itchy nipple and all things annoying

Dad’s got irritable bowel syndrome.  Lucas has irritable baby syndrome.  Just a little cranky pants lately, that is, when he’s not smiling and giggling.  He no longer sleeps through the night.  He’s up every two to three hours, wanting milk, wanting to be held, wanting to be anywhere but asleep in a crib.

We never went to New York.  You know, because all of those comments on the blog saying I shouldn’t go, well, that’s how I totally decided.   Lucas has another spinal MRI scheduled for this Friday, so we can check the progress of this cyst.  He still won’t roll onto his stomach and cannot sit up alone, though he’s close on the sitting.  He doesn’t seem very frustrated about it. 

I’m frustrated by his progress, but it’s his progress not mine.  He’ll do things when he’s ready, on his terms.  And when I remind myself of this, I feel better.  My body is a disaster area.  Forget for a second that I haven’t had my period since Friday the 13th (July), the other day I realized my nipple itched.  Upon examination I realized, shit motherfucker, there’s milk coming out.  Fluid.  Clear, and then white.  WTF?  I haven’t breastfed since 6 months ago.  Maybe I have a tumor.

So I go upstairs and give myself a breast exam, and milk is coming from both nipples when I pinch them, not spray can nipples, but beads.  Exciting stuff, I know.  What can I tell you?  I’m frustrated and pissed off at the world right now.  I called my OBGYN, who said not to worry about it.  It’s normal.  It’s coming from both breasts, no worries.  So fine.  I stopped worrying. 

My face is going to fall off.  My lips are chapped.  My EYES are chapped.  The skin surrounding my eyes is RED and SWOLLEN and it itches.  I am completely stressed.  I need to see a dentist.  My teeth are yellow.  I’m afraid they’re going to hurt me.  That pick scraping against my inner bottom teeth.  I need bleach and a thorough cleaning.

I just scheduled a derm appointment with Dr. Fox to check out my moles.  Nothing says fall quite like a naked pasty body in a dermatologist’s office. And by the time I can actually see him, I’m hoping the skin around my eyes is better.  I’ve been lubing up on Aquaphor and it’s done nothing.

I have so much more to write, and my book is due Oct. 1.  I’m completely stressed about it, at that point where I want to chuck the whole thing out a window, but then I’d have to call someone to fix my window and my computer.

I need to buy a battery operated black light, so I can find scorpions in the dark and know where those fuckers are lurking because in total now, I’ve found six–only one was alive. 

I need an outdoor wireless router so I can write outside.

Need to fill my goddamn eyeglass with a new prescription, because my eyes suck.

And need to figure out a 1 year wedding anniversary gift, you know, aside from intensive therapy.  Life is swell.  I just need a vacation from it.  I want to spend an entire day in an air conditioned movie theater watching nothing but chick flicks that make me cry and restore my hope.  To get my hair washed and blown, to have creams applied to my body, a massage, actual polish on my toes.  A new outfit.  Hair highlights.  I want to feel like a girl again, not a puckered pink lady with grease on her eyes.



  1. When I read this post, I was 75% feeling for you because you've obviously been going through a lot, and 25% just laughing my ass off at the way you said it all. Not laughing at you, though. Things WILL get better. They will.

    Hope you find time and strength to get done everything that needs to be done, Stephanie. You're all still in my prayers.

  2. Hi, I've been a reader of yours for some time, but never have commented. I just wanted to say you're not alone. I'm so sorry for all that you're going through…having twins is hard enough…having twins and other issues is pretty much hell. I really hope things get better. I think you deserve a day of rest, pampering, and relaxation. It will make you feel like a million dollars…make you feel like a sexy woman again and strangely enough make you love your babies even more. I hope you can squeeze a "me me" day in soon!!

  3. Try some vaseline around your eyes. Old wives tale type of cure but it works and won't irritate them. Try it. Maybe you could take an afternoon for a mental health/take care of mom break and get a massage / spa treatment and mani/pedi. Like they say, you have to stop driving the car so you can get gas and refuel…or you can't keep driving. Stop for gas and refuel.
    What is Phil into? Think of something fun for a gift while you're having your spa half day. Maybe he could use a massage too?!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Aquaphor Ointment, which is what I've been using for the past few days and nights, is basically vaseline. But thanks. I wouldn't be able to enjoy a day off until this book is handed in because the whole time I'd be thinking, "shit, I should be writing." October will be here soon… too soon, and yet not soon enough.

  4. Regarding your face, is it allergy season in Austin? Remember, everything's bigger in Texas. Including allergy uglies. Try popping a Claritin every morning. I went to the eye doctor this morning. Next week I have a dentist appt, and thanks to your post, I feel like I'm accomplishing great things. Go me! Whoo hoo! (I have very low expectations of myself, and I consistently meet them.)

  5. Hi Stephanie:

    I hope things get easier for you soon. Handing in your book will certainly be a weight off your shoulders and you're right, October is much closer than we realize. Anniversary gifts are tough. Why don't you do a wine tasting together?

    Feel better!


  6. Acquaphor once made my dry skin worse (a lot worse) — i think i had used it on my lips and around that area? The Dr will probably give you a steroid cream that will clear it right up. For moisturizers, i swear my cetaphil moisturizer — i use the regular, body kind even for my face. But, i'm not sure it will help your eye thing, probably need the steroid cream for that.

  7. Hi Stephanie – I'm a mom too and am a mess. I need to do all the same dr. appointments, but I keep putting them off.

  8. Cracked me up today Stephanie…The part about the scorpions, laffing till I had tears in my eyes. OMG I totally hear you living the Austin big life as opposed to the New York City night life you left behind. Your life is so big and full now, you probably can't even imagine what the hell you did with all that free time before!

    Anniversary gifts…My vote goes to a romantic overnight get away if you can talk some family into staying with the kids. Just someplace with great food, and an inviting whirlpool spa in the room.

  9. Seborrheic dermatitis, perhaps? That shit is nasty. Been there, done that. And Aquaphor will make it worse.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Nope. It's not that. I know what that is. I tried allergy cream, but that just tightens the skin up, and I think tends to dry it more. Man, this sucks.

  10. As a fellow Aquaphor addict, I understand your usage. Having the same issue – chapped eyes, chapped everything sometimes -I discovered Boscia Skin Care. They only sell it @ Sephora (you can order it online) and their eye cream has changed my world. And I no longer look like a greasy gal.

    FROM STEPHANIE: going to buy it now. I can't take it anymore. I really hope it will work. I used Nars eye cream and Clinique repairware serum and night cream and neither did the job… nor has aquaphor.

  11. First Year Anniversary Gift: I hired a photographer to take pictures of us at the location where we got engaged. I know you don't feel very photogenic right now, but if you are into the whole tradition of first year paper, etc. it might be up your alley.

  12. Stephanie,
    Stop, don't buy a new skin cream. You have a rash, you need antibiotic cream for the eye area, see dermatologist sooner than you planned and knock out mole check and eyelid rash in one visit. Do not put any more chemicals in your eye skin area… please. It sounds like seborrheic dermatitist (ignore my spelling, please)…. you need an antiobiotic cream, i had the same thing on my hands when my son was born.



  13. Look at the bright side: if you've got the time/ inclination to bitch about your teeth/eyes/nipples, that means that Lucas must be doing better!

  14. Ok, I overreacted, it is not Seborrheic dermatitis which is similar to cradle cap, my son had that when he was born (it was the only dermatitis I could think of) but it is probably some form of dermatitis nonetheless. Adding more eye cream products to that area will cause more harm than good.

    Really, there is a antibiotic cream from the dermatologist that will knock it out in no time… maybe he will have a sample to give you. Ask doctor to move your appt up to tomorrow or Friday since it is near the eye area and making you crazy.

    Please, do not waste your money on eye creams until, of course, the rash is cured, then go crazy at Sephora!

    OK, getting off soap box now… (-;

  15. Our anniversary is in December, when the world seems to be in a gift-buying frenzy. So my husband and I started an anniversary tradition – we'd focus on the best things about our lives together we'd choose a charitable donation that applied. The fist year we started the tradition I was still post-partum and we decided on a group that helps African AIDS babies. Don't get me wrong, I love jewelery and we still do gifts for Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birthdays and Christmas, but now we look forward to taking time to appreciate our lives and (selfishly) it always feels good to help others.
    Just a thought…

  16. fall on your friends. have them watch the kids for an afternoon and go pamper yourself. then, you can tell hubby that was your year anniversary present to him – a day of relaxation for you! i know my hubby would like it if i would just calm down sometimes… make time for yourself, steph. you deserve it, you need it, your family needs it. babies will be ok, so will phil. center yourself for a few hours. love from fort worth!

  17. I'd have to agree with Maggie, get into the derm doctor right away before using more and more creams. For mild cleansing though, try putting water/baby shampoo on a q-tip and giving the eyes a good wash. You did crack me up with the paragraph, "My face is going to fall off…", because you're such a good writer, but I do feel for you and hope things look up soon.

  18. Hi Stephanie,

    After my 2nd pregnancy, I got a bad case of eye lid eczema. You need a mild topical steroid and it removes it immediately…Your dermatologist will know exactly what it is…in the interim, I tried all these holistic remedies with very sad results. And yes it is exacerbated by stress.

    get better soon!


  19. My daughter just turned a year on 8/27 and I was NOT at all successful with breastfeeding…. no more than 6 weeks top as I had to go back to work and could not get anything to come out when pumping (told I probably had nutritional issues since my iron level was 6 when she was born… they kept asking if I felt like I was going to pass out!). I still have milk coming out of both nipples if I squeeze… sometimes it is a stream too!! I guess I thought it was weird, but did not really think much of it…at least I know I am not alone.

  20. If the Boscia doens't work, I'd try Khiel's Ultra Moisturizing Face Lotion. I used it when I was on Acutane (talk about chapped face) and it worked like a charm!

    For the lips, try Rosebud Salve!

  21. We gotta love you Stephanie, you may be gross at the moment, but you're awesome.

  22. Your post brought me back to my first year with (preemie) twins, one of whom had scary medical problems. I sometimes think I should write the REAL "What to Expect," so that all of us are a little kinder to ourselves and each other when we look and feel like crap. I promise you it will all get easier, and you will feel healthy and lovely again soon.

  23. I must say Stephanie you do make me laugh! You are such a great writer! you manage to capture moments and feelings in such a clear, sometimes funny sometimes dramatic way! I think all mums have days like yours where everything is just crap! you've had a real bad time lately but you've got the irony and the will to get through all this stronger than ever. good luck for everthing! x

  24. Hi Stephanie. So sorry to hear you've been having so much stress physically and emotionally; it's not easy. This is my first time leaving a comment, but I've been reading your blog for a while. I won't try to diagnose your eye condition (this can't be done simply reading your description) but I wanted to recommend an eye care regimine I have stuck to that works for me. I have a condition that results in extremely dry skin around my eyes; I have found that my saving grace is La Mer. I use the Eye Balm and then the Creme de La Mer on top. Total luxury items but they are worth it to me- I suffered for over a year with the extreme dry skin around my eyes and I wouldn't go a day without this stuff now. I'm sure your blog commentors will have something to say about such an expensive regimine, but it's truly been a quality of life issue for me. That's my two cents worth (literally).

  25. You're such a kvetch, my god! I am too, and sure, you get to vent on your own blog, but the bigger problem seems to be your anxiety and perspective. Sure, you've had a rough time of it and it doesn't sound like you're in a particularly emotionally supportive relationship, but I wonder if the rashes and leakage and bad hair and all that would minimize if you focused on feeling better about yourself and your place in the world right now. Are you taking care of yourself, on all levels, or at least asking the tough questions about what that might mean?

    Your post made me feel sad for you, and I wonder if you think you are feeling sorry for yourself. That's certainly normal if so, but for me the issues around self-pity would trump all the yucky physical stuff as far as where I'm putting my energy.

  26. Poor Stephanie- hang in there. Is it absurd to suggest you ask for an extension on your deadline? Do publishers give extensions? I definitely think your situation could be characterized as an "extenuating circumstance." Or would an extension just make it worse?

    Deadlines suck. Is your father there to help you? When does Phil get back?

  27. Stephanie,
    How about burning an anniversary CD for Phil. Maybe a little cheesy, but you could choose 12 songs, one for each month you've been married. Songs that have special meaning to different points in your past year with him …

  28. Not to intrude on your post (although I feel your pain Steph….to a much lesser degree of course but I still sympathize)… to the person who had the idea for taking the picture for the 1st anniversary… got any ideas for a 7th??

  29. How about something off the beaten path, like staying at Hotel San Jose on SoCo? It's close to home, and something all Austinites must do!

  30. i swear by the following: Clotrimazole and Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream USP. By 'script only, but this stuff is a wonder cream. Really.

  31. Oh Stephanie, it sounds like you have just about had it on every level. I know it's unlikely to happen but it feels as if you could use 48 hours in a hotel room by yourself to sleep it all off. Ok, haters start your engines with all your ranting on "how can she leave her undiagnosed baby and his little helpless twin at a time like this?" As a mother of 2 who had a sick baby at one time, there was a time I needed to get off the roller coaster so I could get back on again. We all have to do what we need to do to get by and strengthen up for the next whack in the face. Good luck Stephanie! Sending the best to you and yours.

  32. Red, itchy dry skin around eyes? Been there. It eventually went away on its own. For an anniversary gift for both of you why dont you treat each other for a day of pampering together at some spa. Squirt some sexy smelling perfume on and go out for a nice romantic dinner! (just the two of you)

  33. Try Amylactin for your skin…..or maybe it's spelled Amilactin. It's worked wonders on dry, itchy skin for both me & for my husband. Fabulous stuff.

  34. Just had my one year anniversary, I made a calender off of shutterfly and included photos of our past incorporating them into all the seasons, for example: October (pictures of us in halloween costumes) December (pictures of us in front of our past christmas trees) etc…
    Don't know If your into the traditional wedding anniversary gift thing but I thought this was a cute idea for paper…He got me tickets to see Chicago and dinner at Nobu. Yumm…

    Anyway, i hope you find something and I hope your feeling better.

  35. I second the suggestion of Cetaphil. It's what we use on Kellen too when his skin gets that dry, flakey look to it. I use it now on my face b/c it makes me face soooo soft.

    Leaking from your titties- mine did that too. Try to leave your nips alone and they should dry up (yeah, I know, this is what they told me too and they still didnt dry up, one still leaks a tiny bit when Im aroused).

    Get to the dentist, seriously. You dont want to wait until it's so behind they have to do a root canal, and pregnancy wreaks havoc on your teeth.

    As far as the anniversary gift- I dont have any suggestions. Maybe that Casey poem framed?
    okay, that wasnt funny. :/

    Maybe both of you go get massages? it sounds like you need em.

  36. Do you have an agency in town where you can get a personal assistant for one day? Google it–I bet you do. It's amazing what a second wife can get done for you in a day or two: appointments, shopping lists, waiting for service people.

  37. Oh also on the skin issue – avoid things with menthol in them and lean towards those with mineral oil as their main ingredient.
    And I didnt say it on the other blog but I love that you were cool with Phil posting on there. Putting the truth out there (both of you) is just damn good reading :P

  38. I have a six-year old and three-year old twins. I sooooo get this post!! I'm a freakin' disaster!!!! Haven't had my hair cut in two years or highlighted in a year, I need to drop pounds, I fight wrinkles AND pimples, haven't been to an eyedoctor in almost seven years, I'm a pasty, pale thing too and NEED a dermo to get my skin checked. I'm up to date on the dentist though!!!! I LOVE getting my teeth cleaned!!! OK, I'm weird. I view it as sort of a manicure for my teeth. Teeth bleaching is covered too. I get a weird rash around my eyes sometimes too. I found out years ago it was my mascara. I even went to a dermatologist and got a cream but it didn't work, just kind of stumbled on the mascara thing. (I'm no expert it was just that was my issue) I had been using the mascara for years too and it happened.
    I need a plan, sighh…

  39. A few things to help…

    a cheap black light to search for scorpions:

    Lilypadz to sop up the seepage:

    quick whitening:

    tanning lotions – firms and tans:

    wireless router that works with TimeWarner:

    Anniversary Gift – your kids on canvas:

    FROM STEPHANIE: Thank you. Very sweet. Not sure anything having to do with our kids is appropriate for a wedding anniversary gift, though. And thankfully my breasts are not leaving puddles behind. Though I did use those lilypads when I breastfed.

  40. As soon as your deadline comes & goes you should go and take a spa day. Obviously you've been through a lot and deserve it. G'luck!

  41. Stephanie
    Let me know if the Boscia works. I also used Kiehls, Clinique, Crem De La Mer (broke the bank) etc and the only thing that worked was Boscia. A lifeguard in Florida recommended to me and now I am addicted.
    let me know if it works!

    Thanks and good luck!!!

  42. I'm a pale redheaded gal, so here's my two cents on the stressed skin issue:
    1.Stay out of the sun – period. Trust me on this. The sun is not your friend. The air where you are is really dry as well…you don't want to look like leather in a few years.

    2. Eucerin Q10 sensitive skin cream – it comes in a lil ceramic tub and looks and smells like butter (it probably is butter…)It is just the best and has never irritated my skin. I use Aquaphor too, but for the face the Q10 stuff is best. Let it sink in …and then throw on some more.

    Hang in there.

  43. I agree with Maggie. I've had the thing around my eyes (dry, almost flaky and red, you can see lines, almost like wrinkles in the creases)and I am a product fanatic. No eye cream in the world, even the one that cost me $240 did the trick. I did find something however — Acid Mantle cream –which you can get over the counter, but most pharmacies have to order it for you. It helps with the pH and will help temporarily. It's also nice to have as back up in the future because these eye things tend to come back. I had to get a prescription for a cream called Elidel from my derm to make it go away completely. Now, I don't use eye cream at all and occassionally the Acid Mantle if they feel dry. One other thing I would mention is that you usually want to stay away from skin care made by makeup lines. That's not their specialty and the products tend to be full of bad ingredients. It's a generalization, but I have found it to be true.

    And since I have you on this product topic. We have very similar hair, though mine is brown, and I just found something called Philip Kingsley 'Elasticizer.' It is a leave in conditioner that you actually put on before you shampoo, leave on for 20 minutes (or overnight!) and then wash out. It is quite simply the best product for curls I have ever used. The results are hard to descrobe as the product seems to set in over the days following the application, but at first your hair is almost weighed down, then it just becomes incredibly soft with no frizz whatsoever. I have tried them all. So….if you're shopping.

    Good luck with the book

    FROM STEPHANIE: How fabulously helpful. Thank you! I'm going to the derm tomorrow at 8:30am. I had to move my appointment up. I cannot wait.

  44. I'm laughing along with the others, and I'm betting you're using your keen sense of humor to slog through this. Once you've met your deadline, find someone to stay with the beans for a weekend and then take Phil here ( for an anniversary get away. It's not far from home, is in the beautiful Hill Country and secluded. And it's not only a B&B, but a B&B&D (bed and breakfast and dinner) – the chef is CIA trained. And once there, you can go to Dripping Springs and the original Saltlick for true Texas 'cue. (Yes, I know they have outposts in Austin. But it's not the same – trust me. Their food is great ( and as a bonus it's a BYOB. I once witnessed an entire fraternity from UT there with a keg, I kid you not). The Inn Above Onion Creek also offers spa treatments, like a couple's massage in room. Love to the family. And Larry and I need to get to Austin ASAP.

  45. Stephanie, I hear ya. It's been just one thing after another and leaky boobs and skin issues are the last thing you need on top of everything else! I've had a bad six months myself, and when I discovered that I got fucking toenail fungus on top of everything it sent me into an utter tailspin. The worst thing on earth when life is ugly is to feel ugly. Sad, but true.

  46. I told my dear husband of ten years that only the girls get anniversary gifts and he totally bought it. Took the pressure off of me and I get a present too! I mean really, do guys really want anniversary presents? Besides sex? We always have dinner at a fab restaurant, I get a bauble and he gets a good fuck. And we live happily ever after.

  47. So sorry. That all sucks and I'm sure it is stress enhanced if not entirely induced. You poor thing. Not only feeling stressed but feeling ugly. It sucks.

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