"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Natalie's story

When I started puberty I realized that my breasts were small, but figured they would develop in sometime in my teen years.  The summer when I turned 17, I went on a trip to Europe with my high school and spent one night bonding with my roommates by showing each other our breasts.  One of my friends was very intrigued by the way my breasts looked and did not think they were "normal".  She started doing research on the internet and found out there was a term called "tuberous breasts" which described my breasts.  I then realized that my breasts were not going to grow anymore and that I was stuck with what I had.  I suffered from severe self-esteem issues and was incredibly self conscious.  I felt like I could never get close to a man because he would reject me for how my breasts looked.  Also,  I was a bigger and taller girl, 5'8'' size 10/12 in high school and the size A cup did not fit the rest of my body.
When I was 18 I decided to have reconstructive surgery and implants on my breasts.  Part of the impetus of my decision was realizing that women with breasts shaped like mine had difficultly breastfeeding anyway.  I knew that surgery could lower the little milk that I potentially could have but I decided to go forward with the surgery because of my severe unhappiness.  A big part of decision was that my health insurance actually considered my condition a deformity and covered the surgery as reconstructive, not cosmetic.  I had to have 2 surgeries, the first to put tissue expanders in, and a year later to put in permanent implants. Recovery after the first surgery was incredibly painful, but ultimately I was so much happier with my appearance.  
I gave birth to my daughter when I was 24.  She had jaundice in the hospital so we started supplementing with formula immediately.  I rented the hospital grade symphony but the most milk ever made with her was 5ml.  I knew she needed formula and she is a healthy and intelligent toddler.  With my son, born when I was 26 I took fenugreek and had a better latch and also pumped around the clock, and I was able to produce 10ml a pumping session.  I was happy that I made more milk the second time and that my son was able to latch a little bit so I was able to experience breastfeeding.
I make very little breastmilk and I have come to terms with it.  There is not much I can do.  I am happy I made the decision to get the surgery before having kids, but always wonder whether I would have had more milk if I hadn't.  I am glad to know that there are other women with IGT, I am tired of feeling self conscious when people ask me if I am breastfeeding and I have to explain the reasons why I am not.  

If you have IGT, also known as hypoplastic breasts, and you'd like to share your story, please e-mail me at nyssaretter@gmail.com with the subject line "IGT moms."

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