Monday, April 19, 2010

Crying over spoiled milk

This post is going to take the place of my of my planned "Pumping the boobs" post, since it includes the awkward work moments & "the freezer stash", but I'm going to leave the tips N tricks up to the real experts.

The worst thing that could happen to a working/nursing/pumping mom, happened to me this past weekend. There was a lot going on, depressing family stuff mixed in with good family stuff that just kept us busy from Saturday morning thru Sunday night. So I will give myself a break and not get into "WHY did this have to happen to meeeee?" It was an ACCIDENT. For once, I'm not going to blame my lack of having my shit together for what happened.

What happened?

The milk I pumped at work on Friday got left on the kitchen counter all. damn. weekend.

Spoiled, sour breastmilk. I get teary-eyed just typing that. Any mama out there who pumps knows just how hard you work for every stinking drop.

I personally spend about an hour during my workday in an office by myself, pumping. (Thank God for my iPod touch.) It's difficult to describe the awkwardness that is pumping at work but (of course) I'll try. First, let me say that at no time do I feel ashamed of breastfeeding or pumping. As I've said before, I love it. I'm proud of the fact that the girls are still going strong. But, it's a little weird when you're in the kitchen washing a breast shield while the newly married, 25 year old attorney is trying to butter his toast. Like I'm an old, haggard, curlers & green faced scary vision of the wife-turns-mother stereotype.


What's MORE awkward is that I email my boss every time I go to pump, because we wouldn't want him to be looking for me. To be clear, I do not have the type of job where something needs to get done this minute. Also, when I came back after maternity leave, I was completely open about the fact that I would need a few minutes twice a day to pump, even offered to have that time deducted from my pay. He assured me this wouldn't be necessary (although I don't think either one of us figured the arrangement would last as long as it has). So yes, I am very grateful that my employer is so supportive.

On the other hand, I have the GUILT. There have been so many times that I'll be sitting there, and something I forgot to do will pop into my head. It's so easy to get distracted, and pumping (at least until the initial let-down) is something you have to kind of concentrate on. So I set up the iPod to get my work email. That way, I'll know what's going on, and what I'll have waiting for me when I'm done.

But even that didn't quell the GUILT. So I set up the phone so that I could answer it while pumping. Weird, yeah... but I don't think the pump is THAT loud, and if it is audible through the phone, I doubt anyone would know what they're hearing anyway.

And STILL, a couple weeks go, he came down the hall and stood outside the door... "Sara, come see me when you're done, ok?"

For cryin out loud.

And THEN: On his way out the door the other day, he asks if I could shorten my trips to the back office. The best I could do was "I'll try." Really dude... there's no way for me to make it squirt out faster. Trust me, I would if I could. I don't ENJOY being hooked up to this think like Bessie every day.

Anyway, the overall point of this nonsense is that I'm sad. Very sad, and mourning the loss of a day's worth of milk. I go through a lot to get it, and I'm also afraid that because of this my freezer "stash" is now gone. Wiped out. There was one?

This makes me want to cry all over again. I worked SO HARD for that! And now it's GONE! I wanted so badly to use that milk to think his cereal, to mix it with his first foods... and it's gone. I have no backup.

So I don't know where we'll go from here, but it's not going to be like I thought it would. Mix the cereal with water? Start mixing some formula in with my breastmilk for his bottles at daycare?

Eh, who knows, but long as I have my boys with me, I know it'll work out.

The clock on the wall says 5:15, time to go home. Tomorrow's another day, which to me just means that the struggle to get through today is over... and here's hoping that tomorrow's battle is just a little easier.