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Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Need to Get This Off My Chest

At BlogHer I went to a panel on Naked Blogging.  Naked Blogging is not typing with no clothes on apparently.   Imagine my surprise when I was the only one who showed up in a toga.  

I jest.  Naked Blogging is laying it all out there.   Naked posts are the ones I find most interesting and worth reading.  It can be scary, but if a woman can get up and talk about trying to commit suicide while 7 months pregnant in front of 1,000 women and get a standing ovation AND everyone wants to be her friend (myself included), then I think it's worth it.   Another blogger said that if you aren't a little bit hesitant when you hit publish, then it probably isn't your best writing.  

So anyway, here I am exposing something I would normally keep private.  Two weeks ago I had a breast reduction.  It's was my second one.  I had the first at age 20.  I am 5 feet 2 inches tall and I developed large breasts around my sophmore year in high school.  I learned how to dress to minimize them, but I was always self conscious about it.   I overheard a guy telling someone I had the body of a fox, but the face of a dog once when standing by my locker.  I remember almost every detail of that day.   When I was a senior my mom took me prom dress shopping.  I desperately wanted to buy a cute, lavender strapless number from the Jessica McClintock outlet.  Every dress I tried on that I was able to stuff my boobs into, was dragging on the floor.   If the dress was the right length, I wasn't able to zip it up.  I ended up buying a dress that was two sizes too big and my mom hemmed it for me.   I remember coming home that day and laying face down on my bedroom floor, crying and just willing my damn boobs to shrink.  

Fast-forward to my college years.  By then I was a 36 DD.  When home for the summer after my freshman year and out shopping with my mom, in the dressing room she casually asked me if I would like to talk to someone about having a breast reduction.  Seriously?  Yes, yes, yes.  We made an appointment with a surgeon to get the low down.  The scarring can be pretty severe.  I don't care.  You may not be able to breast feed.   I'm 20, I don't care.  The recovery is long and painful.  I don't care.  

Long story short, I went for it the next summer.  Yes, the recovery was painful.  It was more than a bit awkward to have to explain the scars to every guy that tried to feel me up (I was in college, remember).  But I was thrilled with my new breasts.   I could wear a bikini without feeling like everyone was staring at my chest.  My clothes fit better.  All was right with my body image.

However, 10 years later, I was not able to breast feed my kids.   When I was 20, I wasn't even thinking about children, much less how I was going to feed them.   I gave it a shot.  But it is hard enough to breast feed twins when you haven't had breast surgery, let alone when you have.  I was able to pump a little bit of milk to give them in their bottles, but it was an incredibly painful (and bloody) process.  When I took my twins to their one month check up my pediatrician ask me how breast feeding was going.  I immediately burst into tears.   We ended up having a half hour conversation about it and I gave it up.  I have an incredible amount of guilt about it, but I'm over it now so please keep your breast is best comments to yourself.   I can guarantee you I was a better, more rested mom when I stopped pumping. 

Moving on.

After Gloppy was born my breasts went from a large B back to the DD.  They were heavy and uncomfortable.  I read somewhere that empire waste dresses look great on large chested women.  Well every time I put one on the waste line ran right across my nipple line.   Not exactly a great look.  About two weeks a months my breasts would become so swollen and sore that if someone just grazed one of them, I was in pain. 

Then I read this post.  It had never even occurred to me that I could have the surgery again.   Rebecca is a rock star to me.  I mulled the idea over in my head and finally decided to see a plastic surgeon.  Two weeks ago the amazing Dr. R removed a little over TWO POUNDS of tissue from my chest.  Strap a two pound weight around your neck and walk around for a day.  And (bonus!!) he also lipo-suctioned out some of my back fat.   I am still swollen and sore at this point, but I will end up as a large B, small C.   The recovery has been no picnic.  The doctor sent me home with orders not to lift anything for six weeks.  Um... OK.  Do you realize I have three kids and my laundry is on the first floor and our bedrooms are on the second floor?  And did I mention that I have three kids and my husband travels like a lot?  It still hurts like hell to lift my arms.  Driving sucks.  Every little bump causes a little shock of pain.   And my kids are so over the "be gentle to mommy" thing.  At the end of the day I am so achy from all the hugs, surprise tackles, and daily mom stuff.    I'll spare you the gory details, but if you're interested, check out Rebecca's latest post about breast reduction.  

Despite the pain, I am happy I decided to do it again.  I think I'll be even happier in a couple of months when all the swelling goes down.   My clothes already fit better and when I am able to run on the treadmill again, I know it will be feel more comfortable.   I just feel more like me in my own skin.  

So there you have it, my attempt at naked blogging or blogging like no one's reading (I've always hated that dance like no one is watching crap, but I couldn't resist).  Mr. Mint will be mortified when he reads this post.  I guess some of his co-workers occasionally read my blog.  So if you work with my husband, just pretend you didn't read the one about his wife's boobs and go into his office and tell him how adorable his twin girls are in their dance recital outfits.   Otherwise, feel free to stare at my chest if you know me in real life and ask me anything you like about the surgery.  I am an open shirt... I mean book.


p.s. I usually hate thinking up titles, but this is my best title ever right?  You gotta admit that title kicks ass.

15 comments:

moosh in indy. said...

This is a good naked story. So many women want to go bigger but don't realize that bigger is not always better. Physically or emotionally.
I also couldn't breastfeed, those boob milk nazis can suck it, because my kid is healthy and I was a much more well rested new mom because of it. Something I personally needed.

Quart said...

This WAS a great title, and a great post. I remember reading Rebecca's account as well and it sounds like you absolutely did the right thing.

And I am AMAZED you managed to breast feed your twins at all! That must have taken an insane amoun tof patience. I have a 2 month old who acts like my breast is trying to kill her when I attempt to nurse and it's a pain in the ass. I can't imagine feeing two - for any period of time!

EatPlayLove said...

I wish I could naked blog. Sometimes I write it all and other times I feel so censored.

And, speaking of large breasts, I would be part of the grass is always greener on the other side camp. I was a whopping A in high school and it sucked.

Thanks for sharing. Naked is a good thing.

anymommy said...

Possibly the best title in the history of blogs. This is what I adore about blogging - when someone that I've come to love offers a little window into the real her. Thanks for opening up - I know it's really hard.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I'm so proud of you for sharing. GO YOU! Way to be "Naked"!

As someone who lugged the pump around for 14 months, and felt SO DANG guilty when I just quit (after a failed first attempt at quitting), I FEEL YOU. I was my OWN Nazi, (although I would NEVER push breastfeeding on ANYONE else) and although I'm happy I stuck with it as long as I did, I should have given myself a break. Is a little bit of formula going to kill her? Why wouldn't I supplement? WHY? WHY? WHY? I am so much better rested now and so much happier in general. Which equals a much better mama.
Hindsight is 20/20, I guess!

Heather said...

Thank you for being brave enough to go naked! I went from a C to a DD in less than two weeks and it was so hard to get dressed in the mornings and everything became just a little harder. Now that my baby bump has become a full on belly it's better but I got a taste of what life with too-large breasts is like and I really feel for you. So yay for modern medicine that not only makes em huge but can make em smaller too. (PS. came here from allmediocre)

susan said...

Looks like you dropped your toga. Great post...straight from the heart.

I'm so glad you were able to use modern technology to both make your breasts a comfortable size and to nourish your babies.

As for the teenage jerks...I think we've all overheard something that was meant to hurt. They are probably all fat, bald and busy sweeping up a floor somewhere...

Stella Blue said...

Thank you for getting naked with us.

The fact that you burst into tears at your doctor's office shows how sincerely you wanted to breastfeed. You have nothing to feel guilty about, whatsoever. Babies know when you are tense and continuing to try would have only caused more stress for all three of you.

I have a friend with very large breasts, and she's dealt with constant back pain, neck pain, clothes not fitting... having a reduction is not an "elective" "cosmetic" procedure IMO. Its a medical procedure to improve quality of life, the same as having your wisdom teeth removed or a slipped disk corrected or whatever.

good luck with your recovery!

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

Really moving post!!

It was so authentic and really will be helpful to others as well.

Hope your feeling better soon!

Mama Ginger Tree said...

Wow, thank you all for your comments.

Moosh: My pediatrician is the best. She had the good sense to encourage me to stop knowing I would be a better mom. She's been like my therapist as well as my kids doc for the past six years. She's awesome.

Quart: I know lots of women who breast fed twins just fine, but it is by no means easy. Do I let one of them scream while I struggle to feed the other one? Do I breast feed one while bottle feeding the other at the same time? And don't even get me started on breast feeding both at once. Oy. There were a lot of tears those first few weeks. Mostly mine. I wish you good luck with your baby! I'll be sending you good vibes.

EatPlayLove: Yes, the grass is always greener! I needed to feel like my chest fit with the rest of my body. And I say go naked!

Anymommy: My feeling exactly. I love when someone shares a little piece of themselves and offers a peak into their lives. We all have so much to learn from each other. Your "Disruption" post was brave and naked!

Andrea: We give ourselves so much guilt as moms. Good for you for sticking with it. Seriously! I have great respect for women who stick it out. I think we all have our own switch to tell us when enough is enough.

Heather: Yay for modern medicine for sure! I was so uncomfortable with such a large chest on my frame. Too bad there is no such thing as a rear end reduction because I could use one of those too.

Susan: Fat and bald, I love it! I happen to know one of them still lives with his parents... at 38 years old.

Stella Blue: You hit the nail on the head. I already feel the relief of having those 2+ pounds off my chest. Thanks for the well wishes!

Laurie: thank you! I encourage everyone to go naked.

Maura said...

I am not a naked blogger, by any means, but I applaud your putting it all out there on your terms. I am, however, a large-breasted woman who has considered reduction over the years so I doubly appreciate your honesty in sharing with us.

I found you at AM and I look forward to coming back soon.

Mama Ginger Tree said...

Maura: Thanks for coming by. Best of luck if you decide to look into it. For me, it has been so worth it. Solidarity sister.

Overflowing Brain said...

Very very funny title (found you on the blogging interview site, I think you might be interviewing me, but it hasn't been updated yet).

I had breast surgery in April (not for an intentional reduction because I've never exceeded an A cup) and I can imagine how much more painful having both breasts and your back surgicized.

Hope it gets better soon, I'm off to read some more. Great blog find.

Mama Ginger Tree said...

Overflowing Brain: I look forward to interviewing you. I'll shoot you an e-mail, but your blog looks like a fantastic read. Nice to virtually meet you.

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