happened to me six months ago, and it was so super weird that I didn't dare tell anyone else about it. However, I've been thinking about Linda and Jessica, who both recently had babies, and I've decided that it's time to tell y'all about this issue because who knows? Maybe other mothers are harboring strange bodily secrets, too. So, here goes:
I HAD A LACTATING ARMPIT.
i.e. MILK CAME OUT OF MY PIT.
I really don't know how else to say it. (Addendum: it is okay to laugh. I'm laughing because this WOULD happen to ME of all people).
Three days after I had Lucy, I could feel mother nature doing its thing and gearing me up to have a hearty supply. I also thought I had a pimple or an infected ingrown hair in my armpit, because there was a small lump there that was painful to the touch.
I put a hot compress on it but the lump kept getting larger, and like the freak that I am, I kept messing with it. Finally, I decided to try to pop the annoying cystic pimple in the shower. I ran the hot water over it and squeezed with all my might. OUCH- OUCH- OUCH- FREAKING- OUCH. There was no head, so the pimple did not pop and only became more irritated.
Shortly thereafter, while nursing Lucy, I noticed that I was sweating... but only in my right lumpy armpit. I'm not much of a sweater and I wasn't able to recall if sweating was a symmetrical thing or not, but I wasn't too alarmed. But then it happened again and then again, the next two times I nursed.
And the lump was still there and grooooowing. I tried squeezing it again before slathering the offending lump with topical pimple cream, and that's when I noticed a clear, but undeniably white drop come out of the lump.
"Is sweat white?" I asked myself. "Can sweat be squeezed out? SURELY that isn't--"
I aimed the nightstand light directly at my armpit and grabbed a pair of glasses so I could get a better look. Squeeze.
And sure enough, white milk came out of the lump in my armpit.
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!
My midwife and her assistant came over later that day to check on me and the baby, and when they got to the part of the appointment where they ask, "Is there anything else you want to talk about?" I debated keeping my trap shut about my wayward duct.
But I had to know-- was this permanent? Had this ever happened to anyone else in the history of motherhood?
My midwife's assistant scared the crap out of me by suggesting that I had a superfluous nipple in my arm pit. "No! NO!" Look at it!" I implored, "It's not nipple-ly! It's just a lump! There's no party hat on the lump or anything!"
Then all calm and cool and collected (like she is always) my midwife Julia said matter-of-factly: ECTOPIC BREAST TISSUE.
(Caps are mine. She didn't shout).
"Ectopic breast tissue," she said, like EBT was a legit thing. My mind reeled. How did part of my breast get way over there? Is this my bra's fault? It's not as if other parts of my body commonly migrated to completely other parts of my body, you know? It's not like my boobs went on a Sunday drive and took a wrong turn at the light. I could not believe that ectopic breast tissue is a thing that is common enough that it has a name.
Julia's advice? Don't stimulate it. Quit squeezing it and really, really, really quit trying to get more milk to come out of it to marvel at your very own medical anomaly. The goal? To make it go away.
And I'm happy to report that it did. Less than a week later, it dried up and disappeared. I'm pleased to report that I no longer have a lactating armpit.
I had been carrying around this weird secret for nearly half a year, and man, it already feels better just writing it all down and getting it off my chest.
Ugh. Off my chest. There's a joke in there somewhere, I'm sure. Go ahead. Have at it.
Okay-- now I know that officially I'm the queen of bizarre births and after-birth affects, but c'mon, lay 'em on me. What's the WEIRDEST thing that happened to you or someone you know while pregnant or shortly thereafter? Anyone care to make me feel like NOT a circus freak? Comments and illustrations appreciated.
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