Within minutes of birth, my daughter latches onto my breast. A jolt of pain shoots straight into my soul shocking me out of my oxytocin stupor. Each suckle feels like daggers piercing my breast in a pulsating pattern.
The nurse observes. “She’s a champ.” My sharp intake of breath betrays me.
“You OK, hon?” My contorted mouth contradicts the nod of my head.
“I’m going to call the lactation specialist, she’ll help you, though this little pumpkin seems to know what she’s doing.” The nurse strokes my daughter’s head, already damp with my tears, and disappears.
The specialist arrives and the trial begins. Her youthful form blocks the fluorescent light as she presides over me. She is the judge and the jury.
She scrutinizes me while tiny shards of glass continue to grind into my nipple. “It doesn’t hurt that bad. You must be doing something wrong,” the specialist concludes.
Her judgment is rendered. The verdict is delivered. Before I can testify, clarify, appeal, she is gone. Court adjourned.
Days later, after serving time with a breast pump and my guilt, I take my daughter to her first well-baby check. Eventually the pediatrician focuses on me. “How is the breastfeeding going?”
I wince and shrug. The pediatrician asks to see how my daughter latches on. I pant through the pain.
Upon further examination of the evidence, the doctor discovers I have a previously undiagnosed fungal infection on my nipples.
Prescription in hand, I leave her office exonerated.
Bridget Magee is a writer, poet, and poetrepreneur. You can find her twice a week poetry treats at www.weewordsforweeones.com. You can also find her how-to-write-poetry videos at www.bridgetmagee.com. When not writing, Bridget can be found reading alongside her husband, two daughters, and crazy dog, Smidgey in Tucson, AZ.